Joe Giglio Playing His Forshage Hollowbody Electric Guitar

Will all the interest over the design of the Forshage Hollow Body Electric Guitar, here’s an opportunity to see and hear one played! Jazz guitarist Joe Giglio owns several custom guitars built by Chris Forshage and the Forshage Hollow body guitar is one of his main instruments.

And now, without further delay, here is a YouTube video of Joe Giglio playing live in New York City:

Read and see more of this fine instrument in the following articles:

14 Responses to “Joe Giglio Playing His Forshage Hollowbody Electric Guitar”

  1. I play both classical and electric guitar. I’m really into ergonomics since I started studying with a classical guitar teacher who developed a new technique that makes use of the whole body and has new ways of doing all the movements you make when you play, the way you sit down, and your posture. She works mainly with injured guitarists and helps them recover and, most important, teaches them how to not injure themselves again.
    Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking of ways to build an ergonomic electric guitar (since you can’t modify a classical guitar’s shape without changing it’s sound), then I started googling, and I found this site. It was wonderful to see most of my ideas and great new ones! This site is great!
    Now, I have a few suggestions for the next guitar build and a question for you to answer.
    Suggestions: obviously, the guitar should be as lightweight as possible. For that to happen, the logical thing to do is to make it hollow and as thiner as possible. But if it’s so thin, there are two disadvantages: first, you’d have to bend your neck too much to look at it while playing, and second, the angle between your left arm and your left forearm would be too closed because your guitar is so close to your body, causing you tension on your left arm. I came up with a solution: you would have to build some kind of cushion (of similar materials as the Dynarette; I don’t know how to call it’s materials because english is my second language), same color as your guitar, shaped as the back of your guitar’s body and add something to this part of your guitar and to the cushion so it can be attached there, making your guitar a little wider but without adding the weight of wood. The cushion should be wider in it’s lower part and thiner in it’s upper part, having a shape similar to a triangle. This way, you’d create an effect similar to the “wedge” guitar: your guitar’s body will be narrower on the bass side than on the treble side, therefore facing slightly upwards, wich is more confortable for both your neck and your left arm. Additionaly, the back of your guitar will be softer, so if you use your guitar around your chest (wich is the best thing you can do for yor left arm and hand: keep your guitar’s neck high so you don’t have to bend your wrist) it won’t hurt your breastbone (I’m not sure, but I think that’s what you call the bone in the middle of your chest in english).
    I can’t see in your Guitar Build’s pics where you put the screws to attach the strap. My second suggestion is to place the left one on the guitar’s body, behind the neck, facing the same way as the neck. This way, your guitar will be placed a little more “diagonal”, and you’ll always keep the guitar’s neck higher.

    And now my question: Is it possible to build a guitar that is both headless AND has a Floyd Rose bridge (or similar floating bridge)?

    Anyway, that’s all. I really hope to read what you think about my suggestions and my question. Looking forward to your answers.

    1. RE: And now my question: Is it possible to build a guitar that is both headless AND has a Floyd Rose bridge (or similar floating bridge)?

      Yes it is, but the questions back at you are:

      What kind of performance do you want?
      How many strings on your guitar?
      How much do you want to pay?

      Some semi-random points:

      You could always do something “Bigsby-ish”. That seems to be the lowest-tech and likely least expensive way to add a vibrato bar to a existing design. It might not be cheapest overall, and you’ll only be able to increase the pitch.

      You could buy a Stienberger-like vibrato with built-in tuners (cannibalize an otherwise worthless Klien, etc., buy a replacment from MusicYo, buy a “clone” on eBay (there’s some up there now), etc.). The price will vary widely, you’ll be limited to straight frets, and I’ve never seen any with anything other than six strings.

      If you could also find a Floyd Rose Speedloader Bridge, that would fall into the above category, but you’ll need special SpeedLoader strings.

      Kahler makes vibrato systems that are cam-based and seem amiable to custom one-offs. I know somebody who got a quote for a nine-string compound scale bridge/tailpiece. You might be able to get them to make a vibrato unit that doesn’t have the tailpiece. That way, you could use an “off the shelf” (ABM, ETS, Overlords of Music, etc.) headless tailpiece/tunners. They also make seven and eight string units. This is likely the second most expensive route, but as far as I know, the only way to support extended range and/or multi-scale, aka compound scale, aka Fanned-Fret (TM) builds with name-brand parts.

      The final option, I see at this time, is to find a good machine shop, gather all the pictures you can find, and ask them to machine something custom. Depending on machinist rates where you live, this could easily be the most expensive.


    2. Good suggestion on the strap button placement. I actually ended up with something very similar to what you describe.

      It also looks like the folks here have answered your questions regarding a Floyd Rose type headless arrangement. Rather than purchase the components on their own, take a look around at closeouts. You may find one for cheap.

      However, it has some disadvantages including the specialized strings it uses. These are specific to the Speedloader bridge. I would look into availability. I also don’t know the current status of the Speedloader based guitars. Will they be available long term? It’s an important question.

