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Joe Till Guitars - Handmade in California PDF Print E-mail



Hello, Welcome
... and Thanks for visiting TillGuitars.com.

Wouldn't you know it? Right when a nice article about my guitars comes out in Beyond the Acorn (click) magazine, my website starts acting funny. The pictures are disappearing and... It might be awhile before I can fix it. So, may I ask you to please visit my Facebook Page (click), it's much more dynamic and informative than this page, anyway.

Of course, you're welcome to read on, there are plenty of pictures in the menu items.

Contact Information Update:

For some reason the message box on my Contact Us page is not working, either. I do not receive messages sent through my contact page. Please email me directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
The address and phone number are good, just don't bother filling in the boxes.

Now then...Till Guitars is... basically... me. I make about fifteen or twenty guitars and basses a year.
Each one is handmade from start to finish. No robots, no automated machinery. That would just be... wrong. Those things are for making airplanes, not guitars.

For my first dozen or so years of building, I concentrated on two original guitar designs - the TG-100 "Solo" and the TG-250 "Lady on the Beach". That seemed like the best way for me to fine-tune my skills.
But these days, after 20 years in the game, I'm stretching out and introducing a new model about every year. This year I introduced my eighth original design, the TG-521, which features my curviest body to date.
And in 2014 I introduced "Shorty Joe" and the Shorty Joe Bass.

I've also recently added a Baritone version of the TG-250 to the Till Guitars catalog.

As the happy owner of the first one said, "...it's like having tone like an expensive, large piano held in your hands lightly..." (Thanks, Gary)

And I've always got a couple of Till Basses in the works. Not many people get to see them because they usually sell before I complete them.

I'll continue building one-off pieces like this Double-Neck Bass/Six, too. Projects like this help keep the creative juices flowing. This one has a 24 3/4 inch six string guitar on top and a 30 inch bass on the bottom. You can do anything you want with it, but I designed it mainly to be used with a looping pedal. Click here for a demo, but be sure to come back here when you're done.

By now you've probably noticed that if you click on the red highlighted words (except these ones), you'll go to a page about that subject. Another way to see everything on this site is to click the red "Next" buttons at the bottom of each page. And if you see any "Page 2" buttons, click them, too. If you get in any trouble, wave your arms and run in a zig-zag pattern. That works for so many things!

I try to keep my Currently Available Guitars Page up to date. This is where I post my "private stock" models that are complete and ready to ship. The way it works is... you go there, wait for one to call your name, then you write to me with any questions you might have. The more specific you are, the more specific I'll be. I'll get back to you asap with detailed answers and probably a few questions. I discuss pricing here, but I don't get too specific because every guitar I make is unique.

is just my introduction to you, like an online brochure. But, if you want the most juicy gossip and current information about Till Guitars, check out the Joe Till Guitars Facebook Page. I do my best to post as many pictures of my work in all phases of construction that I can. I include some tutorials and videos of my construction methods, and so on. I also post a few special offers on Facebook. Please leave any comments or links - including your own website, videos and booking details. And, "Like" me, if you will.

From my hands to yours...

Till Guitars are Built by Hand from start to finish. I can't imagine another way to build a musical instrument. Automated and computerized machinery (robots) by definition can only make copies. You won't find any of that here. You get nothing but the real deal from Till Guitars. After 19 years of makin' these things, I'm still a one man operation. My big dream is to one day have a helper... maybe someone to take over this computer stuff because my time is much better spent out in the woodshop kickin' up sawdust. But for as long as there is a Till Guitars, we will always celebrate basic woodworking skills. (Yay!)

After you're done looking around, please This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it with any questions/comments. You can't just click a button and buy one of my guitars from this site. I'm afraid you're gonna have to deal directly with me. Ideally, you can make your way to my shop in Westlake Village, Ca., but if that's not possible, let's plan to have a few good back-and-forths through email or on the phone.

By the way, I have a growing body of video demos on the Joe Till Guitars Channel on Youtube. And it's no big deal to shoot a video on my phone if you see something here that you don't see on Youtube. Just remember, the camera adds 10 pounds... to each cheek (Why, that's 40 lbs!).

