Many guitarists feel that they could never afford ANY custom instrument, but can't find a factory model that works for them. SO, I offer "Parts-Casters", using mostly Fender inspired (and licensed) elements that can be combined in a vast number of variations of your choice.
Component choice and mods incorporated into the build will dictate final costs,but prices can generally be expected to range like mid level to high end "standard" corporate guitars.
This example uses a light weight body with tobacco sunburst flame maple veneer, Gotoh locking tuners, GFS lipstick tube pickups wired with the David Gilmour mod to allow independent switching for the neck pickup, giving 8 tone selections instead of the standard 5. The Wilkinson modern tremolo has a removable block. NOT your typical S type instrument.
Sold but can be recreated. $900.00 with hardshell case
Another Parts Caster in a color from the 50s. Essentially a straight up recreation of one of Leo's best designs, this instrument has some less commonly offered component combinations. It is nearly impossible to find white pickups, black pickguard and rose wood neck with maple headstock on one instrument.
The pickups are Texas Wound, but the mid pick up tone knob can be switched between standard tone duty or to neck volume by pulling it out (the David Gilmour mod). This adds three more easily accessed sonic choices to the usual five. You can take this one from Dick Dale's big surf sound to Pink Floyd's Wall, and then to Stevie Ray Vaughan's smokin' blues with ease.
The Wilkinson two point trem provides solid, reliable return to tuning in addition to being smooth under your palm during muted playing.
All in all, an elegant guitar for under a grand.
$800.00 with hardshell case
Finally Finished! The 25 1/2" scale neck is a licensed part, the pickups are 2x P-90s that split. VERY meaty and rich with 2 volumes and a master tone circuit. The bridge is a locking wrap around that offers excellent adjustments.
HOWEVER....The previous body was the prototype body for testing my ideas about chambering and layering techniques. It all worked, but like Waterford Crystal...I'm not offering factory seconds. I've created a new body of mahogany and curly cherry equal to the rest of my instruments.
I've also taken another step in my chambering process. The bridge and neck blocks are still integral to the core frame, however, I've routed away the spine to allow the top and back plates to move more. The result is a round and rich, woody tone without feedback and the appearance of a solid body guitar. Take a look at the next photo to see the visual of the core as it relates to the top and back plates.
With case: $1300.00
Here is a "driver's view" of the curly cherry Hybrid. The contrast between the surfaces and the core is quite attractive. Several players have already commented on how comfortable the feel is (LIGHT) with the body relief cuts. As always, my control circuits are intended to be stage friendly and provide an exceptional variety of tones on the fly.
You can also get a good look at the gunstock finish I've used on this guitar. Even thinner than sprayed Nitrocellulose, and just as durable.
This compact sapphire gem began life as an Ibanez 5 string bass.
The conversion involved:
Drilling and routing the body for a machined ABM string through bridge
Filling, re-laminating, and re-boring the headstock for a new complement of tuners (Grover Roto-Matics combined with four of the original set)
Replacing the original nut
Adding a metal flake blue finish for visual punch.
My bassist is a Steinberger collector. He has commented that this bass plays as easily as a standard 4 string bass.
$900.00 with hardshell case
You can get a better look at the massive ABM bridge plate, and metal flake blue with black edging finish.
This instrument shows what I can do with a "terminal" case.
This short scale, out of production Epiphone had a loose neck and splitting seams. It had lost its tone bar (like a violin has inside between the top and back under the bridge), no tailpiece, no bridge, one pickup, and grinding tuners.
At the end of the rebuild, unplugged, with a set of nylon flat wound strings this restored 16" hollowbody bass has acoustic 3/4 upright sonic aspirations, but sings through an amp with a super smooth jazz tone.
This 1952 Gretsch New Yorker was a classic basket case! The dove tail neck block had split so the neck was impossible to reattach. I devised a clamping method that reached through the F-holes to repair it . The block, and the neck heel both needed more repairs to restore a good solid fit. The"repaired" headstock had split and delaminated. These were properly mended, but scars remain.
A Micarta nut, a replacement set of Kluson 3 on a strip tuners, and 6 replacement frets were required. The lacquer finish is a bit crazed, but it, and all the bindings, and pickguard are original.
The neck has no truss rod, so the action at the 12th fret is a bit high. The lower frets are very playable with a big, round, warm tone with great projection.
This instrument wants a collector to adopt it into a good home.
Price (with new medium grade hardshell case) is $620.00.
This customer's Gibson had been his father's with a history only possible from the streets of New York City in the late sixties. The "repair" to the original bridge included a couple of Electric staples. (Like the ones you use to hold Romex cable to your 2x4 studs in house construction).
There were other issues including a broken (off) headstock, back bent neck with corroded truss rod, worn nut, and some other "minor" problems.
The restoration of the bridge was foremost due to the unavailability of a replacement bridge. The next slide shows the ebony bridge after being repaired. By blending in replacement segments of ebony where original had broken away, the original shape and geometry was restored.
With the repairs to the other more typical problems, this Gibson squared shouldered dreadnought has regained its classic "thump" and power.
After removal, scarfing in replacement ebony, re-drilling and forming the pin holes, using pearl dots to camouflage the staple holes, and regluing the bridge in its rightful place, the venerable Gibson still shows its heritage, but along with the other (comparatively) simple repairs, plays and sounds like a true thoroughbred again.
In 2007 as I was finishing up my first From Scratch instrument (the #1 Archtop), a co-worker asked if I could help him salvage an instrument his brother had begun years before as a college engineering project. The original project goal had been to recreate a factory Peavey guitar as a custom walnut version. The body succeeded in essence, but there were unsolvable issues with the neck.
As a solution, we used a licensed Fender neck as a replacement. The problem in that simple solution was that the scale length changed by over an inch, and the tremolo is a through body device like a strat's. Two other photos show the front and back after I'd re-routed the back end, and filled the front end of the trem pocket.
Another photo shows Dan, with the finished guitar. We kept the original circuit design, but used new pots and replaced the pups with some hot Golden Age Humbuckers from StewMac. We later switched the pickguard to black to let the walnut grain take front and center
This repair actually required two separate pieces of wood to fill the replaced space. One for the interior "floor" of the trem spring well, and the "cap" on the upper body that would hold the trem stud bushings.
If you look carefully on either side of the trem stud bushings, you can see the lines outlining the remade upper surface. Even though I knew that the pickguard would hide the repair, I tried very hard to keep grain pattern and color consistent with the original body's JUST IN CASE.
Dan asked for a monogram in the headstock that would reflect his brother's initial role in the guitar's creation. We agreed that a simple green abalone BDP would show on the maple and do the job.
With the new pick guard the BDP became more sophisticated, and the walnut can really show off!