Elegant Design: Jeff Diamant of DBZ/Diamond Guitars Talks About a Great Year and What’s Next

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Most will scream in the face of innovation.

Even subtle changes can scare some players, but many of us recognize that these changes are refinements that ultimately can create more elegant and playable instruments. And, that’s why DBZ/Diamond Guitars keeps moving forward.

It’s been over a year since we here at TheToneKing.com talked to Jeff Diamant about DBZ/Diamond, and it’s been one hell of a year. So, we reached out to him to reflect on 2013 and see what they have planned for 2014 and beyond.


Last time we talked, he was just finalizing the 2013 line. At the time, we didn’t realize how big the changes were going to be. But, now lookingback on them, we were surprised that Jeff was able to keep anything under his hat. Probably one of the biggest reveals that Jeff did mention – although he was very hazy on the specifics – was the unveiling a completely new for 2013. That line turned out to be the DBZ/Diamond Hailfire SM and ST series.
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Both series are modern takes on a classic guitar shape. They both are set neck guitars with Mahogany string-thru bodies, rosewood fretboards, mahogany necks, block inlays, Grover tuners, contoured backs and heels for increased playability, and Nickel hardware.
The Hailfire ST series offers three killer colors; Silverburst, Matte Black, and Blueburst. They also include DBZ/Diamond custom pickups the R15 and the N9C.
The SM collection ups the ante with a Spalt Maple Top with custom finishes. Not to mention dropping in a couple of Seymour Duncan JB and 59 pickups into the body for good measure.But, damn, those finishes be fine.Three different transparent finishes that are guaranteed to blow some minds include: Teal, Charcoal, and Ruby. To seal the deal, DBZ/Diamond chose to split the trans finishes with a natural finish running down the center of the guitar. The result is a very slick, classy guitar that looks as good as it sounds. As if that wasn’t enough, Jeff let me know to keep a look out for a Hailfire Korina model in 2014.DBZ-HeadstockMDN-01aClipWhile a huge deal, the Hailfire wasn’t the only thing that came out from DBZ/Diamond in 2013. The new, more elegant headstock design was also a huge move. “The headstocks were oversized and overstated,” Jeff laments as he talks about the former design. Most headstocks are 7” from nut to tip. The former DBZ/Diamond headstocks were almost an inch longer. Jeff continued, “there were some good things about them – And I liked them too in a way – but they were the number one complaint of our customers and dealers worldwide.”“If you take a Ferrari, and put gold rims on it, it’s going to look like crap. You can take a Ferrari or a Lamborghini and Matte black that bitch out, and it speaks volumes. You don’t need a bunch of bling taking away from the beauty of the instrument.”The instrument should flow from headstock to the body and look like one elegantly designed instrument. And, those former headstock designs never seemed to fit.

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2013 also saw some more colors being introduced. Jeff Diamant loves his MotoGP. Seeing some of those MotoGP colors introduced into theBarchetta and the Cavallo series, you can taste the exhaust and feel the G-force of speeding around a track at hundreds of MPH.

 

 

 

And, let’s not forget about the reintroduction of the Halcyon series

 

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As if new guitar models, colors, and designs weren’t enough, DBZ/Diamond also had introduced their own custom pickups. Built through a collaboration between Jeff Diamant and Seymour Duncan, the DD-1 DBZ/Diamond Hole-shot has the edge of a JB but with smoother mids, less bite on the high-end and a warmer feel. The DD-5 DBZ/Diamond 4-Stroke takes a ’59 and gives it a bit more body and punch for anyone who likes to use their neck pickups for warmer rhythms or silky solos. The DD-1 and DD-5 are available in select DBZ/Diamond models.

 

 

That was 2013.

During our interview, Jeff Diamant gave TheToneKing.com an exclusive peek into the future of DBZ/Diamond Guitars.

First.

Two killer new models.

The Renegade and the Maverick.

