Veteran Luthier, US Custom Series Production Manager
“As a musician, I have a good feel for what guitar players want.”
Tim Wilson is a highly respected industry veteran with a long and inspiring resume. Hired by Grover Jackson in January of 1979 to make patterns and fixtures for his small guitar shop, Tim embarked on a career that has spanned almost three decades.
Early on, Wilson set-up and ran Grover's wood mill. He made the first "Dinky Strat" model for Charvel® and the now-famous Strat® style necks from that period. In 1986, Wilson was tasked with building the Jackson facility in Ontario, CA, which became the Jackson Custom Shop. He served as Plant Manager of the Custom Shop for 12 years, and then, after Fender® purchased Jackson, spent five years as Jackson Production Manager.
Now Wilson is back at the bench overseeing the production of the James Tyler Variax US Custom Series guitars. A true artist with indescribable feel for his craft, Tim is an esteemed member of the James Tyler Variax family.
“I was really impressed with the overall quality and design of the [James Tyler Variax US Custom Series]… you couldn’t find a more versatile guitar. The playability is exceptional.”
Experienced guitar maker and musician Greg Burnett has collaborated closely with Tim Wilson for almost 20 years. Their successful partnership started in 1994, when Burnett’s passion for playing guitar led him to start working for Wilson in the Final Assembly department at Jackson Charvel®.
Burnett started with fret dressing, and quickly went on to gain experience in mill work, fingerboard shaping, inlays, painting, touchups, veneering, sanding, buffing and more. In 1998, he was promoted to supervise the entire Final Assembly team. In 2002, Burnett moved to a new position overseeing the Jackson Custom Shop, including the final assembly and quality control process.
In 2010, Burnett joined Wilson to work on the James Tyler Variax US Custom Series guitars, giving Line 6 the benefit of this amazing partnership.
Owner, Wildwood Manufacturing
“It’s very satisfying to orchestrate the minor miracle of turning wood boards into precision musical parts.”
After graduating college with a degree in biology/chemistry from Vanderbilt University, Hamilton moved to Berkeley in the summer of ’69. After selling underground magazines, he found a position with The North Face, where his career advanced in parallel with the company’s rapid growth. After 19 years, he left The North Face with the title of president, and went on to hold top executive positions with other leading companies.
Hamilton purchased Wildwood in 2007, with the vision of transforming it into a premiere partner to guitar makers. After investing a great deal of capital, blood, sweat and tears, he built a team capable of creating the highest quality guitar necks and bodies—and his dream became reality.
Hamilton spent four years working intimately with Tim Wilson to acquire the tooling and develop the unique procedures needed for Darran Sanders and Jeff Callahan to meet Line 6’s quality standards for the James Tyler Variax US Custom Series guitars. His experience, expertise and passion for excellence make him an extremely valued partner.
Product Development Manager, Wildwood Manufacturing
“I really like figuring out how to make something from either an existing part or just from imagination, and then seeing it work.”
After graduating with a degree in CNC machining and manufacturing technology, Darran Sanders began working at Wildwood Manufacturing in 2002. He currently focuses on research and development for new products.
His passion for setting up the process of creating new products made him a perfect partner for the James Tyler Variax US Custom series. Under Bruce Hamilton’s leadership, Sanders worked hand in hand with colleague Jeff Callahan to customize a variety of fixtures to complement the CNC machines, and developed a unique process to bring James Tyler’s designs to life—with the utmost precision and accuracy.
Production Manager, Wildwood Manufacturing
“Wildwood enables me to work with some of the best USA custom builders, like James Tyler and Tim Wilson. Learning their ideas on what makes a great instrument gives me the drive to create parts that meet their quality standards.”
Experienced guitar-maker Jeff Callahan has played the instrument since age 12. After receiving a B.A. degree in classical guitar studies, Callahan launched his professional woodworking career—first in cabinetry, and then marimbas. In 2006, Callahan joined the esteemed Wildwood Manufacturing team and currently oversees the day-to-day process of crafting the necks and bodies of James Tyler Variax US Custom Series guitars.
Under Bruce Hamilton’s leadership, Callahan partners closely with colleague Darran Sanders to ensure that the precision-machined bodies and necks receive the expert personal touch needed to transform them into great-feeling instruments.
Veteran Custom Painter and Finisher
“I started working on guitars in 1977. It was love at first sight... I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to find something that I loved to do beyond playing music.”
Pat Wilkins has spent the last 30 years custom painting and finishing guitars for some of the most celebrated artists in the industry.
The young guitarist began working at Schecter in 1977, and immediately fell in love with the art of creating guitars. He started in the woodshop, and ran it for over a year. From there, he moved to the guitar shop and trained intensively in painting and finishing processes, while also studying guitar-making as a whole.
After five and a half years at Schecter, Wilkins decided to explore the retail side of the business. His tenure at L.A. Guitar Works provided valuable experience—and its proximity to Norman’s Rare Guitars gave him direct access to a world of extraordinary vintage instruments.
With the encouragement of several key customers, Wilkins took the plunge and started his own custom finishing business in July of 1984. Early clients included local L.A. session players as well as Tom Anderson and Sadowsky Guitars. Over the years, Wilkins has experimented with a variety of materials, collaborated with finish manufacturers to improve his favorite products, and finely honed his processes and methods.
Line 6 is proud to have Wilkins’ deep passion, expertise and collaborative spirit as part of the James Tyler Variax US Custom Series team.
Veteran Custom Painter and Finisher
“To be the best, you have give a bit more. Sand a bit more, inspect a bit more. Spend more time on every single part of the process."
Fausto Reyes has loved art ever since he can remember. But unlike traditional painters, he has chosen guitar bodies as his canvases. Over 20 years ago, Reyes took a position at a prominent guitar maker with the determination to learn how to paint. After working in production, he finally got his chance. Though his supervisor was dubious, Reyes learned quickly and became one of the top painters within just a few months.
Reyes worked diligently on the line for 16 years, and earned a reputation as the go-to guy for special touch-ups and difficult projects. Meanwhile, his former supervisor founded his own painting business—and when it was time to retire, there was only one person to whom he could entrust his life’s work. Reyes took over the business and built a team that shares his passion for excellence.
In 2008 Reyes joined the US Custom Series team, where he lends his expertise and exceptional work ethic to creating the incredible finishes for the James Tyler Variax US instruments.