Designed by Steve Stine, Reno Paulson and Chuck Wilson
Roger “Tiny” Kohrs Ace Bass Review
Rick Hollander Ace Bass
Joe Weinberg DeVille
The Tone King Spade
Steve Stine DeVille
Mark Fitchett Single Barrel
Roger “Tiny” Kohrs Rye
The Tone King Hounder
Bass Musician Magazine Ace
Mark Fitchett Spade
Joe Weinberg DeVille Demo 2
Chuck Wilson Hounder
Sean Pierce Johnson Hounder Review
Sean Pierce Johnson Rye Review
Chris Bauer Single Barrel
Bootlegger Guitar “Rye” Review 11/2019
Cody Foster (The Exit Strategy/The Heather Roush Band)
I first learned of Bootlegger through a random stumble on Reverb. Like many musicians, I constantly and casually scroll through Reverb just to see what is up for sale that day while in search of the next “tone adventure”. My first interaction with Bootlegger was the Blues 15 tube amp. Being in the marketing and advertising business as my day job, I was intrigued by the subtle simplicity of the design and overall look. What I couldn’t understand was how someone was able to sell a 15 watt all tube head with a 1x12” cabinet with an Eminence speaker for under $600. I was skeptical but, even though I really wasn’t in the market for another amp at the time, I stuck it in my watch list to potentially purchase later.
Fast forward to about 1 ½ to 2 years later; I join The Heather Roush Band as the 2nd guitarist and vocalist and meet Roger Kohrs. Roger is the bassist and, having been a professional, touring musician for over 20 years, has had the ability to become involved with some great companies as an endorsee. One such company being Bootlegger. Roger now has a signature Ace Bass and had nothing but positive things to say about the company and its owner, Chuck Wilson. I decided to look at the site and see what they had to offer. The Single Barrel was the first guitar that caught my attention. A semi-hollow guitar with a Telecaster style bridge pickup, a P90 neck pickup, all for under $600? Sounded like a steal! I wasn’t in the market for another guitar, but I kept it in mind for later and began following Bootlegger on socials in more detail. Then came the release of the Rye.
As a guitar player I’ve always had a love for elegant simplicity. I’ve never owned super flashy guitars and seemed to always choose function over flash. Coming from a Punk and Blues background, I loved utilitarian grit. The Rye had every single bit of that and what I loved in a guitar. Top to bottom black, white binding, a dual humbucker setup with a set neck construction, an ash body, maple neck, and a rosewood fretboard all coming in at $549. That seemed crazy to me. Knowing the nature of the guitar market, I wasn’t sure how Chuck was able to make that happen. I asked Roger more about the guitars and he explained how the guitars are all precision built in South Korea and, including by selling direct, that’s how Chuck can sell great guitars at an affordable price.
Later, Roger mentioned to Chuck in a conversation that I was interested in the Rye and Chuck was kind enough to send one from Hermosa Beach, California all the way across the country to Ohio for me to road test and get my hands on. As soon as the guitar arrived and hit my fingers, I was instantly impressed. The guitar felt extremely rugged but incredibly comfortable. The neck felt familiar and was easy to play. The body had weight, but no dive and felt like something that could easily take the stress of many all-night gigs. I took the guitar home, strung it up with my strings and set it up to my specifications. After that, it felt even better. Once that was done, all that was left was to take it to a gig and run it through the paces.
I’ll start by saying that I am not a gentle player. I hit hard, I jump around, and I really get into the music. The Rye took every single hit and gave it back to me in spades. It rocked and rolled with me all night through every single song. I don’t use an overly complicated pedal set up but do play through unforgiving amplifiers that don’t necessarily hide my own flaws. That night, I was playing through my 2000 TopHat Club Royale 20 (essentially a hand-wired, hot-rodded AC30) and, let me tell you, the Rye rocked. It produced thick, LP style cleans as well as rich, and crunchy overdriven tones but never got muddy. I was incredibly impressed with the South Korean-made Tesla pickups and how they carried the sound as well as pick attack. On top of that, they were incredibly quiet pickups. They truly did work as great humbuckers.
Whether I was playing a clean, swirling, textured rhythm part or a soaring, saturated lead line, the guitar stayed in tune and in top form all night. Again, I was incredibly impressed. It not only fit my style but also my personality as a player, without being overly flashy or making sacrifices on quality for superfluous details. As I previously mentioned, it was a utilitarian, Rock and Roll machine. Full stop.
