Sunday, February 22

The custom guitar journey - choosing the top

Geoff and I sat down last week to talk materials, body and top wood, neck, finger board etc.

After talking this all through, we settled on a Birdseye maple top, mahogany back, curly maple neck, rosewood fingerboard (he's actually trying to find some Brazilian rosewood as it is gorgeous, but hard to find due to it's protected nature to stop over farming).

This week he got some sample images back from his timber suppliers. I think they did a great job in sourcing the perfect maple top for what I am looking for. The first board on the left is what I am thinking, it's got some good even birdseye knotting in it, so up close it looks great. Further away it is a little more understated and I like that a lot.

Anyway all the timbers are ordered up and the project is underway...

More to come.

Friday, February 13

Messing with some of the night modes on my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1

The custom guitar journey

So I am finally taking the plunge and having a fully custom guitar built for me. Been thinking about this for a long time and had many thoughts about what I want it to be.

In the end, I have chosen the awesome Geoff at Luttrell Guitarworks to build it for me. Not only does he run SF Guitarworks, but he has been building some amazing guitars under his own brand for a while. They are beautiful, play fantastically and are totally bespoke to the player.

I am going to blog about the process, choosing the materials, components, the choices we are making and show the journey.

This is a beautiful example of one of Geoff's guitars.

Step 1: What do I want? And can I get it somewhere else?

I really came to the decision to have something built as I want a specification that can't be easily bought of the shelf. That specification combined with the types of materials means that I could either go the build yourself, with Warmoth for example, or go fully bespoke.

Taking the route with Geoff will certainly give me something very special, unique and unlike anything else out there.

So what do I want?
  • Double cutaway
  • Birdseye maple top, satin finished
  • Curly/flamed maple neck, gunstock oil finish
  • Alder or swamp ash body, heavily contoured
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Abalone dots
  • P90 high output pickups, most likely from Bareknuckle in the UK
  • Locking machines, probably Hipshots
  • Stainless steel jumbo frets
  • Original non fine tuner Floyd Rose (single locking)
  • Bypass and Series wiring
Does it make sense?

This is an interesting question, and certainly one of the things that Geoff and I talked through. Am I making any stupid decisions or picking things that don't make sense. Luckily the answer to that in Geoff's mind is no. All these choices would make sense, and lead to something that performs very well.

In my next post I am going to start to talk about wood choices, as we should get some cool images back from the timber supplier on neck stock, tops and body blanks.

Winter in CA is a hardship...

Messing about with my new four thirds mirrorless camera.

Wednesday, February 2

Awesome... indeed

Beany 1, originally uploaded by Bladefrog.

If you have read my blog in the past you will know that I have been trying to build my own (or assemble is probably more accurate) electric guitar for a while.

Well it's finished. Yay. It took about ten years and a couple of false starts and some incomplete projects, but it is finally done. And I am pretty pleased with the results.

So hello to 'Beany 1'. It's a strat type guitar that I have built with some specific components that I like.

Fender Highway One nitro finished body - cream and it's a little beaten up - looks great
Warmoth Imbuia neck, with a compound radius, and ebony fingerboard/pearl markers, which i finished in satin with Gunstock oil and then some Gunstock wax - just on the back as the fingerboard is ebony and doesnt need finishing.
Earvana compensated nut
Grover locking tuners
Fender classic trem with Graphtech graphite saddles
(since this was taken I also added Graphtech graphite string trees to the headstock)
The electronics are EMG DG21s - the David Gilmour (of Pink Floyd) signature set.

It is a pretty rocking and loud as hell - I am having fun with it. What's next?

Against Me at Slims

Against Me at Slims, originally uploaded by Bladefrog.

Fun show at Slims on Monday. Check out the new album White Crosses, it's a raucous blast of punkiness.

Monday, January 3

Absence Resolves Much

In have spent the last week camped in the old family home in England, wrapped in the warmth of family, food and a wood burning stove.

Outside the snow was unusual. I don't remember snow at Christmas for about 30 years but it was a fun distraction. That same snow had kept me from getting to England for a week of my supposed 2 week vacation. Much to the chagrin of my mother and family. Snow in Chicago and snow at Heathrow were trying to keep me stateside. But for the grace of Kathy at United reservations, I may not have got here at all. She found me a cancellation on a direct flight from SFO which got me there on Christmas Eve rather than on the 28th.

So I am sat at 34000ft over the atlantic, heading back to the bay, via Chicago. The clouds lay underneath, a soft candy floss snowscape, I peer out of the window wondering what this year will have in store for me.

This year changed more than I could have imagined. Personally and professionally I hit some rough road, had to steer to avoid some major potholes, hit others, sustained some damage, repaired and seemed to come out the other side pretty well.

The break up was a blindside that was staring me right in the face. It was hiding, semi sized in a blindspot I had created out of pride and ego. I didn't take it well. But you learn through mistakes.

She is talented, will be successful and is still my friend, and hopefully will always be. There is nothing that people can say that will change the fact that she changed my life forever, for the better.

Who I am now is contributable in a large way to her. Giving me confidence in myself, to express my personality and individuality. But also to just be happy again. There is a road to travel here, and it's always in progress but she showed me the right exit to take. I like where it is taking me.

We always talked about people traveling paths in their lives, sometimes they intersect for a period, long or short, and then move apart. Our road trip together was longer than most, shorter than some but incredible none the less.

I became an uncle this year, in August. That wasn't something I was expecting either. Seeing Matt and Cas with their daughter, my niece, Olive, was an extraordinary experience. She is adorable, and I think based on her parents genes will be both smart and attractive. She has a lot in life to look forward to. I also know that seeing and playing with Olive has made me revise my perception of having my own kids from maybe/not against the idea to one of maybe/and I hope they don't cry as much at night! I hope the genetics of a mellow partner translate to a baby that would sleep more.

Having hours to kill on flights has given me plenty of time to think about what I need and want. 2011 will be the year to set that all in motion, to work on me and not coast along.

I have plans for me, my professional career, my personal life. Not that it needs a revamp or changing entirely. But I need to take a look at some of the details and work out what is right for me. It won't be hard, or frightening, but it's time to take some control of my destiny. One of my best friends told me that he was really proud of the place that I was in. I am happy and compared with a few years ago I am entirely a different person.

I am not sure what the next couple of months hold. But they are going to be different. I have met some incredible people in the last few months. Some funny, some talented, others smart and interesting and one just simply gorgeous. There have been a couple that aren't quite as sane. I wish those ones luck ;)

Starting 2011 in a very different place from last year is certainly interesting. I know I have great hopes for what the year will bring and with who. Definitely a journey I am looking forward to.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, December 19

Object Writing Exercise: Discount

Why are we obsessed with premium and expensive? What's wrong with less expensive? Is that the same as cheap?

Is there a thrill in finding a bargain? She certainly thought so. She wanted that new bag, but the sticker shock of the retail tag was a little too much to bear. That is nearly next month's rent payment. She had a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, but that bag would look amazing and would shut up Angela. She wanted to see the look on her face when she walked into the party this week, that facade that hid the green eyed monster inside her.

Is the cost worth the hardship this month? A couple less mochas, well a lot fewer, and some nights in watching tv, that wouldn't be so bad. And she thought that if she did want to get out, then she was pretty sure that Daniel would take her out. He was nice, good for a meal ticket at the moment, not sure if he was marriage material, but the fact at he was seeing her and not Angela was definitely worth putting up with him.

She fingered the lines of the credit card in her purse, raised surfaces, silently screaming a Braille taunt to her, go on, just hand me over... It will be painless. Its credit after all.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad