Gitt Guitars - Highest Spec, Lowest Price!

Bob Leggitt | Sunday, 12 August 2012
Gitt guitars may not yet be big on the world stage, but they’re rapidly making a name for themselves among those in the know. Having just taken possession of a new Gitt Esquat Custom, I can honestly say it’s the most amazing guitar I’ve ever played. Built to look like an Esquire, and sound like a Strat, the Esquat Custom is a dream come true for me. But the Esquat doesn’t just sound like an ordinary Strat. It sounds like a very special Strat. A Strat that’s been customised with a Tele pickup so that it doesn’t really sound like a Strat anymore. To be clear, this is an Esquire, which sounds like a Strat, which has been made to sound like an Esquire.

I’m not allowed to say where Gitt guitars are made, and you’ll never see them in a shop. For reasons you’ll soon find out, you have to know someone who knows someone. But if you do, then OMG are you in luck!! Because what you get with a Gitt guitar, is the finest of everything. Tonewoods so fine that their sound has actually made my next door neighbours weep. Pickups so phenomenal that two major manufacturers have begged Gitt not to make any more of them – according to Gitt, for fear of being put out of business (although the pickup manufacturers claim it’s because the HF response on Gitt pickups depresses dogs, which is cruel). A completely new type of body finish which, if the claims are true, makes people fall in love with the guitarist...

Gitt Esquat Custom guitar
The Gitt Esquat Custom. Like a Fender Esquire Custom, but with Velcro, and chewing gum.

Best of all, you get all this, fully handcrafted, for a bafflingly low price. And when I say low, I mean LOW! I spoke to Ron Gitt – the man behind Gitt guitars, and began by asking him: how on earth do you sell what must be the most horrendously expensive guitars, at such giveaway prices?…

Ron Gitt: “The secret is in the way we source our materials, and the economy of our production output”.

Bob Leggitt: Can I ask how you source the materials?

RG: “Well, I don’t wanna give too much away because I think we’ve got something pretty special going on, but let’s say a regular guitar manufacturer needs some wood… He goes to a supplier, negotiates a deal… He’s got the wood but he’s out of pocket because he’s paid £x for it. So then he recovers that money from the distributors by adding it to the cost price of the guitars. Then the distributors take their percentage in markup, then the retailers take their markup… In the end, the customer is paying two hundred quid just for a plank of wood – before the guitar is even shaped, or built, or finished. So what we do is we bypass the wood supplier and get it ourselves.”

BL: From where?

RG: “Straight from the tree.”

BL: What tree? Where do you get the tree?

RG: “Where they grow. We drive up, in a truck, and we see a tree, and think: “Yep, that one looks cool”…”

BL: … And you chop it up and put it on the truck, and drive off before anyone finds out??!!

RG: “Oh God, no!”

BL: Thank goodness for that!

RG: “Yeah, lol, that would be really stupid… No, it would cost far too much in labour if we were to chop the tree up ourselves. We get a group of kids to do it for us, in return for a drive of the truck.”

BL: So let me just get this straight… You steal the wood?

RG: “No, no, no, no, no!! Hahahahaha, lol!… The kids nick the wood. They down the tree, chop it up, stick it on the truck, then drive away. We have nothing at all to do with it.”

BL: So where are you at this point then?

RG: “Well, we’re still in the truck, obviously, but the truck’s been nicked by kids. Technically we’re hostages.”

BL: So who then builds the guitars? Not the kids, I hope…”

RG: “Are you mad???!!! You think kids could build guitars to the sort of quality we offer?… They’re good at nicking trees, but they can’t handcraft a fine guitar to our exacting standards… We have good, experienced luthiers – proper grown-ups who know what they’re doing.”

BL: But great luthiers are expensive. Do you offer them the going rate?

RG: “Of course. How would we get them to work for us otherwise?”

BL: But that adds a huge overhead to the production cost.

RG: “Well, it would do, if we actually paid them.”

