Reader Guitar of the Month: TW Special

After finding a collection of 80-year-old tools in his mother’s garage, a Swedish guitarist built an instrument that connects him to his grandfather.

Name: Andrew Duvenhage

Hometown: Hörnefors, Sweden
Guitar: TW Special

I’d always wanted to build a guitar, but thought it was way beyond my handful-of-thumbs capabilities. You have to at least have done some sort of woodworking before you try and build a guitar, right?

One Christmas, visiting my mother, I found a chest under a pile of junk in a corner of the garage. Inside was a collection of old, quite rusty but fully serviceable woodworking tools. A handsaw, a few chisels, a set square, some rasps. Turns out they belonged to my grandfather and his father. Under the same pile of junk was my first electric guitar: a plywood body 1980 Hondo II. It was in even worse condition than the 80-year-old tools.

I knew what I had to do. When I got home, I used YouTube to learn how to restore the tools. Then I used it some more to learn how to use them. I started planing and shaping some stock pine building lumber. If it was good enough for Leo it was good enough for me!

This is the guitar I built. I wanted to keep it simple and clean. I love the Les Paul Jr. shape. I like no-frills and no-fuss guitars, because that’s how I play. It has the neck from my first guitar, and a single P-90 with a push-pull volume tone, which I found the wiring diagram for in a Mod Garage column in your mag. I achieved the finish by using the Japanese style called shou sugi ban, which is where you burn the wood using a heat gun or flame torch. After that, I put on layers of Danish oil.

The guitar works well for all styles and is surprisingly versatile for a one-pickup, one-control guitar. I call it the “TW Special” after my grandfather’s initials. Every time I play it, I feel a connection to him and my great-grandfather. I wonder if they knew when they bought those tools that, one day, they’d end up being used to make a rock ’n’ roll machine?

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Rig Rundown: Adam Shoenfeld

Whether in the studio or on his solo gigs, the Nashville session-guitar star holds a lotta cards, with guitars and amps for everything he’s dealt.

Adam Shoenfeld has helped shape the tone of modern country guitar. How? Well, the Nashville-based session star, producer, and frontman has played on hundreds of albums and 45 No. 1 country hits, starting with Jason Aldean’s “Hicktown,” since 2005. Plus, he’s found time for several bands of his own as well as the first studio album under his own name, All the Birds Sing, which drops January 28.

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• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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