My Guitars

Click on any picture to open a slideshow. Once there, you can click the link in the caption for the full-size picture.

The whole family.
The Telecasters

1997 Takamine EF440C
The was the first really nice guitar I purchased. It has a spruce top, mahogany back & sides, rosewood fingerboard, and the rosette is made of ebony & padauk. It is an acoustic-electric, and has the Graph-EX preamp. It sounds good plugged in or natural and has served me well. This is one I will probably have for life.

It is starting to show some dings, but generally looks good when polished up.

2001 Fender American Standard Telecaster
The first electric guitar I bought was a Yamaha RGX. It was a lot easier to play than the Splendor below that I grew up with, but it had a locking tremolo that was a real pain to tune. I eventually traded it in for a Mexican made Stratocaster. I played that for a couple years before trading it for this 3-color Sunburst American made Telecaster in December of 2001. It has an alder body and maple neck. I fell in love with it immediately. It is easy to play, lightweight, looks great, and sounds even better. I made a couple modifications to it. I changed the pickguard to the pearlized white from the standard solid white. More importantly, I changed the selector switch to a 4-way from the stock 3-way. This gives me an additional option in the middle of having both pickups wired in series. This gives me a somewhat stronger, darker tone. This is really great for rhythym players like myself.

I love the 3-color burst.

2004/2005 Gibson Les Paul Studio
I always wanted a Les Paul and in February 2005 I finally got one. I couldn't justify the cost of the Standard, so I chose this wine red Studio model with the gold hardware. I love the combination of the red with the gold hardware. This guitar plays well and has that classic Les Paul sound. It is quite heavy. I don't play it very often, but I'm ok with that.

This is in mint condition since I've played it so infrequently.

Fender Hybrid Telecaster
I'm calling this a hybrid since I assembled it from parts (commonly nicknamed a "Partscaster"). The body is a red American Telecaster, the neck is a rosewood fingerboard from a Mexican made Tele. The neck and bridge pickups are Telecaster Texas Specials, and the middle pickup is a Stratocaster Texas Special. For the wiring I turned to the internet for help. The standard Nashville (3 pickup) Telecaster wiring has the middle position of the 5-way switch set to the middle pickup only. I didn't want that. So my middle position is the neck & bridge in series. This guitar is incredibly versatile in its tone depending on which pickup(s) are on. My 5 options are: neck only, neck & mid, neck & bridge, mid & bridge, bridge only. I wanted this to have a different look, so I stained the fretboard with ebony stain and went with all black hardware. I couldn't find a black neck pickup cover so I had to leave that chrome. I debated taking off the Fender decal since it isn't a Fender guitar, but in the end decided since the majority of the parts used were Fender to leave it on. I did take the serial number off though. This guitar is quickly becoming my favorite because of its versatility - I've even started using it instead of my American Standard.
I prefer maple necks, but since I wanted the red & black look I went with rosewood.
Black bridge, black switch plate, I had to buy and switch the middle pickup cover to black, even the jack socket is black.
The black tuners cost me quite a bit more than chrome, but it completed the look.

2009 Thinline Telecaster
This Thinline was the first guitar I built. Most of the parts came from Stewart-MacDonald. They are a great stringed instrument part retailer located in Ohio. I found them while searching for screws to refinish the Splendor at the bottom of this page. As soon as I started looking through their website I knew I wanted to build my own Telecaster. I pored over the options for awhile and ultimately decided on the Thinline style, which is a semi-hollow body. The body came unfinished but I opted to buy the finished neck. I felt that at the time I wasn't ready to install frets. I had to sand and finish the body, and I sanded down the headstock and applied my own decal and put several coats of finish over the top of that. Once assembled I had to do a "fret job" which involved sanding and filing the frets and setting up the whole guitar. The Stew-Mac pickups I initially bought turned out to be kind of weak, so I ended up replacing them with Fender Noiseless which have a little more guts without being too powerful. This guitar is incredibly light and plays and sounds great. My only complaint is that the neck is somewhat soft and it doesn't take much force to flex it out of tune.

I chose gold hardware because I thought it looked nice against the clear finish.

My label. I found a font close to the one Fender uses, printed these on transfer film on my inkjet, applied then finished...several times because I learned certain finishes don't play nice with the printer ink!

Homemade Telecaster
This was my first scratch-built body. The project to build this guitar is documented here. The body is Ash, but because of its weight I believe it is Northern Ash instead of Swamp Ash. The pickups are Fender Texas Specials. It turned out nice and was a lot of fun to build, but is a bit on the heavy side.

To highlight the maple top I chose to go without a pickguard and switch plate.

Hitachi Splendor
This is the guitar I grew up with. I started playing it when I was 5. It is a cheap Japanese guitar made in the late 60's or early 70's. The body is actually plywood. When I reacquired this (rescued from a pending garage sale!) I cleaned it up but I still need to work on the wiring. The pickups may need to be rewound, which I've never done before. The neck on this is huge. After years of playing the Fender C-shape necks this feels like a tree trunk in comparison. I would have been a better player had I had a Fender years ago! But I'm glad I now have it back. If I had a nickel for every hour I spent playing this along with Chet Atkins and Neil Diamond records in the 70's I would have been able to buy a new guitar a lot sooner!

Three pickups, three switches, and tremolo. I had no idea how to set up a guitar back then. It was so out of whack when I got it back it took two hours to set the string heights and intonate it.

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