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The story goes back to the late 2001, when I first saw a LED guitar. On one side, I was impressed by the attraction it can provide during a gig, on the other side, it was incredibly disappointing to see the way this special guitar was fitted with LEDs. So I decided to take care myself. I started a long period of research and a lot of experiments. The main problem was how to get the LEDs into the guitar without damaging it, without changing its musical features. First, in early 2002, I developed a method to get the fingerboard off the neck. This led to the creation of  No.1 (which had just received the body artwork) and No. 2 in summer and autumn 2002.

Another problem was the power supply, as I did not want to use those gloomy low output “candles”. But high output (superbright) LEDs have a much higher power consumption, so I needed enough space for rechargeable batteries for that purpose. And there was the fact that LEDs need different voltage due to their colour and are very sensitive to voltage overload, and I wanted to have an AC adaptor socket… and …and…and… This was the moment -in autumn 2003- when my son Nikolas entered the scene with some really good ideas, more than that, he still designs and builds circuits solving all the problems concerning electronics we have had since then.

In the meantime, I had found a safe and reliable way to prepare the instrument for the fitting of the LEDs without taking the fingerboard off. This was another big step further and also eliminated the problem I had had with set neck or neck through constructions. At that time, I also gave some more room to art aspects. I started body LED layouts and the fitting of headstock LEDs. While 2005 passed by, we had some more nice guitars ready (up to No. 5).

The Nos. 6 and 7 were jobs for a professional musician. These instruments were often played in shows, and the task was -more than ever- to leave their play feel and sound performance untouched. It was also in the early year 2006, when we made a bicolour setup for the first time, including dimmable side dots to cope with all the different light situations on stage (No. 8).

The Flying V (No. 9) took us still further, as we put in all our knowledge (main switch system for easy preset recall, Laser, dimmable side dots) and topped it with the flashing arrows to underline the unique V-shape of this guitar (summer 2006), thus making it an eye (and ear) catcher for any kind of rock show.

Right now, we proudly present the Anniversary Strat (No. 10) representing our actual “state of the art”. This guitar is a jewel, literally. It features a complete SMD-LED-setup, introduces our abalone inlay work with really precious material  and a handmade aluminium trussrod cover. It also offers the possibility to recharge the power supply without opening or taking out anything. You just plug in an AC adaptor for two hours. As you can see, we found the right object not only to celebrate Fender´s 60th birthday (we congratulate), but also to have an authentic testimony of our first five years of “LED-Guitars”. This hard road has always been accompanied by writing and recording for our musical projects, which not only have meant the proper way for us to keep our balance, but also provided an extreme testing of our LED instruments “under real life conditions”.

Meanwhile, our guitars and basses are played all over Europe: in Germany (BC Rich Warlock (No. 4),  IBANEZ JEM Rock Mirror and Flowers (Nos. 6 and 7)), in Austria (YAMAHA BB N4 Bass (No. 2)), in The Netherlands (PEAVEY EvH (No. 5)) and in Sweden (PEAVEY Millennium Bass (No. 8)).

And we will keep on going…..

 

 

Germany, November 2006

 

Bernd Bauer