Bob and I tried many different ideas, but he remained fond of the H-S-H combination. The first axe we made for him was in around 1974-ish. He used it on most of the Blues for Allah album, recorded at Bob’s home studio.
This guitar was a single neck version of the double-neck Rex Bogue/Mahavishnu. Bob was playing a 335 at the time and wanted a brighter sounding instrument. I suggested single coils, but he liked ‘buckers, so we compromised. We couldn’t decide just where all the pickups should go, so we started with a typical H-H and thought that a single in the middle might work ok. Then we couldn’t decide on just where in the middle would be best. I think that in frustration or indecision Bob half-jokingly suggested that we should just make it movable and end the argument. I thought “What the hell,” and off we went.
The initial sliding pickup didn’t work very well, and I can’t remember why. I ended up making the sliding mount out of nylon rods (about 3/16” dia. for the rails) and a hunk of nylon to mount the pickup. The idea was for the single coil to be able to snug up against the humbuckers. I incorporated height adjustment into the ends of the rails, so that the single coil could be independently adusted.
Bob was an incredibly patient and adventurous guinea pig. During the recording of Allah, he tried many different positions, heights, etc. etc. with this guitar and I went out there to visit with him about it. He had marked the positions that he liked and we discussed some other details. I took the guitar back with me and installed detents at his favorite pickup positions so he could just click it into place as desired. That worked very well for him and I think we might have made another somewhat identical guitar that had those changes.
By the time we got to making the “cowboy” guitar (the antique violin finished fancy one) bob had settled on liking the single coil snugged up to the bridge pickup, so there was no further need to complicate things. He also had an idea about large pegheads. His theory was that more mass up top helped sustain. I believe that he still holds that theory to be correct.
Incidentally, that peghead design ended up on the transition copies in a slightly smaller version and on the Benson guitar.
We made a couple of the “cowboy” models with a number of switching combos that were constantly going under the surgeon’s soldering iron. Basically, Bob wanted as much flexibility of pickup selection as we could deliver. So he had a choice of single coils, series humbickers, parallel humbuckers, phase reversals and so on. We also used the standard Artist EQ system on at least one of them. The EQ had a really nice tone, I think due to the use of coils instead of film capacitors.
I’ll have to rummage through my brain to come up with some other salient lies about the Weir guitars. Bob was truly fun to work with and no idea was ever too strange or too loose-wigged for him.