Reader Guitar of the Month: T-Style Chickadee

A Vermont teen is already on his third guitar build—and he’s funding it all by working on a farm.

Name: Fin Hewitt
Hometown: Stannard, Vermont
Guitar: Homemade T-Style Chickadee

This is my homemade Telecaster copy. I'm a 15-year-old guitarist and aspiring builder. I made this through an independent-study program at my high school working with Creston Lea, an awesome builder in my area. It has Lollar P-90s, a mahogany Warmoth neck, one volume, one tone, a pickup selector, and an alder body I made myself.


A good friend of mine painted the Chickadee. I was trying to think of something to personalize my build. I was hanging out in the woods with a friend and we got some chickadees to land on our hands, which made me think that a bird would look pretty damn cool on a guitar.

I'm a huge fan of bands like Blackberry Smoke, Drive-By Truckers, Davy Knowles, Whiskey Myers—the list goes on. This guitar sounds awesome for that kind of tone—just the right amount of grit and twang.

I went to my first rock show when I was 9. That same day, I got my first electric guitar, a little Squier starter pack that came with a 10-watt SP-10 amp. Later that summer I saw an amazing local band called Waylon Speed. (They remain my all-time favorite!) During the show, the bassist mentioned playing a Creston [Lea]. Of course, I googled him and just about fell off my chair. So here I am!

I built one partscaster before this. It plays great and I love it but it took me about five hours to build, counting riding my bike 12 miles to get a drill bit after I broke the third one…I hate small drill bits. This time I wanted to do more of the building, so I did. I'm also working on a Corvus copy and thinking about starting a banjo.

Now I have to tap trees and feed cows to pay off the parts, which I'm a tiny bit less excited about, but it's totally worth it.

Send your guitar story to submissions@premierguitar.com.

[Updated 10/19/21]

Intermediate

Beginner

  • Develop a better sense of subdivisions.
  • Understand how to play "over the bar line."
  • Learn to target chord tones in a 12-bar blues.
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