  2. Hi Robert,
    Ah, great to see/hear Joe! He’s such a great player. On his site you’ve probably read that he originally ordered the headless Forshage as a travel guitar (since it’s so small), but since it’s such a great guitar, it’s one of his main axes now.


  3. Wow! Great playing, and great to see (and hear!) the Forshage guitar out there. What’s with the guy talking to the woman at the end? Obviously I disagree with his assessment.

    Gabriel: if you want to use conventional strings with no fuss whatsoever, your options are very limited. A Steinberger or Steinberger-like bridge is about all you’ll come up with.

    But, if you want to use the Kahler, or a non-Speedloader Floyd, you could work around it fairly easily. The problem with those units: the fine-tuners don’t have enough travel to bring a string up to pitch.

    The workaround: either a “surrogate” headstock (it’s not attached to the body, it just “clips” on or something) to tune up the strings, or just brute force. Pull on the string with main force to “tune” it, and locking it down when it gets close. 😆 That’ll be easier with the ABM headpiece than with a Floyd/Khaler nut, where you have to lock down 2 strings at a time.


  4. Er, didn’t make it clear that I think that the Speedloader is your best bet, but it doesn’t use conventional strings. 🙂

  5. Well, thanks a lot guys. As for your comeback questions, I’d like a 6 string guitar with conventional strings and play different kinds of music (from satriani-like to gambale, scott henderson, and classic rock and blues)
    Pardon me, but since english isn’t my primary language, I don’t understand what a “tailpiece” is, and what does “off the shelf” mean, so it would be great if you could explain those things to me.
    Love the idea about the surrogate deatachable headstock, but had never heard of it. I looked it up and couldn’t find even a single picture or site about it. Could you give me a link or some more information about it? Is “surrogate” the brand name or is it just how you call this type of headstock?
    Also, what did you think about my suggestions? None of you commented on them.(specially the first one, since the second is very common and well known). I think it could be very useful, but maybe you don’t? or maybe you can think of a better way to do it?
    Thanks a lot again, looking forward to your replies, great site.

    1. The tailpiece referenced earlier is basically the bridge. Take a look at the Forshage guitar and you’ll see the bridge is a fixed bridge with the tuners on it. That’s the “tailpiece”. It’s just the bridge in this case. 🙂 “Off the shelf” is just a reference to bridges which are already available without the need for further work such as the brands Ray lists – ABM, ETS, Overlords of Music, etc.

      Greg may be able to elaborate further on the surrogate headstock.

      My impression though is that there are easier ways to accomplish a headless design without a surrogate headstock. There are the solutions Ray lists as well as interesting alternatives out there like this TK Instruments design which uses Steinberger tuners with a conventional bridge and a locking nut. One of the advantages of this approach is the use of conventional components (granted the Steinberger tuners are a bit different but designed for conventional guitars) which opens up greater choices in terms of bridges.

      I found the cushion idea interesting particularly with regard to creating a “wedge” effect. With both my build as well as the Forshage 1.5″ thick I’m not so sure that being too thin is a huge concern. However, there’s enough variation in the human body that it could have some benefits. I would say it warrants exploring. If you happen to pursue this, I’m sure there’d be interest in your findings!

      Oh yes! Thanks for the compliment on the site!

    2. Not to be overly picky, but a tailpiece is a distinct component from a bridge. A bridge is a surface over which the strings pass that enables intonation and action height to be set. A tailpiece is the rearmost point at which the strings are attached to the guitar. It is *behind* the bridge. Of course, there are all-in-one varieties that combine the bridge and tailpiece; examples are PRS and any Strat or Tele. The Forshage uses a standard Tune-o-matic style bridge and an ABM tailpiece with integrated tuners.

      1. You’re right, of course. I was trying to simplify the idea a bit. Thanks for the added detail.

  6. There are definitely easier methods without a surrogate headstock, but not if you want a trem. If you want a trem, it has to be Steinberger, Steinberger clone, or Speedloader.

    “Surrogate” isn’t a brand name, and I doubt you’ll find anything on the web. It’s just the word I use to describe the concept. Basically, it’s a hunk of wood with tuners on it. It doesn’t even have to look fancy. You’d create SOME way to keep it “held in place” temporarily (could be clamps, but it could be almost anything that will keep it from moving much as you tune). Tune to pitch, snip off the ends, and take the “surrogate headstock” out of the way.

    I’ve never made one (yet) but in theory there’s no reason it wouldn’t work.


  7. Ok, thank’s again. Will try the cushion idea with my current guitar in the near future.
    What about scalloped necks? Do you think they’re more ergonomic? Do they require less effort for your left hand to play? I’ve never played one, how about you?


    1. I have no direct experience with scalloped necks but this is what I understand of them…

      Scalloped necks facilitate vibrato and players like Yngwie Malmsteen incorporate scallops on the last few frets of the neck. A light touch is needed to prevent fretting from pushing notes sharp. In that sense, they could be seen as beneficial from an ergonomic sense since they demand a lighter touch…

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