Are Offset Guitars Good for Metal? Spiritbox Guitarist Explains How He Got Into Jazzmaster Body Shape

Mike Stringer, guitarist for modern metal champions Spiritbox, discussed his slightly unconventional choice of guitar for his style of music. Recently, Stringer revealed a collaboration with Jackson, delivering a new and upgraded version of the almost forgotten Charvel/Jackson model Surfcaster. And while speaking to Guitar World in a new interview, he reflected on getting these guitars, offering:

 “You know when you go into a really great vintage guitar shop, and you see all those top-shelf guitars that look like they’ve been through hell and back? You always want to know what the story is there. I wanted that right off the bat with the Fiesta Red Surfcaster.

Charvel Surfcaster from 1992 presented by Vintage Guitar Oldenburg and Tobias Hoffmann

Originally, these Surfcasters were made back in the 1990s and the early 2000s. However, they featured a pair of lipstick-style single coil pickups, or, in some cases, with a humbucker in the bridge and a single-coil in the neck position. The body shape was clearly inspired by Fender Jazzmaster but had some interesting and advanced features, as well as 3+3 headstock instead of a 6-in-line one.

And back in October, Mike revealed that he’s got a pair of reworked Surfcasters. These are 7-string models with their scale lengths measuring 26.5 inches — just perfect for his style of metal. When asked how this came to be, Mike replied:

“I started working with Jackson the last time we played Download Festival, which was 2022. I’ve always had a crazy fixation with old-school offset guitars. My goal was basically to make a modern, metal take on a vintage Jazzmaster shape.”

Charvel Surfcaster 12-string Demo

“Jackson were really happy to do it,” Stringer added. “They pulled out the Surfcaster model and were like, ‘How do you feel about this?’ It blew me away.”

“Over the course of the last year, it went back and forth on different renders and colors. It was very important that at least one of them was relic’d, or pretty beat-up looking – I’m such a sucker for something that looks like a pawn shop vintage.”

“At this point, it’s been a couple of months since I got them, and I can’t put them down. They cover every base that I need them to cover, and they play so well. Every time I look at them it makes me smile. They’re the only ones in existence! It’s such an honor to have them.”

Mike Stringer Playthrough of "Rule of Nines" by Spiritbox | Jackson Guitars

Of course, these guitars are mostly vintage-like in appearance and feature some more modern-style traits. So when asked what did it mean for him to “modernize that kind of offset,” Mike said:

“From being a metal guy, and from speaking to other metal players, I was like, ‘I wish a brand would do an offset with an EverTune. Like a seven-string that’s extended scale.’ So I took everything that I need to play our music optimally and put it on this guitar.”

“We went with a 26.5-inch scale, so it’s a little longer than the standard scale guitar. We slapped an EverTune on it – it’s no secret that I very much enjoy the EverTune. We put Fishman Modern Open Core pickups in there. We threw in a split-coil tap on the bottom.”

Tone Master Pro Unleashed: Mike Stringer | Fender

“It’s things you would see in a much pointier metal guitar, but it’s a classic, familiar shape. I just think it’s cool to look at an offset like that and think, ‘What would that look like for a player that tunes in drop F#?’ I think we landed on that; they crushed it.”

Back in October, Mike Stringer shared these two offset beauties with the rest of the world through his Instagram profile. In the post, he wrote:

“My two Jackson Custom Shops showed up the other day. Ive always been obsessed with classic vintage looking guitars, (offsets specifically) and wanted to do a modern take based on their classic Surfcaster model.”

Mike Stringer (Spiritbox) using the Granophyre Plugin @SpiritboxOfficial

“The team at Jackson were super down with the idea, and I got the opportunity to spec out two offset customs. The end result is mind blowing! Both are 26.5-inch scale, feature EverTune bridges, and Fishman Opencore Modern pickups.”

“Both have a bolt on 3-piece maple neck, alder body, gotoh locking tuners, and an ebony fretboard. We went with a classic fiesta red over sunburst, with a tortoise shell pickguard for the first, and a cream/tortoise shell combo for the other.”

“I’ve gotten to test them out over the last few nights and I’m completely blown away by them.”

Mike Stringer Playthrough of "Hurt You" by Spiritbox | Jackson Guitars

Photo: Sven Mandel (Spiritbox – 2023155150649 2023-06-04 Rock am Ring – Sven – 1D X MK II – 0189 – AK8I8445), Lee Bowie (Charvel Surfcaster)

Author

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.