Sold Tidewater Handsome Outlaw (T-Type)


Supporting Member
I can't gush enough about this guitar - and I'm really struggling with this but I'm putting my Tidewater Handsome Outlaw (HOT12) up for trade. I actually picked this up after finding out I did business previously with the builder multiple times five or six year ago on here before he changed his handle and I took a few years off from TGP. I spoke to him and picking up the guitar was a no brainer. If anyone has any questions, I'm sure he would be happy to answer them. This is only the 12th of this model he has built since 2011 - hence the name "HOT12."

I got this guitar about a week ago and couldn't speak more highly of it. Just check the spec sheet - it's everything I would do to upgrade a Tele.

I have two problems with her: I've run into this one with Danocaster, RS, K-Line and more boutique builders - it's neck heavy. It's not terribly unbalanced like some boat neck Tele's I've had, but it's just enough to bother my bad left shoulder because it bears the most of the load over time. I mean it weighs 6.8 pounds for christ sake. You crazy boutique builders have this habit of making Tele's SO LIGHT.

The neck is also too small for me. It's a beautiful neck (just see the pics) with a fantastic V that transitions into a nice C size as you go up the neck. I've seriously played this guitar 5-6 hours since I've had it trying to get used to it. Point being, I'm six foot six - I have big hands. Somehow the neck literally sits right on the inside middle edge of the knuckle on the back side of my index finger and it becomes painful to me over time.

If I had people calling me to go to sessions, this guitar wouldn't be leaving me. If I was playing shows right now, I'd keep it because this thing is an absolute tone machine that cuts through the mix with perfect clarity. If I was recording an album or EP, I'd be using it in a heartbeat. But I just jam with a drummer friend of mine these days and I need something more comfortable for me because I mostly just play walking around my house and standing around unplugged at night.

I tried to capture the fact that JR didn't use filler before finishing the body. I thought I would hate it. But when it got here, it's beautiful. You can see some of it in the pictures near the ferrules. There are a few little imperfections that make it a creature of love and not just someone building for mass or money.

I could go on for days. I'll put the spec sheet up first for viewing to see what she's made of then pics. The original description from Tidewater is below with ALL the specs.

TRADES: I want to make sure that I get something that will not be a disappointment after this guitar. Therefore, I kinda want to know what I'm getting if I'm going to let her go. If not - she'll be a sad girl that sits under the bed until it's time to really record or play out - and believe me, I will keep her for that. But I'd rather she gets played and I get something that gets played more frequently by myself. I'm really not that open to a sale, but money always talks. CAN ADD SOME/LOSE SOME CASH FOR THE RIGHT DEAL. PLAYER GUITARS ARE PREFERRED OVER CASE QUEENS TO GET THE MOST FOR MY TRADE.

Jaguars (AVRI, Jap, or Vintage), Suhr S or T, Maybe a player 52/62 RI or Vintage Tele, PRS CE-24, Les Paul, try me. Those are the main things that come to mind.

Vintage Tele and or Jaguar neck/bodies that already have some routes or something so I can not worry about tearing them up (would really like to commission another build from Tidewater), are also possibilities.

Here we go continuing the longest TGP FT Post ever! More Pics Here: HOT12

Tidewater Description:

"I am Tidewater Custom Shop, LLC. I've been treating and enhancing guitars for nearly a decade now. It's not a full-time gig. I do it because I love it and when I have the time to devote. No need for shortcuts. No deadlines to meet. My goal is to optimize performance according to each guitar's individual characteristics. If you expect a superb player, parts can't just be screwed together... they must be thoughtfully managed into place to create a cohesive bonding beneficial to the desired outcome - that being a resonant, lively, and comfortable player, whose tone conveys the effort. This particular guitar, which I call HOT12 (Handsome Outlaw Tele #12) is the 12th of the model I've built. The Handsome Outlaw model resembles the traditional shape we're accustom to, but deviates from expectations with regard to hardware and/or electronics. HOT12 is a mild custom, using only a P-90 pickup in deviation. The rest is what one would expect of a T-style guitar.

