Charvel Blog

The Jackson® and Charvel® Custom Shop Promotes Joe Williams to Master Builder

Posted on January 19th, 2018 by Ryan Chadwick

Jackson and Charvel are excited to share the news that Joe Williams has been promoted from an apprentice to Custom Shop Master Builder.

“Given his diverse talents as a builder, outstanding work ethic and enthusiasm, Joe Williams is an invaluable asset to the Custom Shop,” said Jackson/Charvel Vice President of Category Management Jon Romanowski. “As a player and true fan of hard rock and heavy metal himself, Williams also brings a unique perspective and key insight into the exacting needs of modern guitarists. We couldn’t be happier to have his firepower in the shop as we continue to build upon our storied Jackson and Charvel brands.”

Williams has trained over the last decade under the expert wing of Master Builder Mike Shannon, earning the prestigious guru’s full endorsement and stamp of approval.

“Joe is probably one of the most valuable people in the building, one of very few people who can do every process — from the mill all the way to final assembly and figuring out some of the most difficult wiring issues that we have,” said Shannon.

Williams has contributed to many high-profile Custom Shop projects, including management of the relic process, assembly and setup for the Randy Rhoads Tribute Concorde Replica models, and initial conception and design of the B7 and B8 models.

He also built the first Jackson “multi-scale” instrument. In what he good-naturedly referred to as “a beast of a build,” he created an eight-string Soloist model with an innovative 27.75”-25” scale length and asymmetrical five-piece neck.

Williams’ passion for tinkering with guitars dates back to his teens when he first started out playing the instrument. Assuming it was only a phase, his parents got him an inexpensive Squier® beginner instrument. An enterprising teen, Williams quickly taught himself to modify and improve his $100 guitar to sound and feel like his friend’s high-performance Charvel.

He later leveraged those skills with a paying gig at a vintage guitar shop, where he repaired and set up used guitars. Upon joining Jackson in 2005, he continued developing his skills in final assembly, handling wiring and setup work. His attention to detail caught Shannon’s, and Williams was subsequently given sole responsibility for custom assembly work.

During the last 10 years, Williams attended school to learn CNC programming and Manufacturing Technology, while also training aside Shannon in the Custom Shop, slowly working his way backward through the production process—from final assembly to buffing and polishing to mill work.

“Working as Mike Shannon’s apprentice for nearly a decade has pushed my skills to a level I didn’t know they could reach,” said Williams. “When I started in Jackson, Mike opened my eyes to a lot of things in the overall aspect of the guitars we make. I was a savvy tech and assembler, but Mike didn’t hesitate to challenge me for the better. Matching the quality and craftsmanship of someone with over 30 years of experience and immense talents is a challenge. In addition to learning to make an instrument to his standards, I’ve also been able to apply my insight as a player.

“The road to the position of Master Builder has been long but rewarding, and I’m both honored and humbled,” he continued. “The path doesn’t end here though. I look forward to carrying on the tradition of what has made Jackson and Charvel great — pushing the limits of quality, innovation and playability.”

Contact a global authorized Jackson/Charvel Custom Shop dealer today to get in line for an early work from this rising star.

Check Out John Mayer’s Skateboard Inspired Custom Shop San Dimas

Posted on December 11th, 2017 by Ryan Chadwick

Acclaimed guitarist John Mayer recently posted his latest Charvel Custom Shop guitar to Instagram and it is incredible. The Charvel San Dimas® model is based on an old Powell Peralta “McGill” skateboard deck that Mayer owned in the late ‘80s. Combining both California skate and metal cultures that inspired him while growing up, Mayer’s axe evokes the look and style of a worn out board.

“This guitar has been a dream of mine for a decade,” said Mayer.

With artwork hand-painted by guitar-art legend Dan Lawrence, the relic’d beast uses EVH Wolfgang humbucking pickups and features blue speed knobs styled after urethane skateboard wheels.

This one-of-a-kind guitar is definitely a site to be seen. Catch John Mayer and the custom axe on tour as he travels around the world with Dead & Company. CLICK HERE for tour dates.

A post shared by johnmayer (@johnmayer) on

7 Charvel Custom Shop Marvels

Posted on January 24th, 2017 by Chrissy Mauck

The Charvel Custom Shop unveiled some magnificent beauties during the 2017 NAMM Show in Anaheim, Calif. Here’s a look at 7 by Master Builder “Red” Dave Nichols.

So-Cal Scallop Relic Black 

Pulling from the more classic and conservative side of Charvel, this custom So-Cal Scallop axe looks like it’s been slung around for the last 25 years with its black finish, white pickguard and excellent relic job on both the finish and hardware.

The guitar features an alder body with a bolt-on quartersawn maple neck,  scallop maple fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets, a reverse headstock, Seymour Duncan pickups, Original Floyd Rose® and Gotoh tuners.


Surfcaster Dart Swinger Brown 

This offset gem features an alder body with a bolt-on maple neck, a rosewood fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and bass sidebar inlay. Powered by Seymour Duncan P-90 Soapbar pickups, this axe also has a Tonepros Tune-O-Matic bridge and Gotoh tuners.

Its Dart Swinger Brown finish is set off nicely with vintage white binding around the body, neck and headstock, which features the Charvel script logo.


