I’ve been lucky enough to play a bunch of Ormsby guitars over the past few years. One of the coolest community-friendly things about Ormsby is their regular meet-ups (or meat-ups, if there’s food involved like the one I went to a while back), where you can get hands-on experience with as many guitars as you can handle. Recently a meet-up was organised for Melbourne and a few dozen guitarists got to try out plenty of custom and production guitars, as well as check out the Line 6 Helix and Relay G10.
This particular SX Custom is one that I’ve played on multiple occasions and it always sticks in my mind because it feels really, really alive. There’s a great balance to the SX shape, and the carved top seems to work together with this sense of balance and the general ergonomic nature of the multiscale design to create a really playable instrument; a real symbiosis of guitar and guitarist. This particular custom has a black limba body with a flame maple top. Other options include Tasmanian blackwood, swamp ash or mahogany. Beyond those more standard options, Ormsby has a great collection of other body woods to choose from.
Neck options include maple, Tasmaian blackwood or plenty of exotic options. This particular guitar has a laminated rosewood neck with an ebony fingerboard and jumbo stainless steel frets. The inlay is made of aluminium and paua abalone, and it looks great. Of course being a custom you can specify all sorts of inlays, and if you’ve seen the stone-inlaid Dragon Ball Z custom build, you’ll know Perry can do anything.
The fanned arrangement of the multiscale fretboard creates s cale lengths for each individual string. For example: 25.5”-27.5” (6-string), 25.5”-27.8” (7-string) or 25.5”-28.2” (8-string), or you can select standard scales as well. The body depth is 45mm thick for at top and carved top guitars, with a 12mm (1/2”) deep carve, but Ormsby can go as thin as 38mm and still house push/pull electronics. The pickups on this particular guitar are a Nunchucker humbucker with an Alnico 8 magnet, and an Old School single coil with Alnico 2.
This is a really great-sounding guitar with an organic voice. The Alnico 8 magnet gives the Nunchucker a nice fat voice that remains beefy when you split to single coil mode, and makes for a pretty damn special Devin-Townsend-on-Terria tone when you use it in combination with the neck pickup. And because the neck pickup is a little closer to the middle compared to a conventional guitar, it’s a little brighter while still retaining some fullness. This gives it great attack for Yngwie-style runs (and the subtle partial scalloping between the 12th and 21st frets gives off a bit of that vibe too, without being nearly as tricky to adapt to as a full scallop) but you’d be surprised at the quality of ‘strummy’, chordal tones too.
At times it almost reminded me of Paul Dempsey of Something For Kate’s ringing, clear chord sounds, which you might not expect coming from a guitar like this. But back to that bridge humbucker setting... there are some really addictive harmonic overtones here, which invite big screaming bends and fat chunky low riffs alike. And if you play a lot of single-note lead stuff you’ll definitely cut through the mix with that full midrange.
As a custom guitar this is a great example of what Ormsby can do. If you had your own SX built you could go all out with options, from string count to bridge type to standard or multiscale, exotic woods, even more exotic finishes and way, way more. Keep an eye out for the next Ormsby meet-up in your area so you can try out a few different options and see what works for you.
For more details, head to ormsbyguitars.com.
Hits and Misses
Great custom look
Huge, flexible tone