TJS Custom Guitars can trace its roots right back to the first guitar I owned as a teenager. No sooner had I learned to play a few chords, when I cut the guitar open and added a pickup to create a thinline electric guitar. Needless to say, the results were not spectacular!
I enjoyed woodwork for most of my life, and the drive to be creative lead me to a career in mechanical engineering, and then more recently into academia, teaching the next generation of engineers. After playing guitars and singing in local churches for many years, I realized I would never be able to afford to own that Gretsch White Falcon I so admired, so I finally plucked up the courage to build my own guitar. After all, how hard could it be?
Thankfully I was assisted by YouTube experts such as Crimson Guitars who made it all look so easy. This started a journey into guitar building that involved purchasing the neck and building custom bodies initially, and then eventually building my own necks.
A critical point in this journey was when I entered the “Great Guitar Build-Off 2021” and with the “go big or go home” mentality, I decided to build my own White Falcon! It was far from perfect, but to my surprise turned out great! This spurred me on to build the Raptor semi-hollow and Dovehollow-body hybrid (electric/acoustic) models, and before I knew it I had people asking if I could build a custom guitar for them!
My approach is to build uniquely desirable instruments that have a classic style and showcase the beauty of the natural woods from which they were created. I build them light, stiff and resonant for an inspirational playing experience.
I hope you enjoy these musical works of art as much as I do!
Please visit my YouTube channel, TJS Customs to see me create some of the guitars.
My experience with my TJS Raptor guitar has been great! The quality in every detail and its beautiful design make it unique. Its versatility and sound quality make it an extremely useful instrument for use in different types of musical genres live and also in the studio.
I believe I’m the owner of the first TJS Raptor, the one all the more recent Raptors are closely based on, construction wise. If these guitars came with serial numbers, mine would be ..00001 (pretty cool).
In short, I love this guitar! I mean, it plays great & all that (more of that later) but I must confess that what knocks me out completely are the looks.
It is just a gorgeous looking thing, entirely made out of several very attractive solid woods (yes – even the scratch plate and the Raptor inlay on the fingerboard..) and very well put together. In fact, the craftmanship is something else.
Strummed “dry” (not plugged in), my Raptor is fairly loud and rings quite nicely, with each note coming across as well defined and balanced.
The rather chubby neck (that’s just the way I like it – Trevor will happily make just about any neck profile the customer prefers) and the walnut finger-board are a joy to play. Bending full notes is pretty much effortless and even 3 semitone bends seem easier than with most other guitars I’ve played.
Once you plug in, the 2 Alnico ll humbuckers produce a rich and mellow sound in the neck position. When you switch the 3 way selector to the middle position you get a clear, bell like tone (you could probably out-jangle the Byrds), while flicking to the bridge humbucker takes you straight into Chuck Berry / Johnny B. Goode territory. Add some overdrive and then some more again, until you get to full-out distortion levels and you’ll see this Raptor can take just about anything you throw at it and serve it back with interest accrued.
Unfortunately for my bank account I think I’ll be visiting Trevor again. Soon. There are a couple of his new creations I saw in passing, last time I was there. I definitely need to check out more thoroughly…
“Not a day goes past without my guitar putting a smile on my face, all thanks to Trevor and his expertise. He is so knowledgeable about what he is doing, not only music but his craftsmanship is absolutely top class. I am glad I stumbled upon his service which is clearly made with passion and with a love for music. There is no doubt in my mind that the instruments that he makes will be renowned, not only for the quality of the instrument but the feeling that one feels when looking at it and holding it to play. That is rare. Pure class! Thank you, Trevor.”