Ebay of the day: Gittler Guitar

Think of weird 80s guitars and you think of the Chapman Stick, the Roland GR707, and the loony SynthAxe. But there is one guitar more 80s than all of them, and it's for sale on Ebay today. Gittler Guitars are incredibly rare - Allan Gittler handmade 60 in New York in the early 80s (selling one to Andy Summers which he played in the Synchronicity III video). Then he emigrated to Israel, settled in Hebron, changed his name to Avraham Bar Rashi and licensed the design to a local company. They computer-machined 500, and he says they messed up the manufacturing, and added some bits of plywood body to his original design to cover it up. The one on ebay looks like it's one of the Israeli models, and so far there have been no takers at £1,998. The full story from Vintage Guitar magazine here.
UPDATE: The picture above is the 1975 prototype from the MOMA permanent collection details here.

What kills me is that I came this -><- close to buying a Gittler back in, oh, it must've been 1985, from Chuck Levin's in Maryland. No wood, this one was all metal, had some kind of funky hex adapter (each string had its own pickup). I got to play on it a little bit and it was -- odd. But good, too, in a way that's really hard to describe. I believe they wanted something like $900US for it -- I've since kicked myself numerous times for not having shelled out the cash.

I tried to purchase this Gittler from the
Music Shop Outlet in Germany and it
turned out to be a fraud.

Make sure you see it in person before
depositing money into any offshore

...interesting: where are the "500" derived from?
I contacted Rahav BarRashi last year and she told there is NO information about how many were produced by Astron (the company that made the Isreal built versions). Does anyone have a Gittler with serial number above 305 ? (the number of the Gittler I comment on my homepage)
A funny guitar(?) nevertheless, but the ebay thing is definately too expensive, the "one of 200" is a real lie for sure, but the seller didn't want to change it. Bad start for giving away that amount of money...
I wonder if someone will be crazy enough...
....additional on my first:
the bad feeling and comments on the Astron-built-Gittler much like their source could be found in financial or personal disagreement with that firm, it seems he was really f*cked by them. The instrument itself is not that bad and I can see the changes made are more than just corrupting Gittler's idea: who would like to have a separate box to connect?
BTW: the body is not "some bits of plywood" but sprayed heavy plastic
you may have a look at it on guitars (choose Gittler in the Quick-Finder there and see more info about this nice instrument)
I played a Gittler in the '80's at my local music store. It must have been one of the originals because it was all metal. I do remember it having a hex pickup, but I played it through a standard amplifier. I remember that is was almost impossible to work around the fact that one's left hand would hang on the rounded ends of the frets, since they stuck out beyond the strings (as well they would have to!) It was problematic enough that I decided it was nothing more than a curiosity. Add to that the fact that the "back" of the "neck" was another bar with a diameter of less than one inch. If one's left thumb wasn't perfectly in place, it was difficult to play properly, especially seeing as how I'm a rock 'n roll guitar player, and we sometimes lazily rest our left thumb over the top of the neck.
I have a gittler guitar. There is a strange hex shaped port on it w/ 9 pin holes. Does any one know what this is for? Could this guitar be used for midi? Please email me w/ any info.
Thanks. toastbread@gmail.com
I saw a guy playing a Gittler Bass
in SF last weekend...

It was a fretless and was made out of stainless steel I think...

I heard you can play them underwater as well if you use a
hydrophone as a pickup...
The 9-pin jack is an output connection. It was meant to be used with a little mixer that Gittler built to control the output of each string, and to run each pickup to a seperate amplifier - one for each string. People have used it to run the signal from each pickup into a separate channel recording mixer.
You can't use the pickups that are in it for MIDI, as there is too much "crosstalk" (one pickup generating current from another's string). You could have RMC make you a new bridge to incorporate their MIDI pickups. All of the Gittlers that have serial numbers above 60 have various manufacturing errors, such as inaccurate fret spacing, (so the intonation can never be right) and unauthorized, badly thought-up extraneous parts put on them. Gittler considered them to be vastly inferior to the ones that were numbered 1 to 60.
Unless the person playing the bass in SF was named James, the guy you saw was probably Kevin Corren, who recently had a copy of my bass made for him; with some rather amusing errors as well. I hope he's not actually calling it a Gittler, as there are two major structural (and at least two minor ones) differences between the real Gittler basses and the one he had made for him.
Gittler joked that you could play them underwater. You'd need a waterproof wireless transmitter, (you wouldn't want to be physically connected to an amp) and the water resistence would slow down the the string, changing the pitch and reducing sustain, but it could be done. I wouldn't reccomend it, though.
I used a GK-2 midi pickup on both
of the Gittlers I had and they worked flawlessly...

The intonation is spot on as well
even though they were made in Israel...

Could you post some pics of your
bass so we could see what you are
referring to?


You can look to any of the sources that I quoted for confirmation of that information.

"hiding in the shadows"?
I posted my name, more than you did, "anonymous-poster-who-posted-twice-within-a-few-minutes-pretending-to-be-two-people agreeing." Sheesh, Kevin!
The copy you had made for you is not a Gittler, and you should stop claiming it is.

I'm not looking for credibility; I thought I'd help out a few of you who've posted questions about Gittlers.

