daniellemansiso med

BelAire base price $4850, featured above in natural finish mahogany with custom aluminum StringThru tailpiece, pick guard, and dot inlays.

No matter how you dress it up, the MotorAve BelAire sounds huge. Like all of Mark’s guitars, the BelAire is designed to be played loud. Stylistically, the pickguard is a nod to the thinline telecaster. The F-hole is a sharp reaction to the Rickenbacker cat’s eye. The body is double bound like any self respecting fancy guitar should be. With a Bigsby and Filtertrons, the BelAire may resemble a Gretch (even with your eyes closed). And while the BelAire is the same basic size as a 335, they are not constructed in the same way, and for this reason they sound quite different. The variety of inspirations that make up the BelAire have resulted in a fairly multipurpose chassis. Outfitted with your choice of tailpiece and pickups, the BelAire lends itself to many styles. But this guitar is no mere Frankenstein... there is also innovation in what may first appear to be tradition.

For instance, Mark’s trapeze tailpiece is not hinged to the side. Instead, it's attached to the center of the guitar through the top, by means of an aluminum hook. This hook is anchored into place by a bolt running through the end pin, threading into the base of the hook, and locking the whole assembly down.  

Mark also designed the String-Thru tailpiece, which is equal parts form and function. He first put one of these on a guitar as a point of style. Though, it quickly became apparent that this tailpiece “drives” the guitar- giving it a deeper, more resonant growl.

The body of a BelAire starts off as a solid core and a book matched back plate. The body is routed to reveal a center block running through the length of the guitar. This block runs under the tail piece, bridge, and pickups; connecting them to the neck via the long tenon that joins the neck into the body. Before the back is glued on, it is finished, sanded, and buffed on the F-hole side; and the rest of the cavities are sealed and shielded as well. 

This attention to detail is not just an obsession with making a "perfect" object. All of the details add up to make a great playing, awesome sounding guitar, that also feels like nothing else you've ever played. In the end, after much time and money has been spent leading up to that moment when you open up the case... our goal is to blow your mind. And if it takes you a few months to get past the shine before you can really dig in; you're not the first! 

© Kate Fuqua 2013