For a long time I concentrated on building just two guitar models - the TG-100 "Solo" and the TG-250 "Lady on the Beach", making slight changes from one to the next. This approach helped me understand what little differences in lengths, thicknesses and angles can make, and also which woods work well with other woods - tonally and structurally.
Armed with all this first-hand knowledge, I've been much more adventurous in recent years. I've introduced two new guitar models and their baritone and bass counterparts. And I've opened up a whole new can of worms with the introduction of an 8 string mandolin (with 4 and 5 string models soon to follow).
Then there are the occasional one-offs, like the Flying J Double-neck Bass/Six String...
Click on the buttons below to see a gallery and description of each of my different models.
The TG-100 was my first original design when I dove into guitar making in 1996. Built around a 24 3/4 inch scale, this model is fast and nimble, with tone to spare.
Over the years, the TG-250 has probably been my most popular model. I've made more of them than any other model - so far. And, it's a very versatile platform to work from. It will accomodate one, two or three pickups, any length scale, and any type of bridge.
So new that I haven't come up with a nick name, yet. But it's becoming known as the guitar that wouldn't tip.
The balance is so good that I've been building them with longer and longer scales. I started at 24 3/4", then 25 1/2", 27 1/2" baritone, and even a 28 5/8" baritone and it was still as comfortable as could be, the weight slung evenly across my back.
Shorty Joe is a 3/4 size guitar with a 23 1/4 inch scale. Kids love it, but I actually have the professional player in mind when I make them.
They're just plain fun - particularly for playing lead. Everything's just a little closer, you can bend notes up to your chin! Vibrato is exaggerated, volume swells are in easy reach...
The first four Shorty Joes were made from a single chunk of curly soft maple. Excellent tone, but there were too many eye-rolling comments about the weight (people can be so insensitive!). Since then I've been laminating pretty tops and backs onto a chambered alder center section. Adding another layer to the already excellent tone, but shedding a couple of pounds. 6 1/2 lb can be achieved.
On a whim, I made a 30 inch bass out of a Shorty Joe body. And whaddya know? It was the cutest thing you ever saw! It performs like a champ in my cramped home studio. The bass loop on the video above is Shorty bass no.1.
This 34 inch bass model was designed as a "companion piece" to my TG-250 "Lady on the Beach" guitar. Each of the first four have Zebrawood caps and this "P-J" pickup combo. They tend to sell before I even complete them, so you might have to order a custom model. I have one in the works now, BTW.
They sell so quickly that I don't have any recordings, so you'll just have to take my word... they're best bass ever.
If you haven't noticed yet, I'm into beautiful woods. Most of my guitar's backs are as pretty as their tops!
This was originally going to be a lap steel, but at the last second I chickened out and flipped the body over to make it a regular guitar.
Needless to say, this guitar has a strong visual impact on stage. I don't know why everyone doesn't have one.
This was how I listed this guitar on Ebay one time. A week later somebody started counterfeiting it overseas... calling it "the Joe Till Guitars Double Neck Bass/Guitar.
Not much I can do about that, but if you want the real thing, you've come to the right place.
"The Talking Guitar"