"The guitars are finished to look like real instruments made by a real person, not poured out of a mold on the other side of the globe. All custom guitars are designed in collaboration with the players who use them - professionals, beginners, and in-between." -Creston Lea
Made a few hours north of TME in Burlington, VT, Creston builds each guitar to the customer's specs. Those customers include the likes of Kris Delmhorst, Jaleel Bunton (TV on the Radio), Mark Erelli, Ian Mackay (Fugazi), Jay Farrar (Son Volt), Zack Hickman (Josh Ritter), Henry Kaiser, Michael Millard (Froggy Botton Guitars), and dozens of others.
Creston Lea's take on this classic model takes the best bits of old and new and rolls them into a really resonant, snappy, ultimately inspiring guitar. As a nod to a '59 Tele, utilized by players like Jim Campilongo, this T sports a toploader bridge. This typically ups the raw/twang factor and also gives the guitar a slinky feel, though this guitar never gets unwieldy in the twang department (which we like).
More modern touches include a reversed control plate and a bridge plate that has the "pinky cut" (look south of the bridge pickup) - all an effort to increase playing comfort and increase the ease at which you can ride the volume and tone controls. It's a really cool setup that had us doing faux Campilongo tone knob/wah swells like we knew what we were doing!
Plugged in we were greeted to chimey, twangy Tele tones in the bridge position, and fat, warm jazzy tones via the neck humbucker. We can't quite put our finger on it, but there's something a touch more refined about this guitar's tones vs other Tele's we've played (a good thing in our book). If you need to cover country tunes on one gig and jazz on the next, this could be the one guitar to take along (vs multiples).
Like all Creston guitars, the build quality is very high and retains the made-by-hand vibe and feel that he's after. The neck is similar to a pre-CBS Fender, though a touch wider/chunkier. A comfortable carve for both lead and chord work.
It never ceases to amaze us how the classic Tele formula can feel so different from builder to builder. We absolutely love what Creston has done with his T-syle model! Priced with Creston/Levy embroidered gig bag.