mick johnson guitars

changing the world, one guitar at a time…

A portfolio of some of Mick's guitars.


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Mick Johnson - Les Paul Standard

Yes that's right . . . Just occasionally Mick decides to build a guitar for himself.

Well - one day he was sitting in the kitchen playing along with some Gary Moore blues licks . . . on a Strat!

"What I really need," thinks Mick "is a Les Paul!"

So of course he just made one!

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Kieren Irving - Jaguar

A beautifully appointed Johnson Jaguar with Swamp Ash body, birdseye Maple neck and Bareknuckle pickups.

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George Twydell (Freeway Mad) - J45 Cutaway

Made to mirror George's Les Paul, this J-45 has a very interesting spec:

Gibson style neck with triple abalone crown inlays.
Rosewood body with maple binding.
Spruce top laquered 'tea-burst'.
Cocobolo rosette with abalone inlay mirrored on the end of the fingerboard. Honduras mahogany neck, ebony fingerboard.
Grover keystone tuners.
Bone nut and saddle and ebony bridge.
Fitted with Fishman Matrix infinity electronics.
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Charlie Luffrum - Baritone Guitar

This guitar is a monster. Custom built for Charlie Luffrum with a Cedar top, complete with burred Walnut arm bevel and Rosewood back and sides.

The guitar is tuned down a 4th from B to B with octave strings on 3rd and 4th. (Mick thinks it's a bugger to play!!)

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Mick Johnson - Classical

And here's another one by Mick and for Mick. This time a nylon strung classical guitar. Construction is rosewood back and sides, spruce top and a cypress neck.

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Custom J200 - 2015

This wonderful Cutaway J-200 style guitar was custom ordered by Ric Bardsley.

Spruce top, Rosewood back & sides with a Honduras Mahogany neck.
The fingerboard is ebony with an ivoroid binding. Inlays are three piece abalone and pearl crown.

You can read Ric’s appraisal of the process on the Praise page.

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Travel Parlour Guitar - Charlie Luffrum

Yet another guitar built for Charlie - this one however has the unique attribute of a detachable neck!

Charlie wanted a guitar he could travel with as hand luggage, and this was the answer.

It's a parlour sized instrument with Cedar top and Rosewood back and sides, Bloodwood binding and Mahogany neck.

In order to comply with hand luggage dimensions, the guitar has a super-small headstock with Gotoh stealth tuners.
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Clive Richardson - Blackbird - Slot Head J-45 2014

The timber for this beauty came from an old bar, evidence of which you can see in some of the photographs. This guitar enjoys a drink - which is just as well as so does Clive!

It is of course another absolute cracker in Mick’s ongoing series of J-45 style instruments.

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Custom OOO - 2014

This little beauty was crafted for Charlie Luffrum.
The unusual Port Oregon yellow cedar top was a first for Mick. The guitar has rosewood back and sides and a Honduras mahogany neck. Curly koa is used for the bindings which extend to the ebony fingerboard and headstock veneer. Purflings are maple and ebony. Other appointments include mother of pearl diamond inlays, brass bridge pins, Waverley ebony tuners and a Fishman Matrix Infinity pickup. The guitar sounds as good as it looks with a depth of tone that belies the OOO body size.

Check out what Charlie has to say about it on the Praise page.
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Custom J200 - Dear Prudence - 2014

A truly handsome beast is this spruce and rosewood J200 - custom built for Mike Pass, who wanted the large bodied guitar without the brightness associated with its customary maple back and sides, and christened Dear Prudence.

So - a spruce top with rosewood back and sides and a neck of Honduras mahogany. Bindings are curly koa, purflings are maple and ebony. The fingerboard is rosewood with a curly koa binding and mother of pearl dot markers. The headstock has a rosewood facingg and is beautifully set off by the Grover Art Deco 'Imperial' machines. The bridge is a rosewood moustache . . . "like my grandmother's . . ." says Mick!

Th guitar is equipped with an under saddle Fishman Matrix Infinity pickup.

A fabulous package - and Mike is delighted.

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Custom J-45 - 2012

This beautiful take on Gibson's J-45 was made for Pete Lincoln.

The guitar has a spruce top finished in a stunning tobacco sunburst and very rare flame mahogany back and sides - left very natural to show off the grain. Ivoroid binding to the body, neck and headstock. Ebony fingerboard, bridge and veneer to front of headstock. Waverley ivoroid butter bean tuners . . .

