Reader Guitar of the Month: Put Some Skank on It

A guitarist wanted a Les Paul Jr., so he made his own version out of cherry wood from a handbuilt family heirloom.

Name: Don Schanche

Location: Stockbridge, Georgia
Guitar: The Skank

Greetings from Georgia!

My guitar looks much like a standard Les Paul Jr., but it’s one of a kind. It’s a “Skank:” The name isn’t a dig at my sweet guitar, but a play on my last name: Schanche. That mouthful of Norwegian is pronounced “Skanky,” or at least that’s the way my family says it. I’ve been called “Skanky” all my life, so for this guitar, I decided to lean into that funky name.

I’d wanted a Les Paul Jr. ever since seeing Leslie West play one around 1970. As time went by, I developed a desire to build my own guitars. After building an acoustic from a kit, I decided to tackle an electric from scratch, and to satisfy my craving for an LP Jr.

The wood in this guitar is part of what makes it unique. Way back in the 1960s, my woodworking grandfather built a cobbler’s bench-style coffee table out of cherry wood for my family. A humble but solid piece of furniture, it stayed with us for decades. Eventually it came to be mine, and after years of rough handling it was in less than pristine condition. So, one day I decided to take it apart and re-purpose that old cherry wood—timber that likely began its life in an American forest sometime in the 1800s.

Using a set of plans from a lutherie supply house, I made patterns for a set-neck LP Jr. When I cut out the body section, I kept edge-joints that my grandfather had put together decades earlier. His work remains a part of the instrument. The neck consists of three long pieces, glued side by side, and the headstock has a few sections for the ears.

I added a Lollar P-90 pickup, Gotoh tuners, and a Tune-o-matic bridge. I’m happy with the way it feels and sounds. There’s nothing skeezy about this Skank guitar, and it connects me to the man who left me that old table and many of his woodworking tools when he passed away. It’s a keeper.

Send your guitar story to

It’s ok for a guitar to not sound like a guitar.

As much as we all love juicy, organic guitar tones, it can be just as inspiring to go the opposite way. Combining various modulation effects, envelope filters, oscillators, and more can result in sounds that owe more to Kraftwerk than Led Zeppelin.

Read More Show less

While Monolord has no shortage of the dark and heavy, guitarist and vocalist Thomas V Jäger comes at it from a perspective more common to pop songsmiths.

Photo by Chad Kelco

Melodies, hooks, clean tones, and no guitar solos. Are we sure this Elliott Smith fan fronts a doom-metal band? (We’re sure!)

Legend has it the name Monolord refers to a friend of the band with the same moniker who lost hearing in his left ear, and later said it didn’t matter if the band recorded anything in stereo, because he could not hear it anyway. It’s a funny, though slightly tragic, bit of backstory, but that handle is befitting in yet another, perhaps even more profound, way. Doom and stoner metal are arguably the torch-bearing subgenres for hard rock guitar players, and if any band seems to hold the keys to the castle at this moment, it’s Monolord.

Read More Show less