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The Myth of Creation Legend has it that Russ Heinl, an old buddy of Alex's, approached him in 1986 with a prototype of a new MIDI pickup. After playing it Alex wasn't to impressed with the pickup but thought the Guitar the pickup was installed in was great! (1)(5). Russ and Alex then got together and with the assistance of some other fine Canadian luthiers developed the Signature and consequently the Signature Guitar Company was born. Beginning production in 1987 they produced a limited number of models (it is believed about 500) until the company closed in 1990. In this brief, 3 year window in time some of the most outstanding guitars in the world were created. During production there were 2 distinct generations of Signature guitar. The first generation (1-gen) were handsome flat tops and the second generation (2-gen) had beautifully carved tops. 1-gen Aurora models can be seen and heard being played by Alex Lifeson on the RUSH video "Show of Hands". Another great, Guy Pratt (bass player for Pink Floyd) used Signature Excalibre Basses in the late '80s and early 90s for much of Pink Floyd's studio and live work. The fade into legend So with such excellent quality and superb craftsmanship, where did the Signature Guitar Company go? It is a sad, unjust and cruel world and unlike the movies good does not always prevail over evil. The time was a dark, perilous and morally corrupt 1990. LA glam rock, sissy metal music and big hay stack hair jobs ruled the Earth. Factories were soullessly pumping flash guitars with lots of points that were virtually dipped in fluro paint. The market was saturated with such abominable excuses for instruments. These companies also had huge endorsement propaganda deals with slick LA rockers. Because each and every Signature came stock standard with the best available materials, expert craftsmanship and state of the art Evans/EMG electronics they were selling for US$1200 - $1800. The poor guy's at Signature werre forced to compete in a tough, image driven market against cheaper, flashier yet quality compromised instruments. In a world over run by bad yet showy craftsmanship Signature was unable to keep its head above water. An interesting yet tragic omen to this was that Alex's famous pearl white Signature (Great White) seen in "Show of hands" had its head broken off one day prior to the companies passing. It happened during a hand off and guitar change on stage during the "presto" tour. Sadly, the Signature Guitar Co. slipped away in 1990 into legend and their competitors to this day are still trying to catch up with their quality. "The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very, very brightly..." Victor Tyrell, 2023.more
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