Bolt Guitars

Until I put together something worth posting, here’s a picture of my favorite Bolt guitar, built in 1991 by Wayne Bolt.

Custom Guitar Built By Wayne Bolt

Wayne Bolt is a guy I met in Allentown, PA, that used to build custom guitars but later changed paths and got into custom cabinetry instead. I have two of these Bolt guitars that are basically identical.

Here’s a shot of the neck joint, which is one of my favorite things about the feel. The back is cut on an angle that tapers towards the high E string. That and the recessed mounting screws makes things easier playing around at the 24th fret…

Bolt Neck Joint

The basic specs are as follows:

Color: Black
Body Wood:
Mahogany
Neck: 3-piece Maple, bolt-on, 24.75″ scale
Fretboard: Ebony with jumbo frets
Pickups: EMG 81 (bridge) & EMG SA (neck)
Bridge: Floyd Rose tremelo with locking nut
Misc: Locking cable jack, Gotoh tuners, D’Addario EXL120+ strings

The one in the picture has a tone and 2 volume controls, as well as an EMG PS2 switch, which adds a lot of punch to SA bridge pickup when activated. The only difference between the two is that the other one just has a tone, volume and 3-way pickup selector switch.

48 Responses to “Bolt Guitars”

  1. Dan Perry Says:

    Very cool! I’m a Bolt owner as well, the holoflash’d version if your interested. Mine came with a Duncan JB (TB-4) and a TB-4J in the neck, a Kahler LFR, and Gotoh tuners. Great axe!

  2. Mike Says:

    Cool! It’s nice to know there are still at least two people on the planet that play Bolt guitars. 😉

    I was going to pick one of those up as well, but money was an issue at the time. I got to pick through what Wayne Bolt had left at his house at the time, which was mainly black & the holo. He had a bunch of necks lying around… I wish I had picked up a few of those at the time.

    I even picked up a bare Mahogany BC Rich Warlock body that he did for them, but I never did anything with it and later sold it. He had put the same carved out neck joint on those as seen on the bolts & others now.

    I put the EMG pickups in mine, but they both had Seymour Duncan Trembuckers (bridge) and a Hotrail neck pickup. They were fine and I left them in for years, but got the urge to try EMGs.

    The second one I picked up was actually a clearance item at a guitar shop up there–I couldn’t resist. The funny thing is that it was marked down to either $299 or $199 (don’t remember) and it wasn’t selling because no one knew the brand. Meanwhile, people were walking right past it to pick up lower quality guitars in the same price range that just didn’t compare to the Bolt… but had a big name on the headstock.

    I still have the Bolt brochures from back then that I plan to get scanned & uploaded. My scanner is crapping out, but I’ll get it done one of these days.

    After all these years, it’s still my favorite body design. I guess if I lost them and had to replace them, an Ibanez RG is about as close as it gets… which happened to come out around the time he was dealing with them and right before Bolt Guitars was born.

    Too bad Wayne Bolt left the music business because he hated it. I’d love to see him put out more guitars.

  3. Dan Perry Says:

    Yeah, us Bolt players are a rare breed. 8)

    I’ve always wanted a Kramer Holoflash, so when I saw the Bolt I just had to have it. I’d post a pic but my HTML may be a bit rusty. 😮

    Wow! I had no idea that you knew so much background on the man and his instruments. As I’m sure you know the internet is practically devoid of any solid info…cept’ for this site of course. 😀

    Thanks for sharing!

    I believe that I read somewhere that Wayne made less than 150 guitars. Is that accurate? Rare indeed if so…

    Oh yeah, I’ve love to check out those brochures if you can find the time to scan them.

    Thanks again,
    Dan

  4. Dan Perry Says:

    Here’s a pic of my Bolt: S/N S100N9100042

    Bolt Guitar

    I came across it a couple months ago online at the Wilkes-Barre, PA Music Go Round. Before then I’ve never heard of the Bolt brand so I did some research and stumbled upon your page. Judging from your Bolt it looked to be a finely crafted instrument and well worth the $150 they were asking for it. So I bought it! Really glad I did too.

    It’s quickly becoming one of my top players. The other ones being (coincidently) a Carvin Bolt kit I purchased the first year they came out, and a ’89 Ibanez 540PII.

  5. Mike Says:

    Looks good! I edited your first post to include a resized picture of it.

    Have you ever seen a poorly lit picture of a holo’d guitar? I saw one once that, since it wasn’t reflecting light, basically looked like the front surface was just ground off & destroyed. It was funny because of how far off it was compared to how they look in person when the lights hit it.

