Malinoski New Moon
Contact: www. petermalinoskiart.com
While some players look for nontraditional body types in a solidbody, such designs can often breach the realm of the weird or ungainly. Maryland luthier Peter Malinoski understands this, and uses that knowledge to create bold, visually engaging, and good-sounding guitars sans the outlandish shapes. His New Moon model is a case in point – an aesthetically pleasing single-cutaway with an array of tone woods.
The New Moon’s body is an interesting sandwich of woods. The top and rear center stripe are walnut, while the back is ambrosia maple. The holes for the three-bolt neck are also filled with walnut (technically, the neck is both bolted and glued, effectively making it a set neck). The maple is highly figured with thick brown streaks of grain caused by the Ambrosia beetle, and the bugs also leave visible holes that create a decorative effect. There’s also a dramatic contour on the rear cutaway, adding to the ergonomic feel of the guitar, and a pickup plate of ambrosia and Douglas fir is affixed to the front with five screws. Not many folks use this type of plate, but it looks good, and definitely works.
Malinoski employs recessed cavities in various locations; Tone and Volume knobs are dropped into the face, the screws affixing the pickup plate to the body are recessed, and even the Sperzel open-gear tuners are sunk into the face of the headstock.
Speaking of the headstock and neck, the New Moon’s 24-fret neck is made of figured cherry with a separate headstock of ambrosia maple glued on with a scarf joint (sometimes called “luthier’s joint”) around the third fret. The fingerboard and truss rod cover are wenge, the former with maple fret dots – two each on the first and twelfth frets, as well as very large ones on the side of the fingerboard. The entire guitar is finished in a type of Danish oil, giving it a natural, luxurious feel.
The New Moon has a chrome Hipshot hardtail SS bridge and two Lollar Imperial low-wind humbuckers. There’s also a five-way pickup selector (bridge; neck/bridge parallel, phase reverse; neck/bridge parallel; neck/bridge series; and neck) and push/pull knobs. The Volume knob triggers a coil tap when pulled, and the tone knob brings in a piezo transducer. The input jack is on the butt end of the guitar body, just south of the strap buttons. Clearly, there’s a lot going on under the hood of the New Moon.
Plugged in, the guitar has real spirit. The neck has a big C shape, while the smallish body hangs comfortably around the neck. The New Moon’s neck, which does dive a bit, is pretty fast and features a 12″ radius and 24 large frets. No question, this is a California-influenced mélange of exotic woods that brings to mind Jerry Garcia and other heroes of the jam-band movement, but with its otherworldly design, the New Moon seems predestined for more varied sonic trips. Thanks to the nonstandard hardwoods, the New Moon has a brash, bright sound overall, at times not far removed from a Telecaster. The pickup selector can also be used on the piezo pickup to invoke different sounds and tones. For players who want at least 20 tones at their fingertips at all times the New Moon is a real tone puppy.
The Malinoski New Moon is a beautifully designed custom axe, especially with its sculpted cutaway, sensual body contours, and wicked pickup plate. A large part of the pleasure here is the craftsmanship of a master wood carver, but the guitar is not just a set piece. It’s a hip, versatile guitar, and sure to provide decades of enjoyment and fine tones.
This article originally appeared in VG June 2013 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.‘