Alfa Romeo guitar

To American enthusiasts, nothing might say rock n' roll quite like a classic muscle car. But that doesn't preclude the Europeans from trying. Volkswagen has partnered with Fender for its premium audio systems, and now Alfa Romeo is teaming up with some rocking powerhouses as well.

The Italian automaker is collaborating with Harrison Custom Guitar Works to create the limited-edition axe you see here. The electric guitar is designed around Alfa's iconic grille and uses automotive materials like aluminum and carbon fiber as well as traditional guitar woods like poplar, maple, ebony and Korina. The cross-bars, pickups, tail piece and bridge are CNC-machined from aluminum billet. Only 11 examples will be made, each taking eight months to construct, and priced at £4,000 (about $6,800 at current exchange rates).

Alfa Romeo Marshall ConceptAt the same time Alfa has also created a one-off MiTo concept car together with Marshall Amplification. The hatchback packs a custom Marshall JVM 50-watt amp and a pair of 12-inch 75-watt speakers, but has also been decked out with gold-mesh trim on the grille, head- and taillight surrounds, side mirrors, door handles and lower bumper – just like a Marshall stack – while the interior has been worked over with Marshall treadplates, white piping and gold trim. The shift knob has even been replaced by a Shure SH55 microphone.

Though the collaborations look like something straight out of This Is Spinal Tap (with a touch of The Graduate thrown in for good measure), they'll both be showcased at a special screening in London of another rock documentary: Sound City, directed by Foo Fighters frontman (and former Nirvana drummer) Dave Grohl. You can, however, check them out in the pair of image galleries and the press releases below.
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CRAFTED FOR PERFORMANCE: HARRISON CUSTOM GUITAR WORKS UNVEILS ULTRA-EXCLUSIVE ALFA ROMEO-INSPIRED GUITAR

- Harrison Custom Guitar Works create the 'Alfa Romeo' – an ultra-limited edition Alfa Romeo-inspired guitar
- The 'Alfa Romeo' integrates traditional craftsmanship with performance materials such as carbon fibre and aluminium
- Hand-built to order for £4,000 with each guitar taking eight months to create

Harrison Custom Guitar Works based in Yorkshire (UK) has created an ultra-exclusive electric guitar inspired by Alfa Romeo's design and heritage. The 'Alfa Romeo', is a completely custom-made design that draws inspiration from the style, materials and technology of the Italian brand's road cars.

Available to order from Harrison Custom Guitar Works (www.harrisonguitars.co.uk) the 'Alfa Romeo' costs £4,000 with each guitar hand-built to order and taking around eight months to complete. Just 11 guitars will be made, one for each decade of the brand's history.

The 'Alfa Romeo' is built for performance, as exclusive as a supercar and with the same painstaking attention to detail and levels of craftsmanship required.

Integrating materials that are rarely used by Luthiers such as aluminium and carbon fibre, the 'Alfa Romeo' is a new concept for guitars, with its open design and 25 inch scale length making it almost like a heavily made acoustic guitar.

Finished in iconic Alfa Red, the body is fashioned from Poplar wood with a Maple cap in a custom design inspired by Alfa Romeo's iconic front grilles. The Alfa Romeo badge with engraved collar acts as the guitar's volume dial. Echoing the bars of the grille; the pick-ups, tail piece and bridge are all milled from high quality solid aluminium billet. The aluminium work was by Kinetica CNC (www.kineticacnc.co.uk)

The bridge and tail piece are both Harrison's own design in aluminium with the bridge integrating a TonePros Tune-o-Matic. The three Stratocaster-voiced single coil pickups are also Harrison designed and hand wound by Armstrong Pickups in Kent. A concealed five-way selector on the side of the body switches between neck pick up, neck and middle, middle pick up, middle and bridge and bridge pick up.

The semi-hollow design of the guitar created a unique opportunity for more experimental materials to be used. Inspired by the new Alfa Romeo 4C, the 'Alfa Romeo' features a special carbon-fibre composite on the back and inside of the guitar.

The neck is Korina – a wood associated with some of the most legendary Gibson guitars – with carbon reinforcement to strengthen the neck with a two way adjustable truss rod. The fingerboard is Ebony with a 12 inch radius, medium fret wire and aluminium/coral inlays. A green malachite Quadrifoglio Verde – the four-leaf clover symbol associated with Alfa Romeo for more than 90 years – nestles on the third fret.

The choices of wood were also specific to the desired tone of the guitar. The Poplar body is well balanced; the Maple front adds snap, directness and note separation; the Korina neck has excellent sustain as well as being warm and balanced, and the Ebony fingerboard delivers crispness and snap. The string nut is also made of TUSQ – man-made ivory – which enhances the acoustic tone.

The custom design headstock features 'Hipshot' classic open gear tuners and carries the Alfa Romeo signature. On the back, a metal plaque is inscribed with the guitar's production number and the signature of the Luthier.

The body colour, a vibrant and iconic Alfa Red, was applied by fellow Luthier Stuart Palmer of Stuarts Guitar Works (www.stuartsguitarworks.com).

Guy Harrison, owner of Harrison Custom Guitar Works said; "As a concept, the 'Alfa Romeo' guitar seeks to mirror the passion, the curves, the sportiness, and the occasionally unconventional designs you get with Alfa Romeo through the grille shape, the use of high quality materials and the sleek body.

