Happy New Year!
2016 is here, and Veillette Guitars is busier than ever,
and our line of guitars continues to grow more diverse and more accessible.
Somehow we're managing to inhabit two worlds, without losing sight of the
musical and design priorities that have established the Veillette Guitars reputation.
Our Custom Shop is a true atelier, with a range of models and options that is unique in the world of custom guitars. This year, we've built everything from doubleneck acoustics, to ultra-modern electric basses, and the range of possibilities continues to grow. Even in the world of custom guitars, very few shops have the flexibility and experience to cover so many different bases.
Alongside our Custom Shop, our ever-expanding line of Avante guitars brings our innovative designs and tunings to an ever-widening group of adventurous players. Following the huge positive response to our first Avante Gryphon model, we've introduced new models and new colors, all with distinctive Veillette design and incredible value.
Read more to find out the latest and greatest from Veillette Custom Shop and Avante!
Coming soon to NAMM 2016!
NAMM 2016 is right around the corner, (January 21 to 24) and Veillette Guitars is ready with a full booth's worth of new guitars and basses. It's been a great year full of new developments and we're looking forward to showing them off! Read more below for all the details about our latest instruments...and please come see us in Hall B, Booth 5276!
Kaki King gives away the Veillette secret
The wonderful and multi-talented Kaki King recently gave an interview, where she revealed the secret behind Joe's Veillette's design approach:
Joe just wants the sound to be so good that, in a way, he is part of the process of writing a song. When you write a song with a Veillette guitar, you are writing it with Joe because that is his intention. And, I will say that for the songs I have written on that guitar, they really do seem to write themselves. So, maybe Joe kind of preprograms them.”
Even though we can't build Kaki's amazing talent into every Veillette (no matter how hard we try!), Joe has always tried his best to create guitars with "differences that matter" — and provide every player with something new to say. The customers who take home our Gryphons, Baritones, and Doublenecks always seem to discover something new and unusual when they pick them up — and that makes us a happy bunch of guitar builders!
Brian May plays Avante!
Very few living guitarists are as legendary as Queen's Brian May. Here's a picture of Brian in the studio, cutting tracks with an Avante Gryphon! Brian's tone, taste, and musicianship have made him an idol to generations of guitarists, but did you know that he also holds a PhD in astrophysics?
So, take it from a genuine rocket scientist — Avante guitars are the right tool for the job!
Kate Pierson and her new Veillette custom electric
In our last Newsletter, we showed a sneak peek of B-52s singer/guitarist Kate Pierson, with her unfinished custom electric. Here she is on stage with the final result, a gorgeous red Swift 6-string with dual magnetic pickups and a piezo bridge, for quick switching between acoustic and electric personalities.
Kate is renowned for her sense of style and fashion, so the real question is — did she match her hair to the guitar, or vice versa?
Introducing the Avante Baritones!
Ever since we introduced the Avante Gryphons, customers have been asking about if and when we would introduce a Baritone model. For this year's NAMM 2016, we're proud to announce not one, but two Avante Baritone guitars — 6-string and 12-string!
These powerhouse guitars feature all the same specialized design features as our custom-shop baritones, at a player-friendly price. Solid wood tops, backs, and sides, hand-carved bracing, and optimized scale length deliver a deep, complex and powerful tone that is perfect for solo players, multi-guitar groups, and singers with a naturally lower range.
All the lessons we learned from years and years as a specialty baritone guitar shop have been integrated into these instruments, and we're confident that they are the most playable, in-tune, and tonally balanced baritones available without a custom-shop price tag.
The initial production run of these guitars was limited — so call soon if you're interested...we don't expect them to last long!
Deep Red Tobacco Sunburst
New Gryphon Colors
The Avante Gryphons have been a smash hit with guitarists everywhere looking for inspiring new tones and expanded range. For 2016, the Avante Gryphon is now available in two classy new color options — transparent deep red and classic tobacco sunburst, as well as the original natural finish.
The deep red is one of our most popular custom-shop colors — Veillette Gryphons in this color are regularly played on some of the biggest stages in the world. For the slightly more traditional player, the Tobacco Sunburst adds a vintage-style appeal and warmth that beautifully balances the Gryphon's modern details and features.
Avante by Veillette is continuing to add more dealers to our roster, so these great instruments are now available in these fine shops:
The Flyer Doubleneck earns its name
Here's a great pair of photos from our longtime customer Ben Lapidus. Ben is a fantastic Cuban-style musician who works nonstop and tours heavily. His current performing axe is a doubleneck 6-string guitar and Cuban Tres based on our Flyer body shape.
Ben sent us this great text to accompany the photos:
Hi Joe, just got into my seat on my JetBlue flight with the double neck in the overhead compartment — it does not get better than this! Thanks again for eveything, Ben.”