If my sUbliMinAl messaging is working, some of you have found your way here from Ebay. Welcome! Just one more step and you've saved yourself a bundle (about 13%!). If I have something on there that you just gotta have, all you gotta do is let me know. I'll make sure that I don't relist it after the auction ends. But, keep an eye on the number of views each piece gets. I have a pretty good batting average when the "counter" tops about 250.

I've begun to place my work in a few stores again, after quite a few years without bothering. Things are starting to feel a little better... sometimes... for a little while... sometimes... awhile back.

One thing I've really noticed when I walk into music stores, though, is how identical everything is starting to look. Like everything was stamped out of the same machine, dipped in some funky plastic and shipped off to the mall. Boring! I mean, I get it. There's some kind of comfort in that. All those familiar old names, 75 year old designs... I tell people that I want to be their 5th guitar. Everybody's gotta have their Strat for the Dire Straights stuff, a Les Paul for the heavy stuff, a Martin for that stuff, and a PRS to prove... something. Then you get a Till Guitar when you want some real inspiration.

Please read on. Take your time. And stop back by from time to time to keep an eye on my progress. Look around the web to see what others are saying about my work (I hate doing that!). And whenever you're ready to, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . I've had customers tell me that they met me at some guitar show somewhere five years earlier and had kept my guitars in the back of their mind the whole time. I know it can take a long time to wrap your head around new things.







The Shorty Joe Bass PDF Print E-mail

The Shorty Joe Bass Prototype
Less than a year after introducing the Shorty Joe Guitar, I'm pleased to be rolling out the Shorty Joe Bass. With its 30 inch scale it's also considered to be a 3/4 size instrument, but it is far from being just a "kid's" guitar. Let me tell you, it's a real kick in the pants to play! Every day I find more things to love about this little brute. The first thing I noticed was that it sounds... just like a bass! Low notes and all. I keep it tuned to standard E tuning and it plays and sounds just fine. Good intonation, good tone.
Then I noticed how easy it was to fret. As with the guitar version, every fret on a shorter scale is just that much closer to reach. Very little fatigue.
In the Jungle
Now, I won't kid you, there are advantages to playing a full size bass. A longer scale means it takes more tension to get the strings up to pitch, and that translates to more energy getting to the magnets then on to your amp. But, face it, sometimes it's just a pain to carry those 4 foot long battering rams around on stage (and busses, subways, home studios...)
Dive in!

I'll be experimenting with different pickups and their locations, but this particular setup is going to be hard to beat. One singlecoil Seymour Duncan "Quarter Pounder" which is also known as the '51 P-bass model. With round-wound strings on this first SJB it reminds me of a Rickenbacker until you roll the tone pot off a little, when the tone becomes more Fender-like.
This first edition Shorty Joe Bass features a nicely figured soft maple front and back, sandwiching an alder core. I actually added the maple back to add a little weight to keep the balance right - and it's still only 7 1/2 pounds! I'm using my usual 5 piece laminated neck structure here, too. I don't see a need to glue the neck in, I'll stick with bolt-ons for now.
30 inch bass on bottom, 24 3/4 inch guitar on top
I first used the 30 inch bass scale on my recently completed double-neck guitar/bass. I chose it because I didn't want the two necks to be so different that it would be hard to switch back and forth between the two. I think that for the same reason the Shorty Joe Bass will appeal to regular guitar players. It's always nice to have a bass layin' around.


People, Places and Things PDF Print E-mail

I've gotten to meet some very interesting and talented people since becoming a guitar builder. Musicians, for sure. Other builders and amp guys too. I've been hearing some of their names since I was a kid. Others are still trying to get their name out there, like me.
I meet people from all walks of life in this business. And it's my pleasure to introduce you to some of them and their work here.

Seymour Duncan Pickups
I can't say enough about Seymour's pickups. They define the tone of my guitars more than anything else. I go to his website for schematics, cool interviews, discussions on tone... very educational.

