What would make the AMS crew agree to head into the Great White North in the middle of winter? Oh just a chat with a little-known guitarist named Alex Lifeson!
That’s right! We got the incredible opportunity to sit down and have a chat with legendary Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson about his latest signature guitar model: the Lerxst Limelight. Of course, we talked about lots of other things too, like how he has evolved his sound over the years, his current projects, and the story behind the iconic Hentor Sportscaster. Watch the interview now:
The Lerxst Limelight – Alex Lifeson signature model
Alex Lifeson has played many guitars over the years. But now, he’s teaming up with fellow Canadians at Godin to create his latest signature guitar model: the Lerxst Limelight.
The Lerxst Limelight is the culmination of all the decades of guitar-playing experience Alex Lifeson has accumulated throughout his career. He took the main aspects of some of his favorite guitars and put them together to make the ultimate versatile rocker. It’s essentially a modern take on the legendary Hentor Sportscaster!
This S-style guitar features all sorts of amazing features that guitar players from any number of genres will appreciate:
- Fatter D-shaped neck
- HSS pickup configuration with Lerxst Limelight humbucker and two Lerxst Limelight single coils
- Three-way pickup selector
- Tone and volume knobs
- Tremolo bridge (option for Floyd Rose or Vega)
- 22 medium stainless-steel frets
- Locking machine heads (Vega models only)
- Ash body with Canadian rock maple neck and ebony fretboard
- High gloss Cream finish
Alex Lifeson loves a thick neck. In the interview, he joked that he prefers “almost an I-shaped neck.” It fits nicely in his larger hands for better speed and agility. That’s why the Lerxst Limelight is outfitted with a D-shaped neck to fit larger-than-life hands.
The pickups on the Lerxst Limelight have been specifically made for the Limelight based on Alex Lifeson’s specifications. The single coils are nice and bright, providing tons of clarity, while the high-output humbucker brings in the smoothness and “squishiness.”
The result is an ultra-versatile guitar that can work for a wide variety of tones. In fact, Alex Lifeson said that he could probably use this guitar alone to play an entire show!
Since Lifeson can’t take the stage without a good tremolo, the Lerxst Limelight comes with two tremolo options. You can choose either a Floyd Rose or a Vega trem system.
On the Vega setup, you’ll find locking tuners, a Graphtech nut, and no string tree to get in the way of all those good vibrations — all things you don’t really need on a Floyd Rose setup, anyway!
The three-way selector is located on the bottom horn (when holding the guitar in playing position). According to Lifeson, he loves the Stratocaster body feel, but he’s not a huge fan of where the selector switch is located. He moved the pickup selector to the horn to give the strumming hand more space to move while still keeping the toggle switch in easy reach.
And in a world of three- and four-knob guitars, the Lerxst Limelight features only one tone and one volume control. Why, you ask? Because you don’t need any more than that! In fact, Alex said he doesn’t even use the tone knob. All you need is the volume. Why not make the tone knob into a remote for your TV or a cappuccino maker? Maybe on the next signature model…
The final little detail Alex Lifeson just had to have was an inverted input. Rather than input sinking down into the guitar, the input on the Lerxst Limelight comes out of the guitar. It makes it much easier to plug in/out, which is super helpful when you swap guitars as much as Alex Lifeson does.
Whether you choose the Floyd Rose or the Vega tremolo, one thing is for certain: The Alex Lifeson Lerxst Limelight is one serious guitar you won’t want miss!
Inspiration for the Alex Lifeson Lerxst Limelight: The Hentor Sportscaster
All great pieces of art are derived from some source of inspiration. For the Lerxst Limelight, that inspiration is the iconic Hentor Sportscaster.
Alex Lifeson drove fans crazy when he took the stage with a mysterious guitar that didn’t even have a name on the headstock! This mystery axe turned out to be a custom build that became lovingly known as the Hentor Sportscaster — which Lifeson did eventually add to the headstock using Letraset. Fancy!
Lifeson was typically drawn to larger-body guitars, but he always had a soft spot for the look and sound of a Stratocaster — if only it had a humbucker… So he took a Strat-style body, popped in a humbucker, added a tremolo bridge, and gave it a silly name based on a mispronunciation of his producer Peter Henderson’s name and the fact that it was a -caster type guitar. The “Hentor Sportscaster” was born.
Alex used a few versions of the Hentor Sportscaster in different colors consistently throughout his career. In fact, the red version became known as the “DEW” guitar because he always used it for “Distant Early Warning (opens in new tab).” He also used his black and cream-colored Sportscasters for plenty of other songs, like “Limelight (opens in new tab)” for which the new Lerxst Limelight model is named!
The now-iconic Hentor Sportscaster is the direct inspiration for the new Alex Lifeson Lerxst Limelight. It’s basically a modern iteration that you can now own! You know, because the real Hentor Sportscasters are locked up tight in Lifeson’s personal collection…
Exploring new tones
Back in the 80s, the Hentor Sportscaster brought a brand-new sound to Alex Lifeson’s repertoire, launching the next few decades of Rush musical innovation. Will the Lerxst Limelight do the same…? Perhaps!
Alex Lifeson has several projects going on in the post-Rush world. But arguably his favorite is playing with a band called Envy of None (opens in new tab). It’s a huge shift from his “typical” Rush sound, but that’s what makes it so fun!
According to Lifeson, it has been a lot of fun playing more EDM-inspired songs with tons of pedals and effects. He finally has a use for the “stockroom of gear” that he’s collected over the years — plus all the fancy new plugins that have come out.
Is the Lerxst Limelight pushing Lifeson’s tone evolution, or is the tonal evolution pushing the Lerxst Limelight? We don’t know, but either way we’re excited to see what happens next from the legendary Alex Lifeson!
You have to try the new Lerxst Limelight
Guitarists everywhere have been dying to have their own version of Alex Lifeson’s Hentor Sportscaster for decades. And now, the wait is over!
The all-new Lerxst Limelight is the modern iteration of the iconic Hentor Sportscaster. But this isn’t just a run-of-the-mill vintage reissue; this collaboration between Godin and Lifeson “represents a union of two relentless forces, aiming not just to build guitars, but to sculpt vessels of inspiration, setting new standards in musical expression.”
Have Godin and Lifeson accomplished their goal? We’ll leave that one to you!
A huge thanks to Godin and Alex Lifeson for inviting us all the way up to Montreal to play with some amazing gear — and chat with a living legend, of course! Check out the new Alex Lifeson signature Lerxst Limelight electric guitar for yourself, now available at American Musical Supply.
And don’t forget to watch the AMS Alex Lifeson interview (opens in new tab) and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more exclusive interviews, product releases, and plenty of fun musical content.