Schecter Van Nuys history - Chris Wooley

LESLIE BUTTS shares with us his experience working as the Schecter Sales Rep ! (thank you Leslie !)

Chris was the purchasing Agent at the Van Nuys Shop !

All that great hardware and woods... is thanks to Chris !

In an Exclusive article, He kindly recalls for us those early days, building his employee guitar. and the story of Pete Townshend's first PTs  !

... so let's READ IT HERE !

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I was introduced to Schecter Guitar Research through Shel Horlick. 


Before Schecter, Shel was involved with a line of tube amplifiers for guitars called Delta. They were giant stacks like a Marshall with a chassis full of tubes and an eight track tape slot (I kid you not) for the tape delay system that was included. When he started Schecter, he asked me and a few of my friends if we wanted to work there. 


David Schecter was always the creative genius behind the designs, the machinery to make the guitars and the overall creation of the product. 


The business was run by “The Pep Boys of Rock & Roll”... Shel Horlick, “Uncle” Gene Rushall, and Hershel Blankenship....  


Tom Anderson always did the very best set up‘s and final assembly of the guitars. Tom always had the right touch. He’s a great guitarist so it’s not surprising he developed early the talent and the skills to prepare a guitar to play so beautifully. That’s one of the hallmarks of the Tom Anderson brand of guitars that he makes now. They play better than anything else you’re going to put in your hands. 

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All my buddies & bandmates worked there in the woodshop and winding pick ups in Van Nuys. Brad Hodges, Doug Hodges, Jim Summey, Al Weiss, Pat Wilkins, Pete Wagonhurst, Larry Schatz, Larry Ludowitz, great humans all 


In the beginning, we all did everything. Learned how to wind & wire the pickups & assemblies, we learned to use the routers for necks & bodies, the dreaded buffing machines & shrink-wrap machine for accessories, it was a great learning process - 

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After a few months, I became the Purchasing Agent - I had to find vendors & buy everything that made a guitar.


 Tom & Shel would select the best birds-eye maple, Koa & most of the other tone-wood from Landsberg & they’d deliver the boards 


Larry S’s Dad was a Sales Rep for a screw company, so they became my screw supplier for everything. I had a chrome-plate company down the block for black chrome, chrome & nickel playing. Otherwise, I’d drive all over LA bringing brass pickguards to the clear-coaters, or whatever needed to be done. 

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We were all musicians and we were all allowed to build our own instruments during off hours. They let us buy the parts at cost for a guitar or two - we got a piece of walnut, big enough to make a Strat body & a P-bass body, one piece, which was the only piece of walnut I ever saw like that - I called “dibs” on the Strat body, went over to Albrecht’s & bought a chunk of Brazilian Rosewood for a neck. 

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 Dan Armstrong & his beautiful girlfriend were in the office a lot, he & David we’re working on a new humbucking pickup together called the Z-plus, so I installed one of those in the bridge position of my Strat - I still have this guitar, it’s seen quite a few gigs. 


We used these humbuckers in a few really nice Tele’s that we sent to Manny’s in NYC... 


one of em was a black Tele with white binding & a flame maple neck, just a beautiful thing to behold... 


a few days later, we got a excited call from Manny’s, saying Pete Townsend was in the shop & fell in love with the Teles & bought two of them, including the black one 

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That night at Madison Square Garden, he played those Tele’s with The Who and the phone at Schecter started ringing… 


If I’m correct in the story, he ordered two more Tele’s for a total of four, 


and I remember that John Entwistle called the office and spoke to Doug Hodges regarding a custom PJ bass which I believe was built for him, although I never saw him play it in concert. 


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Carole Kaye used to come in, David made special pickups for her Ken Smith basses, what a cool lady. 


I remember Little Feat would send back Lowell George’s brass Strat assembly for a pickguard replacement, he’d always sweat thru the clearcoat. I wish I would’ve kept the old one as a souvenir 




...




I’m thankful that most of us are still here & many of us have remained active as guitar makers & guitar players. I worked at Schecter from October ‘77 to January ‘80. It was one of my favorite chapters.

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