Judge Fredd is a French guitarist/journalist/guitar demonstrator. I used to read his gear reviews when I was still considering playing guitar! So, while I was at the Music & You salon I dropped by to say hello, and have a chat about his latest project: Judge Fredd Custom Works.
Indeed, Judge Fredd is now set to launch his own guitars brand but not just another brand. The principle is to produce guitars handmade by Philippe Dubreuille, French luthier installed in London, UK for ten years now. These guitars will be handmade by a luthier but according to Judge Fredd’s specifications!
3 models are planned, and 2 prototypes were available to see at the salon (first two of the list):
- The Icebird guitar: inspired by the Iceman.
- The Judgette guitar: Inspired by the Explorer.
- The Diablo guitar: Inspired by the Les Paul double cut.
I like the general approach of this Judge Fredd Custom Works project for several reasons. Here they are!
First, this is a project driven by passion above anything else! If the Judge was only looking for fast cash entries, he would have chosen to build guitars in a place where they know of to build low cost guitars, and then sell truck loads of these to the French guitarists (and elsewhere if he is lucky enough)! Au contraire, what he decided to do is working with a luthier in order to provide high quality instruments! Even the pickups that will be on these guitars will be handmade by artisans such as SP Custom and Hepcat Pickups! That’s my first good point to Judge Fredd!
Second point, this is a project with a strong identity! The Judge could have just lend his signature to a luthier, and here is a nice team set on the road of the almost-mass market (indeed, don’t forget that these are guitars made by a luthier!). But that’s not what they are doing! Philippe Dubreuille is gonna build Judgified guitars (I bet there will be a copyright on this term one day). First, the guitars will be designed according to Judge Fredd’s tastes when it comes to guitars, and the finishes have strong references to the automobiles & bikes world. Judge Fredd once said that there are only 3 acceptable colors for a guitar, and these are white, black or red! So Judge Fredd Custom Works guitars will be white, black or red… Or a little a bit of the three colors, if you want it to be! It will be possible to customise the finishes a little. The Hepcat P90s pickups (on the Judgette) and the SP Custom humbuckers (on the Icebird, this is a prototype PU that is splittable to obtain a Jazzmaster/P90 hybrid tone) will receive a Judgification treatment too. This is good to see a little bit of radical choices in this world of consensus. C’est bel et bon un peu de parti pris radical dans un monde de consensus. That’s my second good point to Judge Fredd!
Last but not the least, I had a very close look on the Icebird & Judgette guitars, and what I can say is that they are awesome looking guitars. And as for the sound, they just are as awesome as they look! That’s heavy, and growling*.
Only time will tell if Judge Fredd was right to start this new adventure but I think it has good chances to work because:
- The guitars are top quality.
- Judge Fredd is a guitarist with a universe to share, and things to say.
- The artisans working with him are known for the quality of their work.
And I think I’ll stop with prediction except to say that Judge Fredd sees way beyond just producing guitars. He seems to be putting a lot of thoughts in the possible future of the Judge Fredd Custom Works brand! I can only wish him good luck, and have a look forward to see what it is going to give!
* I was supposed to have a video clip to show you but this Music & You Salon turned out to be a photo/video gear disaster for me! The only clip I have is unpublishable!