Changing the world, one guitar at a time…
ACOUSTIC, ELECTRIC, BASS, CUSTOM BUILT TO YOUR SPEC, REPAIRS, RE-FRET, SET UP, PICKUPS, POTS, RE-SPRAYS, AMPS, CABS, KEYS, MIXERS, FX
A Berkshire-based one-stop-shop for acoustic, electric and bass guitar building and repair. Everything from simple fret-dressing and set-ups to custom built dream guitars. If you want new pickups for a different sound or need an amp or pedal repaired get in touch.
Mick, pictured here with Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch OBE of The Shadows proudly displaying two of his Buddy Holly Series J45 guitars.
More details on this unique series of instruments and their celebrity recipients on the specials page.
BRUCE WELCH OBE
of The Shadows with his prized Johnson dreadnought specially made by Mick for his 60th birthday.
of The Sweet with two Kahler-trem-eqipped Johnson custom builds.
The Who’s Roger Daltrey – another recipient of a Johnson Buddy Holly Educational Foundation J45, complete with hand-tooled leather “jacket”. This beauty is called “Oh Boy!”
of Smokie with his “Crash” Strat – painstakingly custom-painted by Mick Johnson.
Bruce Welch OBE, Hank Marvin, Cliff Hall, Alan Jones, Mark Griffiths, Chas McDevitt, Jet Harris (RIP)
The Buddy Holly Foundation
Sir Cliff Richard
Joe Brown MBE
Andy Scott, Pete Lincoln
Alan Parsons Project/Pilot
Gary Moore (RIP)
Davy Jones, Peter Tork
Mick Box, Trevor Bolder RIP
Chris De Burgh
Here’s what a few people have to say…
Lieber Mick, ich habe heute fast alle Shadows-Songs (??) mit meiner/deiner Buddy-Gitarre begleitet. Sie klingt nur göttlich und ich spiele jetzt mit dem Gedanken, meine Martin-Gitarre zu verkaufen. Danke, Danke, Danke!!! Herzliche Grüße von Deinem Freund für immer Detlef
I gave Mick my old Burns Sonic to see what he could do with it, and jaw dropping is an understatement. Bought in 1965 when I was a callow youth it was the bright red beloved of the times, but not by me, and in 1969 with the aid of a chisel and then the discovery of Nitromors it went back to the bare wood which people had then started to favour. And that's the way it stayed for nearly fifty years until I had a sense that it deserved better. Off to Mick it went and he has used a richer burgundy…read more→
What a star, the guitar is stunning! Many many thanks for the exceptional work by the Luthieer of choice. Really enjoyed the chat - I could have talked forever about guitars and amps . . . but I’ve got a gig in 2016!! You are a diamond sir! See you again very soon. Phil - Paper Lace
I was given Mick's details originally as a result of a query I had about my guitar amp. We chatted for while and then got onto the subject of guitars. I mentioned a problem I had with my 60s reissue rosewood neck Strat, in that the lacquer was causing my left hand to stick to the neck, especially when playing in hot and humid pubs/clubs. Also due to the small neck radius (7.5ins) and the low action I had , I was getting a lot of choking on the high E string around the 12th - 16th frets. I had previously…read more→
I am truly delighted to write a few words about my friend, when I say my friend, actually Mick is everyone’s friend, I am not exaggerating when I say that since the early `80s Mick pretty much keep Reading bands gigging single-handed. It would be fair to say that if you were lounging around his house from 3 o’clock any Saturday afternoon people would form an orderly queue outside the front door to pick up their hopelessly trashed equipment transformed by Mick back into working equipment, Goth , Punk, Glam Rocker, Troubadour, Jazzer, Blueser, New Romantic, New Waver, Metaler and…read more→
Just a line to say what a fantastic job you did on the 1953 Framus. When I came across it I thought it was completely cream crackered. It's finished up better than I could imagine, and it's great to find it plays as well as I was hoping. Truly a great talent you have, and all the jokes are thrown in for free. Thanks again. Adam
For anyone lucky enough to be given Mick"s contact details in their pursuit of a highly skilled Luthier I can honestly say "search no more" and think of yourself as a very lucky individual. Your first meeting will be an experience in itself and if you have appealed to Mick's good nature you can be assured that only time will separate you from the return of your beloved instrument, playing, looking and sounding probably better than the day it was originally conceived. Some 5 or 6 years ago i found myself knocking on Mick's door clasping a Levin LM26 in hand…read more→
The name Mick Johnson has been mentioned around the sites for years in the world of The Shadows, I knew he had built Strats for my friends and was mates with Bruce Welch, but I had never laid eyes on him. Having just got a swamp ash Strat body from the US I wanted to finish it a colour other than Fiesta Red. Mick was recommended to me and I was lucky enough to get his phone number. Anyway after a brief chat on the phone Mick invited me to his house, and he also agreed to mix some wood…read more→
When I told Mick that I needed a hand made Maccaferri I wanted a guitar that didn't just look the part but could cope with the awesome range of repertoire demanded in this genre. We used Django's 1945 Selmer as a starting point, American black walnut neck, the sides were laminated rosewood/poplar/mahogany and the top a piece of 35 year old spruce that Mick had been saving for a masterpiece. Ebony fretboard but the bridge was originally stained rosewood to look like ebony and Mick did this too. The front and back of the guitar Mick heat formed, the resultant…read more→