Both are classically rooted designs, but, like everything else from DBZ/Diamond, the guitars are carefully crafted for increased playability and a sleeker, modern look. The Renegade is a set-neck double cutaway that will quickly get you thinking of blasting out some of your favorite Sabbath or AC/DC tunes. While the Maverick slimmer contoured T-style body will give you a hankerin’ for little bit ‘o’ country. DBZ/Diamond was quick to make both the Maverick and Renegade’s bodies sleeker, more aerodynamic, and easier to play than the guitars that inspired them. And, they will be more versatile. Jeff was keeping a lot of information close to the chest, but he did reveal that these models will be offered in string-through, bolt-on, double hum, and spalt maple over mahogany versions.

DBZ/Diamond will also be releasing their own line of pickups. These three bridge pickups and one neck pickup are all built in-house. These four pickups designs will all be available for purchase through DBZ/Diamond. So, if you’re a fan of DBZ/Diamond pickups, you can throw these bad boys into every guitar you own.

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DBZ/Diamond will also make available the Octane series pickups. These will be available included in the new Renegade model but will also be DBZ-BOP-TR-01aClipavailable for individual purchase through DBZ/Diamond. Hot enough to turn your leads into a towering inferno of sound but still warm enough to give you smooth sounding cleans, these pickups will even make your grandma’s guitar rock.

On top of all of this, Jeff promises that players will see a lot of “small touches” return to DBZ/Diamond Guitars. Certain models will come with metal truss rod covers with etched designs and engraved stoptail pieces, plus different patterns and features unique to specific series.

Besides for bringing back these classic ideas, DBZ/Diamond have some new special touches coming as well. Many of their lines will be gradually moving to 24-fret versions, which is huge. Some of the traditional 22-fret lines will continue to have 22-frets but also offer 24-fret versions as well.

The Imperial line will offer string-through versions with many design cues taken from the Hailfire series.

Available to certain guitar lines, DBZ/Diamond is introducing two design profiles that are so metal, that even your country licks will shred some heads.

The “Elite Black” series will include matte black color, black hardware, ebony fretboard with a sole 12-fret inlay design, and EMG pickups.

The Scorpion series featuring weapons-grade “FDE” (Flat Dark Earth) coloring is based on military tactical weapons used for desert warfare. This sandy tan color that will be the base for these guitars that include a rosewood fingerboard and specially designed inlays.

Of course, this accoutrement will not be gaudy but will instead emphasize the elegance of DBZ/Diamond’s new design and direction – Subtle and understated, but aggressive.

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While talking with Jeff, he brought up John Varvatos, fashion designer worn by musicians like Axl Rose and Jimmy Page. “He can make a black blazer look cool, modern, and edgy with a slight refinement of a line, seam, or pocket.” It’s not surprising that John Varvatos chose to have DBZ/Diamond guitars hanging up in three of his main store windows. A testament to a shared vision of design. “I want to create that edge but do it in a classy way.”

Jeff admits that historically DBZ/Diamond “has not had a lot of mid-price point” guitars. “For players who love to own one of our high end guitars, but struggle to buy a $900 guitar, we wanted to create guitars that are up to our level of quality and aesthetic that are in the $500 – $700 price range.” Jeff emphasized that he didn’t want to sacrifice the look or feel of DBZ/Diamond just to save a couple of bucks. These new mid-price point guitars will rival their top shelf counterparts.

 

 

 

Jeff Diamant has been busy since the last time we talked to him about DBZ/Diamond Guitars. Every step that DBZ/Diamond has been taking has been to reach two goals: First, make guitars that are affordable but keep all of those top-shelf level of quality that people have come to expect from DBZ/Diamond.  Second, make guitars that push the envelope in design and looks while remaining elegant, easy to play, and sound killer. To those ends, DBZ/Diamond has made some huge strides. New guitars. New pickups. New path. TheToneKing.com has always thought of DBZ/Diamond Guitars as a young guitar company with a lot of potential. Now, it seems that potential is being realized.

 

 

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About the Author: Marc published his first novel Becoming in 2010. It’s a kick-ass book with monsters and dreams and stuff, and you should buy it. Since then, he’s written thousands of articles for TheToneKing.com, many of which have been picked up for circulation by manufacturers and other news outlets. His next book, Drugs and Pancakes, should be available early 2014 if his alcoholic editor can find time to work on it in-between destroying his liver and screaming about punctuation. He graduated from Roosevelt University with honors, which means that he’s not as dumb as he looks. He’s been playing guitar for over 25 years, which is almost twice as long as most of his students have been alive.

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