Rocks Off is currently in the market for a good guitar yet has next to no money, so for the past few months we've been tantalizing ourselves by poring over the multitude of guitars of the Internet. There are some mighty pretty signature guitars out there, including Angus Young's signature Gibson SG and Dave Navarro's signature Paul Reed Smith. Yes, Navarro's signature model is a surprising display of restraint and taste, whereas we expected him to be wielding something closer to the mighty Wangcaster pictured at right. That's not a gay joke, by the way; the former (still?) Jane's Addiction axeman just has the air of a fella who, apropos of nothing else, would rather be noodling on a big wooden dick. You, however, have come here for the fugliest of signature rocksticks, and dont you worry. In our browsings, we've found many, many examples of custom guitars we can't believe anyone who wanted to be thought of as a professional would want to be associated with. 6. The Gibson SG Zoot Suit
You know it's a hideous guitar when they won't even show the whole fucking thing in its own advertisement. In case you're curious, here's the entire guitar. Gibson usually makes a fine-looking guitar (except, of course, for the Explorer), so you know they had to be immediately aware that they had a technicolor turd on their hands when they couldn't find anyone better to pawn it off on than the guy from the Cherry Poppin' Daddies. We'd have loved to have heard his response: "Look, guys, I know I'm just the guitarist in a mediocre swing band that was briefly relevant in 1997 thanks to the film Swingers, but even I am ashamed to be holding this guitar." *Gibson management stuffs a rocket launcher full of thousand dollar bills and fires it at him* "Okay, you know what, maybe it's not that bad..." Someone on the design committee must not have been familiar with the term "tasty licks." We're supposed to look at a guitar and think, "I bet I could scorch some tasty licks outta that thing!" not, "I wonder how many tasty licks it would take to get to the chewy Tootsie Roll center?" 5. Everything Eddie Van Halen Puts His Hands On
We all know Eddie's trademark Frankenstrat (pictured) is hideous, sure. If it looks like something some kid glued together in his basement, well, that's because that's pretty much what it is. But why was the guy who blazed that solo on "Eruption" constantly surrounded by so many horrible-looking guitars? Look at this, for chrissakes. What the shit were they trying for with that yellow thing on the left? Well, at least if you were a luthier in the '80s and you wanted to try out some abstract cubism in your work, you'd know that if it turned out ass-ugly (which it did), Eddie Van Halen would still buy it and display it proudly. And wait, to the right of the yellow-thing, in between it and the normal-looking Les Paul, is that... is that just a pickax? Okay what is... we don't even... let's move on. 4. ESP Will Paint Your Guitar. Just Try and Stop Them.
As far as shape is concerned, ESP only has a couple of truly ugly designs. They're pretty notable, though; look at this dumb metal-esque design they did for the guy from Soulfly, and the phallic majesty that is Gus G.'s signature model. Oof. God damn, Gus. You shred for Ozzy, man, we know you've got one of the biggest guitar-boners in the biz. There was no need to embody that physically in your axe. Those two models aside, ESP's true specialty (other than actually making a pretty decent guitar) seems to lie in the hideous custom paint jobs they'll slap on any old model, turning out otherwise fine guitars that are painted like those El Caminos you see having hydraulics-bounce contests in the barrio. Jeff Hanneman of Slayer? Here's some horrible camo for you. Michael Wilton of Queensryche? Here's exactly the same picture you had on your 8th grade Trapper Keeper. Dan Jacobs of Atreyu? Here's whatever we had laying around the shop, who the fuck even knows? George Lynch of the Lynch Mob and Souls of We? No. Not yet. George is going to need his own section. 3. Epiphone's Zakk Wylde Graveyard Disciple
Take a look at that picture there. Which one of those does not belong? The Les Paul on the left actually has a pretty cool paint job, that one can stay. The Les Paul on the right? Not too shabby, either. And then... come on, seriously? This is disappointing. Zakk had never really been heavily into all that gimmicky bullshit; sure, a few spiked gauntlets here and there, but hell, what metal man hasn't worn a spiked gauntlet or two in his day? But that coffin guitar is exactly the kind of thing he's better than. We'd say it reeked of snarky, ironic, cartoony [adult swim]-style cheese, except even Toki and Skwisgar from Dethklok play relatively subdued metal guitars by comparison. Ehhh, whatever. We're just happy we still have a living, breathing Zakk Wylde roaming the plains, whichever axe he chooses to sport. 2. George Lynch LOVES This Horseshit
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Pictured at left is well-respected metal guitarist George Lynch playing what is, incredibly, one of the least eye-rapingly horrendous of the many signature models bearing his name. Just look at these god damn things. It starts out with something that kind of looked like it was going to be just another ugly camouflage guitar, but then someone in the Non-Sequitur Department stuck a picture of a Japanese kamikaze fighter on there, accompanied by a couple little bomb graphics and the Japanese characters for "Please destroy this object with mighty nuclear weapons, for it shames us." Next is a kind of beetle-like pattern that's only mildly ugly, then there's that design your crazy uncle used to wear on the back of his jean jacket when he'd go out on the town and hit the roller rinks, looking for a naïve young girl who would accompany him back to his Z-28 and listen to his Ratt tape while he hungrily groped her. Below that are two stylishly pre-worn editions that don't look so bad. They've been toned down from earlier versions of the same guitar, which were pretty much a straight up rip-off of the Joe Strummer Telecaster; here's what the Lynch model used to look like. While none of these really qualifies as the ugliest guitar we've ever seen, Lynch gets points for sheer quantity. No other axeman has such a volume of ugly signature guitars. Next: The ugliest guitar we've ever seen. 1. Samurai Spirits' Kyomoto Special
No, really. That exists, and actor-singer Masaki Kyomoto not only plays it, it's his signature line. It has a katana embedded within it, presumably so Kyomoto can fend off anyone who comes near him trying to destroy this thing that has burned itself into their corneas. It's just... *sigh*... WHY?! If this was the accessory of a villainous He-Man action figure, that would be one thing. We'd even understand if GWAR showed up with one of these things, although it may be a little much, even for them. But the guy who plays this doesn't wear any elaborate costumes, really. He's just a normal-looking Japanese rock dude. Did he have this made to spite the very essence of the guitar, as an instrument? Did it appear to the luthier in a vision carried by angry oni? Is it made out of plastic? Or possibly soap? You'd hand this guitar to the comic-book superhero Spawn, and he'd hand it right back, muttering "Uh... thanks anyway, actually trying to tone it down a little..." before awkwardly soaring off, trailing his 100-ft bright crimson cape behind him. This guitar hurts us deeply, in a very private place, and we won't be satisfied until we've found some way to hurt it back.