The Bootlegger Rye ships with a solid and reliable hard-shell case and the signature Bootlegger Flask, set up and ready to go for $549. I can assure you that is one heck of a steal. Especially for a guitar with a set neck construction. What Chuck is doing with Bootlegger is exactly what is needed in the modern guitar industry: fantastic guitars at an affordable price for the working, everyman musician. As a regularly gigging musician, I can’t recommend the Bootlegger Guitar Rye enough. If you are looking for a slick, rugged guitar that sounds great, will get through many long nights, and won’t break your bank to pieces, look no further. The Rye will do and be all those things. Like I said before, it’s a Rock and Roll machine.
When you choose your next guitar, consider Bootlegger. You can go get a guitar from a big box company like many others – and if that’s your thing, no harm no foul. Or, you can take a chance on and support a small builder and business that truly cares about the products he puts out and be rewarded ten-fold. You can stick with what you know or be an Outlaw and snag a Rye. It’s got my vote.
Hounder 2020 Black Cherry Gold Gloss Burst With Flask, OHSC Case!
I took a chance buying this guitar site unseen, but I'm am very pleased with the quality of this instrument. Its lays right in my lap, and is easy to play. The pick-ups are great quality and it sounds fantastic. If I were to comment on anything about this guitar, is the neck up and around the 12th fret and on being just a little fat. This is personnel, not overall quality. Thanks for an American made quality instrument, and keep up the good work. DLC
Bootlegger Spade Headless Travel Pro Guitar With Custom OHSC Case & Whiskey FlaskNick S. – Nov 1st, 2019
Guitar is awesome!! Stock pickups sound great and clean up very nicely. Holds tuning amazingly well and string changes are a breeze all things considered. My only gripe is the ergonomics if you play without a strap like me. Leg cutout sits at a strange angle so it moves around a bit but nothing that will make me put this thing down. Great job bootlegger!!
June 24, 2019
I wanted a headless guitar and searched Amazon first. At that time this Spade guitar was not listed on Amazon.
I purchased it from bootlegger president Chuck Wilson. I am very pleased with it, and impressed with the outstanding
service I received. Chuck emailed me when his tech did the final set up before delivery to me. When it arrived Chuck had placed 2 of his business cards in the case. I emailed him that I was very happy with the guitar. Shortly after he personally called me to follow up and if I had any questions. Chuck personally design this 2nd version Spade. I feel like I bought a custom shop guitar for a unbelievably low price. To me this could be easily sold as $1,000 plus guitar. There are you tubes videos on this guitar but their recorded sound quality does not do it justice. I played it through a VOX modeling amp and it sounded awesome. My wife thinks it sounds better than my Fender Deluxe telecaster. I have been playing since 1962 and owed all the top end guitars from Fender, Gibson, Gretsch ,Brian Moore, Ovation etc. This one has the most bang for the buck. Easy to tune, perfect action, easy to string. Very easy to play the higher frets. Wood looks great Neck is finished beautifully, pick ups and all black hardware are quality. Playing comfort is great ,its light weight,but not too light. I spent hours researching headless guitars and this one was my top choice by far. FYI clip on tuner fits nice, strap fit is just right and guitar sits safely on my old stand. If your ready to dive in to a headless guitar this is it!.
Beast ! No cons what so ever !!!!!!!!!
Who-da-thunk ! After playing for 50+ years, thought the Spade would be a good guitar to practice on, Yup, but actually I'll be using her live. Chuck gives a rather complete description of the pros and cons, but in reality there are more pluses. Build quality is excellent, from the fret work to the hardware. It's really stable, and didn't take long to get used to the feel (gotta stop tryin' to fine tune the invisible tuners on the headstock though).Only needed some minor set up tweeks right out of the box (neck was arrow straight, needed some relief for my style) Even though it has the "dime" pots, the cavity is shielded, the pups are well balanced and can roar ! As primarily a Strat player, love the scale on this, and the ability to get vintage bucker tones without switching guitars.
