This one arrived already refinished and minus any hardware except the vibrato. The original headstock was repaired at some point but there was a visible crack an inch above the nut, so it was a good candidate for a new Bigsby type neck, CAR pickups, and a custom pickguard. It was a blast to do and I’m very pleased with the way it turned out.
We’re getting ready to ship the most recently finished Smith Special to TR Crandall in NYC. When I had the thought to engrave the hardware, tattoo artist Dave Gibson immediately came to mind. I’ve known Dave for years and after talking with him a few times about my vision, what he came up with was even better than I had imagined. I had seen a photo of Merl’s Super 400 with a Bigsby vibrato engraved but on this guitar, we took it all the way and engraved all of the aluminum. I completed it with a tortoise shell pick guard with longhorn inlay, pine top, headstock overlay with overlapping MOP horseshoes and sunburst finish. All photo by Steve Lester
Here’s the most recently shipped Smith Special. Michael had requested gold-plated hardware which took extra care while assembleing. I’m really happy with the way it turned out. Its a great feeling and challenge when my customers ask for something that we haven’t done before. It keeps the work interesting and fun. Ernie, who works in the shop with me, did a great job on the inlay for both the top and bottom pickguards.
I only got a few photos of the guitar before it left the shop. Michael sent the last photo of his Smith Special in it’s new home with his set up. Its always fun to add an element of surprise to each build. You can see in his shot how we inlayed the word “custom” in the upper cutaway of the guitar. I hope Michael enjoys it for years to come.