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]

How jangle, glam, punk, shoegaze, and more blended to create a worldwide phenomenon. Just don’t forget your tambourine.

Intermediate

Beginner

  • Learn genre-defining elements of Britpop guitar.
  • Use the various elements to create your own Britpop songs.
  • Discover how “borrowing” from the best can enrich your own playing.
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When considering the many bands that fall under the term “Britpop”–Oasis, Blur, Suede, Elastica, Radiohead’s early work, and more–it’s clear that the genre is more an attitude than a specific musical style. Still, there are a few guitar techniques and approaches that abound in the genre, many of which have been “borrowed” (the British music press’ friendly way of saying “appropriated”) from earlier British bands of the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s.

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"'If I fall and somehow my career ends on that particular day, then so be it," Joe Bonamassa says of his new hobby, bicycling. "If it's over, it's over. You've got to enjoy your life."

Photo by Steve Trager

For his stylistically diverse new album, the fiery guitar hero steps back from his gear obsession and focuses on a deep pool of influences and styles.

Twenty years ago, Joe Bonamassa was a struggling musician living in New York City. He survived on a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ramen noodles that he procured from the corner bodega at Columbus Avenue and 83rd Street. Like many dreamers waiting for their day in the sun, Joe also played "Win for Life" every week. It was, in his words, "literally my ticket out of this hideous business." While the lottery tickets never brought in the millions, Joe's smokin' guitar playing on a quartet of albums from 2002 to 2006—So, It's Like That, Blues Deluxe, Had to Cry Today, and You & Me—did get the win, transforming Joe into a guitar megastar.

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