Watson Guitars
California, USA


Quality boils down to two main ingredients: Materials and Workmanship. Let's discuss each individually as they relate to Watson Guitars. We have chosen to build guitars in the 'boutique' range. This demands that a lot of effort goes into the selection of materials to build one of our instruments, and that we put a great deal of precise manufacturing time and effort into each guitar.

Wood is particularly important in instrument building as the affect weight, sound and appearance. With so much riding on the end result we select our woods carefully. We have a number of reputable suppliers both locally, where we can browse through many fine species, and across the country. We use Gallery Hardwoods as one of our main supplier as they are a specialist supplier to instrument makers.
Pickups are a major contributor to the sound of an instrument. We are very selective about the pickups we use. In some cases they are chosen with the woods of the instrument in mind. In other cases they are chosen to yield particular tone characteristics. At this point in time we use Nordstrand and Bartolini pickups which we consider the best in the industry. Other brands such as Kent Armstrong and EMG are options. We have our own line of top quality pickups under development and hope to introduce them at the 2008 NAMM show.
We now use Audere, Glockenklang and David McKeen electronics in our basses. This allows us to match the best electronics system to the instrument.
Hardware includes the remaining manufactured parts that have to be purchased to complete the guitar or bass. This would include bridges and tailpeces, truss rods, tuners, knobs even fret wire. As with pickups and electronics, we have researched the best sources for each of these. Our bridge/tailpiece assemblies usually come from AMB or Hipshot, tuners from Grover, Gotoh. We have commercial sources for knobs but expect to make most of those ourselves as it allows us to match them to the body woods of the parent instrument. In many cases this also applies to pickup covers.
There are many different finishes that can be applied to guitars an basses. Often, it is the wood used on the instrument that suggests the best finish. We can apply any finish a customer requires from oiled wood to a hard and shiny (or satin) lacquer. At this time we apply oil finished ourselves, and use highly recognized instrument finishing vendors for lacquers. We have standardized on a Polyester resin finish for most of our instruments.
Alex has been building and repairing guitars of all shapes and sizes since the early 1970s. During that time he has produced many guitars and bass guitars, but also experimental acoustic instruments and electric violins. Throughout that same period of 35 years or so, Alex has been involved in cabinet making on an amateur level. More importantly, he trained as an engineer in Scotland and worked as a Manufacturing Engineer both in New York and L.A for a period of 25 years. This engineering background has made guitar building a natural transition, where tight tolerances and attention to minute details are the name of the game. Last but not least, Alex has been a musician all of his life. He knows the demands of a working musician and lends that experience and knowledge to his guitar building.
You can't have good quality unless you have good standards to work to. As a small one-man shop, Watson Guitars is able to set its own quality standards and to expect only the best possible results. Each step in the process of building a guitar or bass is scrutinized, and the instrument will not be moved along to the next process unless the previous one as met our standards. This includes all mechanical and aesthetic standards as they apply to workmanship and materials used in the building process.

Anyone who knows guitars is aware of the extra refinements you would expect from a hand built instrument. We want our instruments to be known for certain details that you would not be able to find on comparably priced products. From the quality of the joints through the extra veneer laminations and tapered stringers to the one-of-a-kind features that make every one of our guitars truly unique, a Watson Guitars instrument will be a worthy investment.


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Last update September 2, 2007