Big D Guitars, the small shop behind the Whiskey Barrel Top Custom T-Style Guitar, is rolling out new designs for this all-American classic. After initially tapping Jack Daniel’s for authentic Tennessee materials, Big D Guitars is now expanding its top shelf to include barrel tops from renowned Kentucky distilleries, including Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam and Wild Turkey. From a rustic start to a smooth finish, each unique handmade guitar is proudly produced in the USA.
The Whiskey Barrel Top Custom T-Style Guitar is the brainchild of Big D Guitars founder Derek Lenard, a luthier and curator with nearly 20 years’ experience. The concept came to him in October 2015 during a visit to a Tennessee distillery, and he reached out to Nashville blues artist Justin Johnson for his feedback. The Whiskey Barrel Top Custom T-Style Guitar came to life just a few months later and quickly proved that it’s an instrument that sounds just as cool as it looks.
Lenard can actually smell the whiskey in the aged wood as he runs it through his workshop saw. After surface-sanding, the pieces sit for a month to dry out before they’re cut using a template. He then hand glues the pieces together on the U-shaped oak core body. The oak provides added strength but has been hollowed out to lighten the guitar’s overall weight. For the back, Tennessee barnyard reclaimed lumber was chosen for its weathered look as well as its light weight. To further enhance the guitar’s esthetic, the chrome hardware has been treated with an aging process.
Each Whiskey Barrel Top Custom T-Style Guitar has an aged white oak neck with vintage measurements, including a 25.5-inch scale, 9.5-inch radius and 1 5/8-inch nut. The fretboard has white clay dot markers and jumbo frets. Graph Tech’s Ratio synchronized machine heads ensure each string responds the same to any tuning adjustment. A strap lock system is included for a worry-free playing experience that helps to protect the instrument.
Of course, true vintage appeal includes sound, which is why each Whiskey Barrel Top Custom T-Style Guitar is built with handmade pickups at the neck and bridge. These scatter-wound pickups are made with Alnico 2 magnets with 42 plain enamel wire and deliver a smooth, full tone that’s ideal for the rock or blues player or any guitarist who wants a one-of-a-kind instrument.
Learn more and watch demo videos at www.bigdguitars.com.
About Big D Guitars
Big D Guitars is small shop specializing in a variety of guitar accessories and parts. The business began with the Big D Varitone Switch, an innovation that was featured in 20th Century Guitar magazine. Founder Derek Lenard has grown the business slowly and organically into custom builds and finish jobs. Artists he has worked with include Randy Bachman, Justin Johnson, Kevin Bond (Superjoint, En Minor), and Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation. To learn more about Big D Guitars, visit www.bigdguitars.com. Also check out the company’s YouTube channel, “Inside the Luthier’s Shop,” which has nearly 500 videos and 9.6 million views. The channel includes exclusive behind-the-scenes videos of the making of a Whiskey Barrel Top Custom T-Style Guitar.
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