Pete says - " I couldn't be happier - this guitar simply plays and sounds just right. Mick's absolutely nailed it!"
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Custom J-45 - 2013

And another cracker, this time made in Left Handed form, built for Hugh Dunford.

An absolute beauty, this instrument is made form a matching set of timber identical to Pete's guitar above, though with the mahogany back and sides finished in a high gloss rich chestnut colour.

Subtly different, with a Gibson-style headstock and position markers, it plays like butter and sounds sublime.

Upon picking up the guitar and playing it for the first tine, Hugh said with a big grin - "This is the guitar I've been waiting for all of my life."

Compliments don't come much better than that!

The gallery includes shots of the guitar with its 'twin'.
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Stevie's Strat 2007

A stunning example of Mick's Strat builds - this one was made for Steve Valentine and features a swamp ash body capped with a beautifully quilted maple top and a birdseye maple neck.

Pickups are Seymour Duncan Alnico Pro 2 - later replaced with Custom Shop 54s.

The gold hardware adds an extra touch of class.

Drop-dead gorgeous!
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Arch-top Jazz Guitar 2006

Mick loves a challenge - something to push the boundaries - and he more or less built this just out of curiosity . . . to see how it would turn out.

Well - to say it turned out rather well would be a gross understatement. It's a thing of rare beauty and both sounds and plays great.

Every 'jazzer' who has played this guitar loves it. There is some doubt however that Mick could be tempted to build another . . . watch this space!
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Detlef Kötter Strat 2013

The neck on this guitar is not for the heavy handed. Mick originally made it at the request of Bruce Welch - hence the 'BW' initials at the 12th fret - however the profile proved a tad too slim . . . so it changed hands and went to another chap who likes a slim neck, Andy Scott of The Sweet . . . and it was found lacking that bit of girth, even for him. Detlef, however, loves it - and is delighted to be its final owner.

in his own words . . .

Lieber Mick, als ich auf deiner Website die "Bruce Welch Stratocaster 2003" gesehen hatte, war der Traum geboren, eine genaue Kopie dieser Gitarre zu besitzen. Jetzt, fast ein Jahr später, hat sich dieser Traum erfüllt. Du hast sie für mich gebaut. Und das Sensationelle dabei, du konntest den Hals der "Bruce Welch Stratocaster 2003" dafür verwenden. Den Hals der Gitarre meines großen Vorbilds Bruce Welch mit den Initialen BW. Die Gitarre ist perfekt, die Bespielbarkeit und der Sound sind einzigartig. Es gibt nichts was es zu verbessern gäbe, es ist die beste Gitarre die ich in meinem Leben spielen durfte. Ein großartiges Instrument von einem echten Fachmann und einem außergewöhnlichen Menschen. Danke Mick, das werde ich dir nie vergessen. Dein Freund Detlef
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Koa Ukelele 2013

Mick's first foray into the world of the uke produced this little beauty for Malcolm Clarke.

It features Koa top, back and sides with a Mahogany neck and Koa bindings. Fingerboard, bridge and headstock inlay are Rosewood. The package is nicely topped off with Waverley Koa button machines and a Fishman under saddle pickup.
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Johnson SG 1974 (photos 2011)

A very early creation, Mick made this guitar way back in 1974 quite literally in the back garden with none of the tools of the trade to hand.

It was then loaned to a band in '75 and, after retrieving and lacquering it, Mick gave the guitar away to a local up and coming 14 year old in 1976.

Some 35 years later the 'young lad' reunited Mick with the instrument. They took these photos as there were none taken back in the 70s.

Still in surprisingly good condition, the guitar plays like a dream!
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Bruce Welch Dreadnought 2001

The traditional combination of body design plus Engelmann Spruce top and Indian Rosewood back and sides lend this guitar its characteristic dreadnought sound.

The guitar has a mahogany neck with ebony fretboard and bridge, and is equipped with Bruce's choice of Yamaha gold 'kidney button' tuners.

Mick built this guitar for Bruce's 60th birthday. Beautifully inlaid with paua abalone - it's a real cracker!
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Bruce Welch Strat 2003

Mick made this for Bruce as a replica of the original '59 Strat. It has an alder body, a one-piece birdseye maple neck with a vintage 7.5" radius and is equipped with Seymour Duncan Alnico Pro2 pickups. It has Bruce's initials inlaid at the 12th fret.

