2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the Charvel® Custom Shop, which holds the unique distinction of being the longest continually running guitar custom shop.
To commemorate four decades of hard-earned glory, Charvel is proud to have recreated 11 stunning Charvel Custom Shop throwback models.
The 11 models in the 40th Anniversary Custom collection are reverently crafted recreations of some of Charvel’s original 1979 catalog offering, unleashed on a rapidly evolving musicscape alive with a new breed of light-speed players clamoring for fast, screaming high performance.
Meet the Builders
Senior Master Builder Mike Shannon
In conversation, Mike Shannon is so unassuming and down to earth that you might have to remind yourself that he is in fact a legendary figure whose acclaimed guitar craft dates back to the earliest days of Charvel® and Jackson®.
Despite having no guitar-building experience before he started at Charvel in 1980, Shannon was already a veteran woodworker with experience and expertise building fine furniture. Shannon still recalls his initial interview, when he was shown and asked to identify a piece of wood.
"I identified it correctly and they said, 'Okay, this is a good start!'" laughed Shannon. "I didn't know anything about guitars at the time, but I knew about shapers, table saws, joiners, and various woodworking tools."
Landing the gig, Shannon soon had major hand in designing and building many famous guitar models by Charvel and, later, Jackson. One of Shannon's earliest projects, in fact, was building Randy Rhoads his second Concorde guitar, which later led to the Rhoads. He was also there for the birth of the Soloist, the Kelly, the King V, the Warrior and the Dinky.
Although Shannon joined the Fender Custom Shop in 2000 as a master builder, he returned to the Charvel/Jackson fold as a senior master builder in 2003 when Fender acquired both of the high-performance guitar makers.
In nearly four decades with the Charvel Custom Shop, Shannon has built some of the most sought out instruments for many of the world's finest guitar players. Although he has never learned how to play a guitar, Shannon has still earned rock star status in his own right - thanks to his remarkable craftsmanship.
While his woodworking talents are many, Shannon may be best known for his truly gifted touch when it comes to sanding necks. Challenge Shannon with any guitar neck back shape and thickness measurement and he can head straight to the sander, freeform at will and achieve dead-on calibration results.
Master Builder Dave Nichols
Dave Nichols-nicknamed "Red Dave" for his long red hair and beard-joined the Charvel®/Jackson® Custom Shop in 2005 after a 16-year stint at the Fender® Custom Shop, advancing to master builder in 2006.
An avid woodworker since high school, Nichols has always been into "messing with stuff with my hands." He'd never built a guitar before, though, until a friend's suggestion led to his arrival at the Fender Custom Shop in 1989, where his love for music, natural talent and practiced woodworking expertise served him well.
Nichols rose through the ranks steadily as an apprentice instrument builder with a particular gift for inlay work, and when "an opportunity to build something new" arose at Charvel/Jackson in 2005, "Red" was ready.
"I love being the guy who makes dreams come true," he said. "That's our motto-making dreams come true. It's awesome when people come through here and I can watch them turn into kids in a candy store."
Custom Builder Pat McGarry
Pat McGarry joined Charvel® and Jackson® back in the original era, in 1982. Having previously worked with Mike Shannon at a custom furniture maker, McGarry was already an experienced woodworker.
He started out with Charvel and Jackson by making ebony fingerboards, book-matched tops and other specialized guitar elements, and he is the builder behind much of the rough-mill woodwork for countless artist and showpiece instruments. Few are better at "reading" the strength and tone of a piece of lumber for its best use in a guitar, and factory lore holds that McGarry can simply look at a piece of lumber and tell you where the tree it came from grew, what conditions it grew in and when the tree was felled.
McGarry's expertise in milling lumber and matching grain is invaluable to Charvel, and his commitment to quality is absolute-sometimes to the chagrin of prospective new vendors who proclaim the merits of their wood, only to find themselves schooled by him on their own wares.
"It doesn't matter if the guitar is going to be painted or get a natural finish," he said. "The quality of the materials and the joinery are always the same. I build each guitar as if it were going to my favorite artist."
Master Builder Joe Williams
Promoted to a Master Builder in 2018, Joe Williams first came to Charvel/Jackson in 2005 from a vintage guitar shop, where he repaired and set up used guitars.
His passion for tinkering with guitars started much earlier. Williams began playing guitar at age 13, when his parents-assuming it was only a phase-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.
Williams was well versed in guitar craft by the time he arrived at Charvel and Jackson, where he did wiring and setup work. His attention to detail drew the attention of acclaimed Senior Master Builder Mike Shannon, and Williams was subsequently given sole responsibility for custom assembly work. Under Shannon's expert wing, Williams slowly worked his way backward through the production process-from final assembly to buffing and polishing to mill work.
"The most rewarding aspect of my position is being a player and the builder," Williams said. "Getting to feel and hear the difference of each build; knowing what went into it having done each step and learning from each variance of the process is a privilege."
Custom Shop Dealers
Capitol Guitars(651) 225-8888
644 SELBY AVE
ST. PAUL, MN 55104
BIZARRE GUITAR(775) 331-1001
2677 ODDIE BLVD
RENO, NV 89512
THE MUSIC ZOO(516) 626-9292
55 LUMBER ROAD
ROSLYN, NY 11576
RAINBOW GUITARS(520) 325-3376
2550 N CAMPBELL AVE
TUCSON, AZ 85719
GUITAR VILLAGE+44 (0)1252 726821
80-82 WEST STREET
FARNHAM, SURREY, GU9 7EN
Peach Guitars+44 1206 765777
3 Crown Gate Wyncolls Road
Colchester, CO4 9HZ
GAK+44 (0)1252 726821
76-82 North Rd
Brighton, BN1 1YD
Guitar Guitar0141 552 9896
Glasgow, G1 5ES
CUSTOM METAL AND CLASSIC GUITARS(856) 794-3464
1181-1183 E. LANDIS AVE, STE 5
VINELAND, NJ 08360