If you’ve visited our site before, you may have noticed some changes around here. TK’s focus has shifted in the past four years from general fabrication to almost exclusively focusing on custom guitars, guitar parts and all that goes with the design and manufacturing process of these products. Therefore, we wanted our website to better reflect what our business is about today. With the help of our friend Ryan over at Atomic Industry and of course The Jalopy Journal, we’ve been able to do that. (Thanks Ryan!)
A few things that won’t change:
TK and team will continue using our vintage American made tools to fabricate the highest quality guitars and accessories, at times in our somewhat hillbilly methods, because we feel that made in America does matter and new is not always better. There are faster and cheaper ways to do things but that’s not who we are.
We will continue to share music from, and stories about some of the best players from today and yesterday, from all over the world, who continue to inspire us to be better at what we do and to keep practicing every day.
We will continue to share photos, stories and videos about architecture, art, cars, tools, other interests and the crazy and beautiful desert we live in because these are the things that make life interesting to us, and hope that you may find something interesting in these stories too. There really is no separation in our work/life so we share it all.
When you love what you do as much as TK does, it’s a gift to be able to go to a space everyday and create something with your hands that another guitar player gets to eventually enjoy for many years to come. You know the difference when you hold and play an instrument that has the soul of the maker in it. Thanks so much to everyone who stops by from time to time and for your comments and conversation!
I used to work with a grouchy old timer who referred to all flat-type guitars as pancakes. So until I come up with a better name, I’m calling these pancakes.
This is the first of two guitars that I’ve recently built, loosely based on Deke Dickerson’s ‘’Jodie Pilliod’’ guitar built by P.A. Bigsby.
Frank ordered his with a 24.625’’ scale and features my C.A.R. pickups, custom vibrato arm and vibrato.
A few photos…
We never get tired of driving around Palm Springs looking at mid-century architecture. Last week I was feeling un-inspired so once again, TK suggested we go take some photos of both the Twin Palms and Las Palmas neighborhoods. I don’t know if it’s the timeless beauty of the clean, simple architecture against the beautiful desert backdrop, or the thrill of standing in a strangers front yard taking photos of their house like a stalker, but as always, it was a mood changer.
At the end of last year, I had the privilege of working on a vintage Bigsby pole piece guitar pickup for Deke Dickerson. I’m not sure where he got it but it’s going on the “Butterball Paige” guitar that is currently being restored. The work that I did required the pickup to be fully disassembled. At that time I was able to take notes on how it was constructed, accurately take all the measurements of the magnets, bobbin, base plate and aluminum housing. I think it’s obvious that I’ve been a Bigsby nut for a long time now, so with all of this information, the next logical step was to make my own reproduction of this legendary guitar pickup. Now I’m offering it for sale as the C.A.R. Pickup.
The first step was to make the wood patterns for the aluminum pickup housing and trim rings. (I’m offering the trim rings in two sizes at this time, a 1/8’’ flat one and a 7/16’’ raised one). Before I started I calculated how much aluminum shrinks in the casting process and added a few thousands for clean up and polishing to my measurements. I used some mahogany I had laying around to make the patterns. Then I found a source to make the magnets for me to the exact dimensions and material as the originals. All of the other parts (bobbin and base plate) I fabricate at my shop with my antique tools and somewhat hillbilly fabricating methods. The clean up and polishing of the cast aluminum pieces is also done at my shop so I can ensure a nice fit of the trim ring to the pickup housing.
It took a few months to get all this to happen but I finally got a few assembled and mounted on my Telecaster. It’s a great pickup that I’m completely happy with. Perfect for anyone playing traditional Jazz, Swing, Rockabilly, Travis picking or Blues. Mounted at the bridge position it’s perfect for that ‘’Grady Martin” sound. At the neck, it’s a great pickup for Jazz, Swing and Blues. It has that distinct hollow, wooden, almost buoyant tone that floats so well on top of what a good rhythm section is doing. Here is a quick demo of the C.A.R. Pickup at the bridge position.
Fortunately, TK hasn’t had time to work on any fabrication other than guitars lately, so when the owner of the “It House” wanted one of our Concrete Planters, he was happy to oblige. Even though it snowed in the desert last night, we’re already thinking about Spring, warm weather and what we want to accomplish in the yard this year!
I finished up this pickup over the weekend and am pleased with the way it turned out. To avoid any hassle I’m going to say it’s a replica but I won’t say of what.
I will say it features a cast aluminum housing, 40AWG wire, alnico magnets with the same great sound as my blade pickup.
I’m thinking of making a batch of these to sell if there is enough interest. The price will probably be close to my blade pickup (sans walnut spacer). So if you or anyone you know may be interested in one or a pair, shoot me an email.