Ben Court, the brains behind Joe Doe Guitars. has teamed up with Vintage guitars at this Winter NAMM for a new, wallet-friendly range of guitars as limited release models for 2020.
Every guitar has a story in it
By day he works as a screenwriter for Film and TV, and by night and weekends he writes stories for the custom guitars that he builds. Based in Brighton, UK, Ben Court’s works are all hand-finished custom guitars and usually fetch somewhere between £2ooo-£3000, each. Ben uses custom-cut one or two-piece lightweight bodies, and and then adds Warmoth and Allparts necks to create his unique visions.
Where he differs from a lot of small guitar builders is that his guitars come with detailed back-stories for each instrument. Ben not only builds these unique instruments, but writes a little history for each guitar, where it comes from and how it ended up looking the way it did. These are, of course, figments of his imaginative mind. Or are they? A one-man team, he is lucky if he is able to build 3 or 4 guitars a year.
A chance meeting with Dennis Drumm, CEO of JHS, at a guitar show in late 2018, led to a collaboration between Vintage and Joe Doe Guitars, resulting in the new Joe Doe by Vintage range of unique instruments that we now see in 2020. They come at a fraction of the cost of Ben’s usual one-off guitars, and each one is still accompanied with an interesting back-story.
Joe Doe by Vintage
If you want a unique looking guitar with a cool story behind it, then these new Joe Doe by Vintage models are possibly the thing for you. Built to a high specification by Vintage and based on Ben’s own custom designs, each guitar comes with a hard-case filled with ‘case candy’ that authenticates the instrument’s fictitious tale.
There are 8 models in the range and as I understand it, the numbers being built will be limited, making them collectible/desirable. It’s possible we may see more designs after this initial run.
Below is a snippet taken from the back-story of the new Punkaster model, to give you an idea of what I mean when I say these guitars have a story assigned to them. This model is possibly my favourite of the bunch. It literally takes two well known Californian guitar designs and mashes them into one instrument, almost forcibly.
I also like the way he scribbles messages on the backs of necks and between the frets, giving the guitars a very unique, odd and personal touch all at once. Even if it is all fiction.
As soon as he learnt to walk, Brandon Hicks displayed a frightening talent for destruction; burning down the family condo age 5, breaking too many bones to keep count and even shattering his front teeth trying to catch a speeding baseball in his mouth. Having exhausted the patience of his parents and small town residents of Bone Lake, Wisconsin, teenager Hicks was exiled in 1977 and left to travel across America. Drifting from state to state, more wrecking ball than tumbleweed, Hicks eventually found his spiritual home in Times Square, New York, 1979. Hicks worked a ticket booth at the Wide Eye Peep Show by day and played with his band FistMeetsFace at night. After only a few explosive shows, FistMeetsFace became the must see act on the New York punk scene where each performance would include a smashed guitar, a puddle of blood and, following the after show party, another broken heart. Punkcaster
Models for 2020 include the Punkaster, Jailbird, Lucky Betty, Longboard, Lucky Buck and Salty Dog. The Lucky Betty and Lucky Buck will be available in two different colours.
Hardware on these new models includes Wilkinson WVC Vibrato trems and WJ55 E-Z-Lok machine heads. Joe Doe designed humbuckers and single-coil pickups are used throughout.
It is a neat concept and a change from the same old, relic, aged instrument that the guitar industry has been using for the last 20 odd years now. Obviously, it will all be down to how they feel, play and sound, but if you want a fancy ‘wall hanger’, then these guitars could be a nice addition to your man/woman-cave.
RRP – GBP 599 each