Oriolo Guitars' new Felix the Cat line is the cat's meow
(Dave Molter | Posted 2010-06-27)
Don Oriolo may not be household name, but his new line of Felix the Cat-themed guitars, which was a big hit at summer NAMM 2010 in Nashville, may change all that.
The son of cartoonist Joe Oriolo, whose creations include Cssper the Friendly Ghost, Don has a background not only in drawing and cartoon production but also in music. A longtime guitarist, Don also made a name for himself by writing and producing hit records for Bon Jovi and Gloria Gaynor and in music publishing.
When Don's father concluded buying the copyright to Felix the Cat from Felix's creator, and Joe's mentor, Otto Messmer, Don oversaw the business end and later produced several Felix features, including 2004's "Felix Saves Christmas."
An diehard guitar collector, Don was inspired to produce the Felix line of stringed instruments, which include electric guitars and basses, acoustic steel- and nylon-string guitars 3/4 size acoustics and even ukuleles. While the line does include some standard -- and very attractive -- acoustics -- the real head-turners in the line are those that feature the Felix theme. Bright cartoon colors -- yellows, reds, blue and green -- are instant eye-catchers, and some far-out body shapes only add to the attractions. There are guitars and basses with bodies shaped like Felix's face, some wildly angular designs, an intriguing eight-string with F holes and a whammy bar, and few rocketship styles that should appeal to anyone who loves retro rock.
Deisgned in the Felix the Cat studios, Oriolo Guitars are produced offshore, but Don enlisted noted luthier/designer Tony DiDomenico to make everything right, with playability and quality sound being the ultimate goals. During a brief workout at NAMM, the guitars looked great, felt good and sounded better. MGR is working on doing a player's review of several Felix models, so stay tuned for more information.
As Felix himself often says, "Righty O!"
Dave Molter is Managing Editor and Basss Guitars Editor of MusicGearReview. Send questions or comments to Dave.