Luther Perkins with 1955 Esquire
I am building a custom “partscaster” that is based on a 1955 Fender Esquire. This is a bit of a tribute to Luther Perkins who provided Johnny Cash with his “boom-chicka-boom” sound with his iconic whiteguard Fender Esquire so many years ago.
Luther was a member of Cash’s original Tennessee Two (eventually the Tennessee Three when they added drummer W.S. “Fluke” Holland). Even though his Fender guitar only featured one pickup, he became an important figure in what would become known as rockabilly. He was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
With Johnny Cash singing in a low baritone and playing rhythm guitar Perkins and Marshall Grant on standup bass, devised a back up sound that was new and different. Luther used palm muting to deaden the three bass strings and cross picked the bass line with each chord change like Merle Travis. By playing the same notes as Marshall’s bass runs the “boom-chicka” style was born and would become synonymous with Johnny Cash’s sound. The haunting drone of Perkins’s guitar style with his signature reverb would quickly be embraced by rock-a-billy and early rock and roll guitarists.
Next project I just started ordering parts for is for custom built Charlie Christian Telecaster. Sure Charlie Christian played an arch top, but I am a Telecaster guy and no Jazz player. Not calling this a tribute, but Charlie Christian was one of the most important and influential guitarist of all time.
I will be using a gorgeous Warmoth body that is chambered swamp ash with quilted high grade maple top. It is being routed for Lollar Charlie Christian Telecaster neck pickup and standard bridge that I will be using Jason Lollar’s B.S. Telecaster bridge pickup. These pickups are well matched. These pickups sound a bit like P90s with a lower output. The 4-layer pearl custom pickguard is also from Warmoth.
Don and Buck having fun with their Sparkle Telecasters
Buck Owens and Don Rich may have been the original Telemasters. Back in the 1960s they were playing some Fender custom made “sparkle” Telecasters. No Fender Custom Shop in those days. The story has it that these were created with ground mirrors in the paint according to George Gruhn. They are pretty amazing looking.
I have long admired the Jazzmaster off-set style body and liked the Telemaster take on it. This project should come together quickly. I have almost all the parts in stock except body, pickguard and pickups. Mostly left over from other projects.
This is not the actual one I ordered
I have always wanted to give a Warmoth body a try for one of my partscaster builds. So I ordered a very nice Warmoth Jazzcaster body (Warmoth name for a Telemaster) from their “in-stock showcase” items. This means Warmoth already has the body complete and ready to ship. This does save time and money from a custom made order which would cost a bit more and wait time of at least a few weeks or more.
I started gathering parts to build a Roy Buchanan “Nancy” Telecaster tribute. Roy’s 1953 Blackguard Telecaster serial number 2324 was a special lady with a very unique voice and is an iconic guitar. I grew up listening to Roy Buchanan and Nancy. Roy always had a unique tone and you always know it is him playing when you hear it. Roy was sometimes known as “The Best Unknown Guitarist in the World” as most “rock stars” seek the spotlight, Roy seemed to avoid it. See Roy Buchanan – P.B.S. Greatest Unkown Guitarist in the World from 1971.
I am making an attempt to re-create Roy’s 1953 Blackguard Telecaster “Nancy” and get it as period correct as possible. I want this to be a nice tribute to the guy who was so important to the Telecaster and to music.
This should be a fun project. Working with Tony DeLacugo again on a sparkle finish American Flag over Carved Flames Telecaster. This one is not the standard Telecaster body that Tony has built in the past, but has arm and tummy contours and some weight relief making it even more rare. I wonder what Leo Fender would have thought about this guitar?
Great for 4th of July Party!
One of my favorite Fender guitars has always been the Mary Kaye Stratocaster. Mary Kaye was a female guitarist and performer that was quite popular in the 40s, 50s and 60s. Called by some the “First Lady of Rock and Roll.” The Mary Kaye Trio was a very popular Las Vegas lounge act.
Mary Kaye was photographed in a 1956 Fender promotional advertisement featuring a new blonde ash translucent Stratocaster with a maple neck and gold hardware. Since then this guitar became popularly known as “The Mary Kaye Strat.” Funny thing is she never got to keep this guitar as Fender had other ideas for this new model.
Just getting started on this project. The body is still being built by Tony De Lacugo and I am busy picking up the rest of the parts. This is going to be one wild looking guitar. Tony does amazing work.
Hot Rod Flames over super sparkle silver metal-flake what’s not to love?
I am planning on chrome hardware for this one with a few surprises. I have placed orders from several vendors today. Parts should be arriving next week. I already have the neck. A nice new Fender Select Telecaster neck I picked up on eBay that I paid a fortune for.
Like all Telecaster lovers I have dreamed of playing a Blackguard from the 1950s – Broadcaster, Nocaster or Telecaster. The real thing is unobtainable for most of us that cannot pay today’s price tag. The reissues are nice and some of them are pretty close to owning the real thing.
My love for a Blackguard was only intensified by getting a copy of Nacho Banos fantastic Blackguard Book and spending many hours studying. I decided it would be a blast to assemble my own using the many great vintage style parts that are available. First stop Mark Jenny. I won an auction for this aged butterscotch body with “vintage nitro” aged finish on his eBay store.
Here is a guitar project that is almost finished. I wanted to build a very special one-of-a-kind Telecaster style guitar. I wanted this one to be an upscale model like something the Fender Customer Shop would have made. Well this one is turning out better.
The body was purchased from Tony DeLacugo who has been building guitars for many years and is a fabulous painter. Tony is a “real” artist. He turned this walnut Telecaster body into an amazing piece.
Before and After Carve