    $150 is definitely a steal! I can see people that are new to guitar skipping past it for names they recognize, but I can’t believe music shops can’t sell them to someone that appreciates them for more. I guess it’s hard when you can get new mass produced guitars so cheap.

    If I remember correctly, Wayne had intended for retailers to sell them somewhere in the $500 – $700 range. I know he was sad to hear how cheap the one I got at Dave Phillips was and said that was much less than what they paid for it.

    He didn’t really want to compete with cheap guitars on price, but also didn’t want to charge super-high prices for a good one. Of course, the cheap thing doesn’t really work out when the idea goes something like, “I’ll get that and have a good $100 guitar. Then if I don’t like it, I’ll just get new pickups, tuners and maybe a new neck.” So much for the cheap guitar at that point. I have to keep telling myself not to do that with one of those $99 SX Strats. 😉

    It’s quickly becoming one of my top players. The other ones being (coincidently) a Carvin Bolt kit I purchased the first year they came out, and a ‘89 Ibanez 540PII.

    A Carvin is on my list of things to someday own. My first guitar was a Squier metal-style strat (dual humbuckers, rear-routed, etc…). After a few years when the frets were getting crappy, I just replaced the neck with a Carvin and was very happy with it.

    I do wish they never used the Bolt name, though… it messes up searching for these–not that there’s much to find as you’ve found out! Plus, someone that doesn’t know better would probably just think someone saying Bolt Guitars means Carvin, since they’re the big name.

    Same goes for owning an Ibanez–also on the todo list. If nothing else, I’d probably pick them for trying a 7-string eventually, either the RG7321 or RG1570.

    I’ll still get the Bolt brochure scanned one of these days, but if you want a real one, I have an extra. If you want it, just click the contact link up top & send me your address. It even had a picture of him & the other guy on it.

  6. Dan Perry Says:

    I’ve seen a couple that didn’t look right, understandable I guess considering that the lighting and camera angle will completely change its appearance. Ya know, the finish is just one of the things I love about it. The fact that it sounds amazing, holds tune, and plays well is a bonus.

    I gotta admit though when it came home, it was in not the greatest of shape. The trem had some surface rust as did the pickups, the strings looked/sounded to be from circa 91′ and the electronics was wired wrong with the exception of the 3-way toggle. It took me about 2 hours to get everything sorted out…it was worth every minute. 😀

    That’s very kind of you to offer. I wouldn’t mind thumbing though it at all. I’m really interested in checking out some of his other designs.

    Thanks a lot!

    Tell you what, when I receive the brochure I’ll scan it for you if like and send it to you or post it somewhere if you wish.

  7. Mike Says:

    At least the poor little Bolt finally found a loving home. 😛

    I never saw one with a white switch before, so I was wondering if parts have been changed out, unless someone just switched the cap on the switch.

    Maybe there’s actually a 3rd Bolt Guitar owner on the planet that will someday find this page.

    I wonder if the pickups are original. I know mine & the others I saw had Seymour Duncan Trembuckers, but I don’t know if they’re the only SDs he used or not.

    Your brochure is on the way and should be there in a few days – enjoy!

  8. Jason Rackawack Says:

    I have a hologram finish bolt guitar too. I paid about $325 back in the
    late 1990’s at Dave Phillips in Allentown PA. I have only seen 2 others
    in the last 20 years. One was black with airbrushed lightning on it and
    the other was a hologram finish which turned up on sevenstring.com
    and its now in Ohio. The factory was supposed to be in Schnecksville PA
    but the photo of it is a painting so I dont know if he ever moved in to the
    place. I was told Wayne bolt still shops at Dave Phillips in Phillipsburg NJ
    and he is still very proud of the guitars he built, maybe he would love
    to see a reunion of them on the web? He would be the best guy to
    track down and ask all the questions we have about these great guitars.

    I dont know the serial # of mine off hand but it was built in ’91 and is lower than number 100. I was told the holo foil used in the finish is the same as the foil they use in CD’s. Mine has a input jack with a red
    button you have to push in to pull out the plug (so it dont fall out on
    stage) and brass inserts in the wood so it does not strip out when
    the electronics need servicing.

    I bought mine with a crack in the end of the head stock, I repaired it and had the bolt logo re screen printed on the wood in charcoal & glow in the dark ink instead of the white & gold.
    I kinda wish I had left it all original now that I know how rare it is!

