James Trussart Steelcaster

James Trussart Steelcaster

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James Trussart Steelcaster
James Trussart Steelcaster - Click to Enlarge

James Trussart has taken Fender’s iconic Telecaster guitar and retooled its design into a powerful hollow body made of steel, called the Deluxe Steelcaster.

Both an art guitar and a functional axe that retains the famous Fender shape, Trussart’s Deluxe Steelcaster, used by legendary musicians including Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons and Joe Perry, just to name a few, has managed to carve a place in the ever-competitive retail instrument market with a noticeably new look and sound.

It’s An Art Guitar

The finish on the Deluxe Steelcaster is truly unique. Trussart takes a steel guitar body in the shape of a Telecaster, allows it to rust and then stops the process after the desired patina has been achieved. An alligator skin, “gator” as it’s called, is used to create a pattern on targeted areas of the rusty piece. Sometimes a rusting motif is left unadorned, like on the Rustomatic or antique silver models, or the process is limited, as in the case with Trussart’s Red Star Steelcaster. Either way, the result evokes a vintage feel, akin to the mojo of a National Steel resonator.

Steel perforations, in the f-hole of the soundboard area or in the back of the guitar, are also reminiscent of the traditional National Steel qualities that have come to be associated with some of the authentic early blues pioneers and in recent times, Johnny Winter.

A Fully Functional Stage Instrument and More

When a string is picked or plucked on Trussart’s Deluxe Steelcaster, sound flows over and through the hollow electric guitar body in a much different way than it would through a traditional solid wooden box; the result is almost like a Telecaster on steroids. The familiar Fender twang moves up a notch into the level of piercing metallic tones and sharp complexities that add special character to Trussart’s creation.

Regarding the Deluxe Steelcaster’s wide-ranging soaring capabilities, the company states online that, “the Trussart Steelcaster tone is a uniquely annunciated sound that, combined with the resonant qualities of the hollow steel body can range from sweet, crystal clear tones to aggressive screaming lead tones.”

The Specs

Trussart’s Deluxe Steelcaster, with a bolt-on 25.5 inch neck, offered in maple or koa with a rosewood, maple or ebony fingerboard, is available in grey, tobacco red or vintage yellow stained. The neck shape, a classic ’62 or a Fat ’52 and the narrow-tall frets, lend to the Steelcaster’s one-of-a-kind vibe.

Arcane-Inc. and TV Jones pick-ups are standard on the Deluxe Steelcaster although Trussart offers a diverse selection of alternatives – Antiquity Seymour Duncan, Alnico II Pro Humbuckers, P-90, HotRail and others. Trussart employs Kluson tuners and either a 3 or 6 Saddle Bridge . The Deluxe Steelcaster, made in America by Trussart, weighs 7 to 8 pounds, depending on the guitar.

Colors and Engraving

The Deluxe Steelcaster comes in 2 Tone Blue Paisley, Antique Copper, Butterscotch on Black, Sea Foam Green on Cream, Shiny Nickel and an entire host of other visually compelling colors and finishes. Engraving, on the body, pickguard and headstock plate, a Bigsby tremolo and push pull pots are some of the other vast options.


The Deluxe Steelcaster is a custom made instrument, but the Trussart website, along with selected authorized dealers, does have some models already on hand. Base price for a Deluxe Steelcaster is $3,999.

All things considered, it seems James Trussart has taught one very legendary dog some new tricks.


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Paul Wolfle

As a vintage and contemporary music enthusiast, guitars dominate Paul’s life. He plays slide in open tunings on a National Steel Tricone resonator and electric blues, in standard tuning, on an assortment of other instruments including his white Fender Stratocaster.

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11 years ago

I could see Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes playing this beast. It’s in his price range as well.

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