Fresh off the stage at Download Festival, Five Finger Death Punch’s Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook got together with Total Guitar Magazine to explain the features of their own custom-built guitars.
Bathory’s guitar, a prototype made by Dean Guitars, is called the AR-6. Its name and unique shape are both inspired by the AR-15 rifle. The guitar’s feature that most closely resembles the rifle is the handle on the top.
The body is Ferrari-red with a black carbon-fiber insert, giving it a flashy two-tone appearance. Bathory had the neck made without any paint from the second fret all the way up to the 21st fret, but it does sport a smooth satin finish. The pickups, custom-wound by Dean, are the yellow often seen on Ferrari brake calipers. Bathory said they’re very high-output (i.e., LOUD).
Jason Hook’s Gibson-made custom guitar is called the M4 Sherman, named after the famous WWII tank. Modeled after the well-known Gibson Explorer, it sports a military-themed look and chevron graphic design.
Hook made some interesting changes to his guitar. He removed the pick guard and used black plastic conduit tubing to cover the wire running from the pickup selector switch to the pickup. Since he removed the neck pickup, the selector serves as a cut-off switch, letting him quickly kill the guitar’s signal. A random piece of non-functional hardware sits in the neck pickup’s cavity as decoration. The remaining pickup was custom-made by Seymour Duncan, modeled after their famous JB pickup. He said it’s a mid-output pickup that still offers dynamic range, which he can control with his guitar’s volume knob. He describes its sound as “chunky and punchy.”
Maybe the most unusual aspect of Hook’s custom guitar is the chunk of wood missing from the body. Hook said he has trouble reaching the highest frets on a standard Explorer, so he removed a section of the body at the base of the neck. With this modification, he can reach the highest notes when he rips into a solo.
The guitar has a Tonepro bridge and Grover locking tuners, features that help keep the guitar in tune. Hook seemed pleased when he said, “That’s my guitar, just a shredding beast from Gibson.”