Can a whiskey barrel guitar improve your tone?

(Image credit: Big D Guitars)

Making guitars with tops made from whisky barrels isn't new to Big D Guitars – its already given Jack Daniels the treatment. But the small shop behind the Whiskey Barrel Top Custom T-Style guitar is now rolling out new all-American designs with Kentucky bands including Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey and, ahem, Knob Creek.  

They're are all getting the Big D energy with each unique handmade guitar produced in the USA. Whiskey Barrel Top Custom T-Style designer and Big D Guitars founder Derek Lenard claims he can actually smell the whiskey in the aged wood as he runs it through his workshop saw too. 

A Wild Turkey Whisky Barrel Guitar 

A Wild Turkey Whisky Barrel Guitar  (Image credit: Big D Guitars)

After surface-sanding, the guitar pieces sit for a month to dry out before they’re cut using a template. Lenard then hand glues the pieces together on the U-shaped oak core body. This oak provides added strength but has been hollowed out to lighten the guitar’s overall weight. 

(Image credit: Big D Guitars)

For the guitar's backs, Tennessee barnyard-reclaimed lumber is chosen for its weathered look as well as its light weight. To match the worn aesthetic of the bodies, the guitars' chrome hardware has been treated with an aging process.

(Image credit: Big D Guitars)

With the body catered for, pickups get some attention to detail too. They're handmade scatter-wound using Alnico 2 magnets with 42 plain enamel wire for a smooth, full tone. We'll drink to that! 

Visit Big D Guitars for more info

(Image credit: Big D Guitars)
Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.