San Dimas Sandblast

A pair of San Dimas Style 1 ash bodies were sandblasted for a raw and edgy-vibe.

The San Dimas HSH Sandblast model features a black body with neon green satin grainfill finish. A bolt-on quartersawn maple neck features an ebony fingerboard, while the DiMarzio pickups are finished with matching neon green covers for a truly spectacular combo.  Also offers a Floyd Rose Lo Pro Bridge.

The San Dimas Sandblast sticks with a basic monochromatic color palette, and yet is equally remarkable in looks, complete with a pair of Bare Knuckle Holy Driver pickups and a Hipshot hard tail bridge.


Dinky Poplar

Sometimes you just need the bare essentials. The Custom Dinky Poplar is as natural as it gets, featuring a poplar body and a bolt-on quartersawn maple neck with a scallop fingerboard and reverse headstock. Powered by a Bill Lawrence L-500XL bridge pickup and a Seymour Duncan SH1 pickup, this high-performance axe also offers a spokewheel truss rod adjust at the butt-end of the neck, an Original Floyd Rose bridge, Gotoh tuners and chrome hardware.


San Dimas Big Mouth

For those who like to run their mouth, this San Dimas alder body got a sick and vivid custom graphic paint job featuring some sharp canines with tongue hanging out Miley Cyrus style.   Its bolt-on quartersawn maple neck features a maple fingerboard with black dot inlays and 22 jumbo frets.

Also features Seymour Duncan pickups, a Charvel brass trem hardtail bridge and Gotoh Tuners.


Style 2 Cherry Burst

Simple yet stunning. That’s what comes to mind when taking a close look at this Style 2 guitar featuring an ash body with a Cherry Burst finish, a bolt-on caramelized flame maple neck and black six in line reverse headstock with a script Charvel logo.

Also features a pair of DiMarzio DP-184 Chopper pickups, a Hipshot USA Tele bridge in black and a convenient thumbwheel truss rod adjustment at the butt-end of the neck.


Master Builder Red Dave on his Bengal Yellow San Dimas

Posted on February 3rd, 2016 by Chrissy Mauck

For his 2016 NAMM showpiece, Master Builder “Red” Dave Nichols built a San Dimas HH and gave it a ferocious Bengal Yellow paint job.

The custom-shop beauty features select alder wood, a quartersawn maple bolt-on neck, 12-16” compound radius maple fingerboard and a pair of Seymour Duncan® humbucking pickups.

Hear from Red Dave in the quick video below …

6 Stunning Charvel Custom Shop Guitars

Posted on January 21st, 2016 by Morgan Brunner

Charvel’s team of Master Builders have created yet another collection of fantastic instruments for the 2016 NAMM Show in Anaheim, Calif.

Here’s a quick look at six stunning Charvel Custom Shop guitars:

San Dimas 2H Bengal Yellow

This ferocious beast was built to roar. Master Builder “Red” Dave Nichols created this ultra-cool cat using select alder wood, a quartersawn maple bolt-on neck, 12-16” compound radius maple fingerboard and a pair of Seymour Duncan® humbucking pickups. The perfectly painted striped body and matching headstock has a realistic ombre effect to its finish, and you can’t help but notice the red Charvel logo on the headstock.

Surfcaster Roasted Pine

The Charvel Surfcaster Roasted Pine is a one-of-a-kind wonder with qualities so unique you can’t help but stare. Master Builder Chip Ellis created a piece of art when he selected this special piece of reclaimed pine wood. The tarnished copper hardware balances and enhances the light and dark tones of the wood for an elegant touch. It features a Jazzmaster bridge, Bigsby tailpiece, gold-foil Lollar pickups, and stainless steel vintage frets.

Style 2 Roasted Pine

In addition to the Surfcaster, Ellis created another model in its likeness. The Style 2 features the same appointments as the Surfcaster with the exception of the pickup configuration; this one comes with a single gold-foiled Loller humbucking pickup. Another distinguished feature includes a unique chicken head style volume knob that sits in the upper bout of the body. The vintage volume knob is an old TV or radio dial that Ellis picked up from a neighborhood antique store.

San Dimas Birdseye Top Ghost Squid Flames

Nearly too hot to handle, this custom built guitar features a brilliant twist on a flame design. The bright red-orange tentacle-like flames fade into a crimson body, making this San Dimas model unlike any other. It’s equipped with a pair of Seymour Duncan® humbucking pickups, a Charvel bass bridge, and a 12-16” compound radius fingerboard. The basswood body has a birdseye maple top that accentuates the unique flame design that much more.

San Dimas HSH Quilt Top

This quilt maple top San Dimas may be beautiful on the outside, but it’s also a beast built to destroy. Packed with direct mount Seymour Duncan® pickups, this hum-single-hum monster is a force to be reckoned with, just like Nichols intended. Other standout features include a Floyd Rose® Bridge, Schaller tuning machines, a wheel-adjust truss rod, and a bolt-on wenge neck.

San Dimas 7-String Korina Walnut Top

Nichols was holding on to this stunning piece of wood for quite a while, waiting for the perfect design to strike him. It’s easy to see why he became so attached to the elegant markings that make this guitar a knockout. This 7-string beauty features dual Bare Knuckle Coldsweat 7 pickups, a Hipshot® hardtail 7 bridge, Schaller® tuning machines, and a quartersawn bolt-on maple neck.


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