NGS BLUESMAN GUITARS
One-off bespoke guitars with a feel for roadworn, gigable playability – 42 and 44mm of pure butter.
About tone-wood selection
MASS PRODUCER FACTORY GRADING OF TIMBERS
Grading of timber at any major guitar production site falls into 2 categories. Exceptional and the rest. The exceptional ones are pulled out for the ‘Custom’ shops.
‘Custom shops’ came about because of bespoke makers – dudes like us.
The rest of the select timber goes into production with team leaders cued in to pull out anything looking a bit ‘Elite’. This will account for about 20% of the roll through stock.
By the time stock ends up bought, sold, used and cruised, the only way to tell if it’s good or dawg is to hold it and crank it up… all the while being highly selective. As a rule I generally select lighter 6.5-7lb bodies for the Bluesman because they retain that woody magic, easy playability and lush tonal clarity.
With the right neck and hardware that sparkle stays in the heart of the instrument characterising the Bluesman.
When it comes to the body there ain’t much difference at all across the mid and upper Asia, Mex, USA end makers. Here’s why.
Most Fenders let’s face it are now pretty much quality parts-casters with Seymour Duncs and other add-ons derived from the influence of the best bespoke maker’s of the world.
NGS Guitars: Bluesman headstock logo
THE NGS BLUESMAN BODY: AFFORD THE MOJO
Bluesman body comes from the NGS collection and will either be a bespoke hand made, vintage issue, Squire, or Fender.
It is selected for it’s feel, weight and intonation quality. It has to be 3-4 lb and have a real ring to it.
It aims to be head and shoulders above anything in the mostly-bespoke price range.
NGS Bluesman relic bodies go out at 155.00 – 205.00 pounds sterling.
Refit and intonation
The contouring of the edges and pockets in the body give it that extra mojo as contours contain, circulate or release intonation. Internal surfaces are checked for sound trapping and dead spots removed. The body sound-board performance is enhanced.
Necks are also edge-finished and rubbed right back. A spongy sounding fretboard can be corrected with a bit of careful strategy. Often a better and more suitable nut will rise the vibrato. Other essentials to improvement are sinking the right frets in, matching the saddles up, knowing which timber facets to finish in shellac or lacquer or none at all save for wax. Every instrument needs individual care and intonation.
Like Custom Shop’s John Cruz says, it’s the small details that make a big difference. It’s also knowing how a wrong move can kill it! That’s why I take my time knowing the instrument and playing it a lot, picking up on its nuances.
.So all the bodies start out felled in USA, cut in UK or Asia and re-finished on the special benches at NGS. The end product is always 100%: a beautiful sounding, built to last piece of kit.
SELECTING BODIES – THE 4 CORNERS
Most of the bodies come from my constantly growing collection and NGS custom production, in ash, alder and mahogany.
I buy a guitar because it plays really well and feels awesome.
NGS AMAZING NECKS
There are no rules other than finding the best quality and beauty for each instrument and building on it.
Most of our necks are treasures from selected instruments or hand made. Most are re-fretted and all receive top pro set up and reshaping. Quilted, flamed and Birdseye Maple are much loved.
If I don’t have a piece offered to me by my peers I will hunt down a great product. I don’t often have a problem finding extraordinary parts… they find me..
NGS bespoke contours: I take enormous pride in the shapes I create and have turned a lot of players on with them. All are contoured from:
- (softened flanks) C or V contour at nut to 7th
- Faintest shift to modern offset C at 7-12 for sweet transitions
- 12 upward C shape, for accurate easy soloing
Neck Finishing: All finished in a type of shellac used in Stradivari violin manufacture of Cremona, Italy, and satin waxed for a soft, smooth sexy ageing and awesome playability.
As a proud master historic paint finisher the surface finishes are really a pride to hold and own. These are not series finishes but each unique to the voice of the guitar.
These guitars really do feel authentically vintage.
- Soft road worn.
- Crazing and cracked distressed lacquer.
- Pitted paint ageing
Making you a Bluesman
I make a few guitars a year as part of my creative practice.
Build and develop time: 3-6 months.
The choice of bridge, saddles, nut, machines are Kluson.
PUPS: Seymour Duncan
Body: Alder, Ash
Neck: Maple, Maple one piece Maple and Rosewood board.
Bespoke body and neck
NGS Hand finished contoured fine form (Nick Garrett)
NGS Contoured neck – for silky, fast play (Nick Garrett)
Road-worn Paint finish, Relic Level 001-2 (Nick Garrett)
Cloth wiring and 250 CTS Pots (Nick Garrett)
Light aged parts (Nick Garrett)
Selected pickups (Nick Garrett): Seymour Duncan
Satin neck and light age waxed finish (Distress Ultra Light 001-2 Nick Garrett)