“The Griffin” Fullerton Custom, hand delivered this weekend to provide a little extra playing time before heading out on a 35 gig cross-country tour. It’s all custom, with lots of direct input from the owner. Special bakelite pick guard, Bigsby B5 vibrato with floating bridge, TV Jones Super’Tron pickups, custom wiring, and a uniquely shaped reclaimed knotty pine body. Did I mention the 24.75” Gibson scale neck & rosewood fretboard with an oversized 70’s Strat-style headstock? More photos and details to come!
How about a little love for the venerable P-90 pickup? They’ve been a key part of the sonic landscape since they were introduced in 1946. Even though dumped by Gibson when the PAF humbucker arrived they made a comeback because nothing else truly duplicates that tone. This Fullerton Custom Nomad sports a slightly overwound version that roars with loads of typical P-90 raucousness. Why a switch on such a simple setup? A kill switch. Yeah P-90s are noisy but hey, so are some of my best friends
Some beautifully aged knotty pine offsets a Fullerton So-Cal Classic. Hard to imagine when such a timeless design was derided as a “canoe paddle” and nothing but a plank with strings! As the new year begins I’m completing some customer orders then turning my attention to a series of special projects. Brushing up some old skills, developing some new ones
It all started in 1950 with the simple black Esquire, a design that continues to inspire guitar makers decades later. It’s certainly what got me started and my Fullerton So-Cal is still a personal favorite. Never get tired of its simple and elegant good looks or its chimey, twangy tones
Here’s a special project that veered a bit outside my usual focus. At the heart it’s still a thin pine body with typical vintage accoutrements but there’s a good deal more going on. The sparkle sunburst by @captainken7 was another experiment with automotive style finishes with some very subtle and elegant pinstripe details. In addition to a 50’s Broadcaster bridge pickup there’s also a Fender Custom Shop Texas Special Strat pickup in the middle position and a DiMarzio MiniBucker in the neck – what’s commonly known as a “Nashville” set up. The 5-way switching scheme is where this gets really interesting! Along with the usual Nashville neck-middle-bridge options the original owner wanted my modified Esquire wiring which includes the bridge with cocked-wah preset and bridge direct to output. Many diagrams and a few burnt fingers later it all worked out fine. And the sound? Well worth all that effort
Seems like every player wants one and just about every builder makes one. The Blackguard Telecaster is an iconic guitar and for good reason. A simple but elegant design and an incredible versatility continue to make it a highly sought after instrument more than 60 years after its introduction. This knotty pine Fullerton Custom harkens back to those first 1950 models with thin pine bodies, chunky necks, and pickups evolved directly from clear & twangy lap steel pickups. Some things just never get old
Detail of the bridge and controls of a Fullerton Custom So-Cal. 1-1/2″ laminated pine body, ultra-thin finish, CRS steel saddles and bridgeplate, custom pickup hand-wound to 1950 specs, fat soft V neck. The 1950 pine-body Esquire was the grandaddy of the Telecaster and although only a handful were made they occupy an important place in modern guitar history. Leo Fender’s goal was a guitar that was easy to build, easy to repair, and sounded good. I’d say absolutely “yes” on all counts – an iconic, timeless design that continues to deliver decades later.
Enough paint! Time to show off some beautiful old knotty pine! This Fullerton Custom features a honey amber finish that just glows and a full array of vintage-style accoutrements including a hand cut bone nut, bakelite pickguard, 3-saddle bridge and a smooth-as-silk soft V neck. The light patina on the nickel hardware accentuates the vintage feeling. Not so traditional is the set of DiMarzio Area T hum reducing pickups. DiMarzio does a great job of creating a noise reducing pickup that is remarkably quiet while still retaining a true vintage tone & character.
Before the Telecaster, Nocaster, or the Broadcaster there was the Esquire. In April 1950 Leo Fender began production of his new “Electric Spanish Guitar”, which in spite of a less than enthusiastic reception at NAMM would become one of the most successful & iconic electric guitar designs ever created. Similar to that early model this Fullerton So-Cal features a 1-1/2” laminated pine body finished in black, a white styrene pick guard, Fender’s innovative integrated adjustable bridge/pickup assembly with steel bridge saddles, and a clear & twangy hand wound pickup based on lap steel design. Those first models had no truss rod but I see neck adjustability as a feature that most players want and need unless they plan to spend their lives playing in sunny southern California. As winter approaches that’s not such a bad prospect
I’m very focused on showcasing the character of the beautiful reclaimed pine I use for most new builds. But early on I experimented with various automotive-type finishes such as this pin-stripped red sparkle Fullerton Custom. Dispensed with the pickguard in favor of a neck pickup trim ring to give the paint job maximum visibility. As good as it looks it’s also a great player, with a smooth Soft V neck and a set of outstanding Seymour Duncan Broadcaster pickups. Twang and flash!