By Appointment Only
Custom Guitars and Custom Basses
When it comes to tone, you MUST start with only the best materials. At our Modesto custom guitar shop, Dean Gatewood starts all instrument production by hand selecting the finest kiln-dried hardwoods from local and international sources. Wood grain should be tight, clean and straight, with no knots or imperfections.
Only by choosing the finest impeccable stock of hardwoods, will you be able to produce the fine tone that is the signature of a Dean Gatewood instrument. We are tone-critics, and we always produce fine sounding and feeling instruments by starting with using the best hardwoods that are available.
Custom Guitars and Custom Basses
At Dean Gatewood Guitars we know that the slightest imperfection in a cut will result in an instrument that is subpar. We take our time to produce fine instruments by ensuring every measurement we make is exact. Every cut we make is clean, straight and precise. Every seam we join is flawless.This extreme attention to details is what sets us apart from a mass produced assembly line instrument. Dean Gatewood Guitars and Basses are custom and handmade with the care and attention that your fine instrument deserves.
At Dean Gatewood Guitars, you will get what you ask for in a custom hand made guitar or bass.
Custom Guitars and Basses
Whether it is for a certain tone quality or a look or feel, wood selection plays an important role for all components of your new custom made instrument. Dean Gatewood offers a wide variety of hardwoods available for use on your custom guitar or bass.
We have hand selected stock of:
Check out one of my suppliers www.curlymaplewood.com Kevin has
great stuff! See who else uses his woods on his site.
Who is Dean Gatewood?
Dean a native of NJ was bitten by the music bug at an early age. Dean had four older sisters, all of whom either played instruments or sang. The music of the 60’s was all around him.
The first time he was stuck with guitar envy, was at a local mall where a cover band in the center court was playing “Something” by the Beatles. Dean listened to the notes coming from a black Les Paul Custom and that was it…he had to have that guitar! Since a Gibson was almost $500.00 Dean set out to figure out how to get one of his own. His dad had a small side business doing TV repair. While tagging along with his Dad Dean learned tube amplification and how to read electrical schematics.
From an early age and very much to his parent’s and sister’s dismay he would take apart everything and anything just to see how it was put together. He made his first guitar at age 13 in the basement of his parent’s home using a 2x4 for a neck, and some 8 quarter pine for a body. With this first creation, he was off and running! Saving money he made from his paper route, he started buying cheap guitars from the local junk store. Dean would cut them up to see how they were constructed.
During his high school year’s Dean attended a vocational high school in New Brunswick, NJ. While there and under master carpenter, Norman Nelson, Dean developed his attention to detail. He would bring his project to Norm who would scrutinize Dean’s work and then he would pull his pencil out of his bib overalls; Norm would then scribble all over the wood and tell Dean to go back and sand until the marks were gone. After undergoing this tough scrutiny from his teacher and proving himself a talented woodworker, Dean soon earned leeway with Norm who allowed him to build what he really loved… Guitars.
While the other student built stools and tables, Dean was building guitars. Dean was able to learn how to build the guitars at school, but he learned painting from his best friend Anthony’s father, Anthony Sr. Anthony Sr. owned a local auto body shop. Dean and Anthony worked on the weekends for Anthony Sr. and he would teach them the art of body work and painting, skill that would transfer to his guitar building.
During his senior year he transferred from the vocational high school back to the traditional high school in town, of course, his favorite class was woodshop. His teacher took notice of something different right away. Dean’s skills were more advanced than the rest of the students, due to the exceptional teaching he received at Vo-Tech. Due to his skill level Dean was allowed his choice of a project! His choice a double necked guitar. No other student had attempted a project of this caliber. Dean had to purchase his own materials since the school only had pine and poplar as a wood selection.
After graduating he joined the Marines serving until 1980. After leaving the Marines he settled in Livermore Ca. While living there he met his longtime friend Marc Petak. Marc played in the band “Sterling”, soon they were playing together. Dean was soon back again making guitars. He met his wife and opened his first recording studio. He learned to tune his ears to the various musicians that came through.
His growing family soon outgrew their home and they moved to Modesto in 1989. He then expanded into making custom speakers and guitar which were carried by local and Bay Area stores.
Dean gained a reputation for making some of the best playing guitars around and doing spot-on repairs on vintage guitars and restorations.
He has played in various bands, some local and some not so local. He rejoined his friend Marc to play in the band Germhead, switching from guitar to bass. Several guitars were built during this time, Basses were made and road tested. Then due to work commitments, guitar-building took a back seat. Playing gigs and work left less and less time for building.
In 2009, the opportunity to reestablish his passion became a viable option. In early 2010, Dean opened his shop with the equipment he had stored for a few years. Dean continues to build “PLAYER’S GUITARS”, functional and traditional, guitar and basses. While appearance is important, Dean focuses on playability…Who cares how cool it looks, if it plays like #*%@!
He has spent the last year developing and perfecting his signature series guitars. Two semi -hollow body guitars, the STD & DELUXE and the LTD a solid body, and his Gatewood “5” Bass, also available in 4&6 string versions.
HOW WE BUILD A CUSTOM GUITAR