I've known Brian for a while now, he's did lots of work on my strat (around a decade ago!) and I've found him to be a real pleasure to deal with and really inspiring to chat to. He just gets things done - but somehow manages to be really creative at the same time - impressed!
“We are a small little company. Total production to date is probably around just under 1400 units since 2000.
Fanner guitar works first commercial build was around 2000. Then trading as B.F.O.C (Brian Fanner Original Customs). And built some pretty run of the mill type slab body guitars and some custom 7 strings and other more obscure stuff mostly one off's although some small runs where attempted. Around 2003 the company started manufacturing oil can guitars for a few clients. These where curio in nature although good playable six string instruments. The headstocks where branded ‘Township’.
At the height of production we where making around 10 a week. Production gradually slowed to a trickle as other more profitable and easier products where focussed on but manufacture of the oil can guitar has always continued as an available product line. (Read more about the oilcan guitar here : http://brianfanner.wixsite.com/fannerguitars/about1)
Brian Fanner Township headstock. In 2013 running concurrent Township and B.F.O.C brands didn't work well and both the names and the designs of the logos and where both dropped and replaced under the blanket ‘Fanner guitar works’. Electric ukuleles then took off and the product range grew to what is currently 3 tenor, 3 baritone ukulele, 1 tenor guitar, a T-style 6 string 25.5″ and a 27″ baritone guitar. The tenors are T-style, S-style, offset and phantom influenced designs. Baritone is T-style and the first offsets will start flowing now. Tenor guitar is self designed but has a bit of danelectro influence with T-style hardware and a small offset on the body.
In Feb of 2017 Fanner guitar works got a cease and desist from Fender musical instruments corporation for both on trademark and patent issues. An agreement was reached and the logo was redesigned to the current logo and headstocks where also changed to current shapes. I’m not sure how much of this detail you would want to include in the description but it is relevant to pre cease and desist and post cease and desist logos and headstocks. I don’t want to be dealing with more legal headaches. I guess if it is written matter of fact then there is not any issues. Thoughts?
We where hopeless with numbering and dating. Some I signed and dated on the neck heel. I will have that sorted out in due course. Its a very tiny amount. Around 200 ukulele units give or take. It’d take some sleuthing through the books to give accurate numbers of everything. The etsy store and reverb sales provide a fairly comprehensive record although that is only for ukulele’s and tenor guitars and a few oil can guitars. The reverb store only opened in December 2017.
There where 2 different designs for what is now Tenor ‘Pixelator’ earlier models had a round body at the output jack and a football output jack plate. This came in a concert initially with 20 frets and then a tenor with 22 frets on the same body. The mk2 design was fixed to 21 frets and the body was altered slightly with a flat section at the output jack and a slightly wider bridge and a few other changes. The ‘ocelot’ offset model was unchanged but for a more open rout pattern for the complete assembled wiring harness to drop in as one piece. Earlier ones had drilled passages which was a nightmare to assemble. The ‘whisp’ was unchanged after also going from concert 20fret to tenor 22fret. The ‘exosphere’ s style was also pretty much unchanged. As ukulele’s go the tenor scale have fairly slim and close spaced strings but plans are to increase the string spacing on all models during the next year. This makes it easier to get more winds onto the pickups which are a little under powered die to the lack of space for sufficient winds although perfectly serviceable they’re not up to the power of normal single coil pickups with neck running around 4.5k and bridge around 5k.
Pickups went through a few changes in materials. Only the first 3 had 3D printed pickup bobbins. Early ones had steel slug pole pieces with a kind of fiber board flatwork and ceramic magnets then the dome top pole pieces which where actually hardened steel bearing rollers… back to steel, a brief cast iron period and the later 2017 models have alnico 5 which will be standard from now on.
More recent developments will see the inclusion of a 22.8″ scale ‘ukulele bass’ in a p bass format and a jazz style baritone ukulele with f holes and a Fanner branded tail piece. Also a full scale p-bass and T style guitar. Also coming is a p90 style pickup for baritone models as an option.
We don’t have a catalogue as such. We are currently pretty much building to order and produce around 4 units per week with a work force of 3 permanent staff
A Fanner 7 String build on guitartalk : https://community.guitartalk.co.za/d/1929-my-custom-brian-fanner-7-string
I love his shabby chic finishes!