There are pictures of one of my guitars and my bass in the Gittler section of the 1997 issue of The Blue Book Of Guitars, along with some update info that I provided.

And for the record, the Gittler pictured at the top of this thread is indeed at MOMA, that picture was available in their 1990 'Modern Music' appointment calendar, (opposite the week of May 28-June 3) but it isn't, as stated above, a prototype. It's an early one, (when I phoned MOMA in 1989, the person who answered told me they thought it was the #2 guitar, but they didn't take the time to and look at it to make sure.) but is a fully functional, finished Gittler.





WAS IT $9995.00?
brian G here again.

You have a good memory; I did list one of my guitars on ebay; I had a reserve bid for about $9995, but I didn't list the bass.

I mentioned that I was considering selling the bass if the guitar sold. I was thinking that I don't seem to need the spare guitar and I've never been a good fretless bass player, so I thought I'd sell them to someone who appreciated them.

I will be selling some other gear on ebay soon, but not the Gittlers.
brian G wrote: "I have the #47 and #52 Gittler guitars, one of the three Gittler basses, a Bar Rashi guitar, some of Gittler's music (old tapes) and sales literature, reviews, news articles, and of course our correspondence, and I'm thinking about making a website to upload it all to just to set the record straight. "

WOW! You Truly are the King
of all things GITTLER..

brian g

Well, James T (the fellow that has the other Gittler bass), actually knew him in person, visited him at his home, and bought his instruments directly from Gittler. He's done modifications to his Gittler guitar to add RMC pickups (for MIDI applications) and from what I hear is an accomplished player and performer.

I'd just like the misconceptions to be cleared up and to help anyone who has an interest in them to become more knowlegeable.

brian g
Since the barrashi.com site appears
to no longer be online, you are a great resource of information.

Perhaps at some point you will be
comfortable enough to share some
images with the community.

If nothing else, how about the one
from the 1997 Orion Bluebook?


brian g here.

Riche, why do you ask that?

brian g

Check with Frank at greenbuddha:


His site (available in German,French,English)has a wealth of info including Patent drawings and he also maintains the Gittler Registry of users, models,
and numbers.

When you go to the site, Go to the
Quick Finder pulldown and Choose
GITTLER and then Start.

There is a cool picture of the
Hexaphonic breakout box as well.

- alan
I spoke with Rahav (Allan's Gittler's Widow)a few months ago
and she confirmed that Allan left
2 Gittler guitars behind when he died. Both are Isreali models
(Astron) with the Hebrew Letters
engraved on the front.
His eldest son Yoni
has one of them and often performs with it. It is a "good one" he stated and the serial number is in the #200's
It has a 6 into 1 cable with a 1/4"
jack that plus straight into the amp. He mentioned needing to turn
the gain up on the amp since there
was no preamp.
It was on display in 2006 at the Ein Hod Village Gallery in Israel.
In closing let me say that the
original one's were machined by
hand and the later one's using
Also the grade of stainless and
the passivation process was superior
in New York.
Here's a link to Andy Summers guitar gallery.


Interestingly enough, the Gittler
is Not listed.

I wonder if he still has it?
I was informed by Dennis who runs
andysummers.com that he No Longer
has the Gittler he used for the synchronicity video and also in
his light strings book.

the best thing about the gittler is the fact that it is recyclable
Good Suggestion. I think I will buy the one on Ebay right now and have it melted down to make a hood ornament for my Delorean.
brian g here.

I meant that the original Gittler pickups would be unsuitable to use as MIDI pickups, but of course if you were to put a complete MIDI system on it, that would work just fine.

I struck up a friendship with Gittler later when he was Avraham Bar Rashi, we wrote each other and talked on the phone, and these are his words from one of our early correspondences:

'...for only up until #60 was the integrity of my design maintained - then without my permission 500 were produced with production mistakes and inaccurate fret spacing...'

And this from Guitar Player magazine:

(Gittler says:) 'Only serial numbers 1 through 60 are true gittlers.' (The others are)...vastly inferior and not true to the integrity of the design...'

From Rahav (his wife):

'There's nothing like the original sixty...'

From Vintage Guitar.com:

(Gittler:)'All add-on boxes and bodies to the guitars made in Israel are an abomination to the original design – a result of my producers’ misguided attempt to make a radical design immediately “user-friendly;”

More from Vintage Guitar.com:
'Several hundred Gittlers were also made in Israel, under name licensing, but those are somewhat of a sore point with Bar Rashi; he felt so strongly that their quality was not up to what he had envisioned for his creation that he sent out a form letter to musical instrument dealers, disassociating himself from those items.'

And to Dawn, I have to say that I now see that XXX XXX IS calling his home-made copy a "Gittler Bass" (just type 'Gittler Bass' in your search engine) and for illustration purposes it looks close enough for you to get an idea of what a Gittler Bass looks like

I have the #47 and #52 Gittler guitars, one of the three Gittler basses, a Bar Rashi guitar, some of Gittler's music (old tapes) and sales literature, reviews, news articles, and of course our correspondence, and I'm thinking about making a website to upload it all to just to set the record straight.
brian g
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