I first met these guys before they had released anything and I loved 'em before I ever heard them. Their passion for music and unquestionable work ethic was a breath of fresh air in the local music scene, and they are a great bunch of guys. When I finally heard their first self funded EP I was totally hooked. Their naive "grunge pop" charm was infectious, and those "hooks" !!
They were using pretty crappy gear, as young bands do. No name guitars and cheap amps. I knew there was a better sound there for them, we just had to find it.
The first guitar I gave them was a '65 Fender Jaguar with neck binding and dots that I had "Cobained" with Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge and DiMarzio in the neck. Toggle switch and 3 knobs finished it off. James recorded the album in Wales with Gil Norton with this guitar and still uses this guitar live today.
Luke wasn't "picky" but knew what he wanted sound wise, just didn't know how to get it. For him I built a "Tele Jr"
The Fender Tele is beautiful in it's simplicity and is a great touring guitar as it's tough and simple. Luke "seemed" to like P-90's and I LOVE wraparound bridges, when they're done properly. The sustain and tone you get from having the string tension ON the bridge is like no other system. So, the answer was simple. Cross a Les Paul Jr with a Tele !! The formula was set. The tone was right. It was simple and great. The light alder body crossed with the high output Seymour Duncan P-90 and wraparound bridge was perfect for big, fat rock guitar.
The extra scale length at 25.5" gave clearer tone and made the P-90 react very nicely to feedback. I went for the big "CBS" style headstock as I think they look tougher and have better tone/sustain (yeah, I know !!) with a hard maple neck and rosewood fretboard.
Simple was the order of the day and I stripped it right back to bare essentials. The bridge pick up is all that was needed so everything else went. The guitar has a volume pot and 2 output jacks. Luke doesn't run 2 amps , but there's nothing worse than having to drag around a guitar on tour with a dodgy output jack, so there's a spare.
Here's the same guitar back in for a set up after a year of solid touring through the US. The first one was smashed in a moment of over zelous excitement on stage. I still have the neck and headstock (2 pieces) here somewhere. The second was "lost" in Sydney just before they left for overseas so this third one was rather quickly built to go on tour. The advantage of the Tele design is it's ease of assembly and the lack of headstock angle makes it much more "tourable" than a Les Paul Jr. There's plenty of Youtube footage and pics of this guitar on the net being abused. It's still Lukes (and one of mine) favorite formula for a simple, rock 'n' roll machine.