Charvel makes John Mayer a Masterbuilt Superstrat out of the New York Knicks’ old basketball court at Madison Square Garden

John Mayer and his custom Knicks Charvel
(Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Crossroads Guitar Festival; Joe Williams/Instagram)

John Mayer has got a new electric guitar and it’s not the sort of thing you see everyday. This one is worth taking a look at, particularly if you are an NBA fan and definitely if you are a Knicks fan, because Madison Square Garden reached out to Charvel to build Mayer a guitar out of their old basketball court.

The Garden is the home of the Knicks, and something of a second home to Mayer, who just completed a two-night stint there at the start of October as his solo acoustic guitar tour visited the Big Apple and sold the venue out on both nights. 

To commemorate the occasion, MSG sent Charvel a portion of the Knicks' old basketball court and had them fashion it into a hybrid S-style – a hybrid because it has a six-in-line Jackson-style headstock, that calls to mind the Soloists that Mayer plays from time to time.

Joe Williams, a Master Builder for the Fender-owned Charvel, Jackson and EVH Gear brands, was responsible for the build, and actually built Mayer a Soloist in 2015. If you follow Williams on Instagram you’ll see some ridiculously high-end electric guitar builds (the custom quilt-top Misha Mansoor Juggernaut signature guitar he made for Mike DeMaria of Alustrium is a work of art). 

This Mayer S-style is, however, something special. Williams says he was up against the clock with this project but it turned out very nice indeed, and a typically shreddable design from the Charvel Custom Shop, with a Floyd Rose double-locking vibrato, a Seymour Duncan humbucker at the price, a single-coil at the neck position.

Williams finished the top in Royal Blue and there’s a Knicks logo on the front. We’d love to find out how much it weighs, because there is no contouring on the body – no top carve, no belly or forearm cuts, and they make these basketball courts out of hard maple. 

That’s definitely going to be a heavyweight, and no matter where you stand on the tone wood debate – whether you believe maple will make it sound brighter, or whether the guitar amp and pickups are doing more of the heavy lifting – there is no question that this think will make a squeak if you drag a rubber souled basketball shoe across the top. 

The NBA requires teams to replace their court every 10 years. Maple is the preferred wood because it’s lighter in colour and makes it easier to see the ball. Mayer is currently touring the US on his Solo Acoustic Fall Tour, with just a handful of dates left. He plays the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis tonight. See John Mayer for more dates and ticket details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.