Early days of Strobel Rambler® Travel Guitars

Tommy Castro was our first endorser for Strobel Guitars in 2009.  We started out to make the best “travel” guitars, with “travel” in quotes.  The goal was to create a great playing, good sounding guitar that would be easy for traveling. Tommy received an early  Custom Rambler® Professional Electric Travel Guitar, in the days before we introduced the Rambler® Classic.  Our relationship with Tommy was helped along by our good friend Darlene Lopez,  Artist Relations manager.

Custom Ramblers 2009

Custom Ramblers 2009

Tommy picked the RubyBurst

Tommy picked the RubyBurst

Wailing with Terry Hanck

Wailing with Terry Hanck

The STROBELCASTER™ Portable Guitar

We recently caught up with Tommy at the Funky Biscuit to show him our new Rambler® STROBELCASTER™ Professional Electric Travel Guitar.  Here are a few words he had to say…

During his performance, Tommy played some songs with the new STROBELCASTER™ Professional Electric Travel Guitar.   The first video is a Blues Jam showcasing the great sounds Tommy gets from his guitar.  This STROBELCASTER™ is outfitted with Zexcoil pickups from Scott Lawing, and they sound fantastic! The second video is Tommy and the Pain Killers playing “Nasty Habits”, where he is joined by Blues great, Matt Schofield.  Pictures below courtesy of Jay Skolnick, resident photographer at the Funky Biscuit.

Rocking with Strobelcaster Plus

Rocking with STROBELCASTER Plus

Tommy with new Strobelcaster

Tommy with new STROBELCASTER

Tommy gets inspired

Tommy gets inspired

The STROBELCASTER™ Standard Travel Guitar

Tommy normally plays a Black Rambler® STROBELCASTER™ Standard travel guitar with a slight modification.  He wanted a Black guitar with a Rosewood fret board. Our “Blackie” model normally comes with a Maple fretboard.  No problem to trade necks with our interchangeable detachable neck design. We swapped out the Maple fret board neck for one of our STROBELCASTER™ Rosewood necks.  He takes her out on the road, and has sends us videos jammin’ in the van while travelling to gigs.  Other pro players endorsing our STROBELCASTER™ travel guitars are Elliott Randall and Jeff Pevar –  more about them in a future article.

STROBELCASTER™ Portable Guitar Pics

Strobelcaster Standard in Black

Black  SC Standard

Strobelcaster in Computer Bag

SC in Computer Bag

Strobelcaster in White


Strat Jack on Strobelcastset

STRAT Jack on White SC


Tommy’s Story…

Over the course of his four-decade career, Castro has played thousands of shows to thousands of fans, packing dance floors, always leaving them screaming for more. He has released 14 albums filled with original blues, soul and West Coast rock, each one standing alone. Hailing from the San Francisco area, Castro, along with his band, The Painkillers (currently featuring bassist Randy McDonald, keyboardist Michael Emerson and drummer Bowen Brown), play music that is guaranteed to fire up fans and leave critics searching for new words of praise. Billboard says the band plays “irresistible contemporary blues-rock” with “street-level grit and soul.” Now, with Method To My Madness, the group turns the intensity up another notch.

Born in San Jose, California in 1955, Tommy Castro first picked up a guitar at age 10. He fell under the spell of Eric Clapton, Elvin Bishop, Mike Bloomfield and other blues rock players. As he got older, Castro discovered the blues guitar work of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Elmore James and the deep-rooted soul of singers like Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and James Brown. By his 20s he was playing in a variety of San Francisco-area blues and soul bands.

Castro formed The Painkillers in 2012, creating a lean, mean four-piece lineup. Fueled by Tommy’s voice and guitar plus bass, drums and keyboards, the band released “The Devil You Know” in 2014, winning over hordes of new fans. Castro stripped his music down to its raw essence with the band hammering their point home on the bandstand. Jambands says, “Tommy Castro And The Painkillers are a crackling, stripped-down band with plenty of grit and a rocking soul.” We couldn’t agree more…

It has been a pleasure working with Tommy over the years, his input was instrumental in the design of the new Rambler® STROBELCASTER™ Travel Guitar, helping us create one of the best “travel” guitars on the market.  We put the quotes around “travel” because the Rambler portable guitar is much more than your typical travel guitar.  Big Sound from a Small Guitar!!  Check out more of Tommy’s videos on the Strobel Guitars YouTube Channel