Custom Revstars | Magic with Metal

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Like our motto ‘Never Standing Still’, we use our 50 years of experience in guitar craftsmanship and engineering to experiment with new concepts and designs, driven by a desire to find new limits.
Late in 2017, in collaboration with Yamaha Motor, the Yamaha Design Lab created a set of unique Revstars for the Tokyo Motor Show.
Revstar designer Piotr Stolarski took some time out to tell us the story behind this project, experimenting with coating guitars in metals and sharing technology tips and ideas with Yamaha Motor.

“The combination of different metals with paint and natural materials makes the Cafe Racer inspiration truly vivid in this custom Revstar series.”

YGs: Hello Piotr! How did this project start and why?

PS: For quite a while now Yamaha Design Laboratory and Yamaha Motor Design have been collaborating on various projects. We may be two different companies, but there are some things we have in common: like passion for design and the need for constant improvement.
Those collaborations are great for exchanging ideas and inspiring each other. We’re trying to show that both Yamaha Music and Yamaha Motor share a common heritage and that those two worlds may have more in common than people think.
This time Yamaha Motor asked us [Yamaha Design Laboratory) to prepare some guitars that would complement their lineup of prototypes they were preparing.

YGs: How was it linked to the Tokyo motor show?

PS: The idea was to fit the “Future Garage” exhibition theme of the Yamaha Motor display. This enabled us to take the Cafe Racer theme (the main inspiration for original Revstar lineup) to the next level.

YGs:What was the design and build process?

PS: This one was a technology driven process. A few months before the Tokyo Motor Show we started exchanging some ideas with Yamaha Motor and they shared with us some technologies that they were about to use on new vehicle prototypes. To make a stronger link between two Yamahas we wanted to use the same finishes that would bring motors and musical instruments worlds closer together.

After several experiments and extensive testing we found a special metal treatment that would be a perfect match for the Revstar guitars. Many renderings, mockups and material tests later we ended up with choosing three models that would finally be built by the custom shop in Japan.

YGs: What materials were used?

PS: A lot of metal! First of all, the special metal treatment I mentioned before is a technology of applying a layer of metal to almost any surface. I chose the special stainless steel to cover the front face of the guitar bodies. This coating technique creates quite a rough texture but since it is almost a pure metal layer - it can be sanded down and polished to achieve a smoother glossy surface too.

The first custom model is a recreation of the RSP20CR with the metal coating instead of paint. The body has a rough metal texture and two shiny, hand polished stripes [the production model has painted glossy stripes and satin steel-wool body finish).

For the RS502T the rough steel body finish is a nice background for satin nickel hardware, metalized pickup covers, satin aluminum tailpiece and custom brushed aluminum pickguard.

The third guitar, a RS620 has both body and a headstock front covered with stainless steel. And there’s no pickguard in this custom model - instead the pickguard shape is just a polished part of the body top! Other materials like wood and paint also make a really nice reference to motorbikes

The back of the guitar bodies and the neck remain the same as the stock models: translucent dark brown revealing beautiful mahogany wood. That use of natural warm material on the back is nice for playability and instrument feel while also creating a nice visual contrast with the cold metal hardware and front finish. The combination of different metals with paint and natural materials makes the Cafe Racer inspiration truly vivid in this custom Revstar series.

YGs: So, what happens next?

PS:I’m not sure but I hope they will be exhibited somewhere in the near future!
We also would like to fully understand how this experimental coating affects the guitar’s tone and explore further possibilities of using this technology.