Definitions

top-neck

Double neck guitar

A double neck guitar is a guitar that has two necks.

Double neck guitars

The most common type has 12 strings on the top neck, while the bottom neck has the normal six. Combination six-string and 4-string are also used. Sometimes, people may combine a fretless guitar with a regular guitar, or any other combination of guitar neck and pickup styles. This allows the guitarist to switch quickly and easily between guitar sounds without taking the time to change guitars. A popular double neck guitar model is the Gibson EDS-1275. This guitar was made famous by guitarist Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, which he used during live performances of the songs "Stairway to Heaven", "The Rain Song", and "The Song Remains The Same".

Triple-, quadruple- and quintuple-necked guitars also exist. Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen uses a custom five-neck Hamer guitar, and John Paul Jones sometimes made use of a three-neck guitar, which added a mandolin neck and strings. Steve Vai owns a custom three-neck Ibanez JEM, most frequently used when he needs a fretless guitar (such as on the G3: Live in Denver DVD). Mike Rutherford's puppet is seen playing a quadruple-necked guitar in the Genesis music video "Land of Confusion" for comedic value. Quite possibly the most complex guitar ever created was the "Pikasso" guitar, an acoustic guitar designed for Pat Metheny by Linda Manzer, with a record total of 42 strings. Another famous user of a multi neck guitar was Michael Angelo Batio, who is famous for playing "Double Guitars" (left and right handed guitars joined at the center in a V shape) and a "Quad guitar" (which is 4 guitars joined together in an "X" shape) the original "Quad guitar" was stolen, but in 2007 Dean Guitars built him a new Quad Guitar

Multiple-necked bass guitars

Recently, guitar makers have started producing bass guitars with multiple necks, the majority having two necks - although there are some basses with three or more necks made, but usually upon custom order only. A double-necked bass guitar can be used for multiple tuning (e.g., B-E-A-D on one neck whilst the other neck is tuned to E-A-D-G, etc.). There are dozens of variations of how multiple-necked guitars can be customized, such as the number of strings on a neck, frets or no frets, the tuning used on each neck, etc. One of the more unusual combinations seen is where one neck of a double-necked guitar is set up as for a standard electric guitar and the other side is configured as for a bass guitar. That electric guitar vs. bass combination can be played in regular tuning, but often has to have drop-D tuning (D-A-D-G) as well, in order to accommodate most songs that could feasibly be played with such an instrument.

One of the more well-known multiple-necked bass guitars is that used by Chris Squire (of Yes) for the song 'Awaken'. This is a replica of a guitar built by Wal for Roger Newell of the English Rock Ensemble. Squire's original triple-necked bass guitar was configured with a four-string fretted neck, a four-string fretless neck, and a six-string tuned in octaves (Squire was known to have tuned it to aA-dD-gG). This bass is currently on display at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Notable double neck guitar users

Popular culture

  • A double-necked bass guitar was also used in the movie This Is Spinal Tap.
  • Another double necked guitar was used in the episode "FLCLimax" from FLCL.

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