Samick Telecaster (after)

My Guitars

I’ve had my Peavey EXP Limited for a while now. It’s a beautifully-made little “Fat Strat” solid-body electric with two hot single-coil pickups (neck & middle), a humbucking pickup in the bridge, a satin-finish natural maple neck, rosewood fretboard, piano-black headstock and a turquoise flamed maple top that looks almost black too until you see it in good light, then the deep turquoise flame literally seems to come alive. I’ve been taking really good care of the Peavey and it still looks brand new. In fact, I practically treat it like a Ferrari, cleaning it with a soft cloth every time I finish playing it.

Because I knew I’d be moving into the dorms at the end of the summer, I decided I wanted a kind of throwaway guitar — a “beater” — one that was relatively nice and perfectly usable, but I wouldn’t be too upset if something happened to it at school. After all, accidents happen, right?

Lucky for me, a family friend, who happens to be a guitar collector, heard about my search for a “beater” and unexpectedly offered me one of his incomplete “project” guitars — a vintage-ish Samick Telecaster from the famous Valley Arts Custom Shop in LA!

Turns out that a couple years back, he had it taken apart and refinished in a beautiful clear amber laquer that lets the lightly-flamed solid alder body shine through, but he never got around to completing his planned upgrades and rebuild. Ever since, it had just been sitting in its shipping carton, unplayable and unappreciated.

So, when he dropped it off, still in that half-done state, I was able to choose my own favorite strings, pickguard, pickups and tone switching, really making it “mine,” and then have the guitar setup by a professional. Before heading to LA, I found an awesome guitar tech named Henry Howard who had recently moved to Northern California from Tampa FL, where he had been the Head of Quality Control and Setup for Dean Guitars and Luna Guitars. If you purchased a Dean or Luna instrument sometime in the past 6 years, more than likely, Henry did your original setup at the factory. Now, he’s the owner of his own guitar business, GUITAR WORX, in Folsom, CA.

Here’s a gallery with shots of my Peavey “Ferrari,” taken on the day I unboxed it back in the summer of 2009, along with the before & after shots of the Samick Tele — on arrival and then after Henry finished setting it up for me.

Henry really does amazing work. He’s an honest-to-goodness craftsman who actually cares about you and your guitar, and is an incredible teacher too. I was also lucky enough to get him to give me some lessons before I left for college. I learned so much from him in such a short time — my only regret is that he’s not still touring with his band, so I could steal another lesson now and again, whenever they’re in LA playing the club circuit.

If you love guitars too and you’re ever in the Sacramento area, definitely look Henry up ( and tell him Tyler sent you. You won’t regret it.

OK. That’s the 411 on my guitars. Only one problem — I still treat my Peavey like a prized Ferrari, and now my Samick Tele isn’t a throwaway EITHER! Arrgh!


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