This guitar is the result of a two year collaboration with Ricky from Barlow Guitars based in NY. The design goal was to create a guitar inspired by Jerry Garcia and Alembic, but with a unique aesthetic. It couldn't have turned out any better and Barlow tells me the Great Horned Owl model quickly became his most popular model, even at $12K retail. This is your chance to own #001 for much less and avoid the wait times.

I owned a Tiger replica prior to getting this and Barlow's build is 1000X better in every single way.

Why am I selling? I had an accident that has left me unable to play guitar anymore. :(

If you do a search here on Reverb for "Great Horned Owl", you'll see that Barlow has a ton of much better pics of my guitar on his listing. His pics were taken indoors with flash. Some of those pics make the guitar look a little more bling-y than it is in person. My camera sucks and I don't get great light in my studio, but I think my pics are a little more accurate depiction of what the guitar looks like in person than some of his pics that have a bit too much contrast from the flash. My pics are a bit too overexposed though and make it look more dull than in person. The bridge, for example, looks much darker in person than in my overexposed pics (more like the tuner buttons). But look at both and you'll get a better idea (somewhere between my pics and his) idea and know for sure that I'm no photog. :)

But pics really don't do this guitar justice. Yes, the wood grains are gorgeous, but in person they are a little more subtle than in some of Barlow's pics. In person, the guitar just exudes a warm golden glow. Sounds cheesy, yes, but in person this guitar just demands to be picked up and played. It doesn't feel like a guitar you just wanna look at all day. It's really one you wanna feel.

I did make a few small changes after I got the guitar from Ricky. I replaced the original custom Schroeder bridge we had made with another one they made that better matched the aged bronze of the rest of the hardware (note: I can swap in the other one pictured in Barlow's listing if you prefer that one). I also replaced many of the screws with aged bronze versions (had to make a few). I also have two black mini-toggles I can include that I was planning to replace the silver ones with before the injury. Just remind me if you want them.

The neck on this guitar is insane. It is mostly wenge with maple laminated. If you don't know, Ricky was the neck guy for PRS for years. He's probably one of the best neck guys out there. He did his special hybrid C/D neck on this and I could not have been more impressed. At first, it feels a bit too thin (my Tiger had a really chunky neck). But after a few weeks adjusting, I couldn't believe how much easier it was to move around the neck. The wenge helps there. I can't really describe it because it isn't really a satin neck; just well-sanded wenge. But it is so damn smooth even with sweaty hands. All guitar necks should be made of wenge.

Fretboard is just gorgeous. You can see the grain details better in Barlow's posted pics on his listing, but in person (again) it doesn't look bling-y at all. Very subtle, so you ain't gonna feel weird taking this into a dive bar but will also feel just fine performing at The Met. The stainless steel frets are buddah. Makes bends so easy and smooth.

I've only tried Thomastik Power Bright strings on this guitar because they just sound so damn good. I started with 10's, but 11's were the best. They feel and bend like 9's with this wraparound bridge, but with really nice clean sustain. And this bridge is far and away the most comfortable and easy to mute strings with. If you want a more accurate Jerry tone, NYXL 10's are probably the way to go because they have a lot more tension than these Thomastiks, but for my money the Thomastik's make this guitar sing and play so easily.

The electronics are something very special. Like Jerry, I live on the middle single coil sound, so I wanted a HSH config. I had the dude at Freeway make me a special 5-way, 10-position switch explicitly for HSH config'd guitars. I think he's offering this publicly now, so replacements won't be an issue. This makes switching so damn easy. It is configured so that the up position is a start config with all the in-between tones of a 5-way strat. Flip it down and you've got all the Les Paul 5-way sounds.

It also has an out-of-phase setting which is activated by pulling a knob. There is also a knob for adjusting how much of each humbucker gets into the out-of-phase sound, so the tonal palette is pretty much endless for these kinds of sounds. You do get a bit of a volume drop, so I also equipped this with a 0-6dB gain knob. You can set the amount of gain you want via the furthest knob, but then pull the master volume to engage. Makes doing all of this in a live situation so damn easy. Obviously this also works if you just want a clean boost at the pull of a knob.

Of course, if you wanna bypass the preamp and just play direct to your amp or pedal board, you can just flip a switch or just use a standard cable.

The guitar even does non-Jerry tones if you aren't into that whole vibe. :)

The buffer/boost preamp was made by Scott Walker and Jason Ferguson (may he rest in peace) did all the wiring. Note: I do have some videos Jason made playing this guitar I can share, but I never recorded any other videos before my accident.