    It’s Worlds best hair metal guitar in my opinion!
    It also sounds great on a clean chanel which is hard to find in an electric
    designed to shred heavy metal.

    Once I get some good photos, I’ll post them.

    I guess this is now the un official Bolt Registry Huh?

    It would be great to have a web site for these guitars with a listing
    by serial # and a photo.

    Jason Rackawack

  9. Jason Rackawack Says:

    Found this on0line today

    The Official Vintage Guitar Magazine Price Guide
    by Alan Greenwood, Gil Hembree
    2006

    Page 14

    BOLT
    1988-1991. Founded by luther Wayne Bolt and
    Jim Dala Pallu in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania,
    Bolt’s first work was CNC machined OEM necks
    and bodies made for Kramer and BC Rich. In ’90
    they started building solidbody Bolt guitars,
    many with airbrushed graphics. Only about 100 to 125
    were built, around 40 with graphics.

    No Price was given in the guide though, they are very rare but relativly unknown unfortunately. They deserve more respect as they are not

  10. Mike Says:

    Woo hoo! We are now an unstoppable army of 3. 😛

    Welcome to the club, Jason. I think I’ll have to come up with a section just for Bolt Guitars & their owners.

    One was black with airbrushed lightning on it

    I’m not really into graphics so much, but that is one that I liked and wish I had. There was also a nice Stonehenge design they did.

    When I got my first one from Wayne, he didn’t have many left – just black, holo, and I think there was a Flamingo design.

    I believe he just had one artist that airbrushed all of them. There’s a picture of the guy doing one in the brochure.

    He would be the best guy to
    track down and ask all the questions we have about these great guitars.

    I’ve actually thought about that, but I didn’t know if he would like it or not. When I knew him & got mine from him, he was a super-nice guy and talked to me quite a bit about it… but there was definitely a bitterness towards the business and he seemed happy to have nothing to do with it anymore.

    I thought about writing up a list of questions, or just seeing if there’s anything he’d like to say or comment on, then sending it to him and let him answer when/if he wants to, rather than trying to call him and put him on the spot.

    Mine has a input jack with a red
    button you have to push in to pull out the plug

    Same here. It was also nice that they also work with the wiring for active EMGs, so I didn’t have to swap them out.

    and brass inserts in the wood so it does not strip out when
    the electronics need servicing.

    Ha! I forgot about mentioning that, but back when I got mine I hadn’t seen that before and was really impressed. I did notice that one of mine has phillips screws & the other has the allen heads. I think that’s the only difference I picked up on between the two.

    I kinda wish I had left it all original now that I know how rare it is!

    Don’t feel too bad… I have no idea where the original pickups from mine ended up. 😉

    Once I get some good photos, I’ll post them.

    Look forward to it! If you can get a good shot of the changed headstock, that would be cool too.

    1988-1991. Founded by luther Wayne Bolt and
    Jim Dala Pallu in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania

    I never met Jim, but if I remember correctly, he was just at the business end of it and Wayne’s the one that worked the magic.

    It was already over by the time I met Wayne (or at least by the time I realized who he was), but at that time I don’t think he got rid of any of the equipment that was used and just kept it for the cabinet business.

    I guess he was ahead of his time there as well. When cheap guitars came with Rosewood fretboards & crappy pickups, Bolts came with Ebony and Seymour Duncans… When others were building cabinets with a circular saw and a hammer, Wayne was rocking the CNC! 😀

    Only about 100 to 125 were built, around 40 with graphics.

    That number keeps getting lower! I could have sworn he told me it was a few hundred, but you guys both heard under 150. I wonder if there are any that aren’t counted in that number, of fall under a different serial numbering for tracking… like if he made & gave some away looking for endorsement deals?

    I’d love to know how many are still alive and out there being played. Surely, some have been wrecked, burned, hacked beyond recognition, etc…

    I’m going to work on getting the brochure scans up. Later tonight, I’ll at least take pictures of them & post them, until the scanner situation is sorted out.

  11. Popsyche Says:

    I have one as well. It came from Dave Phillips, and still had the $1299.00 hang tag on it. Mine is a thicker HH body than the one pictured above, also with holoflash. It has Pearly Gates installed. Plays great!

    BTW, Jason, It’s Sevenstring.ORG

    (Stop on by, guys!)

  12. Jason Rackawack Says:

    I noticed in the catalog photos that the airbrushed guitars all look
    like the same guitar with different stuff airbrushed on them.

