Reader Guitar of the Month: Ceres

This T-style was carved out of leftover mahogany used to replace a historical statue atop the Vermont State House.


Name: Artie Toulis

Location: Calais, Vermont
Guitar: Ceres

This is my guitar, “Ceres.” I do repairs and build guitars from kits, but this guitar was handcarved by two skilled artisans out of historically significant materials.

My friend, a Vermont stone-carver named Chris Miller, was recently chosen to replace the 85-year-old statue that sits on top of the Vermont State House. Named “Ceres” for the Goddess of Agriculture, the statue stands almost 15 feet tall and is a beauty to behold. Chris replaced the entire statue with a new one made of mahogany. It took months of crazy long hours, and then a crane lifted it back onto the State House with thousands watching.

After the job was finished, I asked Chris if there was any of the amazing mahogany left over … and there was! Another friend, Rick Clark, who was also involved in the statue project, carved the body for me. It’s a typical T-style, but with a forearm and belly cut added for comfort. It was then given back to Chris to carve the star and add the gold leaf, which matches the star on Ceres’ headband.

The guitar then went to Paul Scheckel of for custom-wound pickups made just for this guitar. The bridge pickup is hot, at around 11.5k, and it can nail the Zeppelin tone when needed. Scheckel also cut a custom wooden pickguard. The hardware and neck came from a kit (

I gave it 15 coats of Minwax Tung Oil Finish and it feels great. It’s shiny, but not glassed in—you can still just barely feel the wood grain. Rumor has it there is enough wood for a matching bass.

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