If you’ve always wanted to learn the sitar, but could never quite scrape up the cash to fly to India and study with the Maharishi for several years, then you’ll be happy to know that with the skills you already have and a Jerry Jones Master Electric Sitar, you can chase such famous riffs as B.J. Thomas’ “Hooked On A Feelin’,” Steely Dan’s “Do It Again,” The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” (of course), and even Spinal Tap’s “Listen To The Flower People.”
Nuts, Bolts, Strings…and More Strings
Modeled after the original ’60s Vincent Bell Coral Sitar built by Danelectro, the Jerry Jones sitar is constructed like most of Jones’ guitars – with a poplar wood frame sandwiched between two pieces of Masonite, leaving a hollow chamber. It has a 25″-scale maple neck with flat 141/2″-radius Indian rosewood fingerboard, six-on-a-side Gotoh tuners, 21 medium jumbo frets, and an intonated “buzz bridge.”
Electronics-wise, Jones keeps it close to the cuff, employing his own lipstick pickups – two for the sitar, one for the 13-string sympathetic harp that can be tuned to any key or scale – each with its own volume and tone control. The cool red “gator” finish, along with the etched plexiglass pickguard and tailpiece cover, complete the instrument’s very psychedelic look. The smooth satin-finished neck and low action make it a breeze to play.
In terms of quality of construction, Jones’ instruments are certainly a couple notches above the vintage ones.
Play That Funky Music
We grabbed a small recent-issue Peavey tube amp and turned it up; suddenly, we were awash in a ton of sweet whirring and buzzing…what a blast! We liked the tone best with both pickups turned up, where it delivered a sweet out-of-phase sound that enhanced the authentic sitar groove…man.
It looks cool, it sounds cool, it’s a blast to play, and it rivals guitars costing double, which might lead one to ask why other U.S. builders can’t do the same!
Jerry Jones Master Sitar
Type of Guitar: Electric Sitar.
Features: Laminated poplar/masonite body, 25″-scale maple neck, 141/2″ radius Indian rosewood fingerboard, six-on-a-side Gotoh tuners, 21 medium jumbo frets, intonated “buzz bridge,” 13-string sympathetic harp, lipstick tube pickups.
Contact: Jerry Jones Guitars, PO Box 22507, Nashville, TN 37202, (615) 255-0088, jerryjonesguitars.com
This review originally appeared in VG‘s Oct. ’01 issue.