The pickups are made by OX4 out of the UK. The humbuckers are low wind PAF replicas (A4 magnets I believe, but these can be swapped easily) and the single coil is their '62 spec'd strat pickup. No sense in me telling you how great these pickups sound, but check them out. I coulda used much more expensive pickups but OX4's are already damn near perfect for this application.

One thing I should point out... my guitar has a fully carved top and backside. Super comfy and easy to get to the upper frets. He has done some Great Horned Owl builds that only have the top carved and I know he told me he was gonna be charging a lot more for carved backs, but not sure that is reflected in his listing or not as I think he said the $12K was the starting point for this model now.

Ricky lists my guitar at 9.8 pounds in the details below, however, I'm pretty sure it is more like a little over 8 pounds when I weighed it when I got it, but no scale here now (Edit to update: I got out the digital scale and the guitar weighed exactly 8.5 pounds). My Tiger was almost 14 pounds, so this is a huge relief and feels very natural and well-balanced whether sitting or standing. No neck droop at all. The carved back and top helps it sit perfectly whether standing or sitting.

Update NOTE: I uploaded the electronics schematic, however, it is slightly out of date. I wasn't finding the bass contour particularly useful. I was loving the out-of-phase, but needed a bit more tweak-ability for the out-of-phase tone. So I ended up changing out the bass contour in favor of using that knob to adjust how much of each humbucker the out-of-phase gets. There is a center indent on that knob now. Lined up with center, you get equal amounts of both humbuckers. Down from the center line gets more of the bridge. More clockwise past the center indent gets more of the neck. Straight center doesn't sound great to my ears, which is why this tweak is awesome. I love the out-of-phase for rhythm tones. Dialed more toward the neck or more toward the bridge, both options are very usable especially as you roll off the master tone. You do get a volume drop when out-of-phase is engaged (think I mentioned this elsewhere), so you'll wanna use the 0-6 dB gain boost built into the guitar or some boost somewhere in your chain to match the volume. Sounds killer though.

I've tried to cover everything, but let me know if you have questions. This guitar never left my studio. I didn't baby the guitar, but the wenge pickguard and claro walnut top seems 100% immune to even the most benign scratch marks. There are zero scuffs or blemishes at all. Zero fret wear. Guitar literally looks brand new and still has that new guitar smell. :)

We had a hard time finding a case to fit while I was there to pick the guitar up, so I ended up buying a Mono M80 travel case for it. I later purchased a hard case for it. I will let you choose which case you prefer.

NOTE: I have a full Jerry rig with SMS Classic JG preamp, McIntosh MC2200 power amp, 2x12 HardTruckers cab with JBL 120's and some other Jerry specific gear. Not sure when I will list that stuff, but message me if interested.

Here are the details:

Claro Walnut Top
Flame Maple
Wenge Core
Flame Maple
Claro Walnut Back
Wenge Fretboard
Wenge/Flame Maple 11 Piece Neck
Claro Walnut/Maple Headstock
Wenge/Maple Pickup Surround
Wenge Knobs/Tip
Birdseye Maple Pickups

Schroeder Bridge
OX4 Pickups HSH
Schaller Locking Tuners
Schaller S Locks
Brass Nut
SS Fretwire

Freeway 10 Way Switch
Walker Preamp
Tone/Mid Phase
Bass Cut
Preamp Bypass
Fx Loop Bypass

6 String
24 Frets
25.5" Scale
12" Radius
Hybrid C/D Neck
Set Neck Construction
8lbs 5oz
Satin Polyurethane Body/Headstock
Oil/Wax Neck

This item is sold As-Described

This item is sold As-Described and cannot be returned unless it arrives in a condition different from how it was described or photographed. Items must be returned in original, as-shipped condition with all original packaging.Learn More.

Listed3 months ago
ConditionMint (Used)
Mint items are in essentially new original condition but have been opened or played.learn more
  • Great Horned Owl #001 Inspired by Jerry Garcia & Alembic
  • Claro Walnut, Wenge, Maple
  • 2021
Made In
  • United States
Finish Style
  • Satin
Right / Left Handed
  • Right Handed
Body Material
  • Walnut
Number of Strings
  • 6-String
Body Type
  • Solid Body

Brian's Gear Emporium

Saint Augustine, FL, United States
Joined Reverb:2018

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