British hardware distributor JHS and guitar design guru Alan Entwistle have joined forces to revive a lost classic from electric guitar design, with their newly developed Rapier 33 reviving the Watkins Rapier for a new generation.
Solid electric with a slightly S-style silhouette, the Rapier was a staple of the British guitar scene in the 1960s, and like models from brands such as Dallas and Burns, it offered a cheaper alternative to American models, with its three -model of remarkable pickup for its central pickup tilted forward.
Many players started out on one, Vivian Campbell owning a used model when she first started playing, and whether in their two, three or four mic versions (named 22, 33 and 44 respectively), the Rapier was once ubiquitous. across the UK.
The JHS / Entwistle Rapier 33 retains much of the original aesthetic, but introduces new pickups, improved hardware, and uses solid okoume for the body. There is a screw-down Canadian maple neck that is carved into a soft C-profile and topped with a rosewood fingerboard, with a 12 “radius and an old-fashioned fretless design.
Perhaps the biggest change is in the mics. While we have a similar setup with this angled center pickup, the Rapier 33 returns with a trio of low-noise Entwistle EWR64 mini-humbuckers, plus a tone circuit that lets you dial in that ’60s British guitar sound with lots of high-pitched chime to cut through a mixture.
Replacing the original Rhythm / Solo switch, we have a three-way pickup selector that selects the neck, bridge, or neck and bridge pickups together, with a handy slide switch to engage the middle pickup. There is also a Bass Cut slide switch for extra jangle.
Today’s player may find this a quirky way of doing things, but it means the Rapier 33 gives you seven basic sounds to play with before hitting the volume and tone controls. Here JHS and Entwistle use 500K potentiometers with the tone control equipped with a 0.015 micro-farad capacity to maintain clarity in all positions.
Elsewhere there is an Original Rapier Hi Lo designed soft-action tremolo, Wilkinson EZ-Lok tuners, and a GraphTech Nubone nut, measuring 43mm in width. The headstock has a newly designed logo – very Moddish – and a tri-ply pickguard completes what is a decidedly vintage vibe.
Priced at £ 429, the Rapier 33 is available now, with Arctic White, Daphne Blue, Fiesta Red and 3-Tone Sunburst your trim options. See JHS for more details.