Reader Guitar of the Month: Olde Skully

Name: Cary Cummings

Location: Seattle, Washington
Guitar: Olde Skully

As we approach Halloween, the power of the skull only increases! A Seattle guitarist makes a guitar for his everyday macabre needs.

“It is not my intention to be fulsome, but I confess that I covet your skull.”
—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles

Greetings to all my fellow guitar brethren! My name is Cary and I’m a guitar addict. I was bitten and smitten with the “guitar bug” as a kid, and the fascination has remained constant, even getting stronger over time.

Like many, I found I couldn’t stop tinkering about with gear and guitars, trying to personalize and tweak them to my satisfaction. So, in dreaming up my next project (my wife would say scheming up), I thought about various finishes and patterns that might be fun. What could be more iconic and rock ’n’ roll than the ubiquitous image of the skull? I thought of the classic hot rod and motorcycle painting technique of using lace as a template. Why not try it on a guitar body? If only there was a lace material with skulls as the main theme. Luckily, it turns out there is! I set out to give it a go.

“If only there was a lace material with skulls as the main theme. Luckily, it turns out there is! I set out to give it a go.”

An old basswood 2003 Squire ’51 body was my victim. I drilled it to make it string-through, stripped the original finish and rattle-canned on a good coat of primer, and finished in white. Doing first the front (no guts, no glory), then the back, I sprayed black through the lace to create a glorious pattern of skulls. I sealed the pattern in with 20-plus coats of wipe-on poly.

I added a custom Warmoth Tele neck with rosewood fretboard, boatneck carve, 6100 nickel frets, and finished it with wipe-on poly. Doug Shepherd, at Doug’s Custom Neck Plates out of Texas, designed a skull neck plate for me. While waiting for various parts to arrive, I decided the skulls would look sinister if they had eyeballs. I inlaid yellow 3 mm crystal rhinestones into each socket so the guitar could stare down its audience. I selected a skull-approved DiMarzio Super Distortion for the bridge and a Duncan Hot Stack for the neck and kept it simple with a 3-way switch and volume. It sounds downright “skullduggerous” played through a TC Electronic Fangs into a cranked Quilter Aviator Mach 3. My neighbors seem to love it!

While this could be viewed as a Halloween guitar, I think of it more as a skull guitar for your everyday skull guitar needs. As we approach October, the power of the skull only increases!

Rock on all! I will keep an eye out for you. In guitars we trust.

Send your guitar story to

The Deluxe Atlantic Baritone and Deluxe SS Baritone were designed to offer exceptional comfort and vivid, articulate tone—unmistakably different from most baritone offerings.

Read MoreShow less

Great pedal giveaways keep coming during week #5 of Pedalmania! You could win gear from Carvin Audio, EHX, Gamechanger Audio, Hotone Audio, PRS, and Wren and Cuff!

Read MoreShow less

You could win 3 Red Panda Pedals and Gator Cases Pedalboard + Power supply courtesy of Kraft Music! Enter below before October 31, 2022.

Read MoreShow less