Kyle Ryan and I have been working out the details for his white lacquered Special over the last year and a half. Being from Nebraska, he named his Special the Midwestern, and had his fiancée, Mackenzie, design the pickguard and headstock inlay. Ernie Brooks engraved the details on the headstock and did the inlay work on the pickguard. I couldn’t be more pleased with the final results.
I only do a handful of full builds a year, so if you’re ready for something different than what your friends are playing, shoot me an email. I’d love to put you on the list for a custom Special or Roadmaster in 2020 or 2021.
Shipping out a 5 string vibrato and two pickups to builder in Vietnam of all places.
If you get our Newsletter, you saw today that our focus was on pickguards. (If you don’t get it and want to, sign up on the right). Heres a bit of what Nick shared this month:
The sky’s the limit when it comes to custom inlayed pickguards! We can work with pretty much any font or design so it is just a matter of layout placement and the other design elements. Photos, of course, always help…plus we like seeing what other folks draw their inspiration from.
As soon as we settle on all of the elements (font, design, placement, etc.), TK or a member of the team hand draws out a working template for the pieces. The shop mocks it up and sends it off for customer approval. Once adjustments are made and final approval is given, the pickguard and its inlays are cut and assemble by hand, polished up, lacquered (in most cases), and sent off to the soon-to-be-happy customer.
TK uses a special, personally-sourced bakelite for all of his ‘guards that is very similar to what Leo used in Fullerton throughout the 1940s and 1950s. At the moment, both black and white ‘guards are currently available. Black ‘guards are lacquered, again in a manner very similar to classic ‘Casters of the 1950s. The end result is something TK is very well known for: a customized guitar accessory with a lineage that stretches back to the Golden Era!
The shop offers 3 ways to order a custom inlayed pickguard; 1) you can order a stock Tele pickguard through the online shop, 2) you can send your own pickguard for us to use as a pattern, or 3) for custom shape pickguards, you can send your guitar. Regarding option 3, thats the only way we can make a custom shape unless you are able send your existing pickguard for us to use as a pattern. After much trial and error, we have found that a tracing of your pickguard just doesn’t work for proper fit. Of course, drop us a line about any of these order options if you have any questions or concerns at all. And see our previous post with more history about pickguard inlay here.
Working on an all white Smith Special and the first double neck Western Special. Check back for more photos.