If you’re interested in the Phantom mando-guitar, this post is for you!
I don’t own a Phantom mando-guitar, but I do own Goldtone’s acoustic/electric F-6 six-string mando-guitar.
I am currently considering purchasing a fully electric mando-guitar and decided to include my research about these instruments here on the blog.
To that end, I’ve written about:
Continuing with my analyses of electric mando-guitars currently on the market, let’s take a look at Phantom.
This company is the brainchild of Jack Charles, the guitar player for the band Sand.
Sand was based in Portland, Oregon, and was a significant rock band through the 1970s.
Jack loved the iconic-looking instruments from the era of the 1960s British Invasion.
(To learn more about the British Invasion, check out my post about the Vox mando-guitar).
Phantom Guitarworks has a unique and distinct look to their instruments, much like the instrument from Jack’s era.
Jack took those incredible ideas from that vintage era and adapted them.
This look is certainly present in their Phantom mando-guitar.
To me, these instruments remind me of Fender in their look and style, though they still have a unique design.
The sunburst paint job, the single-coil pickups, and the rosewood neck are all qualities often found in Fender instruments!
But, as I’ve mentioned before, Fender was the trendsetter with this design!
Jack has trademarked the designs he adapted and continues to sell instruments today!
Now, let’s take a look at the history of Phantom Guitarworks.
The History of Phantom
Phantom Guitarworks is a relatively young company when compared to the likes of Fender and Vox.
They began operating in 1992 in Portland, Oregon.
Right on their website, it says that Phantom Guitarworks (PGW) takes pride in continuing that swinging sixties style.
The sixties are really when electric instruments took off with their own unique aesthetic drawing from the groovy lava lamps and rose-tinted glasses of the times.
You can see and hear this aesthetic in the instruments of the 60s, with their different shapes and “progressive” sorts of sounds such as the wah pedal.
This unique era is exactly what Jack Charles replicates in his craft over at Phantom Guitarworks.
When you take a look at their line of products, that much is clear!
Jack Charles obviously has a deep passion for vintage instruments and an eye for detail.
Let’s take a look at the specs and the woods used in the fabrication of the Phantom mando-guitar in the next section.
The Phantom Mando-Guitar Specs
As I’ve mentioned in other posts, an electric mando guitar is simply a smaller scale guitar with the range of a mandolin.
The tuning system of most electric mando-guitars is just like a 12-string guitar but one octave higher (as if you were to capo your 12-string guitar on the 12th fret).
This allows guitar players to play in the tonal range of a mandolin with that distinct double-string mandolin sound without having to learn a new instrument!
According to the website, the instruments come in a handful of colors but my personal favorite is the sunburst.
To me, there is nothing cooler and more vintage than that classic two or three-tone sunburst.
The Phantom mando-guitar has a mahogany body, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard.
Mahogany and rosewood are darker woods in color and in tone, bringing out the lower end of the sound.
Though maple is a brighter wood in color and in sound, the rosewood fingerboard balances it out.
This makes for a generally balanced sound with a rich low end to counter the bright high end of the scale of the “mando” half of the instrument.
The instruments also come with two pickups, both single-coil, two knobs, and a pickup switch.
This is where the “guitar” aspects of the instrument come in.
One pickup is probably brighter than the other (usually the bridge) for lead.
And the knobs are likely for volume and tone.
Lastly, know that there are many different pricing options for the Phantom mando-guitar.
However, they range between $1,000 and $1,100.
But be sure to check their site for up-to-date pricing.
Phantom Mando-Guitar: Conclusion
The Phantom mando-guitar is a cool instrument, for sure.
But as I consider purchasing my first electric mando-guitar, I’m leaning towards the Mandocaster 12, at a price of ~$600.
You can read more about my analysis of electric mando-guitars currently available here.
So what are your thoughts on the Phantom mando-guitar?
Let me know in the comments!
Jack was also the lead guitar player for Quarterflash. That is probably worth noting as they were way more successful than any other band he played in.