VANCE GUITARS GLITTERBOMB
A GUITAR DESIGNED TO BE COMFORTABLE FOR FEMALE PLAYERS AND SONICALLY FLEXIBLE. AND TO LOOK LIKE A SPARKLE EXPLOSION.BY PETER HODGSON
The Glitterbomb is a collaboration between Australia’s Vance Guitars and Glitoris shred queen Samantha Bennett. Beyond expressing Samantha’s sonic requirements and visual requests, the Glitterbomb was designed with a specific goal in mind: it had to be a lightweight piece designed for female players that wrapped around the body, didn’t dig in and was comfortable and slick to play.
The Glitterbomb is made of premium mahogany, 3mm thinner than usual, and with a larger body-relief carve in the back. This gives it a little more of an SG type of balance than, say, a Les Paul. And of course, that means it’s nowhere near as heavy as a Les Paul either. Vance and Samantha, my shoulder thanks you.
The neck carve is quite thin and player-friendly, and it’s connected at a steep angle to wrap around the body and get the fretboard closer to the player, similar in style to a set neck archtop guitar. The fretboard is made of premium ebony, and the frets are stainless steel. The fingerboard inlays and side dots are made of Luminlay material, so they’ll also glow in the dark.
The finish employs technology used on high-end custom car and bike builds. It’s finished with DNA BaZecoat Metallic flakes and diamond hard gloss clear coats for the body and headstock, along with jet black ultra-slinky polyethylene for the necks. It’s glittery as hell (and as the proud owner of two glitter-finished guitars, I mean it), and looks absolutely incredible under strong light sources.
The electronics consist of master volume and tone controls (each of which doubles as a pickup coil split), a three-way pickup selector, and a pair of humbuckers: a Bare Knuckle Steve Stevens Rebel Yell in the bridge position, and a single coil-sized DiMarzio Chopper in the neck – although ‘neck’ is not entirely accurate since the pickup is set back a little, midway between where a neck and a middle pickup would be.
Vance offers options on the Glitterbomb too, including your choice of pickups and pot values, upper bout pickup selector switch position, custom neck shapes, all DNA BaZecoat Metallic finishes and matte diamond coat clear, and the option of your own inlay designs. All Glitterbombs feature dual rear strap pins to allow the player the option of how the guitar body sits and balances across the body, and they also double as a ready-made guitar stand. A custom-built, super lightweight flight case and toolkit are also included.
Before you even plug it in, you’re going to notice how great this guitar sounds. There’s a fullness to the unplugged sound, practically screaming with harmonic overtones and sustain. Seriously, you could happily play this guitar for an hour before even plugging it in. Is it the choice in wood? The lighter weight? The tightness of the neck and body joint? The energy transfer of the wraparound bridge and tailpiece? The stainless steel frets? The answer is probably ‘yes’ to all of the above. You don’t get a guitar that behaves this nicely without putting a great deal of care into every element. Plug it in, and those heavenly overtones remain. The Rebel Yell is a hot humbucker with its own distinctive midrange growl, and when you combine it with this guitar’s natural voice, you’re going to get a very aggressive, gutsy, hyper-energised sound whether you’re playing power chords or solos. Pop it into single coil mode, and it has nice grit and bite for clean tones or bluesy, dirty leads. The neck pickup is also a great choice. Again, it has nice mids of its own which emphasise those of the guitar itself, and the placement being a little closer to the bridge than a standard neck pickup means it’s a little clearer, sharper and bolder than many neck pickups. The single coil mode comes in handy; it’s not as characterful as the Rebel Yell, but it’s still very usable for a variety of situations.
THE BOTTOM LINE
It’s impossible to overstate how well-built this guitar is, from the fretwork to the finish to the neck joint to the position of the pickups. Everything seems to be there for a very specific reason, and it all adds up to a world-class guitar with all the tone, playability, looks and attitude you could want.