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Fender Custom Shop

Our Journey with James Tyler Guitars: 100 Years of Tone

James Tyler

James Tyler Guitars, a name synonymous with innovation and quality in the world of electric guitars, has a rich history that traces back to the early 1970s. While James Tyler himself laid the groundwork, it's the enduring partnership between Tyler Guitars and esteemed dealers that has helped shape the brand's legacy.

In the heart of Los Angeles, James Tyler embarked on his journey, initially delving into custom electric guitar work and repairs. Word of mouth was his first marketing strategy, and it proved to be incredibly effective, especially among the top session players and artists of the burgeoning LA studio scene during the late 1980s and early 1990s. We recognized Tyler's commitment to craftsmanship and innovation from the outset.

Our collaboration with James Tyler Guitars is built on a shared passion for excellence. Tyler's relentless pursuit of improvement resonated deeply with our ethos of providing musicians with instruments of unparalleled quality. As Tyler honed his craft, incorporating state-of-the-art technology while retaining the essence of handcrafted artistry, we stood as steadfast supporters, introducing discerning musicians to the distinctive allure of Tyler guitars.

Tyler's meticulous attention to detail is legendary, and it's a trait that we have long admired. Each guitar is crafted to order, with a small, dedicated team of artisans pouring their expertise and passion into every instrument. Hand shaping the necks, meticulously sanding, painting, and buffing the bodies, and meticulously dressing and polishing the frets are just a few examples of the painstaking processes that ensure the superior quality of Tyler guitars. We understand the importance of these details, knowing that they contribute to the unique feel and playability that musicians crave.

James Tyler Guitars Studio Elite HD - Jimburst Shmear

While technology plays a vital role in the production of Tyler guitars, we and James Tyler both agree that it should never overshadow the human touch. In an age where automation threatens to strip away the soul of craftsmanship, Tyler Guitars remains committed to preserving the artisanal integrity of its instruments. We share this dedication, recognizing that it's the marriage of modern technology and traditional craftsmanship that sets Tyler guitars apart.

Over the years, we have witnessed James Tyler Guitars evolve and grow, all while maintaining its unwavering dedication to quality and innovation. From the iconic Studio Elite model to the groundbreaking collaborations with renowned musicians like Mike Landau and Abe Laboriel, Tyler guitars have continued to push the boundaries of what's possible in the world of electric guitars.

100 Years of Tone

As we reflect on our longstanding partnership with James Tyler Guitars, it's clear that our shared journey is one defined by a commitment to excellence, innovation, and a deep respect for the craft of guitar making. Together, we have helped shape the history of electric guitars, leaving an indelible mark on the industry for generations to come.

James Tyler Guitars History

James Tyler's intimate relationship with guitars traces back to the summer after seventh grade in 1964, a time when The Beatles dominated the charts with "Can't Buy Me Love." Though love may have been elusive, James's parents gifted him a Fender Duosonic, igniting his lifelong passion for music.

Throughout Jr. High and High School, James expanded his collection, adding a Fender Shenandoah 12-string acoustic. Guitar lessons with Ted Greene exposed him to Eric Clapton's masterful playing, solidifying his devotion to the instrument.

High school marked the beginning of James's tinkering phase, disassembling guitars on a whim to experiment with finishes and modifications. His understanding of guitars and electronics grew, leading him to assist friends with repairs.

James Tyler Guitars Ultimate Weapon HD - Tuckerberry Shmear

College offered James a diverse education in architecture, design, music, and theology. To fund his studies, he honed his skills as a guitar repairman at local stores and as a factory-trained auto mechanic for prestigious brands like Alfa Romeo and BMW.

By the late 1970s, James had become a fixture at Norman’s Rare Guitars in the San Fernando Valley, known for his impeccable repair and restoration work. In 1980, he established his first repair shop in Reseda, CA.

Tyler Studio Elite

The 1980s heralded a golden era in the Los Angeles music scene, characterized by a fervent desire to customize electric guitars. James catered to this demand, collaborating with renowned session players like Neil Stubenhaus, who spread the word about James's expertise.

The decade saw Tyler Guitars evolve from a repair shop to a boutique store in North Hollywood. James's innovative designs, including the distinctive Tyler headstock, garnered attention at the 1987 L.A. Guitar Show.

Throughout the 1990s, James's creativity flourished, spawning iconic models like the Psychedelic Vomit and the Burning Water. His collaboration with Abe Laboriel resulted in a revamped bass design, while forays into web accessibility opened up international markets.

In 2005, James fulfilled a long-standing dream with the launch of James Tyler Electric pickups, further enhancing the sonic capabilities of Tyler guitars. Collaborations with Line 6 led to the development of the JTVariax line, blending Tyler's craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology.

Despite facing personal challenges, including a brain tumor diagnosis in 2007, James's resilience propelled Tyler Guitars forward. By 2012, the brand celebrated its 40th anniversary, a testament to James's enduring legacy in the guitar world.

Today, James Tyler Guitars continues to captivate musicians worldwide, with innovations like the Studio Elite Psychedelic Vomit 25th Anniversary guitar. As we reflect on our journey with James Tyler Guitars, we are reminded of the unwavering commitment to excellence that has defined our partnership for decades.

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