Ernie Ball offers its "hot-rod" guitar, Mr. Horsepower to 25 lucky guitarists starting in February 2001. The limited edition collectible guitars, sporting the signature of "Nigel Tufnel," guitarist in the 1984 cult-classic/mock-rock comedy, "This is Spinal Tap," will be shown at the NAMM show in January. Proceeds from the guitars will go to the Casey Lee Ball Foundation at UCLA to support research in pediatric kidney disease. One of the guitars will also be auctioned off to the highest bidder on Amazon.com.
The movie "This is Spinal Tap," quickly gained a cult following when it came out in 1984. Band members actually went on tour in 1992 and actor/guitarist Christopher Guest who plays Tufnel, commissioned Ernie Ball to create a guitar for the tour. With chrome exhaust pipes, four pickups, a tachometer, an iron gear shifter as the tremolo bar, and a rubber boot at the bridge capped by a black eight ball, "the flamboyant working features of this guitar are easily understood by any true Spinal Tap fan," said Sterling Ball.
In an article in San Luis Obispo, CA's Tribune Guest said "I wanted something that was going to be instantly flashy and stand out on stage. But it had to be a working instrument that played well. There's a big difference between a novelty show guitar and a working instrument. This guitar looks great and plays great." He continued, "A lot of people have drooled over it. Jeff Beck has played it and Ry Cooder just totally flipped out when he played it."
When Guest was recently asked to commission a special edition guitar for a Spinal Tap auction - Mr. Horsepower was the only guitar he had in mind. The idea evolved into the 25 signed, limited edition Mr. Horsepowers, with the proceeds tagged for the Casey Lee Foundation. All 25 models are the same, with one exception. The eleventh guitar has a tachometer that tops out at 11 (rather than 8) and the gearshift style tremolo system has an 11 ball at the end instead of the 8 ball. "The reference to the number 11 also comes from the movie and will be instantly appreciated by fans," explained Ball. "These guitars are definitely collectibles - there's nothing like this available," continued Ball. "The proceeds are really going to a great cause." Mr. Horsepower's product specs are as follows:
- Maple neck; Chrome Yellow body and headstock; Flame paint job on body
- Music Man Albert Lee Guitar body style
- 4 humbucker pickups, sized to match the string width as it travels down the body
- Pickup on/off status lights, colored to match to light signals on a drag strip
- "Hot-fuel proof" rubber selector switches
- Stainless steel exhaust headers, on the side of the body
- Functional tachometer built into the body with adjustable redline that measures the attack on the strings while playing
- Copper heat exchanger access covers on the back
- Clay Smith Cams logo: "Mr. Horsepower" on the body, and also on the headstock integrated with the Music Man logo
- Key signature Inlays on the fretboard
- Tire volume knob, which activates the tachometer lighting when pulled out
- Floyd Rose licensed tremolo system, with a gear shifter replacing a tremolo arm. Eight ball on the end of the gear shifter.
- 12v battery powered
- Each model hand autographed and numbered
Sterling Ball created the Casey Lee Ball Foundation at UCLA to support research for kidney disease in children, after his son Casey, now a healthy 12-year-old, was diagnosed with kidney disease.
For more information, visit their web site at www.ernieball.com