TK Smith: The Quickest Way to "Pick Up" Undeniably Vintage Tone

(Image credit: TK Smith)

Although Yucca Valley, California, is just three hours east of L.A., it might as well be a world away. In fact, you could say It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World away, since the town provided some of the striking desert scenery in Stanley Kramer’s classic 1963 comedy. Sadly, a lot of the wide-open spaces in the film have been replaced by Walmarts and Starbucks. But Yucca Valley, bordering Joshua Tree National Park, is still slow paced enough to recall a simpler time.

In that sense, it’s the perfect setting for TK Smith Electronic Guitar Service. That’s where TK Smith produces — by hand — his midcentury-modern Paul Bigsby–inspired Smith Special guitars; axes that would’ve looked right at home in the hands of Grady Martin or Merle Travis.

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.