Build breakdown:
Body - Rutters, two-piece solid ash, 3.6lbs, double bound
Neck - Custom build to spec, 22 frets
Tuners - TonePros Kluson Deluxe, aged nickel
Bridge - Glendale vintage Blackguard single cut, nickel
Saddles - Callaham enhanced vintage compensated, brass
String ferrules - Glendale Retro Rockets, brass & aluminum
String tree - Callaham old style round, stainless steel
Control plate & switch tip - Fender®
Control knobs - Rutters 1953 T knobs
Control pots - RS Guitarworks
Capacitor - RS Guitarworks polypropylene & metal foil .047µF
Switch - CRL 3-way
Strap locks - Schaller
Weight - 6.8lbs (USPS postal scale)


I bought the body from a private seller with the binding attached by the seller, not Rutters. I've seen better work. It wasn't so bad that I felt compelled to remove and replace (big labor!), so I worked with it as best I could. The body was painted black, but I chemically removed all the paint and primer then started again. Mild sanding was required using 220 grit only. All coatings now are lacquer (primer, color coat, clear coat). I modified the strap buttons to be held to the body with machine screws instead of wood screws. 6-32 brass inserts were installed and a 1.25" stainless steel screw secures the button to the body. There are some imperfections with the binding, but generally speaking it's not too bad. I'd say the binding is in good condition. Paint is excellent. I chose not to use grain filler on this project.

The neck was made by a craftsman in the Midwest. This is the 3rd neck I asked him to make for me. The first tiger striped maple neck is on my personal T style guitar. He does incredible work. I would characterize the figuring on this hard maple neck as 'flame'. I shaped the neck to a traditional 10/56 boat neck profile (soft V graduating to a full C, .803" 1st fret, .902" 12th), width at nut is 1.683". The headstock face is color matched with Sonic Blue lacquer, the rest is amber tinted lacquer. I always choose TonePros tuners for my builds. This particular set was aged for a project which was never completed. They're new and unused. Access to adjust the truss rod is at the headstock. The fingerboard is dark & dense rosewood with medium jumbo nickel silver frets, abalone dot inlays, 8-32 brass inserts are used for the neck mounting machine screws (stainless steel). The nut is made of pre-ban West African hard ivory, spaced/slotted/angled correctly and lubed.

I put most of my effort into the neck. In this case with the spec neck, I requested the artisan to leave the fret leveling, crowning, and polishing to me. They show little if any wear. I rounded the fretboard edges using a technique that leaves them nicely radius'd without losing real estate. Same with the fret ends - see pic. No sharp edges. Take a close look at pic #2. Both of those processes create perhaps the most comfortable neck you've ever played. As mentioned above, the profile is shaped for comfort and speed. If you've never experienced the boatneck shape, you're in for a treat - especially on this thinner profile!

The electronics are top-tier. Fred Stuart Blackguard® bridge pickup is coupled and matched with his P90 (a rarity for Fred).This is an incredible combination and yields exactly what you'd expect - killer tone! Both pickups use A3 magnets, which generate a biting smooth and articulate tone and classic clean. They're tamed with RS Guitarworks SuperPot® 280K and their enhanced 250K tone pot. The signal passes through an RS capacitor, switched with a CRL 3-way. The P90 pickup cover was created for this build by me. It is a combination of two covers - I fashioned the inside top of a chrome metal cover to accept the top of the white plastic cover. The white top was inserted snugly inside chrome metal cover to create what you see here.

Tidewater Custom Shop

Performance Enhancing Guitarworks
Supporting Member
I'll be more than happy to discuss build details with anyone interested. You may contact me here via PM, or through my Facebook page (link in my signature). The HOT12 is a very lively guitar! And it rips through the signal chain with a commanding presence!

If I didn't already have a T-style built by my own hand, this one would have never left the bull pen.

Oh, and an important character note: HOT12 has an uncanny similarity to my '66 Telecaster is both weight and action.


Supporting Member
I'll be more than happy to discuss build details with anyone interested. You may contact me here via PM, or through my Facebook page (link in my signature). The HOT12 is a very lively guitar! And it rips through the signal chain with a commanding presence!

If I didn't already have a T-style built by my own hand, this one would have never left the bull pen.

Oh, and an important character note: HOT12 has an uncanny similarity to my '66 Telecaster is both weight and action.
Thanks JR - she's a really sweet guitar.


Silver Supporting Member
Folks, James does INCREDIBLE work. He's worked on/tweaked several of my guitars, and I've owned one of his Outlaw series. You won't find a better neck ANYWHERE on the planet...his guitars are works of art. You won't be disappointed if you're looking for a t-type, that's for sure!

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