"I also wanted to use materials that were evocative of the brand's designs, so the carbon fibre for the back, an Alfa Red body, the aluminium components – bringing out all those beautiful qualities that Alfa Romeos have.

"The Alfa Romeo guitar requires some special techniques. The whole thing is absolutely brand new – the concept, the design, everything. I'm an Alfa Romeo driver, so to be able to design a guitar around a brand that I already buy into was fantastic and this project has been a joy to work on."

The guitar will be given its first public playing at a special invitation-only screening of Dave Grohl's Sound City documentary at Olympic Studios on 24 June featuring a live performance by Tim Burgess and Mark Collins of The Charlatans. The guitar will then be exhibited at a series of events through the rest of 2014.

For more information on Alfa Romeo, visit www.alfaromeo.co.uk
For more information on Harrison Custom Guitar Works, visit www.harrisonguitars.co.uk

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ALFA ROMEO MITO BY MARSHALL AMPLIFICATION CONCEPT TURNS UP THE POWER

- Alfa Romeo & Marshall Amplification collaborate on one-off Alfa MiTo By Marshall concept car
- Concept is fitted with a bespoke Marshall JVM 50 Watt amp head running two 12-inch 75 Watt speakers, custom built into the boot
- Concept draws inspiration from the style of Marshall's iconic amplifier range as well as integrating real Marshall amp materials

Alfa Romeo has collaborated with legendary music brand Marshall Amplification, one of the most recognisable names in guitar amps for more than 50 years, to create a one-off Alfa MiTo By Marshall concept car.

The unique Alfa MiTo By Marshall draws inspiration from the look and feel of Marshall's iconic amplifier equipment and even features a powerful, custom-fitted Marshall JVM 50w amp head running two 12 inch 75w speakers installed in the boot space. The amplifier and speaker array is powered by a dedicated battery system. Guitar heroes simply need to open the boot, plug in a guitar and crank up the power.

The model will be given its public debut at a special invitation-only screening of Dave Grohl's Sound City documentary at Olympic Studios on 24 June featuring a live performance by Tim Burgess and Mark Collins of The Charlatans. It will then be exhibited at a series of automotive and music events through the rest of 2014.

Externally, the Alfa MiTo By Marshall features the iconic gold panel finish of Marshall's equipment on the grille, front and rear headlight surrounds, door mirror covers, door handles, side door trim and lower bumper trim.

Marshall badges on each rear pillar, Jim Marshall OBE's signature above the side indicators and a #LIVEFORMUSIC graphic – Marshall's strapline – on the rear windscreen, complete the car's visual identity.

Inside, the Marshall styling continues with Marshall tread plates on the door sills, Marshall's distinctive white piping around the dashboard's centre console and the iconic gold panel finish on the Alfa D.N.A. Selector surround, as well as switch-gear for the air-conditioning and climate control.

A further nod to the heritage of music production, the gear knob has been replaced by a classic Shure SH55 microphone, with the gear layout engraved into the top of the head.

Both front and rear seats have been specially upholstered with the same materials used on Marshall's amplifiers, including grille cloth on the seat centres and white piping around the inner seat contours. Close-matching leather on the seat sides and backs echoes the full grain texture of Marshall's signature cabs. Marshall logos are also placed central to each front seat. A set of co-branded Alfa MiTo and Marshall floor mats complete the interior finish.

The British-built, all-valve 50 Watt JVM205H installed in the Alfa MiTo By Marshall delivers a straightforward two channel preamp: clean/crunch and overdrive. The two independent channels both have three modes, each mode reconfiguring the gain structure of each channel, making six modes in total. This means the JVM205H is tonally very versatile.

Equipped with ground-breaking technology, the JVM205H features two studio quality digital reverbs (one per channel), with individual channel EQ, two master volumes, and Stompware® foot switchable memory that will recall reverb, FX loop and master settings.

The Alfa MiTo By Marshall concept is based on the Alfa MiTo Distinctive MY'14 version and powered by the punchy 1.6 JTDM-2 120bhp engine. Alfa Romeo touches include 18 inch alloy wheels, red brake calipers, aluminium sports pedals and chrome exhaust pipes. The Uconnect™ 5 inch colour touch screen infotainment system also features Bluetooth® and voice recognition with USB and Aux-in inputs for listening to music on the move.

Ivan Gibson, Head of brand for Alfa Romeo, said, "The Alfa MiTo By Marshall is the realisation of a fantastic project between two iconic brands from the worlds of automotive and music. We're very excited by the way this collaboration has come together with the opportunity to work side by side with one of the most recognisable and respected music brands in the world.

"Genuine passion for what we do is a driving force shared by both Alfa Romeo and Marshall Amplification and whilst this concept is an exciting exploration of ideas and themes at this stage, we hope it might influence a future special edition."

Jon Ellery, Managing Director at Marshall Amplification added, "Working with an automotive brand such as Alfa Romeo was a real first for Marshall Amplification – a completely new kind of partnership and a unique challenge from a technical point of view. However, when you see how the Alfa MiTo By Marshall looks and hear that big sound from the boot-mounted system, it just makes you smile. This is a really special one-off that will drive the Marshall sound to new places."

For more information on Alfa Romeo, visit www.alfaromeo.co.uk
For more information on Marshall, visit http://www.marshallamps.com/