Saturday, March 14

Custom guitar journey - pickups are in!

The pickups have arrived! Excited about this, I think Monique at SF Guitarworks was too, as she emailed me as soon as they had arrived. 

The spec page for these is here on Bare Knuckle's site They are a super hot P90, designed for Matt Bellamy of Muse. The bridge is 10.6kohm and the neck is 9.5kohm. So much more in the PAF humbuckers territory than a single coil. 

Switching is going to be via 3 way toggle (not blade) with the mid position being hum-canceling. There will also be a series option for a thicker sound, on a push-pull and also a bypass. Knobs will be two volumes and a tone (with 0.015 microfarad paper in oil capacitor from Angela).

Friday, March 13

The custom guitar journey - handling the timbers

Well the body and neck materials have arrived at Luttrell Guitarworks! I spent some time with Geoff looking at the timbers and picking out what I liked.

We have a mahogany body, curly maple neck and an Amazonian/Brazilian rosewood fingerboard.

The curly maple blank I chose was very resonant even in it's uncut form - it has a real 'ping' to it when you tap it. It also has really beautiful flame going both lengthwise and laterally across the neck. This will look great once finished.

The rosewood fingerboard overlay I chose is also just a very beautiful example of very straight grain, a lovely chocolate colour.

The mahogany back is very resonant too, with very uniform grain. I think it will look great when finished. Geoff wants to make the control cavity cover from a slice of this too, rather than a piece of plastic. I have of course seen that before. But never even crossed my mind to do. That will be lovely.

The neck build is underway now. It will take a month-6 weeks to finish, as following the build it goes under tension for a while to make sure that it doesn't move, twist etc.

The spec for the neck is 25 inch scale (so right in between the classic Fender at 25.5 and Gibson at 24.75) It's the PRS length which is a very nice combination of roomy but slinky!

It will have jumbo stainless steel frets. Scalloped from the 12th upwards and have the truss road adjustments at the body end, much like a Music Man. No messing about with truss rod covers.

Nut will be graphite and the tuners will be the locking/open back type from Hipshot.

We are going small simple abalone dots for markers on the front and side. Very classy.

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.