    There are some photos that have no knobs or switches showing
    on the face of the guitar!

    Even the Pink Flamingo guitar in the photo of wayne & Jim has no knobs on the front!

    I wonder if these others were ever really built or were just retouched photos?

    I know you saw a flamingo guitar & I saw a lightning guitar but
    It seems like the HoloFlash finish is the most common and
    the Airbrushed & Solid Paint ones are more rare.

    I have never seen a photo of a Single Cut Away Body Bolt
    other than in the catalog.

    The artist in the photo might know more and maybee Wayne
    would still know who he is to contact him, The local Allentown Sign & Airbrush guys are pretty cool so I’ll ask arround to see if anyone rembers
    or worked at Bolt Guitars.

    Jason Rackawack

  13. jason rackawack Says:

    It would be Cool If Bolt produced Guitars again!
    At least The owners of “Older Original Models”
    would get some respect finally! I’d love
    to have another one with the “Hollywood” paint job.

    I have seen a pretty big interest in 1980s-1990s
    “Metal” guitars with guys collecting, Ibanez, ESP,
    Krammers B.C. Rich ect.
    Cool huh! It was a pretty narrow window
    of time for a true custom guitar craze but I love it
    and the music.

    Now most guitars look no different than when they
    were designed in the 1950s or 1970s

    Keep us posted, check out Vintage Kramer.com
    to see some guitars that are very similar to bolts
    even the airbrushed finish.

    Jason Rackawack

  14. Connor Says:

    I thought I was alone in the world of Bolt.
    I have the same model as dan #8.
    Iplayed it twice and have kept it on mothballs all these years
    it is in pristine condition.
    I paid 700. for it in 95.
    so glad to finally find some info on it.
    Connor

  15. mike f. Says:

    hey, i bought a spyder 100 after production stopped . traded in a les pual copy and 150 bucks at a little store in emaus pa. my brother joe worked @ dalla’s machine during the era the bottom fell out. during liquidation i acquired two bodies 1 evolution and 1 vintage both with neck single coil route, and a couple of kramer necks. i built the evo in 94 and will eventually build the vintage someday. i recently bought an american strat that just falls short of my bolts. but ive always said, you can never have too many guitars.
    later

  16. Erik Bolt Says:

    Hello, so if you guys are really that serious about your bolt guitars and want him to start building them again, tell him! The dude is actually my dad, no joke. He has been thinking and saying he wants to get back into it, but never really does. His email is wayne1212@verizon.net give me a holler and tell him what you think.

  17. Jason Rackawack Says:

    Man I was hoping this page & boltguitars.com would have taken off
    by now, but I understand what its like to have life get in the way
    of personal hobbies & interests, I’ll shoot wayne bolt an email
    to at least thank him for the great guitars, and hopefully someday
    he’ll make some more, it would be cool to say I have an “original
    first run vintage bolt” someday lol!

    Keep on Rockin guys, & keep the bolt legend & reputation alive.

    Jason

  18. Wayne Bolt Says:

    Thanks for starting this blog/website, if anyone wants a custom guitar built please let me know, I want to build the kind of high end neck through body guitars I built before the production era, I can be reached at wayne1212@verizon.net or 484-350-6569.
    Again thanks to everyone for your kind words.

    Wayne Bolt

  19. Jason Rackawack Says:

    Wayne Thank You!
    For building my favorite guitar of all time,
    I first played one in Dave Phillips back in highschool
    arround 92 or 93 and could only dream of having one,
    I got very lucky and picked up a used one with the HoloFinish
    I\’ll never part with it, I like it that much. The quality is unreal.
    I let mine sit un-used for about a year and a half when I moved
    and I recently picked it back up and it was STILL in tune!

    Is there any way us bolt owners could get a letter of authenisity
    or a color copy of an original catalog so we dont have to explain
    where the guitars we have came from?

    Thanks Again, Jason

  20. ryan massimini Says:

    hey ive been looking at new guitars and i really like this bolt where is it at email me at music4life239@live.com thanks

  21. Stan Miller Says:

    For those of you who think you’re in a very small pool of people who own Bolt guitars, you’re probably right. But your pool includes one of the greatest metal guitarists of all time – K.K. Downing from JUDAS PRIEST. In fact within the video section of their official website, K. K. Downing proudly shows off his Bolt Guitar that Wayne made for him –
    I remember taking Wayne down to the Spectrum and getting us both backstage to show K.K. his guitars. I’ll scan a pic when I can of K.K. and me playing.
    Wayne, if you’re reading this, shoot me an email at stanlmiller@gmail.com
    It’s been a long time!

