EBONY SKY – (Family: Unicorn Sky Guitar)
The EBONY SKY is a Sky Guitar with a difference. Up until now all Sky Guitars came with a tremolo unit – also called a “whammy bar” – and a floating bridge and almost all favoured light coloured maple necks; the EBONY SERIES, in contrast, comes with a fixed bridge and a dark ebony finger board. Those two factors result in a marked difference in overall response and tone. This is a largely a question of individual taste and personal preference.
Strings do react differently on a fixed bridge guitar, because the tension is always the same and very stable and reliable. A floating tremolo unit, in contrast, is more tricky to handle, since it is essentially a part that involves movement and therefore a constant change of string tension and response, particularly when bending strings. Floating tremolo units with a whammy bar can definitely be a challenge when it comes to keeping a guitar in tune and – when they are not set up and maintained perfectly – the results can be hazardous and annoying, particularly when a guitar goes out of tune after a dive bomb and some strings refuse to return to the zero point. The reasons for this can be many and also depend on the design and manufacturing quality of the tremolo unit.
Floating tremolo units also have the decided disadvantage of being somewhat less stable in terms of the overall tuning of a guitar. Furthermore, this factor can vary enormously from guitar to guitar and is also dependent on the choice of tremolo system. To get the best of both worlds – in the Eighties – locking tremolo systems were developed, most famously that of Floyd Rose – and they worked, BUT not all guitar players decided to embrace the technology. Jeff Beck and Uli Jon Roth certainly didn’t and Uli’s reasoning behind the decision was the fact that a Floyd Rose system by nature clamps the string in such a way that a certain spectrum of the sound of the string is sacrificed. This leads to a more dull or even dead sounding instrument. This would be okay if one plays with an ultra high gain sound, but Uli has always been very tone conscious and wants the guitar sound as resonant and unadulterated as possible. Hence, the Floyd Rose – despite its high convenience factor – was ruled out, just like a radio transmitter was ruled out, because of the loss of high fidelity quality.
Another noticeable difference in the “fixed bridge versus floating” discussion is that the springs, which are driving the tremolo unit in the back of the guitar are adding a very interesting tonal dimension to the overall sound, because they have a ringing resonant quality of their own, even their own pitch. When they resonate with the music they can even sound like a small echo chamber of sorts. That is one of the characteristics of original Strats fitted with whammy bar. However, once again, this is all a matter of taste and to some ears the differences may be negligible, perhaps even undetectable, whereas for someone else it might make a huge difference.
Anyway, the EBONY SKY is free from any of these potential problems associated with floating tremolos and we are glad that the first fixed bridge Sky Guitar now has been built and it is a fantastic new addition to the world of Sky Guitars. Thank you, Enzo, for coming up with the idea.
When Uli played this first Ebony Sky Guitar, with the name of “AMBER DAWN” on the moving occasion of his brother Zeno’s memorial celebration, he fell in love with the guitar.
Wood & Specs:
- Number of strings: 6
- Mahogany body & quilted maple top
- Flamed maple neck, finished in deep amber, golden varnish
- Position markers in abalone (stars)
- Long scale (Strat style – 25.5 inches – 65 cm)
- String spacing: ?
- Neck join: MW extreme – (Mighty Wing style)
- Only scalloped from 27th fret
- Number of frets: 35 – (the top 4 frets are whole-tone steps, counting as 2 frets each)
- Super-Jumbo fret wire – smaller in the higher regions
- Hard tailpiece (Strat style)Sound & Tone Engine:
- Mega-Wing III System with 18-volt power supply
- 3 pick-ups: 2 humbuckers & 1 single coil in the middle
- 5 control knobs:
1) volume – 2) treble-range – 3) Mid-range – 4) bass-range – 5) master gain
- 5-way toggle switch
- 2 humbucker-to-single coil switches, changing the magnetic field
- Midi & piezos optional
- Cyan Magic – 12 blue/turquoise lights with dimmerFinish & Colour:
- Neck: golden amber varnish
- Body: multi-tone sun-burst glaze with gold dust – either red/amber to black
- (also available in other colours)
- Overall appearance: gold theme, sunburst
- 2 brass scratch plates – 24 Karat gold plated
- Sky Academy Spiral on body
- USG logo on headstock
- Unique Sky Guitar identification back plate with date, name of series and serial number – 24 Karat gold-platedExtras:
- Tronical Powertune Self-Tuning System
- Acrylic glass detachable Leg Rest
- Pick holder
- Black UJR Sky Guitar case with black velvet interior
- Creamy, rich, singing, warmSky Guitar Type:
- Unicorn Sky – virtuoso & facilitated access to top range
Uli playing Ebony Sky at the ZENO memorial event in Hannover, Feb 2018.
Michael Flexig on vocals, Ule Ritgen on bass.