Acoustic Black Widow

Acoustic Black Widow

The latest Guitar Gavel podcast is live! I love this conversation with my friend Darko Grubisic. Hailing from Croatia me and Darko talk guitars, see some of his sweet guitars, and maybe discuss a little METAL!

The Acoustic Control Corporation formed in the late 1960s and is best known for their solid-state amplifiers.  Specifically, the Acoustic 360/361 bass stack. 

They weren’t the first amp company to make an attempt in the electric guitar business and gave it a whirl in 1972 introducing the Acoustic Black Widow. 

Nicknamed the “Spider” by Jimi Hendrix who traded one of his strat’s for a Black Widow with Harvey Gerst, a tech for Acoustic and guitar player in the band Sweetwater (& writer for The Byrds).  

(Gerst later gave Jimi his strat back, not fully understanding Jimi intended for him to keep it.)

Paul Barth, who helped George Beauchamp design the Frying Pan and became a key designer at Rickenbacker, is responsible for the design of the Black Widow.  

He designed this while running his own custom guitar shop, Bartell, and built some of the earliest Acoustic versions of the Widow. 

The guitar was only produced for three years, most of them were built in Japan by Matsumoku, but Mosrite built the last couple of hundred. Coincidentally (or not), Semie Moseley and Barth worked together at Rickenbacker.

The guitar features a German carved top and a snap-on red leather pad on the back with a black widow stitched silhouette.  The silhouette looks more like a dog bone.  

Perhaps most notable, it had a 27” scale length.  

Barth already had this designed prior to Acoustic and shopped it to other manufacturers including Hohner who produced a Black Widow bass in the late 60s.

Since Matsumoku was making them, why not make a few under the Aria brand?  So there’s a couple handfuls of Aria labeled ones floating around as well. 

Given the number of cooks in the kitchen the parts varied depending on who was building.  The original Bartell versions had hand made single coil pups from Paul Barth. The Mosrite Black Widow’s used Mosrite humbuckers.

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