In 1976 I started doing guitar repair at a little Guitar Shop in New Haven Connecticut. At that time it was mostly set–ups and pickup installs. I installed hundreds of DiMarzio Super Distortion pickups, back in the day - everyone had to have that sound in their Les Paul. As for me, ever since I heard of Jimi Hendrix and the Fender Stratocaster, well “end of discussion.” I’ve found in my experience that Leo’s 1954 invention needed very little improvement over the past 50 years, (a true feat of absolute genius) although dozens upon dozens of changes have been made. So I took what was tried, tested, and true, then merged my own styling to enhance the Workhorse.
I’ve always had a love for the Stratocaster. It was captivating to look at, as well as it’s shape, the flow of the pickguard, three pickups, three knobs and a sliding switch, the tremolo, the way it fit right into your body. My desire was to make my Strat sound “Phat”. I guess it had to do with me playing guitar around town. I found myself searching after that sweet rich singing “voice” Carlos Santana’s tone had. That tone caused me to think “Man, if I only had an axe that played like a Strat but had that richness of a Paul.” So I made up may own Strat from different guitars parts around the shop. It had a 69 neck, which I refretted with jumbo frets, and a very heavy 74 ash body (at the time I summarized that, since LP’s were so heavy, that must one of the reason they sound so fat – I later found that was not the case) and two Humbucking pickups, with a Bill Lawrence Blade. The guitar looked, played, and sounded great! So it instantly became my number one.
Later in the 70’s I heard that Carlos was playing these guitars made by this guy named Paul Reed Smith. In 1982 I relocated to Los Angeles, and it wasn’t until the mid 80’s that I actually got my own PRS. The guitar looked and played great, but that phat tone I wanted wasn’t there. So I researched tone wood types, guitar building processes, pick up design, wood gluing, finishes, everything. Then I started experimenting with several designs of my own. I made many prototypes. I talked with several of the Southern California luthiers – Mark Lacey, John Carruthers , John Page, Don Grosh, and Tom Anderson.
I credit John Carruthers with a great deal of my success as a repairman and as a luthier. John Carruthers’ knowledge and innovations have truly made an impact on the guitar industry over the last several decades. His friendship over the past twenty years has been invaluable. And so due to the input from all these great builders, I was able to set a course for the development of the Singleton line of guitars.
Now after 23 years of building, I continue to be inspired by the old, the new and the futuristic. I am still moving forward and loving every minute of it. It's my passion, it's in my blood. What can be better creating music and creating works of Art!
Thank you for your interest in Singleton Guitars