Tone Report Weekly 196 - Page 27

SIGNATURE GUITARS Sometimes something is around so briefly it’s hard to confirm if its even real. Signature Guitars was only around for three years, not helped by a name that sounds like a music version of “Who’s On First” waiting to happen. (“What guitar do you play? Signature guitars. Whose signature?”). In seriousness, Signature got its name thanks to the company’s willingness to put the player’s name on the 12th fret of every guitar as a signature. Formed by Canadian luthier Russ Heinl, Signature guitars boasted quality woods, active EMG pickups with unique selector options, and locking tremolos. The guitars got most famous thanks to Rush’s Alex Lifeson playing them during Rush’s synth period in the late ‘80s, and eventually through Pink Floyd touring bassist Guy Pratt. So why aren’t they bigger? The ‘80s was an especially cutthroat decade for guitar companies, and basically, if it wasn’t cheap and couldn’t be played by an LA metal band it wasn’t going to take off. With an emphasis on clean, bright tones and a $2000 price tag, Signature just couldn’t keep up. The company shut its doors in 1990, ironically when Alex Lifeson accidentally damaged his main Signature on Rush’s Presto tour during a guitar change—a tragic end for a unique company. 27