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Michael Kelly 1950’s Guitars—Yowza!

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 11.01.07 AMMichael Kelly calls its philosophy “boutique within reach,” and that’s certainly the case with this new line of 1950s T-Style guitars. Designed in America and made in Korea, these T-styled axes look like a real bang for your buck.

There are five models, each featuring an “exotic wood top and contoured arm cut,” plus coil taps for “sonic range and versatility.” Look for these and other Michael Kelly guitars at, as they say, dealers near you soon.

Here’s the whole line-up of new T-Style guitars from Michael Kelly Guitars

The Michael Kelly “1952” T-Style guitar

  • Basswood body with flamed maple top
  • MK PAF-Plus humbucker in the bridge and neck
  • Coil Tap to split humbuckers
  • Available finishes are deep cherry red and natural gloss


The Michael Kelly “1952” has a MSRP of $449 ($299 street).

The Michael Kelly “1953” T-Style guitar

  • Alder body with flamed maple top
  • MK Stacked Single Coil in the bridge, MK T-Style Single Coil in the neck
  • The caramel burst and black vapor finishes come with a rosewood fretboard while the blue jean wash finish comes with a maple fretboard


The Michael Kelly “1953” T-Style guitar has an MSRP of $580 ($399 street)

The Michael Kelly “1954” T-Style guitar

  • Alder body with quilted maple top
  • Rockfield SWC humbucker in the bridge, and MK T-style single coil in the neck.
  • Coil Tap to split humbucker
  • Available in Satin Black Wash


The Michael Kelly “1954” T-Style guitar has a MSRP for $580 ($399 street).

The Michael Kelly “1955” T-Style guitar 

  • Swamp ash body with quilted maple top
  • Rockfield SWC humbucker in the bridge and an MK Mini humbucker in the neck
  • Coil Tap to split humbuckers
  • Available in Amber Trans, Caramel Burst, and Black Wash


The Michael Kelly “1955” T-Style guitar has a MSRP of $729 ($599 street).

The Michael Kelly “1957” is the flagship model in the line-up.

  • Swamp ash body with quilted maple top
  • Real flamed maple body binding
  • Seymour Duncan Little ’59 in the bridge and a Rockfield humbucker in the neck position
  • Coil Tap to split humbuckers
  • Maple neck
  • Available in amber translucent and black wash


The Michael Kelly “1957” T-Style guitar has a MSRP of $875 ($699 street).

For more info on the entire line of guitars visit

New T-Styles from Shabat

Avi smallerAvi Shabat was a successful sound engineer when he got the guitar building bug, and it was all because of one bad bass. “I bought it in Germany. It turned out to be awful and had major problems that I couldn’t fix.” As luck would have it, the Algranti School of Lutherie had just opened in Shabat’s native Israel. He enrolled, and soon discovered he had “never felt such a rush before working with wood.”

Shabat converted his recording studio into a shop to begin practicing his craft, but soon ran into a problem: “I was spending so much money shipping parts and hardware that I realized I was stuck with what I know. But I knew I wanted to know more.”

Convinced that Los Angeles was the place, he sold everything and made the move. Part-time gigs at local shops soon led to a full-time apprenticeship at LsL Instruments. Shabat spent four years at LsL before striking off on his own. But it wasn’t a decision made lightly: “It was very emotional thing for me to do. I loved the company, I loved the product, and I got very attached.”

His first order came from gypsy jazz guitarist Gonzalo Bergara, who was entranced by the old school “snakehead” headstock of the very first Fender. Modifying it to make it his own, Shabat still admits his headstock is an “acquired taste, but I love it.” This GB model is loaded with Lollar Charlie Christians.


Another order came from Smashmouth guitarist Sean Hurwitz. That model, the SH, comes with two humbuckers and a coil tap. He describes it as a “very fast rock and roll guitar.”


The last in his lineup is the Lion, available with one or two pickups. All feature a pickup toggle on the horn.


With the exception of hardware, Shabat makes everything from scratch, including truss rods, and uses the “lightest wood I can get my hands on.” He adds,”It’s important to me to go hands on from start to finish. I wouldn’t feel right doing it any other way.”


For more info on these interest new T-Style guitars from Shabat visit their website at:

Fishman’s First Electric Pickup: The Fluence

2621_mediumSince 1981, the go-to name for amplifying an acoustic has been Fishman. So why is it that after 33 years in business, Fishman is only now going electric? Founder Larry Fishman says there was a good reason for the delay—there were “plenty” of great electric pickups already around. But we all know that pickups aren’t consistent, hand-wound or otherwise. Fishman wants to change that with their new Fluence pickup.

Standard electric guitar pickups consist of a bar magnet, with up to  7000 turns of copper wire coiled around it. In the Fluence, the copper isn’t wound—it’s “printed”  then stacked in 48 layers. As a result, Fishman says “every Fluence pickup sounds the same.”


Fluence pickups are also multi-voice—you can wire them up with a push-pull pot or a toggle to get different sounds.

  • Voice 1 – Vintage Single-Coil: Vintage tone, clear and present with a sweet warmth.
  • Voice 2 – Hot Texas Single-Coil: Muscular, beefy, “overwound” tone

To remove noise and hum, the signal is sent through a powered preamp, but don’t freak out—Fishman’s rechargeable power pack fits right into the control cavity. It offers around 200 hours of play time (with a warning light when you are down to six.) Total charging time is 2 1/2 hours through a mini USB jack.  The Fluence can also be powered by a standard 9-volt battery.

Fluence will be available in single widths, as well as classic and modern humbucker configurations.



Pricing is TDB. Pickups will be available in the second quarter of ’14.


Tim Lerch’s New Signature Mike Lull Guitar

Tim-Lerch-LargeGuitarist Tim Lerch “had a romance” with Telecasters, but it took a while to blossom.  “A good Tele isn’t necessarily easy to play,” says Lerch. “Struggling with it is something that every player needs to learn how to do.”

Now based in Seattle, Lerch spent the ’80s in Los Angeles, studying with Ted Greene, Joe Diorio and Lenny Breau. With teachers like that, you should know where his allegiances lie. “In my heart, I’m a jazz guy, even though I play all different kinds of music. But when I wake up in the morning, I play jazz.”

So it’s no surprise that Lerch was a Gibson man, starting out with a Les Paul, then a Byrdland, then an ES-175. When he made the switch to Telecasters, Lerch was able to get a “really good jazz sound” by adding Charlie Christian pickups, but something was missing. It lacked “that acoustic snap.”

Last year, Lerch tasked Seattle luthier Mike Lull to solve the problem. The result is the TLTX Chubby, so named because it is 1/2” thicker than the standard T-type.


The Chubby is a fully-hollow guitar, with a connecting chamber behind the bridge. The neck and body are both mahogany, a wood that is “rich and fat sounding,” according to Lull. “It also gets warmer and fuller when hollowed out.” A 1/4” maple top adds “treble, snap and sparkle.”


Lull, a luthier for nearly four decades, builds each Chubby himself. Each comes standard with stainless steel frets,but that is just one of many options available. String through or top loader? Lull does both.  Lerch uses Lollar Imperials, but Lull has built Chubbies with P90s that sound more Les Paul; when he added TV Jones Filter’Trons and a Bigsby, the guitar sounded “more Gretsch than Gretsch.”



Lerch says that regardless of pickups, each note played on the Chubby “just blooms.”

The Chubby lists at $4400. Street price is $3300.


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