February 20th, 2011
James Trussart let me hang out at his workshop and try out a bunch of different model guitars today – he makes strange beautiful works of art influenced by, yet completely different from the classic Gibson/Fender standards. He makes some models completely of steel, others with wood bodies & steel tops.
The one I chose to leave with, a Steel DeVille, has all that I like about the Gibson scale (my hands are not large), plus 24-fret neck, but allows me the ’spank’ of Fenders that I love. I can really lay into it and it barks back, or finesse it and the notes bloom… The Bigbsy excites me, I have an old Gretsch that’s too fragile to take out on the road and I love the advantages of that color it gives. Every one of the similar model had other qualities I liked; they were all different in various ways – it was difficult to commit. A good thing.
He uses real snake or alligator skin to texturize the surfaces! I had assumed there was an automated process or mold or something to get that oxidization and texture, but it’s a crazy (!) primitive time-intensive method, which I don’t understand and probably shouldn’t divulge if I did. He is a true luthier, craftsman, engineer and mad scientist. I’m looking forward to using the crap outta this instrument … I wish I had a gig sooner than Wednesday so I could use it thru a LOUD amp. Check them out: