This one has been a while coming and anyone who follows me on social media will probably have been watching the progress of my TMI guitars. I starting making guitars again after 10 years of not making any guitars as this place just takes up too much of my time and guitar building, the way I do it, takes a lot of time.
My older Tym guitars were all completely hand made by me, here in my Brisbane workshop. I made everything except the pots/jack and tuners including my own trussrods, bridges, vibratos, pickups, scratchplates and knobs, on top of the bodies and necks and I have never had CNC machines or any complicated tooling. I mark, cut and rout everything by hand. That's just how I liked to do it.
In 2017 I decided I was going to start working on some new ideas as I got time. It was the first time I'd used an external workshop to make any guitar bodies and after a few successful prototypes I decided to take the production back into my own hands and rethink the idea. It worked well, really well, I just wanted more control over what I was making.
By the end of 2017 I was making similar ideas here in my workshop and I had decided that I would source necks from elsewhere to save time and help me actually make some guitars. The search was long and frustrating and after several false starts I found a place that would make "blank" necks for me to shape and finish myself here at the workshop. I made a TMI guitar this way for Kim Salmon in Oct 2017 that he has been touring with since.
Time got the better of me again in 2018 and I only ended up making one guitar that year in the form of the TMI BuzzingByrd. In mid 2018 I got my old pickup winder back out to repair a pickup and started making pickups again with a view to making them for these TMI guitars.
In late 2018 I decided that I was going to start making some of these guitars again to distract me from life and work so I set myself a goal of seeing what I could make without stressing or working more than I already do so this year has been a test of what I can achieve without the rest of my business or life suffering.
I set myself a self imposed goal of 10 guitars. Some of you may be thinking "that's not very much" but I consistently work about 60 hours a week already so moving some stuff around and focusing on guitar building as a "hobby" was actually quite daunting for me.
So, with all that in mind I have decided to introduce the TMI 127 which is the basis for the new TMI model I would like to build and sell through Tym guitars starting next year, 2020.
I have spent this year refining, designing and redisigning new ideas to make building them more reliable and cheaper in an attempt to make a hand made guitar here in Brisbane at a very affordable price. I have so far (it's now Sep 2019) built 7 TMI guitars this year inc the TymByrd (technically not made like these), the Mosrong 500, the SB Jr, the Musuar, the Unitone and the Celebrity (again, not really built like these) with two more finished (inc this one) and four more in the works.
So, if you've persevered this far and haven't read the links and are interested in these guitars, here's the low down.
I have chosen the Guyatone LG-127T as my "standard TMI" for a few reasons but not least of all because I love them. I've written (very fondly) about them before in several forms but basically I love the Mosrite inspired shape, they were our "punk rock Mosrites" growing up and they are "almost" exactly the same shape as the slab body Mk II with a slightly reduced top bout which means they can fit into a generic hardcase and, they are a simple, easy to make design with no German carves, binding or contours. All of these things made them a likely candidate for the standard TMI.
The bodies are hollow, or chambered and made up of four laminates of sustainable plantation timber with internal bracing and a spine running from neck pocket to strap button. The neck pockets are routed with the neck angle for whatever bridge is being used so there's no need for shims. Other TMIs are different but all of these are 43mm thick, and like all TMIs are all hand marked out, cut, glued, routed and painted here by me. I use acrylic paint on everything and my paint jobs are good, possibly with some slight flaws as I can't obsess about some minor aesthetic details that don't effect tone when I'm trying to make a hand made guitar to a price. As you can see in the pics, the finishes are good and solid and I don't do more average finishes and then distress them to cover it up (unless the customer wants)
The necks are all made off site and shipped to me where I do all the final shaping, sanding, finishing and assembly. They are all 25.5" scale with a 12" radius rosewood fretboard with medium frets. They all have double acting trussrods and brass nuts and generic tuners (upgrade to Gotohs available) They are a slim C shape and made from Canadian maple. They are approx 40mm at the nut and 54mm at the heel, so narrower than Fender necks.
The pickups are my T-90's made here by me and are my variation on the wonderful P-90 with #43 or #44 wire wrapped around A5 slugs and are either attached with two screws like a standard P-90 or with a base plate and surround like a humbucker. Pickups may vary slightly from guitar to guitar but I personally tend to make high output single coils with plenty of clarity and top end, like Mosrite pickups.
Controls and electronics are pretty simple with master volume and tone and three way switch. Again, some guitars may have other options but I'm building these as I go so if one comes up for sale that isn't right for you, maybe the next one will be?
The one here has a roller Tune-o-Matic bridge and generic "Bigsby" style vibrato. These cheap vibratos have good castings, clean and straight machine work and great fitting bearings and parts. They're heavier than a real Bigsby but they look great and allow me to make these guitars for this price. I also make my own offset style vibrato and I am working on my own TMI bridge which will probably end up on all of these once I get them sorted.
This simple TMI 127 will be available in four different versions in this one here, the B, the T which is a closer copy of the original Guyatone with the offset style vibrato, the J which is this shape with the features of the SB Jr with my swept scratchplate and wraparound bridge and the R with the MK II "Ramones" features. All the bodies and necks are the same with different hardware and scratchplates. I'll put up pics as I make these other versions.
Colours will be whatever takes my fancy at the time so again, if one comes up that's not right, wait for one that is. There will hopefully be other models/shapes offered to join the 127s and once I can get a reliable supply of similar bass necks, short scale bass versions will be offered.
Like all my hand made stuff I DON'T do presales, preorders or holds on ANYTHING I make. It doesn't work for limited handmade stuff and please don't tell me it does. My plan is to make these as I get time and let people know via social media when they will be available to buy. I will be making these 127s along with guitars for friends and commission guitars (more on that soon) so supply will be limited as I make EVERYTHING here in my workshop, by myself.
The basic model, the J will be starting at around $850 Aus and ALL TMI guitars will be sold with a requisite donation to an agreeable humanitarian charity. This donation will be about 10% (or more if you want) of the price on top of the buy price. This means I can sell hand made guitars at a decent price and (hopefully) do some good in the world.
These ARE NOT my previous Tym guitars so Wosrites won't be offered in TMI versions, but instead an attempt to make a more affordable hand made guitar in the vein of the original Guyatones. I hope to one day get back to making my original Tym guitars and Wosrites as well but at this stage I honestly can't see me having that kind of time any time soon. I will be making some custom TMI stuff which will be fully explained in the next blog.
This is of course all an experiment in me trying to find time to do something I love doing on top of my already hectic world. There may be times I make very few. There may be times I make more but if this is something that interests you then stay tuned and keep an eye on my social media for constant updates.