Annie Clark and Ernie Ball Music Man introduce a new guitar to their St. Vincent Collection.
When the original St. Vincent Signature guitar by Ernie Ball Music Man made its debut in 2015, it did more than just excite fans. The guitar quickly made headlines across both the internet and mainstream news, becoming one of the most discussed releases of the year within the guitar industry. Annie Clark, who performs as St. Vincent stunned her fans on Instagram when she mentioned that not only had she designed her new guitar with Ernie Ball Music Man, but that it also had “room for a breast or two.”
Almost immediately, the instrument became typecast as a guitar made only for women despite Clark making it clear during an interview with VICE that the design was inclusive of all genders. Quite surprisingly, none of the major guitar companies had ever released a woman’s signature guitar that was a completely original design from the artists themselves, making Annie the first woman to do so. The result was a guitar that was as comfortable to play standing up, as it was sitting down; offering a huge pallet of timbres to choose from. Three Dimarzio mini-humbuckers wired to a five way switch within easy reach of its volume and tone controls.
Each contour carefully selected to be as ergonomic as possible for every player that held one, and strikingly finished in a shade of blue that Annie herself mixed specifically for the guitar. Suitable for recording and touring on a professional level, it became quickly adopted by fans and professional musicians as a quality guitar.
Recently, the guitar has become a favorite among a number of other famous guitar players like Omar Rodriguez Lopez who quickly made use a custom left handed version on tour with At The Drive in, and most notably Jack White who performed with it on Saturday Night Live praising it during several an interviews.
AT A GLANCE
- African Mahogany body
- Hand rubbed satin finish compound radius roasted Maple neck with Rosewood fretboard
- 22 High profile medium with frets
- Compensated nut
- Schaller locking tuners
- Custom Modern tremolo with vintage bent steel saddles
- 2 custom Music Man designed Humbucking pickups.
- 5 way selector switch with volume and tone controls
- Average weight of 7.5 lbs
Arriving in a heavy duty hardshell case, the guitar makes a strong first impression with its new beautiful “blue dawn” sparkle, offset by a large white pick guard. Refreshingly unique in its angular design, the guitar takes advantage of one’s natural posture and balances easily in your lap. The back and top of the guitar’s clever contours make it feel quite comfortable in a wide variety of positions. Ernie Ball states that on average the guitars all weigh about seven and a half pounds making them light enough to play for many hours with relative ease. Twenty-two high profile medium with frets lay across a rosewood fretboard on a highly figured roasted flame maple neck with compound radius and compensated nut. The back of the neck, slightly narrower near the nut with a round profile and hand rubbed with satin like gunstock oil finish is smooth to the touch and non sticky.
A five bolt sculpted neck joint joins an African Mahogany body with easy access to the upper notes. Schaller locking tuners adorned with pearl buttons combined with the straight string pull of the clever “4/2” headstock design keep the guitar shockingly in tune even after repeated multiple dive bombs; allowing the strings to go entirely slack via the guitars custom tremolo bridge. The ability to do this without the use of a locking nut and micro tuners is simply outstanding and it keeps the guitar easy to restring and maintain.
Separating itself from the previous model, the St. Vincent HH sports two custom full size humbucking pickups designed in house by Ernie Ball Music Man.
The New Pickups…
Capture all of the sustain the guitar has to offer with a thicker timbre that welcomes more aggressive styles of music such as metal and punk, while still maintaining enough clarity and sparkle for any aspiring dream pop band. Like its predecessor the pickups are wired to a five way switch for the most versatility available. Two separate positions of the five way toggle-switch which allow both the inner and outer coils of the pickups to be combined stand out from the standardized wiring scheme of neck alone, bridge alone, neck and bridge together that most guitars with dual humbucking pickups come equipped with.
Who Is It For, and Where Is It Going?
When Annie Clark first set out to design her guitar, she landed her sights beyond her own individual needs and took the opportunity to create something entirely new. The iconic guitar could become a more welcoming modern alternative to the classic designs that remained largely unchanged since the 1950s that dominated the landscape of guitars in music retail. It’s easy to get hung up on the idea that a signature model guitar can only represent the music of said artist, but it’s also easy to forget that the Gibson “Les Paul” was first and foremost a signature guitar designed from the ground up by the very artist who played them. So, it’s safe to say that the STV HH is for anyone and everyone ready for something light, versatile and creative.