BL: You don’t pay the luthiers? How d’you get away with not paying the luthiers???

RG: “We sack them the day before payday and get someone else.”

BL: I see. And I assume all the hardware is nicked as well?…

RG: “Obviously.”

BL: And the paint?…

RG: “Yep. All nicked.”

BL: By kids?

RG: “Well, it’s a little more complicated than that.”

BL: Okay then, by kids "holding you hostage" in a getaway car?

RG: “Basically, yes.”


Gitt headstock

So there you have it. That’s how Gitt make remarkable guitars for remarkable prices. But how does it feel standing on stage with a guitar which has ‘Gitt’ on the headstock, and ‘Esquat Custom’ in massive letters on the body? Well, at first you feel a little self-conscious, what with the brand still being so obscure. And interestingly, the control plate is not screwed to the body – it’s held on with Velcro, so when you bash the switch with vigour, the plate falls out and dangles around your knees. If you don’t like the idea of that, get the Standard model. Apparently the Standard has a traditional screw-on plate, and Velcro is a luxury appointment for the Custom only. Also, the fretboard dot markers are not strictly glued in. They’re made of chewing gum, which can shrink slightly as it dries, and that can make them loose. They don’t fall out under normal use, but I lost one when I tried a scissor kick in the first number. I did get it back though.

So there’s more to think about than with, say, a Fender Telecaster or a Fender Esquire, which does not have Velcro or chewing gum fittings. The other major noticeable is the size of the guitar. It’s small. Probably only around four fifths the size of a Fender Tele. I asked Ron Gitt the reason for this…

RG: “Well, the thing that really gave me the idea to start making guitars was a that I was offered a consignment of Telecaster cases for £1 each. All brand new, beautiful green lining – couldn’t believe it! So I bought all 3,000 of them. But when I went to sell them on, I realised the problem…”

BL: You couldn’t fit a Telecaster into them?

RG: “No, you could fit a Telecaster into them.”

BL: But you had to take it to pieces first?

RG: “Yep – and saw the body in half. Which most dealers and players considered impractical. So I decided to make my own Telecasters to put in the cases, and solve the problem. Obviously, the guitars had to be small, because the cases were small.”

I didn’t find the small size too serious a problem though, and once the special finish starts to work its charm on the audience and they fall in love with you, whether or not you’re playing a full-sized guitar is the last thing on your mind. Gitt call the finish used on my guitar Magic Black, but the model is also available in Magic Gold. Ron won’t tell me what the finishing process is, and I’m not sure I want to know anyway, but you can’t deny there is a magnetism exuded by the deep, rich blackness. You do instantly think: “Yeah, whoever owns that guitar is SOME dude, or SOME chick!” And then, strangely, you start to fall in love with the player. I’ve already fallen very deeply in love with myself. But it’s odd, because the audience don’t scream, or clap any more than usual… indeed, my audience didn’t clap at all, and they threw floorboards at me. But somehow you know it's all just playful, and that they’re in love with you. I can’t really explain it. All I can say is try a Gitt Esquat Custom for yourself, and it’ll all make sense.

UPDATE: Since I prepared this article, Ron Gitt has been arrested, charged, tried and imprisoned for offences too numerous to list. Currently, then, the Gitt inventory is as follows…
  • 4 Gitt Esquat Customs (2 Magic Black, 2 Magic Gold) in cases – including mine.
  • 6 Gitt Esquat Standards (5 Magic Gold, 1 Magic Mushroom – Magic Black not available on the Standard) in cases.
  • 2 Gitt Micro Bass Customs (both Magic Black) in cases.
  • 2988 Gitt cases with no guitars in them.

UPDATE 2: Ron Gitt has now escaped and production has re-commenced - although on what sort of scale, and at what sort of quality, it is not known.

This article is for entertainment purposes only. Stealing trees and encouraging kids to drive trucks and cars is illegal. All characters and products are fictional, and characters expressly do not represent any real beings, living or dead.