IN HIS CAREER as a guitar builder, Jon Sullivan has likely agonized over a myriad of decisions regarding the form and function of his eye-catching instruments, but what to call them was never up for debate. “I got my first electric guitar in 1983, when I was 12,” he recalls. “It was a Maxitone, from the Matsumoku factory in Japan, that was a very ’60s, Jetsons-like bastardization of a Strat. I was very excited about it, and I took a Sharpie and signed ‘Sully’ on the headstock. So it was always going to be a thing.”
Like many guitar-obsessed teens who came of age in the ’80s, Sullivan, who grew up in Lombard, Illinois, spent his teenage years learning the licks of hard-rock icons such as Ace Frehley, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, and Ratt’s Warren DeMartini and Robbin Crosby. He was influenced by not onlytheir playing but also their choice in instruments. “I was attracted to the newer, flashier, more modern guitars they played, like Robbin’s Jackson King V, and guitars built from various parts, like Ed’s Frankenstein,” Sullivan says. “I didn’t care about Fender Strats.” When he wasn’t practicing, Sullivan pored over the ads for guitar parts, necks and bodies in the back pages of guitar magazines, and studied the catalogs he received from luthiery supply house Stewart-McDonald. “And then I would also hang out like a stray cat at my local music store, Park Ave Guitarz. They were Jackson dealers, so they had all kinds of cool custom-shop stuff, and the owner, Steve Harnack, was just so nice to me. I would watch him do repairs and build parts guitars for all of the guys in town, and just ask questions.”
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Fingerstyle guru Andy McKee’s first new studio effort in nearly a decade pays homage to Prince and Michael Hedges.
MORE is MORE
Yngwie Malmsteen takes his neoclassical shred to new extremes on Parabellum.
DRIVE LIKE A DEMON
As he returns with Fist Full of Devils, his first solo album in 20 years, Earl Slick shares tales of his fast times with David Bowie and John Lennon.
Robben Ford goes bold with Pure, the new instrumental outing he calls “the most complete expression of a musical life.”
BOULEVARD OF BROKEN-IN DREAMS
Billy Rowe’s Rock N Roll Relics look, play and sound like much-loved and well-traveled treasures.
Acoustic Blues Musings, Pt. 1
How to choose a blues box and strings.
LTD MH-1000 Deluxe EverTune
The Duchess V4 Guitar Amp
Dark Gene Micro Amplifier
TOO MUCH STUFF? FLOW AND F.L.O.W.
Inspired by Benedictine simplicity, BECKY GARRISON looks for ways to keep her space less cluttered.
After a long hiatus, the venerated R&B singer returns with her riskiest album yet.
GETTING INTO GAS ENGINES
Expert installation & setup tips
APART BUT TOGETHER: TIPS FOR A COZIER ZOOM THANKSGIVING
We all know Thanksgiving is going to look different this year.
Sullivan SkyWriter Smoke Pump
If you have ever been to an RC airshow, then you’ve seen aerobatic airplanes using smoke during their flight routines.
A Quiet Nature
“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem,” says A.A. Milne from the popular book Winnie the Pooh.
Gas Engine Setup
Installation tips to keep your powerplant happy
Inspired by a certain space opera, young makers let the good times roll!
BEAUTIFUL BUT ADD IN SOME STEEL
FORMER All-Ireland winning Kerry captain Darran O’Sullivan says it’s time for Kerry’s “beautiful footballers” to start winning.
Invest wisely to weather wildlife industry storms
The local wildlife ranching industry has had its share of ups and downs over the past few years, and drought, a boom-bust cycle and COVID-19 have seen many farmers exit the sector. Lindi Botha spoke to Limpopo rancher Jaco Sullivan about the resilience and sound business decisions that have kept his family in the game.