Drew & Sebastian Guitars
BY LIANA PRUDENCIO
Options, options, and more options. Graham;Drew,;master;luthier;at;Drew;&
Sebastian Guitars in Virginia, says his company
offers various options for every detail on their
instruments, all the way down to how the pickups are wound. “I think it’s our level of boutique
that really sets our guitars apart—most certainly
when people play and hear them,” says Drew.
Trained as a carpenter in the UK, Drew came
to the US in 1999 and repaired guitars as a hobby
while playing in a full-time band. He learned
a lot about his craft from British luthier Bernie
Goodfellow while he was home visiting for a few
months in 2000. Three years ago, shortly after
opening Jade Guitars—his own guitar repair shop
Guitars in the US—Drew entered the custom guitar market after speaking with numerous customers and other musicians in the area.
He began by offering building services and
specializing in solidbodies inspired by the classics.
Drew has found that, while customers do request
a variety of custom features, most want to main-
tain the look of a traditional guitar. “Guitarists
are a pretty conservative bunch,” says Drew. “And
speaking as a guitarist, I’ll put my hand up and
say I’m totally the same way. [Laughs.]”
That hasn’t kept Drew from toying around
with ideas like unconventional woods and con-
figurations. For instance, he’s currently building
a thinline Tele-style guitar with a neck made of
solid wenge. And his Avenger model looks like
a cross between a Fender Jaguar and Jazzmaster
but has the pickup and hardware configuration
of a Tele. “Those are the kind of ideas that I’ve
got,” says Drew. “I want to do something that’s
familiar but different.”
hardware, like Kluson tuners, and more contem-
porary machines such as Grover, Gotoh, Schaller,
and Sperzel. The standard pickup options are
handbuilt by UK-based Wizard Pickups for each
guitar. Drew calls the guys at Wizard and they
determine how each set will be wound and pro-
duced using several criteria—from the woods and
shape of the guitar to the customer’s playing style.
are a 25 1/2" scale, 22 frets, and 9. 5" fretboard
radius. Basses have a standard 34" scale, 20 frets,
and 9. 5" fretboard radius. However, customers can always request alternative specifications,
electronics, and hardware.
The most popular D&S model is the Europa, a Tele-style guitar that’s available
in Standard, Deluxe, or Special pickup
configurations. The Standard option
has two single-coils, the Deluxe option
features two humbuckers, and the Special option has three single-coils. Standard wood choices for the body are
alder or ash. The Europa has a maple
neck with either a maple, rosewood, or
pau ferro fretboard, and is also available
in a semi-hollow thinline version.
The Strat-style Avatar model comes in
Standard and Deluxe configurations.
The standard woods are the same as
the Europa, and other standard options
include a Callaham Vintage S tremolo
and Tweed Tone, Texas, or Triple Cream
pickups from Wizard. The Avatar in the
photo was a tribute to Ritchie Blackmore
and features a swamp-ash body, 21
frets, and a Callaham Vintage S bridge.