1. Guitars Exchange: How did you end up becoming, or start out as, a luthier?
Frank Scheucher: I come from a very musical family. My grandfather played trumpet in a band and my father is a professional rock 'n' roll guitarist in my region. On the other hand my ancestors have been very skilled craftsmen who worked as makers of wooden cartwheels (great-grandfather) and wooden barrels (grandfather). My father does not have the hands for woodworking :) , but he is a lifetime rock guitarist. So the two generations come together in me, as I am a rock guitarist who also loves woodworking :) I have inherited some woodworking tools from my grand-grandfather that I still use when building my handcrafted custom guitars. When I was 14, I built my first guitar with the help of an old luthier. Later in 1992 I had my own design company and I specialized in guitar design (I played in several bands at this time). Later in 2002 I founded my very own guitar company Zerberus-Guitars and fulfilled one of my biggest childhood dreams with that.
2. G.E.: What inspires you to design and manufacture a new guitar?
F.S.: My inspiration is to break new ground by using new materials and designing guitars that are not just copies of already existing, successful models.
I always wanted my guitars to have their own character, so that people say: “Hey, this looks like a Zerberus” as soon as they see one of my guitars.
I very much respect the Vintage style guitars but I think that there should be room for innovation, rather than imitation.
3. G.E.: Do you look for a given sound for any particular reason?
F.S.: Versatility is the big word for me. I don´t want my guitars to have one given sound. Of course I want them to sound great, but even more I want them to have much more than one great sound. That´s why all my guitars have coil split options on the humbuckers. I pair this with a 25.5 Strat scale to get a nice sound that can be full and fat, but also crisp and twangy. I think that this is because I used to play in a whole range of bands from Blues to Heavy Metal. I was tired of buying new guitars for each new project. I wanted a guitar that could be a Jack of all trades and with this in mind, I designed my Zerberus-Guitars.
4. G.E.: Please select one of the following and say something about: soul, jazz, blues, rock, pop…or other.
F.S.: Blues: I love it, but if we are talking about guitars I prefer Progressive Metal like Spiral Architect, Vai or Dream Theater. But in my workshop you will mostly hear Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush or Tori Amos. I love to work in a relaxed and chilled out atmosphere.
5. G.E.: Are you a jobbing artist or a solitary artisan?
F.S.: No more.
6. G.E.: What was the last record or CD you bought? And listened to?
F.S.: Peter Gabriel “So” I think
7. G.E.: Electric or acoustic?
8. G.E.: What is the secret behind your choice of wood?
F.S.: I prefer to search for unusual and very long seasoned lumber in my area. At the same time I select wooden planks that have been seasoned for 60 years or more. But the crazy thing about my Gorgonized guitars it the top, which is made of 5mm gemstone and stones like Amethyst, Tiger´s Eye, Aventurine, Turquoise and many more. I also made one guitar with the top of petrified wood.
That looks fantastic and it sounds incredible.
...AND TWO HANDS
9. G.E.: Why should we consider luthier-crafted guitars as a viable option to guitars made by the large manufacturers?
F.S.: There is nothing bad about the large manufacturers as long as they focus on quality and customer service. But for individualists there is nothing more mind-blowing than owning and playing a guitar that is absolutely unique on the planet. One that is tailored exactly to the customer’s needs and dreams.
The moment when a customer becomes a friend is always very heart warming.
10. G.E.: Who plays your guitars? Who would you like to have play your guitars?
F.S.: Unfortunately there are no big names. I´d love to see Joe Bonnamassa play my Chronos with Amethyst top and Bisgby tremolo. I know that this guitar would blow him out of his shoes, but he has never responded to my mails.
Hahahah…OK he is a busy man….maybe one day..maybe…
(+1). G.E.: What strings do you use and which amps do you most like for your guitars?
F.S.: I usually equip my guitars with SIT strings made in Ohio, but I also use D'Addario and other brands. I have had a lot of amps over the years and now I am totally happy and satisfied with a Fender Mustang IV combo. In my showroom this type of amp is perfect because of its versatility. Guitarists also have the option of playing high gain with low volume. Sure, there are better tube amps and stuff on the market, but the Mustang IV does exactly what I need it for.
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