Here are some photos of my latest project - an SG Marauder mashup. Before anyone attacks me for desecrating an SG Firebird Deluxe I should add that I bought the guitar as a completely stripped shell, no tuners, no pickups, no electronics - only the truss rod cover was left of the original. Added to which, a previous owner had attempted (and failed) to customise it by trying to paint it white, so it was also impossible to restore it to its original finish. To add insult to injury, when I sanded down the botched paint job, I discovered that someone had taken a chisel and carved ‘I ♡ *****’ into the back. So there was no way I could restore it to its original condition even if I wanted to. I could of course have just added some appropriate looking humbuckers but that seemed a little dull. I chose the Marauder pickups because I’m a big fan of Bill Lawrence, and one of my first guitars was a Gibson Marauder, which sounded great through a 1964 beige Vox AC30 (though almost everything sounds great through a 1964 Vox). I always loved the aesthetics of the epoxy covered pickups so I thought if they worked for a Marauder why not in an SG? For some reason, during my student days I sold the Marauder, mistakenly thinking that as I was no longer in a band I didn’t need more than one guitar, and I’ve regretted selling it ever since. So when I came across a set of Marauder pickups for sale, I couldn’t resist. The final ingredient was the inspiration of John Cipollina, long a favourite guitarist of mine, and the aesthetics embodied in his beautiful batwing SG, which I’ve always loved and wanted to replicate - at least in some fashion. So when the battered Firebrand Deluxe turned up I decided to combine all these ideas. The SG was stripped down to bare wood, the ugly grafitti on the back was erased and the whole thing stained walnut and varnished. I hadn’t counted on the size of the Lawrence pickups, which necessitated slightly lowering the pickup cavities to make room. I decided to reverse the Marauder’s pickup position, as I preferred the single coil/batwing aesthetic of the neck. And I went for a single ply black for the batwing - as I was taken by the pickguard style of some of the 70s SGs. I’m incredibly pleased with the result - I lucked out on the varnishing job, which somehow or other ended up amazingly smooth. It looks great (to me), the ebony fretboard has a really nice feel, and the pickups are everything I’d hoped for and remembered - both aesthetically and sonically. The gleaming copper wire of the humbucker and the menacing green of the neck pickup, are reflected in their respective tones - the humbucker with its great sparkly treble and the neck pickup suitably rich and dark.