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Back in the mid-60s, a desire for independence in business led to John Skewes forming a small musical instrument agency and wholesale business based at his home near Leeds, England. Over time, his new business steadily began to take off, and soon included throughput of some self-branded lines of musical merchandise. That effective early decision to carry self-branded merchandise continues to this day, with their signature Vintage® acoustic and electric guitars and basses which were first produced and sold in 1995. Today, Skewes is the largest family-owned independent musical merchandise distributor in the U.K. and the Vintage ‘family’ includes Fret King® electric guitars, Pilgrim® Banjo’s and Mandolins, Laka® Ukuleles, Encore® electric and acoustic guitars, and Kinsman® cases.
The central idea behind Vintage® is to offer accessibly priced, vintage-looking guitars with great finishes, quality parts, and features that are typically found on guitars costing upward of a thousand dollars. So, to design an industry-leading line of professional but affordable guitars, Trev Wilkinson joined forces with JHS over a decade ago. These instruments now include class-leading Wilkinson®-designed hardware.
Certain features make Vintage® guitars a “bigger bang for the buck.” Subtle changes to traditional guitar designs have been made so they perform much better. For instance, on the spring block, the holes are staggered in a way that allows the strings to leave the block and pass over the saddles at a consistent angle that helps keep those strings in tune. Trev also developed tuning keys called EZ-LOK™ that work like a locking tuner, but actually don’t require any mechanical manufacturing. There’s nothing to unwind when you’re slacking the strings using the vibrato, and they always come back to pitch. The same goes for our pickups. Trev doesn’t have a high-dollar pickup range to protect, so he can produce pickups that will sound as good as any company can wind anywhere in the world.
Trev has been described as “Britain’s one-man think tank.” Asserting that there’s always more work to be done when it comes to improving guitar playability! We’re here to attest to the fact that’s just who Trev is.
Today, Trev remains connected to his “fretted offspring” and continues to cooperate with JHS on a project basis in respect of product design and in an advisory capacity relation to incorporating and designing Wilkinson branded electronics and hardware for JHS guitar brands.