NGS Bluesman Guitars

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Build your Fender relic Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jaguar, Mustang, guitars with bodies and necks by NGS Relic Guitars: Fender Custom Shop style.

 

White tele NGS Guitars Build 001

G N A R L

L O O K S

F E E L

 

 

series linton ngs guitars

One-off bespoke guitars with a feel for roadworn, gigable playability – 42 to 45mm of pure butter n snarl. 

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A quick chat about wood and the birth of the guitar self-builder

FACTORY GRADING OF TIMBERS

 

Today building a great guitar is made easy with quality suppliers and second hand parts now becoming readily available. Even top grade tonewoods and timber bodies are now just a Paypal away.

Grading of timber in any major guitar production site falls into 2 black and white categories. Exceptional and the rest.  The exceptional ones are pulled out for the ‘Custom’ shops. With most of the rest become exceptional over time as the wood matures right?

 

‘Custom shops’ themselves came about because of bespoke makers like us… some got hired by the big boys, most continued a passion as a hobby turned career. Nothing wrong in that!!

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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.

 

THE REAL FUCKIN’ DEAL

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Nick Garrett plays the NGS Fender Strat bluesman

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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.

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With the right neck and hardware that sparkle stays in the heart of the instrument characterising the Bluesman.


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WHAT GIVES? THE SQUIER and MEXICAN BODY DEBATE

Any pro will tell you the 80s and 90s Squier with a bit of an upgrade is as good as any guitar you could want.

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While that is true of bodies, when it comes to the neck, aside from a great shape Squiers and Tokai’s often have, the density of the wood isn’t quite the same in later models. In most cases a hot Fender neck feels much harder and delivers more tonal range and response. A copy usually feels softer than a true-cut Fender. It could be nothing more than bad, cheap lacquer… or the seasoning of the timber itself.

A special edition copy is likely to be nearly as good as any other. We’ll talk about that next in refit and intonation.

Relic restoration on this MIM standard neck

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If you were to unbolt an early 80s JV Japanese A or E series Fender ‘Squier’ Strat body it would become a US body because that’s where it would have been built in the first place.

The complete Squire would cost 250-350. The US 83 Alder body alone would be worth 350-450.00. Things that make you go mmmmutha.

 

So when it comes to the body there ain’t much difference at all across the mid and upper Asia, Mex, USA end. Here’s why.

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  • Most Fenders are cut from USA homegrown or Canadian timbers.
  • Most Japanese, China and Asian producers import their timber from USA and Canada.

It could be said that most Fenders are now parts-casters with Seymour Duncs and other add-ons derived from the influence of the best bespoke maker’s of the world.

SO TODAY THE NEW ERA OF GUITARIST BUILT CUSTOM ‘CASTERS IS HERE TO STAY. EMBRACE!

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NGS Guitars: Bluesman headstock logo

 


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THE NGS BLUESMAN BODY

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 and ratio of weight and intonation quality. It has to be 3-4 lb and have a real ring to it. 

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It aims to be head and shoulders above anything in the mostly-bespoke price range of £600-1000.


But our Bluesman bodies go out at 145.00 – 185.00 pounds sterling.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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SELECTING BODIES – THE 4 CORNERS


Most of the bodies come from my constantly growing collection and NGS custom production, in ash, alder and mahogany.

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I buy a guitar because it plays really well and feels awesome. Sound structurally, loved and tones up special.  NGS

I think if you want 3 pups get a strat. For a Tele I cannot see the point in getting a neck pup that makes it sound ”just like a Tele except for the neck pick-up!!”
 
So what I’m saying is for you to ever know a truly beautiful Tele and how it tussles, first get one set up with 2 great pups that emulate the plank as it was first envisaged and adored.
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My target trawl are fellow makers, US, UK, German and Japanese products.

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80% of product comes from my network of Luthier benches the balance are from my ongoing collection.

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Ageing a nice V contour Neck

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NGS AMAZING NECKS

There are no rules other than finding the best quality and beauty for each instrument and building on it.

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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.

 

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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.

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Modern Squier and Tokai Alder necks are normally too spongy for the soundboard I generate. However there are some series of satin finished Korean and Japanese 80s necks that have some superb qualities. Once cleaned back and re-contoured reveal fine grains and birdseyes. These high quality pieces and small maker necks are selected for the Bluesman series.

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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:

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  1. (softened flanks) C or V contour at nut to 7th
  2. Faintest shift to modern offset C at 7-12 for sweet transitions
  3. 12 upward C shape, for accurate easy soloing

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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.

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Paint finishing

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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.

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These guitars really do feel authentically vintage.

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  • Soft road worn.
  • Crazing and cracked distressed lacquer.
  • Pitted paint ageing

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Making you a Bluesman

I make a few guitars a year as part of my creative practice.

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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 onepiece Maple and Rosewood board.

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Prices start from £650.00 (sterling)

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  • 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)
  • Kluson parts
  • Selected pickups (Nick Garrett): Seymour Duncan
  • Satin neck and light age waxed finish (Distress Ultra Light 001-2 Nick Garrett)

 


Useful Links AD

https://www.nickgarrettsignwriter.com/
https://www.nickgarrettsignwriter.com/glass-gilding/
https://www.nickgarrettsignwriter.com/retail/
https://www.ngssignsmiths.com/bones-of-letters-book-1/
https://www.ngssignsmiths.com/
https://www.ngssignsmiths.com/comingup
https://www.ngssignsmiths.com/2-day-course
https://ngsguitars.com/ngs-bluesman
https://ngsguitars.com