Not every musician gets the chance to design and market their own ideal instrument. With the Chandler 555 guitar, I was lucky enough to do just that.
I first meet Paul Chandler and his lovely wife Adrian at the International Musikmeese trade show in Frankfurt, Germany in 1988. He mentioned to me that his vision for the future of his company, Chandler Guitars, was to transition away from selling guitar parts and move into manufacturing original design instruments. As luck would have it, I had a rough outline of a guitar design already in mind and he encouraged me to complete it. My goal was to create an electric guitar that combined some of my favorite features from the classic guitars of yesterday and put them together in a new and very performance enhancing way. In other words, a retro style design with modern features and playability.
The Chandler ‘555’ guitar was first introduced in 1992 and was well received right out of the gate. The February 1993 issue of Guitar Player magazine featured a sleek sea foam green 555 on the cover along with a corresponding article. Feature articles in other trade magazines such as Guitarist Magazine and reviews from players followed. Paul moved his factory from San Francisco to Burlingame California and the transition was complete.
A few years later, Paul wanted to offer an update of the 555. One that had a slightly different feature set and had a more modern look. So I redesigned the headstock to offer straight string pull alignment and Paul gave the body a belly cut, an arm contour and a more rounded beveling on the edges. This model was called the 555 Pro. The original model became known as the 555 Classic.
All in all, it was a tremendous experience watching the 555 baby being born, grow up and take it’s place in the ever changing world of musical instruments. Paul was kind enough to build me a custom version of the Classic 555, in transparent crimson, with body and neck binding and special neck carve, and a custom Pro version in white that are still some of my favorite guitars. Thank you Paul!