B&G Step Sister
Published on 29 April 2021
If you love to see fresh new designs in the guitar world, but appreciate the romance of the instrument’s history, you’ll love B&G guitars.
We’ve stocked this brand since late last year and they’ve been a resounding success with players looking to keep things traditional but also to establish a little individuality at the same time. This is no easy task in the guitar world, since we are mostly fans of the classic designs. Entirely new concepts have a difficult time on their hands breaking through, but B&G seem to have struck that magical balance of familiar and original, given how popular our initial deliveries have been!
B&G look back to the ‘golden era’ as they put it, of the 40s for their inspiration. We spoke to co-founder Kiki Goldshtein a few months back, so click through to our Meet Your Maker: B&G Guitars blog for more details on the process and inspiration of these guitars. Today, we are going to check out their new ‘Step Sister’ model. Why not join us?
B&G Step Sister
So, the B&G Step Sister, at first glance, looks similar to their trademark Little Sister model. However, upon closer inspection, there are some specific differences to take note of. First off, the chambered mahogany body is now a little shorter in length, (making the Little Sister paradoxically bigger!) though it follows a very similar outline. This is to be expected, given that the Little Sister is already quite a distinctive silhouette: nobody else makes a guitar that looks like this, so B&G are sensible in keeping things recognisably ‘theirs’ for the Step Sister. The design takes a nod from Pre-War acoustics as much as Jazz guitars from the first half of the 20th Century, evoking that beautiful and curiously anachronistic mix of old and new that define B&G.
Some of the models are made entirely from mahogany, whilst others have beautifully figured maple tops. Those with all-mahogany construction have African Mahogany for their tops, so those will understandably have a slightly thicker tone (depending on your pickup choice, more of which in a sec) than those with maple. It’s all relative though, and as we’ll see, each style of Step Sister sounds and looks wonderful!
It is definitely worth noting that each Step Sister’s body is made from a single piece of mahogany, which is then chambered for resonance and weight relief. Single piece bodies certainly transfer more energy (and thus, tone) to the pickups, resulting in a richer overall sound.
There are other subtle changes afoot. The neck now sports 22 frets, in a concession to modernity that with satisfy many players. The Little Sister model has only 20 frets, which makes sense from the particular period reference points these guitars use, but some folks just need those extra notes! To better accommodate this, the necks now join the body at the 16th fret, rather than the 14th as they do on the Little Sisters. You can have a cutaway or non-cutaway style too, to better suit your needs.
The heel has also been reshaped for greater upper fret access. This makes a lot of sense to us and offers a legitimately different feel to fans of B&G who may just need a little more at the top. Superficially, you don’t really see much of a difference: it’s when you begin playing that the shifts in design are felt. We welcome this extra choice.
The necks themselves retain the same vintage ‘soft V’ profile, which we find to be extremely comfortable and ‘moreish’! The B&G Step Sister has a definite ‘pick-up-ability’ to it, which tells us a lot about how well each guitar has been designed and built.
Handmade Hardware and Pickups
The B&G Step Sister follows the impressive lead of the Little Sister in the hardware and pickup department. Bridges and tailpieces are once again hand machined from solid brass, bringing tone, sustain and visual refinement to each instrument. Brass is a hardwearing metal, so is well suited to not only transferring tone but surviving endless sweaty gigs and recording sessions! These guitars are made to be seen and heard, and these details are important.
The pickups are handwound too, to the strict specifications of B&G. The Step Sister is available with either two vintage humbuckers or two P90s. Both units are low output, clear-sounding and full of detail. Partner one of these up with a quality tube combo and a nice overdrive: you’ll be surprised how quickly the day goes by! We enjoyed the slightly more resonant, blooming tone we got from the humbuckers as much as we enjoyed the dynamic range of the P90s. Which is best? That depends entirely on your ears: both styles sound excellent.
New Classics for Discerning Guitarists
We all love the classic guitar designs from the 50s: there’s hardly a guitarist on the planet who doesn’t! Having said that, there is certainly room in the world for new, well thought out guitars designs that offer something other than our usual experiences. Such is the case with B&G, and with these new Step Sister guitars, players who love the Old World sensibility of the brand but can’t lose those higher frets will now be able to join the gang. These are well-crafted, great feeling instruments with superlative tones and a very distinct visual character. Try one today, and see what happens to your playing when it is free of all preconceptions.