The Crow was the very first Signature Series guitar. The series will be a group of instruments, every one completely different and each guitar is one of a kind, never to be repeated. For those who haven’t seen the very first Crow video, here it is again. Thanks to “The Visitor” Tommy Williams.
The requests come in daily. Can I make a Telecaster? Would I build a bass using a Fender style as a starting point? Will I ever make a guitar that the average musician can afford? My answer is yes, and no. I can make a Telecaster, anyone can make a Telecaster. I can make a great one, but that doesn’t interest me. I politely suggest that they invest their money in a collectible vintage 1950s Fender. If they are bound and determined to spend money on a replica I send those folks to a fellow builder who is known for knocking the T-style out of the park. Tom Anderson or Creston Lea come to mind. If I didn’t mention you, please don’t take it personally.
It’s not that it is beneath me, it’s just not what I do. I love Telecasters, I just don’t make them to sell. The P-bass thing falls into the same category. I have a lovely 1964 3-tone sunburst Precision which is my go-to bass. Why would I want a copy, when I already have a rubber stamp version from ‘64?
And that’s what most guitars are—rubber stamp instruments. I don’t condescend, it’s just fact. My bass and my beloved ’56 Stratocaster were just churned out of a factory that CBS saw fit to buy for $100 million in today’s money. Not exactly a boutique shop. Even brands like PRS build hundreds of instruments every day. The chances of your guitar being one of a kind are extremely limited. This is not to say that these guitars aren’t great tools—they are. They may be genuine, but they’re not an original. In the art world this is known as a serigraph (or its poorer cousin lithograph). Merely a reproduction of an original. Unless you have the very first pre-production protoype, you own a copy.
So when someone asks where they might try one of my guitars, the answer is simple—in my shop. OK, here’s the short story to save you the effort required to read my blog or website. There is and will only be one Sakura. Only one Crow. Only one Hell’s Half Acre, one Copperhead, one Wardenclyffe, so on and so forth. I build true one-of-a-kind instruments for people who understand the value of something original.
Here’s a video episode that explains a bit of my building process.
My friend Mark Spencer droped in for a visit, so I put some guitars in his hands and rolled the camera. In this clip Mark found that the Crow can get twangy.
Putting my Signature Series guitars into the hands of great musicians builds the character of each instrument. In this episode, Jim Chapdelaine encounters The Crow for the first time.
I enjoy having visitors to the workshop play my instruments. I feel as though each musician leaves a little bit of themselves with the guitar. The process is to roll the camera and then put the guitar in their hands and see what develops. Here’s my friend Mike getting greasy on the Crow.