A couple of months ago, I reviewed a nice S-style guitar made by Landric Custom Guitars, LLC. Since then I’ve had the chance to ask Rick Land, the luthier behind Landric Custom Guitars, some questions about his guitars and how he builds them. Check out the interview below:
How did you get into building guitars?
I started building electric guitars to keep out of the “dog house” with my wife. When I really got into the more vintage style guitars, I knew there was no way I could afford the real good re-issues let alone the authentic relics, so I thought I’d try build one. Well, one turned into two, and two turned into three. When I got up to five or so, my wife lovingly suggested that I sell my builds to help pay for future ones.
How do you choose the components that go into a guitar?
There are a lot of factors that go into each guitar I build. There might be a certain look I am trying to achieve, or a sound(s) I am looking for. Most of the time, the guitar’s cost is a big factor. I really try to get the most “bang” for the buck. I always strive for quality without spending top-dollar. There are a lot of nice parts, pieces, and pickups out there that need to be tried in a guitar.
How did you develop your relicing technique?
Lots of trial and error unfortunately. I am always studying the real thing. Whether I’m studying books and photos of vintage guitars, or I get a chance to hold an authentic relic, I try to replicate what I see. There is something new I learn from every old, worn, and played-out guitar. It always amazes me how different one vintage guitar looks from the next. Every player plays a little different. They hold their guitars differently. They store them differently. Some guitars are played in a studio all their life while some have been played in nothing but smokey bars and outdoor stages. They all age, just very differently. I am always trying to recreate these effects. It’s an art I’m learning with each relic job I do.
It seems like even though you might use a few off-the-shelf components, you work them into something unique that fits the particular instrument you’re working on. What process do you use to do that?
I actually use many off-the-shelf components. Because I build a lot of very popular-styled guitars, there are many, many parts available. Sometimes you just go with what works. I get a lot of feedback from players on each of my builds. They tell me if something works or doesn’t work for them. I like to visualize each guitar in my head before I build it. Unless it’s a requested custom guitar, I will mix and match paint colors, fingerboard woods, bridges/tremolos, tuners, …etc. until I have a combination that seems to work for me. Then once the guitar is built, I get it into a players hands to give it a “test run”. Not every player likes the same feel or sound from an electric guitar, so I try to do something a little different any time I can. It’s a fun, but time consuming, process.
I noticed the S-style models I played had a unique electronics set up. Could you explain that a little?
Most of my guitars will get the same electronics. I try to use good quality components and a few tricks I pick up on from some real talented builders over the years. The Retromaster (S-type) guitars will generally come with 5-way switching, vintage pots, cloth wire, “orange-drop” capacitors, and most have a treble-filter on the volume pot. This filter or by-pass, will let you “roll” your volume down without the guitar’s tone getting “muddy” sounding. A lot of the good builders out there will add this feature because it works so well. My Trebleshooter (T-type) guitars use all those same components, but come with 3-way or 4-way switching. I have even experimented with a Trebleshooter that has a 5-way switch. With a added tone capacitor and some different wiring, this guitar gives you all three original T-style tones plus an “out of phase” tone and a neck pickup setting with treble by-pass. Just something you don’t always see, but may be a tone players are looking for…
Any plans to introduce other body styles in the future?
This is a definite plan. Right now, I am just finishing up a custom-ordered 5-string bass guitar. I have done a few bass guitars over the last few yeas, but I hope to get some out in the store soon. I am also working on finishing up a Trebleshooter Baritone and a Thin-line Retromaster. A few other guitar ideas are not far behind either.
For as much as I love the classic styles that we are all grew up with and are accustom to, I can’t wait for the time when I can put a more custom designed Landric guitar out there for players to try. I don’t know when exactly this will happen, but God-willing, it’s a definite plan.
Please feel free to expand on any other part of the guitar-building process that you’d like to talk about.
I will have a few more demos out on Youtube soon. I’ve been very blessed to have the talents and skill of Jared James Nichols playing my Landric guitars out and on video. He really puts my guitars through the extreme playing styles and methods on a daily/nightly basis. Jared and I are working on some new videos to get out there soon.
I also am very close to getting my website up and running. It should give a lot more detail and information on my guitars and what I have to offer. Until it is finished though, you can always go to Cream City Music’s website at: www.creamcitymusic.com to see what I have in stock at their store in Brookfield, WI. Cream City Music is one of the “go-to” guitar stores in the Midwest. They do a lot of business on-line and their showroom is an excellent place to show my guitars. I can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.