Read the original text in Portuguese on Marcelo Barbosa's official website.
Translated by Irina Ivanova, Alex Froloff, Andrei Kulikov (The Power Of Metal Russian Community).
I have always been a great fan of good instruments and I have had various ones during my career. There were many different brands and models, but every one had its proper peculiarities and its identity. Depending on period of my life, I had a passion to some certain instrument spending a lot of time with it. So, it was in such a way with Ibanez of RG series, with Stratos, with Wolfgang and with Telecasters. It’s impossible to choose only one, since every one has its merit and sometimes also its limits.
Ibanez, model Jem was the one, which attracted my attention the most among all the guitars that have ever passed through my hands. This is the signature guitar of Steve Vai, the guitarist I’ve always admired a lot. Besides a good tune and an excellent tone (in general, in case of older 7WH), the playability of these guitars is sensational. Since I have big hands, the standard fretboard and the access to the last fret were really very good.
On the other hand, besides the tone I’ve always liked the feeling of playing the vintage guitars. Stratos, Les Pauls and Teles have the image of the history of rock and consequently of the history of the guitar. And to go to stage with one of these “children” in my hands always makes me feel good. It feels like becoming a part of the history myself… It’s difficult to explain.... I just like it...
When Tagima invited me to develop my signature model I was very pleased, but at the same time quite preoccupied. I didn’t feel like releasing just a guitar under my name only to push something on the market. It should have been some product of good quality and with its own personality. At that time I was playing a lot the stratos and teles. Even the most modern guitars I played basically were stratos with humbuckers and Floyd Rose. At that moment Tagima already had some very good signature models in this style like the guitars of Edu Ardanuy or Juninho Afram. I decided that I must think how to unite the characteristics I liked the most in the guitars in one instrument. It would be the best way to begin. I took a flight to SP with three guitars in my luggage: Fender Telecaster, White Jem and Fender Strato. Having met Seizi Tagima, I explained him my ideas, which were totally respected.
I like the shape of Telecasters despite the fact that these guitars are not so popular. The problem is that the traditional teles are full of “angles” and it became uncomfortable when I started to play them. There could be a solution: to do MB-1 with the shape of tele, but with more anatomical forms, a bit like the most modern, developed stratos. Besides that, the cut away should be large like on a Jem guitar to get the access to the last frets easy. By the same reason I asked to do the junk between the fretboard and the body basing on the same guitar model. At that time Tagima was already doing a type of a headstock I would like to have, with two locks on the top and four on the bottom. I chose this type of headstock, but I had an impression that I would like more to have it inversed, with four locks on the top and two on the bottom.
Besides the layout of the body, I settled on a pickguard in the style of stratos, although the shape is based on the telecasters type, and also I decided that the input jack should be on the lateral of the guitar like on Jems. The chosen pickups were the same I used on some Tagima Strato: Seymour Duncan 59 at the bridge position, JB at the neck position and a single SSL-1 in the middle. All the hardware is by Gotoh. And then I had some doubt: should we use a dark fretboard or a light one? Besides the aesthetic differences, the fretboards done from the light wood are famous for their harsher and brighter sound, and the ones done from the dark wood provide heavier and stronger sound. Well, everything depends on the combination of freatboard, wood of the body and the pickups, which also influence this factor. Since my Tagima Strato had a light wood fretboard, first I decided to choose rosewood fretboard with ivory and cedar body. Thus, the first prototype of this guitar was done and not so many things have been changed since then.
A few years later we had a new conversation, this time with my partner Marcio Zaganin who takes care of the development of Tagima instruments, and a few things were improved. Basically, the position of some switches was changed a little bit, and the edges were smoothed even more making the instrument to be more anatomic and comfortable.
According to those changes, the bind was also moved again. Finally, the back side was changed from black to Sunburst, and the model was ready to be released.
During the last years this one has been my main instrument on stage as well as in the studio and its price/benefit is one of the best on the market. I’m really proud to have this partnership with Tagima over so many years and to have this opportunity to develop MB-1. They are the first company, who believed in my music and started to support me. Such companies like Tagima, who support Brazilian music, are essential for the development of our musical market.
Don’t miss the opportunity to get to know MB-1.
MB 1 - (Marcelo Barbosa)
Fret board: Size 43mm (1st fret), 52.3mm (12the fret) Rosewood 24 frets with abalone dots
Sensors: 1 59 Model (neck),1 SSL-1 (center) and 1 JB (bridge) of Seymour Duncan
5-way switch controles, 1 volume and 1 tone
Bridge: Floyd Rose System by Gotoh
Hardware color: chrome
Color: Sunburst with black pickguard