A custom Baritone Ukulele
This is a great example of just how 'custom' our Custom Shop can be — it's a baritone ukulele built with all the signature Veillette design features alongside some extra-special options: offset soundholes, custom tie-block bridge, Macassar Ebony back and sides, Sperzel locking tuners, and Paua Abalone position dot markers. This instrument was a delight to play – nothing sounds more 'fun' than a ukulele!
David Levita's ultra-custom "Dragonelle" nylon-string
One of our favorite things is to design a guitar to address a specific need . the client will come to us with an idea, and we'll bring it to life. It's a great two-way process, and has yielded some of our most interesting custom instruments. It's even more fun when the client is one of the hottest and most creative session guitarists on the scene — and when our good friend and long-time client David Levita contacted us with an 'oddball' idea, we jumped at the chance to make it happen.
The result: David calls it the "Dragonelle". Based on our Terz body, the Dragonelle maintains the A-A tuning but uses doubled nylon strings (unison tuned pairs) to create a fascinating, deeply textured sound. Conjuring a mix of oud, lute, and classical guitar tones, this instrument is exactly the kind of .secret weapon. that David can use to build a powerful and radio-ready hit guitar track.
Here's David giving a little demo of that process with his new Dragonelle:
Bass News — A new breed of Veillette basses!
Though Veillette is perhaps best known for our forward-thinking acoustic designs, many of our most popular custom-shop offerings are electric basses. This is no surprise — Joe's history designing high-end bass instruments started with the rare and highly sought-after Veillette-Citron basses.
Bass players are an adventurous and open-minded group, always looking ahead to the next frontier in instrument design and technology. As builders, we love keeping up our end of this bargain by constantly trying to improve and refine our bass instruments and offer something new and useful.
Here's a look at three exciting new bass developments, fresh off the bench this month!
The Bolt-on Singlecut bass, Series II
First released in 2003, the Veillette Bolt-on Singlecut was a bold new hybrid of modern single-cutaway style and classic bolt-on tone and punch. As perhaps the first bolt-on single-cutaway bass on the market, it received rave reviews and considerable attention for its unconventional design, light weight and comfortable body, and impressive tone.
For 2016, Veillette Guitars is pleased to introduce the revised and updated Bolt-On Singlecut. Integrating many new features and design refinements that we've developed over the last 10 years, the new Singlecut updates the look, feel, and soul of the model for today's modern bassist.
First off, the body shape has been redesigned — a wider lower bout and refined lower horn make the new Singlecut more comfortable and familiar-feeling, especially when played seated.
The body top is now radiused for comfort and weight-relief, with recessed/inset knobs adding a touch of custom-shop class. A Hipshot A-style bridge offers full 3-D adjustment including string-spacing, along with quick string changes and rock-solid performance.
The electronics package now includes a pair of Aguilar DCB soapbar pickups and an Audere 4-band preamp. These beautifully full-range pickups are a natural match to the broad and balanced frequency response of the poplar body and Pau Ferro fingerboard, and the Audere preamp give the player total control to fine-tune the sound for any venue or style.
The Paris bass gets a new engine
As the 'anchor' model of our electric bass line, the Paris has been one of our most popular custom-shop instruments for over 15 years. The intriguing blend of acoustic and electric style and tone has made it a favorite for bassists in all styles who need a reliable, comfortable, and classy way to cover lots of tonal territory.
This latest release of the Paris features an all new power plant — the GraphTech/Hipshot piezo bridge. Offering full adjustability for action and intonation, this new bridge option gives the player absolute control over their setup and action preferences. Unlike earlier fixed wooden bridges, it also allows the player to experiment with a very wide range of strings without risking intonation issues.
Along with this added flexibility, the new Paris still offers the beautifully nuanced and responsive acoustic-style tone that has made it our flagship bass.
The new Doublecut solidbody bass
Many of our favorite models and features have been driven directly by custom requests from working players — in fact, we've always felt that this relationship between player and builder yields the most meaningful and useful kinds of innovation.
So, we were delighted to take on a new project for one of our long-time custom-shop clients who needed a new style of bass. After playing a Paris bass for many years, our client now needed a more 'electric'-style double-cutaway bass, with the same comfort and tonal flexibility as his fully-equipped Paris 6-string.
The result is this gorgeous instrument that perfectly exemplifies the modern 'boutique' electric bass. The beautiful quartersawn Tulip Poplar body, stunning buckeye burl top, and graphite-reinforced mahogany neck make for a lightweight and responsive body that balances beautifully.
The pair of Citron pickups blends with a GraphTech/Hipshot piezo bridge system and custom GraphTech preamp, as well as an Aguilar 2-band EQ system for massive power and flexibility. This bass really does it all, and will turn heads in just about any situation. Thanks as always to our great customers for giving us the opportunity to build such fun and diverse custom instruments. It sure beats digging ditches.
With best wishes from all of us at Veillette Guitars,
Joe, AndE, and Ed — with a lot of support from Kimberly Kay (Mrs. Veillette)