If there's one thing that's sure to get everyone on staff @ TME buzzing it's the introduction of a new builder to the TME family. We are really excited to be working with the extraordinarily talented Thomas Rodriguez. Based in Virginia, Thomas has been building guitars, including highly regarded nylon strings, for the last 35 years alongside fellow VA-based contemporaries Lindy Fralin and Bill Callaham.
Released alongside the student model single-pickup Coronet in 1958, the Crestwood - Thomas calls his the Buxton - represents the higher-end of the two solidbody models Gibson introduced under their newly acquired brand. Think of the Coronet like a Les Paul Junior and its bigger brother Crestwood like a Les Paul Standard. Gibson manufactured these first version solidbodies in very low numbers, which has factored into their relative rarity and general lack of familiarity among even the most astute vintage electric aficionados. At their core, they represent a unique take on a timeless recipe that made legends out of the Les Paul, SG, and many more mahogany body Gibson electrics.
Thomas brings this early model design back to the forefront, adding a level of build quality that we quite honestly think few can rival. Using a combination of lightweight tonewoods, excellent pickups and hardware, and precision fit and finish, this Crestwood-style Buxton model is without question the best modern version of this guitar we've come across. Playability and feel shine bright here, capturing great vintage sensibility without some of the clunkiness we sometimes run into with older instruments.
Thomas's eye for design is well documented in this model as well- Gibson/Epiphone purists might notice a nod to the old Epiphone "bikini" headstock badge used on many of Epiphone's instruments from the late 1930s through Gibson's first few years of ownership. Instead of using a metal badge, Thomas inlays a beautiful piece of quilted maple into the headstock in the shape of the original badge, with an overlay of the Rodriguez insignia elegantly placed atop it. Sure, it might seem like a minor detail, but Rodriguez doesn't overlook details, big or small, on his builds.
Now for the real good stuff- a gorgeous two-piece curly maple top, one-piece Honduran mahogany, and Mahogany neck combined with a MojoAxe wraparound tailpiece and a sweet sounding set of Fralin Pure PAF humbuckers yield some instant classic tones that we love in an old Les Paul. The Fralins lean closer to the clearer low/medium output humbucker type, working well for clean tones as well as gained up.
As you can likely tell, we're absolutely loving this guitar and the others we've gotten to play from Thomas. Some builder's guitars have "it", and we can safely say, Thomas' guitars 100% do. These are truly special instruments and we're proud to represent his work. Price with hardshell case.
- Serial #: 328
- Neck: Honduras Mahogany
- Body: One piece Honduras mahogany with a curly, big leaf maple cap
- Fingerboard: Indonesian rosewood
- Scale length: 24.7inch
- Fingerboard radius: 12”
- Frets: #141 wire, width .095, crown .045
- Neck profile: Soft V, about .86 at the 1st fret and .94 at the 12th.
- Nut width: 1 11/16"
- Nut: Unbleached bone
- Controls: Volume, volume, tone, tone, 3 way switch and new old stock West-cap .022 600v oil caps
- Pickups: Lindy Fralin pure PAF’s, zebra coil bobbins 7.6k neck, 8.4K bridge
- Bridge: Mojoaxe vintage intonated wraparound
- Tuners: Gotoh keystone button vintage tuners
- Finish: faded sunburst, Mohawk classic stringed instrument lacquer, nitrocellulose
- Weight: 7.4 pounds