Wow! I recently received my Sims Custom shop carved top single cut Les Paul –style guitar. Which is appropriately named “The Crown of Thorns Model”. I play in a couple of different worship bands and literally wanted a guitar that was going to thematically capture that vibe and represent a “weapon of warfare”. In order to give this guitar an accurate review I decided to evaluate it for at least one week prior to putting together this write up. I compare it to a Les Paul primarily because of its body shape, but having owned and played a variety of Les Pauls over the years I can say that’s about where the comparison ends for me.
One of the things I wanted and got with this guitar was a lighter than usual weight. Patrick Sims, the sole owner and operator of his business suggested that I consider African Mahogany versus Honduran Mahogany which would be notably lighter and retain the same basic tonal characteristics. Additionally, he made a three-piece neck to enhance its stability and strength and used a bone nut. The fret work is immaculate and the guitar has been plecked and plays effortlessly. The action and setup were very comfortable right out of the case, but since this is such a personal thing I did a little tweaking to satisfy my own touch and playing style. For tuners he used locking Sperzels with a nice gear ratio, and used a standard tun-o-matic bridge. He chose chrome volume and tone knobs which are a beautiful compliment to the chrome pickup covers and chrome pickup rings. Given Patrick’s artistic abilities you’ll find out right away that he knows how to bring a lot of artistically creative elements together at the same time.
This guitar is a tone monster loaded with two WCR humbuckers and their wiring kit (it has a Darkburst in the bridge and a Crossroads in the neck position). It is wired as a typical double hum guitar with a three-way toggle that engages either or both pickups. The trapezoid inlay work was nicely done and the finish on this guitar was flawless (at least to my eyes).
Now with regard to the finish I have to dedicate at least a whole paragraph to this part of my evaluation because of its quality. When I use the word quality here I’m not only referring to the mirror like finish free of any blemishes, I’m also talking about the artistic ability Patrick had to bring all the design elements we discussed at the front end of the build process into a masterful work of art that far exceeded my expectations. From the cross, to the star of David, to the vine of thorns, crown of thorns, and on and on … this guitar will not only drop your jaw at first glance, but has the potential to dislocate it too. I’m not at all kidding when I tell you that his air brush technique is so good that some of the design elements almost look three dimensional because of his incredible ability to use shadowing in a very constructive way, often creating the illusion that the various designs are hovering above the finish.
Finally, I’d like to close my review with a little commentary in the area of customer service. If you’re expecting a one-two month turnaround on a custom guitar build this is probably not the company to place your order with. If you’ve only got one guitar and you’re sending it to Sims Custom Shop to be refinished with the expectation of having it back in a couple of weeks …. duh. Keep in mind, this is a one man operation and one of the main reasons it takes longer than you might expect for Patrick to get stuff out the door is because he’s got more than enough business to keep him busy for a long time. Having said this, if you’ve got the patience to wait for your order you’ll be more than happy with it when it arrives. He always got back with me either by phone or email, but how quickly he responded always seemed to depend on his work load at the time. This is a young business owner who is exceedingly talented and is becoming more and more aware of the importance that customer service and response time play in keeping his customers happy. During the build process on the guitar I felt like the response time improved and I had to reconcile my expectations for a quick turnaround on this guitar with the actual environment and backlog of Patrick’s business. If I had to do it all over again, I’d definitely place another order with him, but this time with a more realistic understanding of the build time. I’m a professional player who has played for over twenty years, and by now can easily discern a high quality instrument from a poor one. This guitar stands out as being among the best electrics I’ve owned … and believe me I’ve owned a few. You can check out this guitar at sims custom shop website under the “custom designed paint schemes” link.
Sincerely – Oscar
In response to respons below ... picture now in play (just learning the protocol)
Hey Oscar - congrats on your guitar, and welcome to the boards!
There's a saying we have in these parts, however, and I may as well be the first to save you from the hordes that will follow: