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Jeff Blackwell

Jeff Blackwell

Company Name?

Blackwell Guitars

When did you start building?


Do you build as a hobby or professionally?

I build in my spare time currently and hope to devote more time to building when I retire.

Part-time, or full-time?


Jeff Blackwell: LP-Style (Pear Wood)
Jeff Blackwell: LP-Style (Pear)

How did you learn to build guitars?

Building guitars evolved from years of woodworking. Watching my Dad create amazing woodworking projects as a kid inspired me over the years. I completed a banjo clock project in early 2021.

I was thinking about a next project and decided to build a guitar. I built a Tele body and bought a Fender neck. I admit to being intimidated by the complexity of neck construction. Since then, I build everything. Every guitar is a valuable lesson and mistakes are opportunities to learn.

What’s your favorite part of guitar building?

The process of building necks has become my favorite part.

Jeff Blackwell: Banjo Clock
Jeff Blackwell: Banjo Clock

What’s your least favorite part?

Spray lacquer finishing with rattle cans.

Is there a guitar-building skill you want to improve?

I want to improve on spray finishes and recently invested in a good compressor powered spray gun and want to try water- based lacquer.

What was your most recent build?

I built a pair of LP-Style guitars and finished them with shellac. I called one the prototype, built with non-traditional woods: poplar body, pear arch top, cherry neck and lacewood fretboard. The prototype was always a couple steps ahead of the traditional build: mahogany, maple top and ebony fretboard. This approach help me smoke out potential problems.

What are you planning to build next?

I am looking forward to building a Fender Katana guitar and bass together.

Jeff Blackwell: LP-Style
Jeff Blackwell: LP-Style

Favorite tools?

My current favorite is an old Shop Smith overarm router. It was handy using this router with the Potvin LP Top Carve Template Set to cut steps in the carved tops of the LPs.

What Potvin templates do you use?

The LP Top Carve Set, LP-Style Binding Jig, J-Style Bass, and the Headstock Angle Jig.

What was your building experience like before using Potvin Templates?

I was devoting a lot of time making my own templates by pasting paper plans to MDF, then shaping the MDF. I decided that my time was better spent shaping bodies and necks with Potvin templates.

How have Potvin Templates helped you in your builds?

Because I am still working full time – the templates help me make the most of my time actually building. The accuracy of Potvin templates helps me achieve historically accurate instruments.

Are you a better builder or player?

I don’t play guitar at all. People ask me “how can you build a guitar if you don’t know to play one”? I answer that Leo Fender did okay with my approach. I have musician friends that provide feedback on my builds.

What’s your favorite band, or style of music?

I don’t have a favorite band. I want to hear past and new artists of all sorts. But if I had to pick one genre, the blues would win.

Jeff Blackwell: J-Bass
Jeff Blackwell: J-Bass

Got any non-guitar hobbies?

Cycling and woodworking.

Potvin Customer Build Video - YouTube

See some of Jeff’s work in this video where I feature his and other customers’ awesome guitars!

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