Vintage Electric Guitars and Our Search for the Perfect Sound

ABOUT

My quest to find the perfect guitar

The guitars you are about to see on this website are the craftsmanship of an obsessed madman.

Yours truly, David Weizmann.

Every single detail on each one of these instruments is designed 
and made in order to create my dream guitars and the sounds that I have in my head.
It all started during my childhood in Israel during the ’70s.
At that time, we had only one T.V. channel, and through the morning hours up until 17:00, we had the broadcasts of the “Israeli Educational Television.” 
As a low budget governmental corporation, they used to purchase old American and British BBC shows, and so, I had to watch endless reruns of Shakespearean plays, the Original Star Trek from 66′, Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher,
The Prisoner ( 1967 British avant-garde social science fiction which was heavily influenced by Franz Kafka) 
( I can still quote the opening sequence, and a Green and Yellow Lotus Super Seven is my favorite car to this day).
Now, most of the original content that was produced was matched with great music.

There were programs about the human body and a T.V. series produced by the Israeli Instructional Television Centre for teaching English with the music of Frank Zappa.
So as a kid, I was humming “Peaches En Regalia” at the kindergarten.

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guitar workshop - david and benjamin thunder child custom guitar builders

I kid you not.
During the summer vacation, we had reruns of classic rock shows straight from the BBC archives.
I can remember the Stones at Hyde Park in 69′;
and above all, I can remember the luscious, beautiful tones of the electric guitar of the late 60s early ’70s. 
The beautiful fuzz tones, the overdriven amps, the bell-like chime of a great guitar plugged straight into a tube amp.

The funny thing was that, basically, in a way, I was living in a sort of a musical time loop.
During the 80′ I watched “The Old Grey Whistle Test” with Rory Gallagher and his battered Strat or a 1970 BBC Deep Purple show with Ritchie Blackmore, shaking the ground with a wall of Marshalls, while outside that loop, there was the artificial overproduced 80s music.
Even the guitar sound became artificial with thick walls of distortion
and digital delay.

The classic guitar tone has become a relic, a thing of the past, and for me, it was a sort of sorcery.
How did they do it?
Slowly and surely, I started to unravel the mystery.

I discovered the sound of cranked tube amps,

The use of Treble Boosters during the late 60s, the Tone Bender fuzz,
analog delay, real spring reverb, and dived into the world of vintage guitars.

The problem was that I couldn’t find the perfect guitar.
See, a guitar can be divided into three basic categories.
The way it sounds, the way it plays, and the way it looks.

As factory products, not every vintage instrument sounded great.
Some were nice, some mediocre.
On top of that, I liked specific pickup configurations but
there were others that I didn’t.

As for the playability- many of these instruments, especially those from the 70s, were way too heavy.
I still own a beautiful 70s Les Paul Custom, which can be used for bench press workouts.

Years went by, and I became a jewelry designer and a dad.
This is where the story takes a surprising turn.

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The Little Sister: The Guitar that Launched a Thousand Guitars!

If I need to pick someone to blame for it all, it would probably be Robert Johnson.
On one of my birthdays, long ago, as I was working at my workshop, I came upon the famous photograph of Robert Johnson holding a worn L-1 guitar.
This small and seemingly insignificant occurrence triggered a chain of events that would create a huge impact on the guitar world.
As I was looking at the photograph, I was struck by the fact that the early bluesmen were able to bewitch an audience with their prowess—only one man and his guitar, traveling throughout the land.
My fascination with pre-war and turn of the century guitars grew.
I was Looking for one of these small body guitars. It took only a few days until one was spotted lying in the corner of a nearby barber’s shop. It was in bad shape and had only three strings. Being in a barbershop, I grabbed a pair of scissors to use as a slide. Magic!

The barbershop owner gave me the guitar as a gift, and from that day on, I delved into the world of Delta Blues and fingerstyle playing.

I became obsessed with restoring and playing these antique instruments, but there was always something missing.
What if it was possible to recreate the spirit and mojo of such instruments and bring back those days of glory past.
Designing and building uniquely handcrafted guitars that would be a lifelong companion.
The first thing I did was learning the arts and crafts of guitar building at Jacob’s Algranati School of Lutherie. This school was the birthplace of many luthiers and guitar companies.
After creating the prototype of the Little Sister guitar (which I named after my second daughter), I gave it to my friends at B&G Guitars.
Within a matter of weeks, it became an instant success and the most successful debut guitar in history.
After that, it was time for the next step.
It was time to recreate the sounds and the dream guitars of 
the late 60s, early 70s.

