Nik Huber is among the finest luthiers alive today, and his team of eight do build stellar guitars out of Germany, very close to Frankfurt. Starting in 1996, Huber has made a few highly ornate guitars not unlike what Paul Reed Smith or Joel Dantzig have designed. But Nik also has a knack for applying his know-how, his finesse and precision to simpler designs, guitars that are closer to a Les Paul Junior than a Standard, but still need to sound amazing and be very well-built in spite of their spartan appearance.
This is how the Krautster II model came to be, with specs that evoque a Les Paul Special seen through the eyes of the German genius: the body is just mahogany with no maple top, but surprisingly enough the set neck is made of maple. The hybride PRS-like scale length is 25”, right in between Gibson and Fender, and the non-adjustable wraparound bridge guarantees a perfect transmission of vibrations from the strings to the body.
Given how aware Billy Gibbons is of what’s going on in the world of fine luthiery, it was only logical that he would end up ordering a guitar from Nik. And since the Reverend knows what’s cool, he asked for a Krautster with just one bridge pickup, a de facto Krautster Junior or Krautster I, with a humbucker-whose coil-tap is controlled by a push-pull tone knob- custom wound by renowned German maker Häussel. The firemist gold color is as cool as it gets, but the coolest aspect about that guitar cannot be seen on pictures: it is its impressive lightness. As with most guitars he actually wants to play, Gibbons has requested a chambered body, neck and even headstock to get a light and resounding instrument. Mission accomplished: this Krautster is among the very finest of its kind.
Like all the guitars from the Billy Gibbons collection sold by Matt’s Guitar Shop and bought straight from the man himself, this beautiful Nik Huber has been signed by the Reverend at the back of the headstock and it comes with a signed certificate of authenticity, a picture of Billy holding the guitar, a picture of Billy signing the guitar and a picture of Billy signing the certificate. This is your way of knowing you’re buying the real deal.
Group : ZZ Top
Main guitar : Gibson Les Paul Standard 1959
An absolute “must-hear” track : Just Got Paid
Billy Gibbons is the boss. The boss of guitarists with his sensual tremolo and the fat sound like a burrito he gets from his Les Paul. The boss of singers with his rocky and twangy sound. The boss of bandleaders with ZZ Top, his trio whose lineup has remained the same since 1969. The boss of engineers, with an impeccable sense of staging. And finally the boss of collectors, with several hangars filled with several thousand guitars that he has acquired over the years. Legend has it that he would have a copy from every year of every model from the major brands, and that may not be just a legend... In any case, the guitars that we know he has are enough to turn heads. From “Mistress Pearly Gates”, the famous Les Paul 59 that has always been with him, to his 54 hardtail Strat that we often hear in addition to Pearly Gates, along with his many custom hotrod guitars.
His career began in 1967 with The Moving Sidewalks, one of the few psychedelic Texas rock bands inspired by the 13th Floor Elevators. They opened for Jimi Hendrix before breaking up in 1969, when Gibbons founded ZZ Top.
The trio began with rich and traditional blues rock before going in a more electronic direction, starting with Degüello in 1979. That direction was confirmed with the Eliminator/Afterburner/Recycler trilogy. Three albums where the blend of Gibbons’ blues with the synthesisers and drum machines of the time produced a result that won over many fans, whether they came to trio’s music through singles like Gimme All Your Loving and Rough Boy, or through the band’s excellent videos that were often played on MTV. Since then, ZZ Top has reinvented its music once again with a fatter, more organic, and fuzzy sound. Gibbons has made multiple appearances as a guest star on other musicians’ albums. He has also released two albums under his own name: Perfectamundo, which explores Cuban music, and Big Bad Blues, which returns to his first loves, between Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley. The circle is complete.