Verified purchase: Yes | Condition: New | Sold by: musicworld2016
looking for a good quality travel guitar which would not break the bank and came across a video review of the Bootlegger Spade 2 by a guy named the ‘Tone King’. I typically do a lot of research when looking at buying things, especially for something like a guitar, and knew there was a risk that what I saw on a video review would not translate to something I liked when I sat down to play it but was pleasantly surprised by the Spade 2. In fact, I’d say its pretty darn good for an reasonably priced travel guitar. I received it last week and sat on the couch playing a few blues scales and a little ‘Stormy Monday’ was pleased with the ease of playability and the tone I was able to achieve. It’s definitely not in the same class as my USA made G and L legacy but I did have a fun time playing it and think it will be great for a travel guitar to take on the biz trips to Asia. I plugged into a little Blackstar Fly 3 amp and thought ‘not bad’. I then plugged into my Fender Hot Rod and ‘not bad’ became ‘pretty darn good’. I’d definitely recommend the guitar over other cheaper travel guitars and look forward having something to do in the evenings after a long day at the factory-
Wow! The Spade arrived yesterday and it is wonderful. You were right, the online pictures do not do it justice- the guitar is lovely and the neck and frets are truly pro quality. I put some light gauge jazz strings on it (and tuned down a whole step) and the guitar has a beautiful warm tone. I have been looking for an affordable travel guitar for three years and was never able to pull the trigger on a chinese model because they always felt cheap. The Spade is a great guitar (at a great price; and thanks for throwing in the flask. I will toast you whenever I use it!). Thanks Chuck. On Thursday i fly to the in-laws and this will be my first trip with guitar in hand.
And thanks again for the GREAT service. I will definitely spread the word on some online jazz guitar forums.
A happy customer!
Great guitar!! UPS managed to bust off the selector switch, even though it was packed Extremely well. Sent a message to Chuck and he called almost immediately with multiple solutions to get this corrected. Since I'm good with a soldering iron, opted for him just to mail me a new switch. 2 minute fix.
Greg Kinder 4/19
Blues 30 Amp
Do you like being the first one of your friends to discover a new micro-brew, food truck or small-batch whiskey? Who doesn't, right? The Bootlegger Blues 30 is all of that excitement in an amp. I've been playing through a variety of "big brand" amps over 30 years and always chasing tone. The Blues 30 delivers the exact sound I was looking for - a combination of the sweet spot from each amp wrapped into one! I heard it, loved it and had to have it! GREAT product, GREAT company, unbelievable price point.
Chris Baurer 3/18
The Band Lexington, Santa Clarita, Calif
Try their products , then you'll ask yourself the same thing I did... Why did I waste so much money on the other brands ?
Truly one of the best kept secrets BOOTLEGGER !!!
Feb 19th, 2018 by Russ H.
Bootlegger Guitar Single Barrel Matte Brown Stain Burst P90 & Single Coil All Maple Padded Gig Bad
So, if you're looking for a well-playing instrument with lots of character/mojo that is sold well below what it's actually worth (sounds like most musicians I know), then you need a bootlegger guitar. Chuck is a super cool guy, eager to answer questions and share knowledge/experience. The buying experience was hassle free and fun. The guitar is beautiful and plays and sounds like a million bucks. Get in on the ground floor before people start realizing what these guitars are worth!Try their products , then you'll ask yourself the same thing I did... Why did I waste so much money on the other brands ?
Truly one of the best kept secrets BOOTLEGGER !!!
Feb 1st, 2018 by Jonathon B.
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We ship worldwide ask us for a quote. We ship from Los Angeles (Hermosa Beach) California.
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310 613 2808
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Why & Interest in Bootlegger Guitar
We are a boutique guitar & Amp builder in Hermosa Beach (Los Angeles) California. We started designing guitars and selling to musicians who used our recording studio. With our local success we decided to open up our online store. Proudly we have sold our guitars and amps worldwide to professionals, studios, and players.
All of our designs are uniquely Bootlegger or co designed by musicians such as Steve Stine & Roger “Tiny” Kohrs.
The marketplace is full of low priced China built guitars that are questionable, mid priced boutique quality guitars and amazing custom made guitars.
We fit in the boutique quality market, but with lower pricing. Our guitars and amps are designed in our shop and built in our partner factory, Muse Inc S. Korea. Muse builds for many great brand names as well as Bootlegger. All guitars, amps are inspected in our L.A. shop before shipment to our customer.
We use either US brand or South Korean parts. No China parts are utilized on our guitars. Why? Our parts are consistently high quality and we only do business with our allies.
Value / Why Play Bootlegger
As a small builder, we must offer value service and quality. We do not spend on marketing, we mostly sell through referral. This is how we can keep our prices, a great value for you the player Please read our customer review’s posted on our website, our players can better speak of our value and quality.
We support our military donating guitars to American Legion Post 233 for auction to help serve our veterans.
We come from a blues and rock playing background, performance rally (car) racing and custom Harley building. All of our interests go into our designs.
Please feel free to contact me.
310 613 2808
We are always interested in speaking with qualified and motivated people who would wish to join Bootlegger as an investor / partner. Concurrently, we are looking for the best guitar stores to offer Bootlegger Guitar worldwide.
Chuck Wilson. email@example.com. 310 613 2808.