In the spring of 2003, Brad Paisley called me with a question. “How can we combine your paisley design with Buck and Don’s sparkle guitars?” We decided a great foundation would be his heroes’ coolest guitars: the silver sparkle Telecaster with black binding. I had built a few guitars with black paisley print on white paper, and we felt the black and silver would make a great combination. Of course, the guitar must have black binding, too. It sounded like a great idea, but I wasn’t sure I could pull this off.
Keep in mind this was about 10 years ago, and metallic papers and technology weren’t what they are today. Most vinyl papers were used as banner material for stick-on lettering. Even if you could print on a paper, the ink was barely visible no matter how many times you printed over it. It took several months of research, but I found a sparkle paper that looked like silver metalflake paint, and the paisley printed on it perfectly. Spraying silver metalflake to match the sides of the body was easy, but I was stumped about the binding.
I couldn’t use a bound body as there was no way to cut the paper to leave a crisp edge. Painting the binding freehand seemed easy enough at first, but it was really difficult to create straight edges, and it looked unnatural. Finally, I tried black automotive pinstriping tape, and it gave me a nice, sharp edge like real binding. Once it was cleared over, it really looked like a traditional bound body.
Staying true to Buck’s guitar, I used a 3-ply white pickguard and a 2-piece maple neck. To give Brad that Bakersfield sound, I used a low-wind Voodoo TE-60 bridge pickup.
>>See an example Black and Silver Sparkle Paisley photo and specs
Brad was so pleased with his self-titled Buckocaster that he asked me to make another one to present to Buck on New Year’s Eve, and I’ve been told that Buck played it regularly until his passing. What a honor!
Buck’s guitar is displayed at his Crystal Palace club in Bakersfield.
Sadly, Brad’s guitar was ruined in the 2010 Nashville flood and it has found a home at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
This challenging project opened the door to developing other sparkle paisley colors, but the black has always been my favorite. Although the Buckocaster is popular with country players, its classic 50s rock-and-roll vibe has attracted contemporary Christian players and even rock players you might know.
Do you have a silver sparkle paisley YouTube video that you’d like to share?
I love my Buckocaster! Here are a couple of videos of the guitar. I may have gotten some of the history wrong on the first one- if so, my bad!
And here is a live clip of the same guitar(not the best video, but the guitar stands out).
Wow…that is not the right video, at all…the youtube link went somewhere else. My apologies to Sir Paul. Although, I’ll take any gig he’d offer.
Ok- I give up. But if you check out my channel from the link to McCartney, you’ll see the videos of the guitar.
Of all the guitars you’ve made for Brad the Buckocaster was one of my 2 favorites. It was a typically my ‘go-to’ guitar when he’d ask for something other than Pink. It was probably the toughest to see in the flood waters too… it was stored in the bottom drawer of my guitar vault so it stayed submerged when the water receded. The neck was black from mold and the plating on the bridge has come off and was already rusting. Very sad. That was such a great guitar.
Btw… when did you build one for Fogerty?!
Nice to see you are out there. Sure do miss seeing you back stage with all of Brad’s Wonderful guitars. You always had them in great shape! I miss the Buck-o-caster as well. Nothing like the first one I guess but Bill has got to build a good many of them and they are just a great looking guitar that really catches your eye. Take care, Hope to catch up with ya some time soon.
What a great story, Bill! Who knew your sparkle paisleys were so high-tech, right? Haha! As an engineer, I can really appreciate all the stories you have about the challenges to find a way to met a request without compromise and I think they really accentuate what you bring to the craft of electric guitar-making. Can’t wait to see my gold sparkle!
I worked for Brad during the design of the guitar, and was there to see Brad give the guitar to Buck. One of the perks of the job with Brad was getting to fly out and ring in the New Year with Buck and the Buckaroos every year. It was a wonderful experience to see Buck so touched at the sight of his new Crook. As soon as he got it, he had his assistant put his gauge of strings on it. It was something like 11-58. He liked big strings for the low end. He played his Buckocaster that night with us, and I too was told it continued to be a fave. Along with Chad, I will say that guitar was a favorite of mine too.