Sunday, November 9, 2014

T.K. Smith Guitars

I know quite a few finger-style guitarist and look forward to their posts on Face Book. They usually include a clip of a song they are working on which is great because I have always been a visual learner.

A few months ago I began seeing posts of someone playing a guitar that looked like Paul Bigsby just made it. The guitar not just looked great, but sounded wonderful. Of course the guy playing it was a pro.

I asked around and found out the guitar was made by T.K. Smith. Now Smith is a very interesting character and has been building and repairing guitars, amplifiers, cars and surfboards his entire life.

Currently he lives in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree California. This is where his shop is located. He is one of those hidden treasures that create excellent guitars. T.K. Smith states he grew up in the Los Angeles area and has spent a lifetime making a living through creative endeavors.

In the 1990’s he had a company called Smitty’s Customer Surfboard. He focus on shaping and glassing ‘60’s style long surf boards and developed quite a following.

He has been playing guitar since he was in junior high school and played professionally in various bands in his area such as The Smith Ranch Boys and the Golden Hill Ramblers. It was during this time he learned to build guitars and amps by taking them apart.

He spent time looking for vintage equipment to get “that sound” and eventually decided to fabricate his own parts. To that end he started up TK Smiths Electronic Guitar Service.

He offers custom builds, pickups, pickup inlay, set up, modification and an array of guitar parts. Smith builds and winds his own pickups and has fabricated his own vibrato, based on the Bigsby version. Smith is a craftsman in every sense of the word. He spent part of his career working as a Disney “Imagineer”.

Smith is a woodworker, carpenter, welder, and fabricator. Beside’s building fantastic guitars, his other passion is restoring old cars. A number of folks that I have know swear by his guitars. He can take an old guitar and make it new.


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