Lady Tie Di's Eclectic Emporium of Great Goods and Services
Creative, friendly, thoughtful. A jewel on the California coast.

Boo Boo's Records
San Luis Obispo, Ca. This is one cool record store. They've got it. If they don't, they can get it. But, don't worry, they've got it.

Lazy Angels Music
I've become good friends with both Rick and Eric since meeting them at the Guitar Show in San Rafael, Ca. a few years ago. They seek and sell some of the most unusual guitars ever made. And between the two of them, they can fix just about anything.

This website has tons of useful information about guitars and guitar builders.

Midnight Hike Band
This band out of D.C. is a riot! Very clever songwriting and performances. And Jamie plays Till Guitars #109! Dig the closeup two minutes in. Check 'em out.

Joe Till on Soundcloud
I just started adding some of my home recordings on Soundcloud. If you like what you hear and would like more, write to me and I can send you a cd filled with my after dinner recordings.









Model TG-250 "Lady on the Beach" PDF Print E-mail

Bubbling With Goodness!

The Till Guitars model TG-250 "Lady on the Beach" was inspired by a postcard of a picture of a painting of a woman sitting on a beach watching the sun set over the water.
That's my story. I think that scene of the Beatles playing "And I Love Her" in "Help!" might also have played a part.
This is my second original design and it's a real joy to play.

Coolest Guitar in the Room

My first design - the TG-100, was built around the ultra-fast 24 3/4 inch Gibson scale, so I wanted my next model to feature the equally familiar 25 1/2 inch Fender scale to round out the collection. There's a lot to be said for the longer scale. I think the main thing is that it takes more tension on the strings to get them up to pitch than with a shorter scale. That means more energy going through these beautiful tonewoods. Sometimes you can feel the resonance up through your elbows and beyond.
Mucho Twango!

Creature Comforts

I have a few videos of this model in action here on the Joe Till Guitars video channel on Youtube.

I cut my teeth playing 9 to 1:30am club dates. I know all about comfort and it's lack thereof. I like a guitar that drapes over my shoulders and let's me rest my arms as naturally as possible while I play the night away. I angle the neck and contour the body (Belly Relief) so you don't have to reach so far for the open chords. It's almost like the guitar wraps around you - instead of playing a straight 2 X 4.

#152 Recycled Birdseye Maple Cap

These construction details all add up to more tone, too. Which means that you to can squeeze more out of every note you play.

The TG-250 is so well balanced that I offer it with practically any scale. It absolutely rips with a 24 3/4 incher.

This model also adapts to all bridge and pickup configurations. Whammies have lower profiles than Tune-o-matics, so the neck angle has to change. But I still give it a good 1 1/2 degrees.

Sing/Sing/Sing Quack Quack Quack

When we get down to designing your dream guitar, we'll cover all of these sorts of things in detail. One option can have a big impact on other features. But I can see any trouble before we get too far along.

To be clear, this model is available with any scale, any pickup configuration, any wiring scheme, any available wood and with your choice of hardware. Once we develop a working relationship, I may be open to ideas like added strings, fanned frets and other novelties, but let's go with my strengths first.

Sorry, other guys
Angled Headstock with Maple Fretboard

Ladies on the Beach






Currently Available Guitars PDF Print E-mail



These guitars are all ready and waiting for you to plug in and play. If you see something that interests you write to me for a complete description and more pictures.See More on Page 2.



TG-521 Rosewood

TG-521 Maple Back
TG-521 no.2 Setneck

No.137 Myrtlewood TG-250
137 Myrtlewood Body

No. 142 TG-100 Myrtlewood
No. 142 Myrtlewood Back

No. 176 TG-250 Setneck
176 rear

What the?
Shorty Joe no.3 w/P-90

Old Lace
No. 158

TG-521 no. 4
TG-250 Baritone no.183

#076 Midnight Blues
Semi-hollow Body

Lil' Tweetie
Dig the Chicken Feet

no.150 Birdseye Maple
#150 Basswood body

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