Versoul Raya, Raya Baritone and Raya Baritone 12
(For when you have a spare $6k+, I suppose?)
Kari Nieminen’s boutique builds may occupy a price bracket normally reserved for only the most disgustingly obnoxious of custom strats, but in a refreshing turn of events, they’re actually quite left of the norm - even if they’re well outside the grasp of anyone who doesn’t manage a hedge fund or tour global stadiums.
This Finnish firm have been designing instruments for over 30 years, sparing no expense in the process. Moose shinbone nuts? Custom electric razor-style pickup covers? 23-carat gold fretboard markers - and the addded option of a full 23-carat gold coating on the entire guitar? Sure, why not.
At the end of the day, though, those slightly jarred offset bodies and flipped headstocks are the reason i’m drawn to them. The three models i’ve showcased above include a standard-scale model (25.4”, fender-esque), a 26.75” A-to-A-tuned Baritone (with tremolo! Baritones with trems are too infrequent, in my humble view), and a likewise-scaled Bari-12 string - which will either strike you as completely ridiculous or absolutely genius.
There are many other models to read up on, though, if the curiosity strikes you. Acoustics, Resonators, Basses, Sitars - they’re all there. Hell, there’s even a borderline-parodic custom model for Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, appointed with a giant functionless blue orb behind the bridge. I guess if you’re that wealthy, and you already have a world-class guitar collection to boot, then the absurd becomes almost non-optional?
(The Versoul Website is a nice place to start if you want to learn more, but it appears to be long out of date, with the most recent news having been posted in late 2009. US dealer Destroy All Guitars seem to keep a fair stock - i’ve posted photos from their catalogue above - but they mostly appear to keep one-offs at the moment, as opposed to the production models discussed herein. Still, if you want a $6,199 resonator with a Shaman glyph on it, or a $9000+ mini-acoustic…)