After finding an old drawing in the attic, a North Carolina luthier builds the dream guitar designed by his teenage self.
Name: Madison BuntingHometown: Wilmington, North Carolina
Guitar: Gayle Snoopy
Rewind to the mid ’90s when I was a cocky 16-year-old wannabe guitar-slinger. Cobain was trashing the Fender Jaguar, the B.C. Rich Mockingbird was one of the few flamboyant guitars left that survived the grunge explosion, and Parker had just come out with an awesome two-page ad showcasing the then-new Fly.
I decided I was going to design my own guitar that showcased what I loved about the three aforementioned axes. Of course, I didn’t know anything about scale or even what a router was, so the guitar never came to fruition and remained a drawing (pictured) I occasionally drooled over.
Fast forward to 2015: I’d been doing string-instrument repair for 15 years at a music store in North Carolina and decided to venture out and start my own lutherie business, Gayle Guitars. While visiting my parents, I found my original drawings tucked away in the attic. Knowing what I know now, I figured, why not? So, I set to the course of making a playable and ergonomic version.
This guitar (dubbed “Snoopy” by my wife) is a 2-piece swamp ash body with a black walnut drop top, a 25.5" scale rosewood neck with medium jumbo frets, three on a side headstock (an obvious homage to the Peavey Wolfgang), HSH pickup configuration with a volume/tone and series-parallel switch for the humbuckers, and 5-way super switch for the “Strat-o-Tele” treatment.
The swamp ash/walnut combo creates a great midrange “bark” that cuts through the mix without being obnoxious. The wiring creates tones for a wide range of styles, and the guitar turned out to “fit” me amazingly! It’s since become my main axe, and catches a lot of eyes at shows.
I’m glad I built this guy. It realizes a vision I always had, and it bridges the gap between my 16-year-old rocker self and the late-30s musician I’ve become. Plus, it makes me laugh every time I look at it, because you can clearly see where my head was at that age.
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