Guitar building and finish work by Carson Hess

My mission is to create new guitars that have the look, tone, and feel of the classic guitars produced by the big "F" in the early 1950's-1960's. These guitars are for the player who truly appreciates the wear and patina of a 60+ year old guitar. Creating a guitar that plays and sounds as good as it looks is always the top priority.

I currently source my necks from All-Parts, as I find they make a high-quality and consistent neck. Outsourcing the necks allows me to focus my time and efforts on the details of finishing and setup. I typically order a super fat, baseball bat profiled neck, and will either leave that profile or hand shape it to a full "C" shape or softer "V" profile upon request. The neck will always be shaped to have the "Tadeo Taper" and the fingerboard edges will be rolled for ultimate comfort and playability. These necks feature a 9.5" radius and larger frets than vintage, making them more enjoyable to play. All fretwork (level, crown, polish) is done in-house by myself, along with the cutting and shaping of the bone nut. My guitars are typically setup with .10-.46 gauge strings.

The bodies are cut from my own supply of lightweight Ash or Pine (pine upon request). They are cut using a pattern from an actual '52 Telecaster, complete with proper router "Hump". I feel the winning combination for a lively and resonant guitar is in the combination of a big neck and a lightweight body. This combination will help get you as close to a well-seasoned vintage guitar tone as you can get. Before I will even start applying finish to the parts,  I will  use the great player Carl Verheyen's technique of plucking an open B string and feeling the lower bout of the guitar near the output jack for vibrations. If I don't feel a strong fundamental vibration there, I will use a different combination of necks/bodies until I find it. This is the benefit of being a small, low-volume one man shop. I understand that resonance and acoustic properties of an electric guitar, and how that translates once plugged in to an amplifier is a hotly debated and controversial topic, and I won't pretend to be the authority on that notion, but I will say that a guitar with a resonant and lively acoustic tone that offers exceptional tactile feedback will be an inspiring instrument to play and practice with. I don't know about you, but the more I'm inspired to practice, the better my tone gets.

I prefer to use pickups from the top winders out there: Fralin, Lollar, Don Mare, OC Duff, Klein, and Seymour Duncan Antiquities. I always use vintage push-back cloth wire, CTS pots, CRL switches, Switchcraft jacks, and Emerson paper-in-oil capacitors.

Knobs, jack cups, saddles, and string trees are provided by Marc Rutters when available, or Fender vintage reproduction parts. 

Commissions/Custom Work/Refinish

If you find pictures of a vintage T-style that really tickles your fancy I'd be happy to work with you on recreating that instrument, or working with you on something custom and a bit more off the beaten path. I can also refinish your new guitar (neck alone, body, or both) to look authentically vintage, or restore your vintage guitar.  Email : carsonhess81@gmail.com  call or text: (989) 708-9152