“Sounds amazing, bro!”: Eric Gales reveals he is playing custom guitars made by a man named Eric Gale! Watch the blues-rock maestro demo one with Mary Schwartz

Eric Gales and Marty Schwartz
(Image credit: Marty Music / YouTube)

Eric Gales was a guest on Marty Schwartz’s YouTube show this week, jamming, talking life, influences and how he developed his style, but he also revealed a new custom-built electric guitar that was built by a friend of his by the name of Eric Gale.

Not to be confused with the late jazz fusion great, nor Gales himself, this Eric Gale is the luthier behind the North Carolina’s Freestyle Custom Guitars, and he has made Gales couple of special S-styles, with some neat signature details – one of which you can watch Gales demo on Schwartz’s Marty Music YouTube channel.

For the most part, Gales is playing his Magneto S-style signature guitar, upside down as per his unique approach, but towards the end of the segment he swaps over to the ‘Crown’ guitar, one of the Freestyle models made by Gale, which features a natural finish, emblazoned with crown detail on the guitar’s top to tie-in with the Gales studio album, and a psychedelic pickguard.

“His name is Eric Gale and he made this guitar for me,” says Gales. “And he’s only made two of them. It’s called the ‘Crown’ guitar because he had the Crown emblem put on… Sounds amazing, bro!”

And it really does, with an Stevie Ray Vaughan grade of spanky Strat clarity that has Schwartz joining in with some Pride & Joy rhythm guitar on his signature Epiphone ES-335

Details of the other guitar that Gales speaks of in the video with Schwartz can be found on Freestyle Custom Guitars’ YouTube page, and the guitar in question is an E.G. Nation “1019” S-style, which sadly we don’t get to hear through a guitar amp – but we like the sound of the spec.

The 1019 has a sinker mahogany top that came from the Martin factory, and a paulownia body. “That log sunk in the 1700s,” says Gale. “Maybe before we were a country.”

Gales says it’s “pretty light” and that’s what we’d expect from a paulownia build – a tonewood that is getting a lot of traction these days, turning up on some boutique builds from the likes of Suhr. 

Like the ‘Crown’ guitar, the 1019 has a trio of Galestorm single-coils, which were wound by Tom Brantley, who started out in electric guitar pickup design in 1996 when he worked with Lindy Fralin. 

It isn’t mentioned in either video but we’d say the pickguard design on the ‘Crown’ is definitely the work of Peter Nogas, aka Psychedelic Pete. That is his trademark. One of Freestyle’s coolest builds is the Red House guitar, which brings together similar elements for a Hendrix-esque custom S-style. 

And there’s seemingly no end to Gale’s talents. He has also built a King Of Tone clone overdrive pedal, which Gales demos [above] on the Freestyle Instagram page. For more details, check out Freestyle Custom Guitars.

In other Eric Gales news, the blues-rock star has just teamed up with Seymour Duncan for a signature single-coil pickup set, which is available now from the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop as a set or individually, with a few configurable options to best suit your S-style.

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.