If you follow Guitar Noize either here on the web or on Facebook or Twitter you will probably be aware that last year I decided to order a custom 7 string guitar to be built by top Australian luthier Charles Cilia. When most people think of Charles’s guitars they think of boutique 6 string guitars such as his double cutaway Belladonna model rather than boutique metal guitars but Charles has been making 7, 8 and even 9 string guitars for years. Charles himself is a guitar player and has toured supporting such bands as Marilyn Manson in the US so his skills are enhanced by years of road testing his own designs. Charles actually spent years as an apprentice for Sydney based luthier Gerard Gilet who is highly regarded as one of the best Acoustic guitar makers in the country, in the last 15 years however Charles has concentrated on electric guitars. I was introduced to Charles Cilia by my friend Michael Dolce who has been playing his guitars exclusively for 15 years now, I believe he was the first paying customer back in the day. I took a trip out to his Chipping Norton workshop with Michael where I was shown around and had the chance to play some guitars. Since then I have been a regular visitor to the Cilia Guitars workshop and played every model but one day I was there a noticed an unfinished guitar on the bench with crazy wing inlays and pointy headstock and was amazed at how brutal and yet beautiful the 7 string guitar was, within a couple of weeks I decided to sell my Suhr Modern to fund my own custom build.
I will be recording demo videos of course but in the meantime here are the specs of the guitar. The body is Mahogany and quite lightweight, now I don’t mean chambered I just mean light weight. Some people think that light Mahogany doesn’t sound very good but all of the Mahogany Cilia guitars I have played have sounded amazing and none of them have that back breaking Les Paul weight. The neck is big leaf Maple which looks incredible and it has carbon rods for extra stability. The fretboard is Madagascar rosewood with no inlays, only side dots (abalone) and the headstock also features a piece of the same piece of the fretboard Rosewood. The frets are Stainless Steel and the scale length is 27″. The top is a stunning piece of Burl Maple that also has a bit of flame and quilt patterns through it. I was originally going to go with Australian Blackwood because of the similarities to Koa but then one day I had a call from Charles who said I had to come and check out a piece of Maple that he had found. Once I saw it I knew straight away that was the one. The top is even more stunning thanks to a light tiger or bengal burst and a slight edge burst. All hardware is black including the Original Floyd Rose 7, the Seymour Duncan ’59 (7) Humbucker in the neck position and a ’59/Custom Hybrid in the bridge position, the tone and the volume knobs which also doubles as a push/pull blower switch. A blower switch bypasses the volume and tone circuit and gives you the bridge humbucker full volume, meaning you can roll the volume down on say the neck pickup in split coil mode for a clean tone the pull the volume knob for instant full volume bridge humbucker. Finally I have finished off the guitar with a set of Loxx USA Black strap locks.
Despite always wanting a 7 string this is actually my first at the ripe old age of 37. I’ve played a few over the years but never felt as comfortable as I do playing the CGA7, the neck carve is quite flat but very comfortable. The 18″ radius fretboard makes it incredible easy to bend strings all over the neck and the extended scale length means I can use light gauge strings for definition and clarity. I will be doing a lot of recording with this guitar so it had to be versatile not just a great metal tone and Charles has certainly delivered, this guitar has amazing clean tones too which I was quite surprised about, I think the low/medium output Seymour Duncan pickups are a perfect fit. Demo videos coming soon showing clean, bluesy and rock tones but in the meantime here’s a quick demo of the heavier side of this beautiful guitar: