James Tyler Guitars

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James Tyler guitars James Tyler Guitars is a manufacturer of boutique electric guitars. The company is located near Van Nuys, California, and was established in 1972. It was long regarded as LA studio musicians' "business secret", and consequently reached the public eye through studio musicians like Dan Huff, Michael Landau, and Neil Stubenhaus. The company is known for creating instruments "flawless in design and construction" with an easily recognisable yet somewhat controversial headstock, and creative guitar body finishes with names like "psychedelic vomit", "burning water", and "caramel cappuccino shmear".

During the 1980's the company did primarily repairs and modifications of guitars, but built some custom guitars based on parts from other manufacturers such as Kramer for some of Los Angeles's studio musicians. In 1987 the first production model was released called the Studio Elite, a hot-rodded Fender Stratocaster copy. All the woodwork was done by hand, and it was made certain that the company did not infringe on Fender's trademark headstock design. Additional standard features are a Demeter mid-boost circuit with a gain control and a preset switch and a 'pre-worn' neck.

Their second model, the Ultimate Weapon (available with 2 or 3 humbuckers and a Floyd Rose locking tremolo), was introduced in 1993 and was also based on the Fender Stratocaster but featuring a more contemporary look. The latest incarnation of the guitar, the Ultimate Weapon HD, introduced in 2007, came with a pickguard, an H/S/S pickup layout and a Wilkinson vibrato. In 2006 they introduced two models named Mongoose and Mongoose Retro, the former leaning towards Gibson-style design, while the latter is more of a Fender-design, and taking over for the then discontinued Telecaster-styled Tylerbastar line. By now the manufacturing process had also started to utilize a Fadal digital CNC machine for routing the guitar bodies, allowing for additional optional features like a hollow body. The company now also winds their own pickups, while earlier they used standard and custom pickups from manufacturers like Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio, Lindy Fralin, Tom Anderson, and John Suhr.

The company's first original finish was created in 1991 for Michael Landau as a joke that Tyler has commented "unfortunately, the world took it seriously". It got named "psychedelic vomit". The second finish was created in 1993, again for Michael Landau, and was named "burning water", and is a combination of different colours that has been described as "a mass of swirls in different metallic colors". In 1998 the first "shmear" finish was created, a paint job that uses layers of different kinds of paint and takes about a week to finish.