Johnston Custom Guitars T-style

  • Body: Black-bound alder
  • Neck: Maple, soft v-shape
  • Hardware: Guitar Fetish chrome Gotoh-style tuners, Guitar Parts Global bridge and control plate, RS GuitarWorks steel saddles
  • Pickups: DiMarzio Twang King
  • Finish: Gold metal flake sparkle, matching headstock

I really love Telecasters. I enjoy other guitars as well, but for whatever reason a Tele just feels like “home” and always has. Named after Don Rich (real name Donald Eugene Ulrich), lead guitarist and harmony singer with Buck Owens & The Buckaroos. Not an exact copy — the Buckaroos’ ’64 custom Teles were champagne sparkle with checkered binding, and their ’66 customs were silver sparkle with black binding, so this is more of a tribute. No added gizmos or tone shaping, its more or less a stock 1964 Tele, with a few minor upgrades like body cavity shielding, Gotoh-style tuners, and the treble bleed mod (i.e., a high-pass circuit that allows the highs to pass through the volume pot even as it is turned down so you don’t lose tone). Sadly Guitar Parts Global is out of business now, which is a shame because I used their bridges on all my Teles, and I enjoyed working with owner Dave Brent. Speaking of Daves, brother Dave Wall in North Carolina suggested I’d dig the DiMarzio Twang Kings, and he wasn’t wrong. The company is known for shredder pickups, who knew they’d make such a great Tele set? The neck p/up alone is worth the price of admission. Being alder, its a bit on the heavy side, weighing in at around 6 lbs, but its a solid player and feels good in my hands. Once again, my pal John at Johnston Custom Guitars in Green Bay, Virginia did a fantastic job, especially the soft-v carve of the neck. Loaded with D’Addario NYXL .10-.46 strings.