I offer both 1 piece and 2 piece Swamp Ash and 2 piece Alder for my bodies, these are hand made to original vintage correct spec and dimensions, with correct routing depending on the year/style. I pride myself in ensuring my bodies are nicely contoured with flowing round-overs on my S types, and early blackguards which are more rounded than later T styles, all bodies are hand shaped and sanded until they are look and feel perfect. All T types have the correct router hump at the neck pocket.
I offer plain maple, birdseye maple or flame maple, which is always quarter sawn for stability and consistency. My 50’s spec necks are true 1 pc maple with walnut strip and plug, and I offer an early 60’s true ‘slab’ dark rosewood board with curved fingerboard join at the headstock, or a mid 60’s ‘veneer/curved’ fingerboard... very cool, and not many builders offer this! My 60’s spec neck have clay dots, and 50’s spec have black fibreboard dots, just like the originals. I only use Jescar fretwire, and offer a few sizes, most common being equivalent to: 6105 / 6150 and their medium jumbo is also a popular choice.
Feel free to get in touch for measurements if you’re unsure which to go for.I offer a few neck profiles, all very popular and feel great and played in with heavily rolled fingerboard edges on every guitar:
Vintage Chunky C – 0.890” at the first fret / 0.990” at the twelfth fret
Vintage C – 0.830” at the first fret / 0.930” at the twelfth fret
Modern C – 0.890” at the first fret / 0.890” at the twelfth fret (no taper)
Soft V – 0.890” at the first fret / 0.990” at the twelfth fret
Baseball Neck – for FAT neck lovers!! 0.990” thick across the whole neck
I only use the best hardware on my guitars, which includes Gotoh vintage style machine heads as standard. These are higher quality than the original Klusons and I personally prefer these as they are more solid and offer smoother, more precise tuning. When it comes to other hardware, I use a mix of Gotoh and Callaham as they are the best quality parts available. Tremolos/Bridges, I use Callaham as standard which are considered the best in the industry. These feature period correct specs such as cold rolled Steel Blocks with shallow ballends on tremolos, and compensated brass saddles for correct intonation on T style bridges. These are the best vintage inspired, improved reproductions on the planet, and I use them on all my guitars AS STANDARD! All my guitars come with a vintage correct serial number’d neckplate, correct to the year the guitar is based on. All blackguard T builds have period correct slotted screws throughout made by Callaham.
Electrics & Pickups
When it comes to achieving that original sound, its important to use the highest quality components out there. I use the same components that were used back in the day. CTS true vintage taper pots, CRL spring loaded switches, Switchcraft jack sockets, Gavitt cloth covered wire, and 'wax in paper' vintage style capacitors made by Luxe. This is all included as standard in each and every one of my guitars. I also use full aluminium sheiling plates on my 60’s spec S-Types and the smaller cavity aluminium sheiling plates on my 50’s S-Types. All my pickups are hand wound for me by Radioshop Pickups as standard, and we have worked together on creating my own MB50s and MB60s pickups which are made to my specs and only available on my guitars. Radioshop are small two-man operation based in the UK, and are doing great things! All pickups are vintage correct spec, which produces that sought after vintage tone. For custom orders, if you have something else in mind then let me know and I can source other pickups, but you’ll find Radioshop pickups in most of my builds and in all guitars heading to dealers. To check out the sound of my guitars with these pickups, head over to the demo videos page.
Pickguards & Plastics
Just like my bodies and necks, all my guards are cut in house. I offer a mint green plastic as standard on my 60’s builds and also offer some original nitrate material guards from the 60’s as an upgrade. This material has been stored since the 60’s and is very limited! It is closer to the original smokey greyed yellowy colour in comparison to the mint green plastic. It is the real deal and really brings that authentic look to my guitars! I use a single ply white material for my 50’s guards and all my blackguard T styles have real bakelite guards which are cut in house and the nitro lacquered and meticulously aged to look just like the originals. A lot of time goes into making these special guards. My guards feature all the characteristics of the originals including a wide bevelled edge with a thick black layer on my 60's style green guards, machining marks, shrinkage, warpage and cracking. On my 50's style S-Types I use white covers, knobs and tips and age them to look like the original bakelite parts. I dub these my ‘fakelite’ parts which I am very proud to offer, again these are meticulously aged and look fantastic!
Nitro Finishes & Ageing
All my guitars are finished by myself in 100% old fashioned nitrocellulose from the wood up, giving a nice thin, brittle finish, no thick polyester undercoats here! I offer a range of the classic and custom colours, bursts, blondes and metallics from the 50's and 60's, all mixed to original examples to achieve that vintage correct look. All of my guitars come lightly aged. I no longer offer ‘as new’ finishes. I prefer making things look worn and loved! My lightly aged guitars have a low gloss finish with an ‘orange peel’ look to the lacquer, lacquer checking, dings in the all the right places, lightly oxidised hardware, worn plastics, discoloured and warped pickguard etc. This is done through a series of processes over a period of time to ensure everything looks and feels correct. I do everything by hand and take a lot of time on this until I am happy with the result. All my instruments come set up with the very best Curt Mangan strings, and ship in a Gator vintage style hardcase. I ship all my guitars through my freight agent at DHL, they are the best for shipping guitars!