SANTA MONICA, CA - September 28, 2004 - 17th Street Guitars, an exciting new manufacturer of electric guitars and basses, announces its exclusive deal to build Uli Jon Roth’s illustrious "Sky Guitar." Designed by the artist himself and perfected via several prototypes by Greek-born master luthier Andreas Demetriou in England, only 50 "Sky Guitar" instruments will be hand-made for distribution. The legendary guitarist awarded the license exclusively to 17th Street Guitars to craft his "Sky Guitar" because of the company’s commitment to building instruments to the highest possible standard. U.J. Roth will personally test each "Sky Guitar" before its release.

Ever since its first prototype 21 years ago, the Sky Guitar was hailed as a revolutionary design in more ways than one. The Sky Guitar was the first of its kind, which incorporated a significant number of extra frets, and was probably the first 7-string electric guitar built out of necessity. The unique and aesthetically pleasing body shape makes it possible to play top notes which equal the register of a violin, something which was unthinkable for the conventional guitar beforehand. Roth makes frequent use of this extraordinary feature, which enables him to play complete classical violin concertos, such as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, without having to transpose a single note. A further vital component in the equation is the integrated, built-in ‘Mega-Wing’ pick-up system. This system was devised specifically to match the instrument, and is considered by some as the most sophisticated and powerful active system in existence today.

"We are excited about this partnership with Uli and equally excited to finally bring the ‘Sky Guitar’ to the public", says 17th Street Guitars’ master luthier, John Carruthers. "In recent years, my custom shop received many inquiries regarding this guitar. Now with Uli at my side, we are able to debut the actual ‘Sky Guitar’ as played by the man himself."

Up until now, Roth had steadfastly refused to grant a license to make the "Sky Guitar" for a variety of reasons. Still, some illegal copies had been built in Japan without his knowledge, and the poor quality of these instruments reflected Uli’s absence from the process.

"For twenty years, other companies have often tried to get me to officially release the ‘Sky Guitar’, but until now, I never went for it knowing how difficult and involved a process it is to make these instruments, and to get it right. 17th Street Guitars is the only company who managed to convince me that they would leave no stone unturned to achieve perfection", stated Uli Jon Roth in a conversation with co-founder, Dave Levine.

The limited edition "Sky Guitar" will be available in two versions: a six-string guitar based directly upon Uli Jon Roth’s Third Sky Guitar, "The Emperor", and the deluxe, seven-string Sky Guitar, which is closely based on Roth’s favorite seven-string, his fabled "Mighty Wing". Each guitar will be authenticated, numbered and individually named by Roth. All of the "Sky Guitar" instruments feature the revolutionary Mega-Wing pick-up system, which was designed by TRIDENT chief designer, John Oram (a.k.a. the Father of British EQ) in conjunction with Uli, for whom they were developed.

Uli discusses the "MEGA WING" , "For me, it is quite simply the most powerful and most versatile pick-up system I have ever played. Other active systems don’t even come close. It is the only choice for me".

Each guitar comes with an individual color scheme designated by U.J.R., which always incorporates the classic "Sky Guitar" spiral galaxy finish.

Founded in 2004 by three friends (Dave Levine, Colin Liebich & John Carruthers) in Santa Monica, California, 17th STREET GUITARS designs and manufactures electric guitars and basses. With a modern feel of their own, and a classic sound, 17th STREET GUITARS are skillfully hand-crafted and represent a growing need in the music industry.

JOHN CARRUTHERS has served the music industry for over 35 years by designing and building custom guitars and basses for countless artists, actors, hobbyists, and even art collectors. Carruthers has been a highly sought after luthier for over thirty years, and also has been a staff writer for Guitar Player Magazine, a Consultant to EMG, Fender, G&L, Ibanez, Musicman, Takamine, Yamaha and many more. He currently runs a state-of-the-art repair and manufacturing facility in Venice, California. Some of his clients have included: Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, Edward Van Halen, Larry Carlton, Carlos Rios, Lindsey Buckingham, Lee Ritenour, Eric Clapton, Allen Holdsworth, James Burton, Buzz Feiten, and Warren Cuccurullo. John's keen eye and know-how bring a unique element that shines through each custom instrument that 17th Street Guitars produces.

ULI JON ROTH helped lay the foundation for neo-classical metal with his ground-breaking lead guitar work for German hard rock icons, The Scorpions, during the '70s. Since then, Roth continues to influence legions of guitarists from all generations all over the world. Revered for his peerless technical virtuosity and his strong feeling for melody, Roth’s playing originally owed an obvious debt to Jimi Hendrix. However, the elegance of his lead lines and the fluidity of his phrasing, which largely sprang from classical training, all helped push his music into another realm entirely. Upon leaving The Scorpions in 1978, Roth embarked on a solo career that found him exploring his psychedelic and neo-classical influences to a degree that would have been impossible with his former band. Much of Roth's writing from the mid-'80s to the mid-'90s was in a classical style, leaving rock & roll behind altogether. Roth has since then written four symphonies, the first of which was performed on German television in 1993, backed by the Brussels Symphony Orchestra. He also wrote two concertos and a Requiem. After a period of 14 years during which he only played a handful of choice concerts, Uli Jon Roth has now returned to the stage as a touring artist with a vengeance. The last couple of years he played major tours in Japan and in Europe as a solo artist. He also became part of a G3 Tour with Joe Satriani in Europe, and has just concluded a very successful month-long tour in the States in September. Roth has also founded his own chamber orchestra in England, Sky Orchestra. Under his direction, they have performed an outdoor concert at a Castle in Germany, and are featured on his latest release. His most recent albums are: "Sky Of Avalon" (sold over 60,000 copies in Japan)," Transcendental Sky Guitar", "Legends Of Rock" DVD/CD (with Jack Bruce, Michael Schenker and UFO), and his latest masterpiece, "Metamorphosis of The Seasons", (released earlier this year to universal critical acclaim, and showcases the "Sky Guitar" to the fullest).

Orignally published at http://www.17thstreetguitars.com/uli_release.html