The guitar was later refinished in 2-tone sunburst and is pictured in its new colours in the gallery. Bruce played this guitar on the last Cliff & Shadows reunion world tour.
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Peter Renn 12 String 2006

Due to the fact that Peter is a bass player, this guitar was built with a slightly wider than normal profile. Very simply adorned with a single diamond position marker at the twelfth fret and Peter's initials on the headstock, the guitar was commissioned by Peter's wife as a surprise Christmas gift.

The instrument was later personally signed by Mick across the truss rod cover in gold, the signature being protected with a matt laquer.
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Parlour Guitar - Spruce & Maple 2002

Mick's mate Pete Lincoln suggested that he made a small bodied guitar and this is the result.

A beautifully constructed and lavishly decorated piece with surprisingly big volume and clarity.

The perfect size for playing on the sofa!

Takes your breath away . . .
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'Bearclaw 000' 2009

Slot-head 000 with 'bear claw Spruce top and Indian Rosewood back and sides made for Kieran Irving.
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Kevin Twwelvetrees Firebird

Kev had Mick make him this stunning take on Gibson's unique Firebird design with a mahogany body and neck and flamed maple top.

See Kev's comments on the 'praise' page.
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Acoustic 12-String 2009

Mick built this guitar for David Cripps, vocalist with Reading's classic Rock'n'Roll band The Trends.

It's a bit of a monster with a tone that just keeps getting better with age . . . a bit like its owner!
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Seafoam Green Strat 2010

Made for Pete Lincoln, this Strat has an Alder body and a maple neck with a fairly chunky profile. The rosewood fingerboard has 'rolled' edges to give that played-in feel.

A chrome hipshot bridge, chrome sperzels and domed knobs complete the picture.

The guitar is equipped with Bareknuckle Mother's Milk pickups and sounds killer!
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'Django' 2010

Replica of the Selmer Maccaferi guitars made famous by Django Reinhardt in the 1940's.

Mick built the guitar for Howard B More, keeping faithfull to the original Selmer construction methods with laminated back and sides of mahogany/poplar/rosewood, black walnut neck with ebony fretboard and original size position dots at frets 5,7,10,12 and 17.

The spruce top is made with 'Pliage' - bent on the bridge as in mandolin construction. Mick wasn't convinced by the original headstock joint and after trying it, reverted to the more modern scarf joint.
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Kasabian - Teardrop Replica

Mick made this replica of the Vox Teardrop guitar - as used by Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones in the early 60s - for Kasabian.

It's a real cracker is it not? . . .
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'Peggy Sue Got Married' 2011

Replica of Buddy Holly's 1943 Gibson J-45 made for Allan Clarke of The Hollies and presented by Graham Nash at The Royal Albert Hall on October 8th 2011.

The guitar is of spruce and mahogany construction and, to add to the authenticity, comes complete with a hand engraved leather 'jacket' by Susan Temple of Rawhide Custom Leather, Austin Texas.
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Pete Lincoln - Two Tone P Bass 2007

Mick built this for Pete to use in his role as bass player/frontman for 70s Glam Rockers The Sweet.

The bass has a swamp ash body and a one piece maple neck. This was later replaced as Mick wasn't totally satisfied with it.

It has Seymour Duncan pickups - a Precision in front and a Jazz at the bridge.
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Tony Liotti Custom

This guitar was constructed by hollowing out the solid mahogany body and fitting a maple top.

It has a classical size mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard.

The guitar is equipped with a jazz pickup plus an under saddle Fishman with blend control and individual pickup select.
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Telecaster Bass 2011

This beautiful 'vintage' 2-tone sunburst telecaster bass was made for Brian Hodgson of Albert Lee & Hogan's Heroes fame in 2011.

Unlike the originals it features a comfortably contoured back.

The bass is equipped with a Seymour Duncan pickup.
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Torstein Double Neck

Torstein and his band The Saunters supported Cliff & The Shads in Norway 1964 . . . hence the livery of this striking instrument.
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Miscellaneous Guitars

A few extra shots of some of Mick's creations, both builds and refinishes, where for one reason or another, only a couple of photos may have been taken at the time of construction.

Some very fine examples nonetheless . . .