One day, not so long ago, we were having a day of total self indulgence. Transported back to the 50s courtesy of a rerun of The Girl Can't Help It. Every other band in the movie had a Telecaster bass and I thought they were fantastic. Someone remarked,' they don't make them like that anymore'. The good news is that they do - or he does! Mick Johnson, a truly unsung hero; a caring craftsman with an attention to detail and an after sales service second to none. Mick has become a good friend and I can't thank him enough…read more→
Big Mick's name was given to me some years ago by the legend in leather Mr Pete Lincoln, when some amp or guitar had gone west. An imposing figure when first met would not be an unfair statement, (not Lincoln he's a little weed). Anyway from then till now I don't think there is a guitar or amp that I own that the big fella has not done something to. Mick is also a pretty good guitarist so invariably when I go and pick up fixed item we end up swapping guitar licks and distasteful jokes. In the end I…read more→
About once every couple of months we get together for lunch, Bruce Welch, myself and Mick. I really look forward to the experience and tend to listen rather than speak, which is slightly unusual for me. After Bruce and I have put our latest ailments to the sword the rest of the afternoon is always about guitars. Guitarists love guitars. Every guitar has a story and now even the ongoing sagas of my "stage strats" have happy endings since Mick has got to grips with them. He usually has one of my guitars knocking around with a bent neck or…read more→
No words can describe this guitar . . .Brilliant! It has a far better rolled neck than my Fender CIJ Strat and emulates wearing silk undies in quality company . . . if you know what I mean. Puts a smile on one's face whenever it's played . . .
Over the last 25 years or more Mick has got me out of trouble more times than I care to remember with last minute fixes of wayward bits of gear. Tuners, FX pedals, Power supplies, Keyboards, Amps, Speakers and more! I love my Johnson bass . . . Mick wasn't happy with the first neck he made so, like the perfectionist he is, he made another. I love my Johnson Strat, even though Mick hates the colour! Both instruments do exactly what they're supposed to . . . only better. He's making me another guitar as I write so watch…read more→
Mick had been recommended to me by a local Reading bass guitar tutor, and subsequently Mick has adjusted and tuned my basses to perfection these past few years. But recently when setting up my 4003S/5 Rickenbacker Mick noticed that the tail piece wasn’t holding the strings at a good angle from the saddles. A few visits to various web site forums soon uncovered the nasty problem of “tail lift” especially on Rics fitted with the vintage style tailpieces with the five screw mounting. Over time the string tension and especially on the 5 string causes the tailpiece to bend imperceptively…read more→
My friend Torstein Fredriksen introduced me to Mick Johnson many years ago. He told me that Mick was a very good luthier and technician. At the time I had some guitars, top of the line guitars, but no one that I was one hundred percent satisfied with. On Torsteins suggestion I asked Mick to build one for me, on my specs. It is the only guitar that I am absolute satisfied with, and I have tried many other guitars over the years. Mick has also become one of my freinds, and I had the honour to make a radioprogram whit him on…read more→
I know that I am not going to do this justice but I have got to say that I am utterly blown away by my new amazing guitar! Since getting home [and eating!] I have been playing and studying this new Angel of an instrument in wonderment! I have good acoustics in a particular room at home and the resonance, volume, sustain and ease of playing is truly fantastic, almost beyond belief without some form of amplification! The neck is just perfect Mick and in just one evening I am playing better than ever before. I have a Collings which…read more→
What can I say? I'm absolutely gob-smacked and delighted with the 'Buddy Holly Guitar Foundation' 'Johnson J45' you made for me! I just took it straight out of the case WITHOUT even tuning it and it was perfectly in tune and sounded FANTASTIC, with a rich very even tone and perfect intonation right up to the 'dusty' end! I think I can say 'hand on heart' it's at least equal to the BEST acoustic guitar I've EVER played, if not actually the best, (and I've played at least 2 others! … Ho Ho!) More like 200 others, INCLUDING Don Everly's…read more→
Thank you so much for an instrument that will be much admired, and treasured. The guitar is played every day, and the only thing that crosses my mind at times, is I wish I had received It when I was in my twenties . So keep making these wonderful guitars, because you have a wonderful gift that should be shared. Kind Wishes Marty Wilde
Mick has been an absolute diamond and the guitar he's built for me is incredible! He took the ideas of what I was looking for and crafted the most beautiful instrument for me, not only with his design choices but also in the wonderfully balanced, rounded tone it produces and the fantastic playability of it, something only achievable by a master craftsman. This 000 is the nicest guitar I've ever played in any price range (I tried plenty looking for this one) but it's not just better though, in my opinion it's head and shoulders above the rest and that's…read more→
This is my beautiful Johnson J200 Custom. Not only is she stunning looking, she sounds awesome. Right the way through this project, Mick has taken care to ensure that my own vision of the finished guitar was translated into reality, whilst ensuring at the same time that it would also deliver the bright sound I wanted by giving me advice on the most appropriate choice of 'tonewoods'. When Mick asked me to give a name to her for the headstock inscription, I called her 'Good Vibrations'. That was because Mick had just 'tuned' the acoustics of the wooden top of…read more→
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