“They asked us to make a guitar out of the Knicks basketball court”: John Mayer has added another custom Charvel to his collection – and this one is literally built from Madison Square Garden’s floor

John Mayer Madison Square Garden Charvel
(Image credit: Joe Williams/Instagram)

Though John Mayer has primarily been a PRS Silver Sky player since his signature guitar first arrived in 2018, there are a handful of other guitar brands that hold a starring role in his wider electric guitar collection.

Naturally, Fender is one of them – Mayer was a Fender Stratocaster loyalist right up until he joined the PRS artist ranks, and recently pulled his Monterey Strat out of retirement for Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival this month.

But Mayer is also an avid fan of Charvel guitars. Granted, it’s not a company that’s too closely associated with the Sob Rock star, but Mayer’s collection does in fact comprise a unique, skateboard-inspired custom shop six-string straight from Charvel that was built by David Nichols. Now he’s added another show-stopping model to the catalog.

The new addition celebrates Mayer’s recent two-night solo run at Madison Square Garden, and does so in quite obscure fashion: the body is literally built from wood taken from the venue’s floor.

Commissioned by The Garden and constructed by Charvel Master Builder Joe Williams, Mayer’s latest axe boasts a body composed from the recently removed New York Knicks basketball court, which (if Williams’ Instagram post is anything to go by) arrived at the Custom Shop as an unfinished slab.

Now, a quick Google reveals that hard maple is the most common wood for basketball courts, so we imagine it was an especially familiar material for Williams to work with. While no specific details were given, it's likely the court was utilized for a maple top, which worked alongside a more robust body.

From that piece, Williams crafted the blue-finished beauty as we now see it, complete with what looks to be a basketball court-style marker and a sticker of the Knicks logo. As for the rest of the spec sheet, the guitar bears a resemblance to Mayer’s other Charvel – peep the Floyd Rose-style tremolo and control layout – though swaps the HH configuration from an HS alternative.

Notably, the guitar also swaps out Charvel’s usual Strat-style headstock for a sharper, Jackson-esque head, which seemingly pays homage to another one of Mayer’s guitars: a pink Jackson 30th Anniversary Soloist that was built by Mike Shannon.

In his post, Williams also said he “didn’t have a whole lot of time to really go crazy with it”, but that everyone involved in the project was happy with how it turned out. We can’t say we’re surprised: as far as one-off custom guitars go, this is pretty tasty – we just hope we get to see Mayer player it live in the foreseeable future.

“I’m very honored to have been a part is [sic] this special project whipped up by the legendary Madison Square Garden,” he wrote. “A while back, we were contacted to build a guitar for @johnmayer who had already sold out @thegarden venue two nights in a row. As gift to him, they asked us to make a guitar out of the recently removed Knicks basketball court.”

To have Williams build this celebratory six-string makes sense, especially considering he built a guitar for the PRS signature artist in the past. “Fun fact: John Mayer is known for primarily playing Strats,” wrote Williams, “but he also owns a Jeff Beck style Soloist I made in 2015.”

It's not the only eye-catching guitar bearing Mayer's name to be released over the past few months. In August, Mayer teamed up with Martin to produce a pair of silverburst signature acoustic guitars.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.