Linton Telecaster 6

Above: Linton T-caster hand cut body and neck – crafted finish with Bloodstone pick-ups


A quest for tone, 1972

Owning a real Fender became my ambition when I was 12.

But when it happened in 84 it sadly wasn’t a quite the great experience I was hoping for. A 72 strat with a bit of a bulky neck and fragile sustain, didn’t do it for me so I grabbed a newly released Squire (E series) and sunk the Fender 72 neck pup in it. It played a lot better than the 72 and sustained with a sweet but gritty tone. I still have it as my prime instrument today.

84 Squire Strat

How come that same fragile pup sounded so incredible all a sudden!? Therein lies the secret of a great guitar. Alchemy of parts.

The Fender 72 received a sand down on the neck to a sweet thin C contour on my workshop bench and was snapped up by a great player from the German band Magic.

Strat Bluesman series NGS Guitars bespoke series 003

Real F quality with NGS custom intonation and finishing

Real quality can be found in many guitars today, however not many compare with achingly sweet Fender tone and feel.  Yet some come through way better than others and let’s face it, a guitar, no matter how good it’s heritage is often only as good as the factory floor can produce – it is an aggregate product of good parts.

Rear of Strat bod

Making the right sound come alive from inside the body

Each neck and body are treated as entirely unique instruments. 

A plain redwood body can sound dull if set up in the wrong way, with imbalanced pickups and electrics yet with the right body intonation and parts each element increases the individual sound quality of the guitar. They all have unique chemistry.

The release of tension and wood grain tone through optimised shaping of the neck is of the highest importance in my workshop. It goes without saying that most necks do not play anywhere near as good as they could when chopped out by CNC and finished on the shop floor. They do not come alive as soundboards.

At NGS all necks are shaped from this philosophy and not solely based around the set frame of standard neck profiles. Offering 5 options for a neck contour ain’t custom in my shop.

There is little point attempting to replicate an original 69 Strat. None of them sounded the same in any case because they were virtually hand made. Of course playability rests with the player. In each pair of hands a guitar will sound very different and so it is a false economy to try to make a copy of a myth pinned in time. So why not aim for better.

Why not just make awesome guitars and get over the false step that even the top factories now make, of claiming exact emulation and more recently, generic (over-stock shifting) releases.

A great guitar is made by hand: a thing of beauty on all counts, in its own right.

NGS Bodies and gear

I have been fortunate enough to meet some great makers of whom I commission for Linton projects. Neil Shoemark being my trusted body maker. Farther afield I hunt down guitars for my own collection, luthiers and artists who make up my team.

Fender bodies are now my mainstream preferred body of choice with a minimum age of 10 years. Wood types Alder, Ash, Pine and Mahogany.

Pickups of choice are Fender, Lollar, Seymour Duncans and Bloodstone.

Finishing materials: Shellac, Garnet polish, Nitro lacquer and beeswax.


NGS ‘Kinecktics’

Neck obsession started young with me and is where an NGS instrument comes into its of and feels so, so good.

I pay absolute attention to fret feel and contours. Not just the neck itself but the headstock nudge junctures and fret board edge fine contouring.

The neck has to fit the hand of the player and so the guitar will come to you with an appointment to fit and adjust after a week or two playing.

Traditional materials are used to complete the sensuality of the hand to neck match and intonation.

Get in touch and arrange a well earned play of one of them very soon.


Nick Garrett