A black LeMans with a black plastic pick guard and Mark's custom SoftStop tailpiece.

The LeMans was the result of a few things, but for me it was mainly to achieve what is perhaps my favorite rock guitar sound..  that aggressive,  largely un-distorted tone of players like Pete Townshend and Angus Young.  40 years after first hearing 'It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock & roll', the opening chords still make the hairs on my neck stand up.  

I could honestly listen to old AC/DC all day long, and sometimes do.  It's just an endlessly inspiring sound to me.  But, the really killer SG always eluded me.  I tried out a LOT of them when I worked in a vintage guitar store, and the best ones to me were always the juniors.  

The problem I found with most of the standards was the tuning stability, especially when attacking the guitar very hard, ala Pete Townshend.  The guitars always 'fluttered' at the initial attack, making an open A chord sound off, like the A string was a little sharp.  I noticed, however, that the junior's had a lot less of this, and could be played very hard in the studio without sounding  out of tune in the mix.  So, I wondered… could it be the neck joint? 

The SG is only 1 3/8" thick, making the sidewalls in the neck mortice relatively short, compared to a LP for instance.  I thought maybe the shorter sidewall combined with a thinner body slab was perhaps the source of this unwanted elasticity, and the reason the juniors were less susceptible to it was the longer, un-compromised neck joint.  

So, when it came time to design one of these tone-monsters to my own taste, I made the neck tenon much longer.  It extends a full 4" into the body, and when glued up with hot hide glue makes for an extremely rigid joint.  I was amazed at the tuning stability of the prototype, and have been very pleased with the design overall.  It's just a bulletproof little axe,  and it makes a glorious noise when turned up loud.  

-Mark Fuqua, 2013

© Kate Fuqua 2013