Matt Beckley is a talented LA music producer, engineer and songwriter and has toured as a guitarist with Katy Perry. He needed a versatile custom guitar that would cover a multitude of sounds on-the fly in the studio or on the road.
Matt loves the shape of a JM, but for his guitar, the neck had to be larger and the wood needed to be lighter than the 60s versions. He wanted a finish that would be a bit flashy but not too gaudy. And most importantly, he didn’t want to be limited by the signature tinny surf sound.
We chose a lightweight swamp ash body, and I finished the guitar with small white metalflake. The challenging part was getting the sound versatility Matt wanted. I didn’t want to ruin the JM look by using different switches or drilling additional holes, so I placed JM switches in the standard pickguard setup and designed and wired a custom circuit for him to control two Seymour Duncan P-rails.
Now Matt could achieve a jangly single coil tone or a full Humbucker sound as well as the best sound in my opinion, a killer raunchy P90. But where the guitar really shines are the combinations that can be set up. Instead of carrying around multiple guitars, he could flip a switch and get anything from a Gretsch-type sound to a Danelectro.
From my experience, a JM guitar is kind of like Scotch; people either love it or they don’t. But sometimes customers want different pickups in an offset guitar, and this is an example that gives JM fans some flexibility. Or, the custom wiring scheme can be adapted to other body styles.
Hey! That’s mine. Neat. Bill asked if I had anything I wanted to share about my latest Crook. Here goes…
This guitar quickly became the most used guitar I have (and to date I’ve had 6 Crooks). I was expecting a guitar that would be pretty good at a couple of different tones, and that it would be more of a compromise type of thing. A lot of times I find myself doing fill ins or fly dates, where you can only take one guitar. So I wanted something that could get me through a session, or a whole live set of tunes without having to lug around a bunch of road cases. What really surprised me was in how many tonal genres the guitar excelled, rather then just barely got by.
The truth is, the p-rails sound AMAZING. Like blew away a couple of my buddy’s old Juniors amazing on the p90 setting. The humbucker settings are great, and while i’ve never been particularly fond of rails, these let me get my 80’s super strat sound on. All with a very easy and intuitive switching system (which is key, as I’m pretty much an idiot. Could never figure out those Jimmy Paige model Les Pauls). And being able to combine the pickup settings is a whole new world of options in the studio, or (as is often the case with fly dates) rented backline. Amp sounding a bit thick? Switch one of your in between settings from p90 to rail. Stuff like that. Really helps you shape the tone to get it perfect. And it’s so nice being able to carry (with confidence) just one guitar.
Like all my Crooks, the fit and finish is flawless, it plays like a dream, and it’s built specifically to cater to my needs (a ham fisted guitar player with that beats the crap out of his instrument and pulls necks out of tune). The Jazz Master shape feels totally balanced, staying perfectly in playing place when you take both hands off it to lead the crowd in a “clap along”. After my dog, my Crooks are the first things I’d save in a fire.
Oh and for the record: With some of the artists I’ve been lucky enough to play with you get a lot of different guitar manufacturers offering you freebies to endorse their product. And they’ve had to take a backseat to the Crooks that I’ve both paid and waited for like everyone else. I really think they’re worth the wait, and worth the money.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I agree with you. I was pleasantley suprised by the P-90 sounds and the variety of sounds you could dial in. Glad the guitar is still doing what you need it to do.
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Still can’t believe you would grab the dogs before the guitar? Take care and give your Dad my best