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.