  22. Mike M Says:

    I have a nice bolt with graphics. Great guitar. I leave it in the case and play my other USA guitars because I don’t want to blemish it. How can I send a pic?

    Mike

  23. Mike M Says:

    I have a nice bolt with graphics. Great guitar. I leave it in the case and play my other USA guitars because I don\’t want to blemish it. How can I send a pic?

    Mike

  24. Mike M Says:

    I have a nice bolt with graphics. Great guitar. I leave it in the case and play my other USA guitars because I don\\\’t want to blemish it. How can I send a pic?

    Mike

  25. Jim M Says:

    I have owned 2 bolts and like an idiot I sold them both. I would love to have another one. The one I had was Orange and black with a crazy jack in the box with a pistol…I miss that.

  26. cliff bolt Says:

    ok boys… get ready .. i saw wayne this weekend and helped him pick up a peice of equipment to start building again… i think he\’s serious… lets keep our fingers crossed… maybe with some encouragement, he\’ll be off and running real soon.

  27. Jason Rackawack Says:

    Cool! Good Luck Wayne!
    I\’d be interested to see what
    he would build today.

    We need a place for trading info
    and sharing photos of these guitars.
    I\’d love to see some more about them
    and how they were designed & created.
    Also a rough idea of production numbers
    would be great too.

    PS Anyone have that photo of KK Downing
    with his bolt? Ihad no luck finding it.

  28. Jim Dalla Palu Says:

    Hey guys, it great for me to see this web site, I was Waynes partner in Bolt guitars. Wayne is the best when it comes to building guitars, we machined alot of the parts in my shop and did the painting and graphics there as well, but Wayne was the brain behind putting the guitars together. As one of the owners of the company I have 1 guitar left, I will not part with it, it is a graphic called Jerk in the Box, very cool graphics. I havent talk to Wayne in a long time, if any one knows how I can get in touch with him I please let me know. In the picture of Wayne and myself, I’m the one with the dark hair. Many of you are right we were ahead of our time, I think we were the first company to use cnc machines for all the wood work. I still have my company in Schnecksville and the company has grown, the crazy part of the growth of the company is alot of the new cnc machine that I own are made to cut wood at faster speed then the one’s we used to make Bolt Guitars, I now use them for plastic work, but I do not believe the major giutar manufactors are using this this type of machine, I believe many of the guitar companies are using the same old technoligy. If any one want to call me about the giutars please feel free to do so, but I will tell you that Wayne is the expert on these guitars. You can rech me at 610-799-2800 or e-mail me at jim@dallamachine.com, who knows maybe Wayne and I will hook up again and the few Bolt guitars that are out there, could increase in number. Thank you all for this web site, I was not looking for this, but just came across it. Keep the Faith. Sincerly, Jim Dalla Palu

  29. Popsyche Says:

    I must unfortunately sell mine. I have the Nighthawk that is featured in the brochure picks. The EXACT one in the picks, as far as I can tell. A pic of it is on the FB page, an near the top of this page. If interested, contact me through the facebook page. Thanks!

  30. Douglas Fiedler Says:

    I remember when they built Bolts in this converted shack behind the house they lived in. In Allentown PA I was walking by and they had the door open I think it wa 12th and Allen street its been some years maybe like 30 or 35 its hard to remember I am 50 and live in Florida, but its what turned me on to music. Thanks guys good fuckin job!!!!!!!!!

  31. Brien Corwin Says:

    Hi,
    I Have 2 Bolt Guitars that I’m Thinking about selling,, 1 is the jack in the box,, The other is I think of Mars,,
    you can email me at briencorwin@yahoo.com

  32. tim sharpe Says:

    just bought 2 bolt guitars—one with evil jack in the box graphic—one with planets graphic—-

  33. tim sharpe Says:

    just bought two bolt guitars one with evil jack in the box graphics and one with planets

  34. Wayne Bolt Says:

    Hi Mike,
    I’m getting back into building guitars again and since you picked up the domain name Bolt guitars.com I was wondering if you would let me have it back again… I owned it originally and forgot to renew it a few yrs ago, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Wayne Bolt

  35. Mike Says:

    Hey Wayne! I’d happily hand it over if I still had it, but I let it expire in 2011 and it looks like someone else bought it to flip. I sent you a long detailed message through Facebook, so check in your “Other” folder and it will be in there.

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