With a career legacy like Alan Entwistle, a genius guitar designer responsible for a host of successful guitar lines and accessories, who better to redesign the Rapier 33?
Guitar players of a certain age group will recall, back in the mid 60’s, noses pressed up against the guitar shop window, staring at the totally unaffordable solid bodied American guitar in red. It was always the red one that got the most attention.
There were indeed, less than a handful of influential British brands which could be classed as affordable alternatives.
These included the Rapier 33, the double cutaway solid bodied electric, instantly recognizable with its forward slanted middle pickup. A guitar that played a major role in the industry of British guitars, serving countless up and coming 60’s British Beat groups and helped launch the careers of many guitarists in the 60's and 70's.
Whilst Entwistle has successfully retained all the glorious charms and visual characteristics of the original Rapier 33, significant and meticulous attention has been made within hardware upgrades, construction and playability.
Selected specifically for its natural sonic characteristics, Okoume, from Central Africa, is the chosen tonewood for the body, whilst for speed, comfort and accuracy, the 4-bolt, soft ‘C’ profiled neck with fully adjustable truss rod, is now crafted from hard rock Canadian maple, with a 12in radius rosewood fingerboard, fitted with 23 medium jumbo frets (including zero fret).
For accurate intonation, tuning stability and perfect return to pitch from the original vibrato design, the new generation Rapier 33 now features a smooth, friction-free, precision cut 43mm GraphTech Nubone nut, Wilkinson E-Z-Lok machine heads and high spec’d roller bridge.
Rapier fans and collectors alike, will be aware that the two slide switches lower down on the scratchplate, Bass Cut and Pickup selector, were actually the same ones used on Pifco hairdryers from that era, these, like the all important pickups, internal wiring and controls, have all experienced the Entwistle magic touch.
“The new generation Rapier 33 will now include a trio of Entwistle EWR64 mini-humbucker pickups, with two blades”, says Entwistle, “Unlike the early models which had five, one of which was upside down. The intention was to boost the treble, it was a unique idea, but it actually made the top 3 strings out of phase and also resulted in loss of volume.
Combining the Bass Cut switch with the clarity, low noise operation, exceptional tonal response and balance output of the mini-humbuckers, creates that immediately recognisable 60’s jangle and, with the original Rhythm/Solo toggle switch, now rewired as a 3 way pickup selector accessing neck, neck/bridge, and bridge units, along with the first slide switch introducing the middle unit, the new generation Rapier 33, with 7 pickup permutations is an extremely versatile guitar.”
“Both Volume and Tone controls are wired with 500k pots, linear and log respectively,” says Alan “And, with jazz and blues players in mind, the Tone control includes a 0.015 mfd cap which retains clarity when wound back, whilst also delivering that classic, rich response when played with overdrive or distortion.”
With the 3-ply scratchplate and new Rapier headstock logo, this new generation Rapier 33 offers exceptional playability and performance, and will evoke nostalgic memories for old-school players and collectors, whilst being the professional choice for new young talent.
Rapier 33 Features
Body: Original double-cutaway solid body featuring Okoume, a central African tonewood chosen specifically for its warmth, depth and high-end clarity.
Vibrato: Original Rapier Hi Lo design smooth action vibrato system, with chrome finish.
Pickups: 3 Alan Entwistle low-noise EWR64 mini-humbucker pickups, delivering exceptional tonal response, balance output and clarity.
Two Volume Controls and a Tone control. 3-way pickup selector switch. 2 slide switches: Middle pickup selector and bass
6-inline Wilkinson WJN-05 machine heads provide simple, effective action for maximum tuning stability.
Neck: 4 bolt hard rock Canadian maple with soft ‘C’ profile for instant comfort, speed, accuracy and great feel. Fully adjustable truss rod,
Fingerboard: 12" radius rosewood fingerboard, fitted with 23 medium jumbo frets (including zero fret).
24.74 / 62.83 mm.
23 – including zero fret. Medium profile for added comfort, accuracy and an overall positive feel.
Precision cut, friction-free 43mm GraphTech Nubone nut.
Headstock: Classic design with new generation Rapier logo.