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Ormsby Guitars

10th February 2005

Describing himself as more of a ‘guitar enthusiast’ than a guitar player, Perry Ormsby has had a fascination with the instrument that dates back to his early youth. Guitar gods such as Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen, and the guitars they played had a huge influence on shaping the life and dreams of the young luthier-to-be. Little did he know back in those aspiration-filled days that there would eventually be shiny, six stringed weapons of mass entertainment bearing his name being sought by a growing number of local, national and international guitarists.

Perry Ormsby has been manufacturing his custom hand-made instruments as Ormsby Guitars for about a year, before which time he was doing repairs and mastering his craft building one-off electric guitars. With the opening of his O’Connor factory/workshop, the next chapter in the Ormsby story begins. While repairs and setups are a regular part of Perry’s day-to-day business, his heart lies in producing the best possible electric guitars for players that appreciate a quality instrument. Meeting the needs of the individual is a priority for the up-and-coming luthier, who knows only too well that his reputation as a guitar builder is only as good as his last instrument. To meet each musician’s personal needs and preferences, Ormsby selects woods, pickups and hardware to best suit the project, taking into account any special requests the customer may have.

The manufacturing process is completed in five stages, the client being consulted at each stage to ensure that everything is progressing according to plan. A part payment is made at each stage as well, spreading out the cost of the instrument to make it easier to afford than a lump sum at the beginning or end of the process, or the usual half up front/half on completion arrangement.

click to hear the Lazy Train MP3 (800kb)To date, the vast majority of Ormsby Guitars’ output has been custom built, one-off instruments featuring carved tops, set or through necks and ornate fretboard inlays. There is one design, however, that is a regular seller – worldwide, at that. The Ormsby Polka Dot Custom V is a faithful reproduction of the now famous spotted Flying V played by the late Randy Rhoads during his stint as the legendary Ozzy Osbourne’s right-hand man. While Rhoads played many guitars, the polka dot Flying V became his instrument, revered by guitar players the world over. With painstaking attention to detail and superb craftsmanship, the Ormsby guitar has become sought after by fans of the original, the comparisons generally being more than favourable from those who have purchased the Ormsby PDCV. Perry has shipped guitars as far afield as Europe and Florida in the USA, as well as customers across Australia.

The Ormsby PDCV stands alone as a fine instrument, for all of its resemblance to the axe of old. For seasoned ‘V’ players, it feels just like home, with the added bonus of perfect balance - this is no neck-heavy Flying V.

Click on picture to listen to Lazy train MP3 (800kb)

The mahogany body wings fixed to the laminated maple neck-through body give the guitar a solid, balanced feel when worn standing up. This construction, combined with the Di Marzio Super Distortion (bridge) and PAF (neck) pickups help deliver the classic midrange grunt of the Flying V, with sweet sustain and effortless playability. The ebony fretboard and jumbo frets feel played in from the outset, and the classic look is completed by the ‘propeller’ inlays and angular headstock. The Ormsby PDCV is a world class guitar, made right here in Perth, in humble downtown O’Connor.

The growing popularity of this particular guitar raises the (to some) obvious question of a production model Ormsby guitar – or even models. The answer is that there are a number of designs on the drawing board, with a view to introducing some production – and maybe even signature - model Ormsby electric guitars. The logistics of such a venture can quite possibly be quite daunting, in a market dominated by massive advertising budgets and equally massive names. Ormsby himself is unfazed by the competition, being happy to lay the groundwork for what he hopes will become a small but successful niche market for his guitars. Keeping it real, he says, allows him to pay the attention to each hand-made instrument that it requires, guaranteeing that every Ormsby guitar is 100% hand made by the man himself, to the best of his ability.

While Perry Ormsby may not necessarily be aiming at world market domination, some of the world market may just come looking for him.

Graham Greene



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