Obviously, I didn’t want to create another Tele or Les-Paul replica.
I wanted to create something unique, something that would be the epitome of a great guitar.

All this time, I had a vision of a design that originates from outside the realm of guitars. Something that encapsulates the spirit of adventure.
An original, one of a kind instrument.

After a few years of development, this paved the way to the “Spirit of the Wind” and the “Thunder Child” guitars, which were developed with my friend and luthier Benjamin Millar.

These super lightweight, unique instruments, with their superb tone and craftsmanship, lead eventually to the current line of unique handmade guitars that are made exclusively from local salvaged wood, with my handmade bell brass hardware, Shellac finish and special pickups.

 

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guitar workshop - unique guitars

These instruments were designed to sound glorious without any effects, pedals, and other tone enhancements.

Each one of these guitars was made to my exact specifications without any shortcuts, with dedication because I’m actually creating my own dream guitars.
I hope that these instruments will end as your lifelong companion.

May the tone be with you!

David

The Journey

With my handmade electric guitarד, I aim to create an heirloom quality instrument. Something that will leave its mark across generations.
I’ve examined, restored, and played a wide array of instruments, sometimes outside the guitar realm, covering well over a century of workmanship; from antebellum gut strings through grail acoustics such as Larsons, pre-war Martins, 40′ Gibsons, and of course, classic 50’s electrics.

My main focus and intention were to use the same philosophy of the early bluesman, who used nothing but their prowess and a lightweight, great-sounding small parlor guitar to play and create timeless music on their journies.

Heavily influenced by the craftsmen and craftsmanship of the 1920s and 1930s, I took the small great sounding guitar of that era to the realm of the classic electrics using the best pickups and features of the 1950s.

Design-wise the inspiration for these handmade electric guitars came from varied sources. You will be able to find echoes of early automotive classics from the time of epic journeys and innovative designs, and the use of rare local woods.

Add to that my own handmade brass hardware, and you’ll get a new
definition of boutique or handmade guitars.

At about 2.5 kg/5.5 lb these are probably some of the lightest electric guitars you’ll find.

The Cable Test:
The core idea behind the making of this handmade electric guitar was to create an instrument that will ring true and will reflect the pure and minuet nuances of each and every note you play, and first and foremost will give you the most sought after ingredient of any guitar player-inspiration.
To put our philosophy to the test, our benchmark is “The cable Test”:
The guitar has got to sound amazing with just one cable between the guitar and the amp with its pure tone. No effects. No filters. No enhancements.
My mission is to bring you a handmade electric guitar that will be your lifelong companion on your journey.
May the god of feedback be with you!

Some of the Vintage Guitar Restorations

Restoration of a 1930s Gibson Carson J. Robison

Restoration of a 1920s Oscar Schmidt "A. Galiano"

Restoration of a 1940s "Holy Grail" Gibson J-45 Banner Guitar

Craftsmanship

My main goal is to resurrect the almost lost art of handmade instruments.
In this day and age were 3d printing, cheap labor from the far east,
and computer-generated machines, real craftsmanship is almost
a lost art. 

I combine traditional techniques of classic woodwork and lutherie and ancient metalsmith techniques in my quest to create unique instruments.

I use traditional hide glue, traditional techniques and apply Shellac 
in order to create heirloom-quality instruments. 

All of the hardware is made by me using the ancient lost wax technique.
My influences are derived from early 20th century luthiers such as the Larson brothers as well as early automobile coachbuilders such as the  Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera.

As a small boutique builder, I use lightweight and exotic local lumber that guitar factories don’t use due to rarity and the difficulty
of working with such woods -a lot of wood tear out tearout and challenging finishes and pour sealing.

Consistency: unlike factory-made guitars, which produce various
levels of instruments even at the same batch, I can focus on the minute details on each instrument, thus I keep the consistency of great instruments.

Hardware: I find bell brass to be the best in terms of sound and beauty, and I cast and create my hardware from high-quality ABR-1 bridges to the compensated saddles of the Thunder Child bridge.

Pickups: I use the best handmade pickups available today for my guitars, such as Doug Tulloch’s accurate lipstick pickup replica, or the British Bare Knuckles’ p-90 and humbuckers