Tao Guitars / Charger / Bass For Sale
The « firebird » & « thunderbird » were born in the mind of Raymond H. Dietrich the famous car designer who was ask by Ted Mc Carthy to design a guitar that will compete with Fender’s popularity in these days, due to the « surf music » sound that was the trend at that time.
A guitar with a car pedigree was just the perfect match for us, so we decided to go on and revisit the concept. As the firebird guitar was sharing his name with the famous Pontiac « muscle car » this led us to the idea of taking the name of our own favorite one as a startpoint for this project…
So we choose the « Charger » because of his the meanner attitude, the black crawlin’ bad guys car in the 68 classic movie « Bullit », how cooler a car can be?
Then we worked on new more dynamic body inspired by the classy hood & fender lines of the 68 Dodge Charger with a sleek plunging front that will give more cleared neck to body joint, a cool rounded armrest, a deeper ribcage, the rounded edged center log vanishing on both ends adding to the car hood like visual.
Custom handmade pickups covers with our trademark front grill attitude.
Despite the clear « birds » ascendence this is not neck through affair, instead we choose the glued in method with a super long and large tenon joint with honduran mahogany neck & body for a 440 big block kinda’ of sound.
The first one was made as a custom order bass, but our first idea was to make duet of guitar & bass in a 58 modernistic « korina » appearence, be our guest!
Tao Guitars, Belgium
As we’ve always thought that the exercise of explaining our work or the philosophy behind what we’re doing could be a somewhat frustrating experience, so the sentence here is what seems to be just the right words for us.
The machine is not master & tyrant, but willing servant and helper, and the products do not take their physiognomy from mechanical technology but from the spirit of their artistic originator and from the dexterity of artistically skilled hands. It is better to work ten days on an article than producing ten articles a day, this is the ruling principal. Style as identity.
- Joseph August Lux -
All our necks are quarter-sawn cut, for the maple ones we use European maple, mostly used in violins & other quatuor instruments making. Lighter in weight, whitish in color it as some gorgeous flame appeal and deliver a more open airy sound than his north American counterpart .
They also feature our trademark asymmetrical shape (round on the bass side, a lil’ flatter on the treble side ), super rounded frets & fretboard edges for a cool » fits like a glove » feel.
We also do our custom fret job, that we start with a regular jumbo wire to the 12th fret & then going on with smaller ones toward the end of the fret board. This help push-pulls when the space between the frets are becoming to narrow.
We’ve also developed our own single bar, double action with spoke wheel truss rods which are machined by a custom race car parts workshop. We call it « the carbon flex » influenced by Steve Klein’s truss rod design, it consist of a multi layered wood/carbon heart for a larger push or pull than normal truss rods.
This prevent necks from twisting & other problems related to standard designs, it also makes the neck curb evenly through all his length, flanked with 2 carbon bars running from the 9th fret to the end of the fretboard, this helps getting rid of this fretboard end bump that gives us a hell with low action settings .
Our neck joints are tight as possible & hand adjusted.
We are doing our own little magic trick to give our bolt on necks the same sustain as their glue-on sisters, this is our trade secret & would not be explained!
Our wood choice for the bodies are :
- red alder
- spanish cedar
- lightweight swamp ash
- Honduran mahogany
- African Limba
Finishing wise we are trying to keep the layers as thin as possible to let the wood sounds and express itself to the max!
Concerning the hardware we choose :
GOTOH 510 vintage H.A.P tuners , or « Stealth » (as on our « Pheaton »)
GLENDALE « half plate » bridge with intone « cutting edge » compensated saddles
COMPTON compensated bridge ( as on our « Phaeton »)
CTS pots which are selected with the best tapper, customized for smoother action & polished for a classier appearance
Russian N.O.S capacitors
Electro socket output
We would also make custom hardware parts as our own designed « BUCKET » bridge , pot buttons, control plates or decorative jewel as on our « El Mirage ».
For our pickups we are now enjoying a collaboration with Mr Dave Stephens of SD pickups.
After nine long years of research we think he reached the peak of what could be to our ears the most touch sensitive & best sounding humbucker known to mankind.
He also make us his own incarnation of our «chicken strut» neck pickup in which he also put his little magic to bring it to a new level of sophistication.
Our custom SD pickups comes with our trademark « front grill » custom made nickel covers.
We always stay open for new project, special features, or crazy ideas in order to make creative and beautiful tone machines.
As we say « play a masterpiece, wear an attitude »
Serge & John