Saturday the 6th of August 2011
Here are two new videos following the fretting process filmed whle building Robert Fripps new custom Crimson Guitar. They are on both Vimeo and Youtube.. and here..
We’re desperately trying to clear the decks and get to a stage where we’re only working on one custom guitar at a time.. this is the last batch of custom guitars and they’re all pretty much ready for final finishing..
It’s been too long a wait in between coats of lacquer for these three so they all have to be sanded at 400 grit with dry wet and dry paper to give the new finish something to grip to.
I’m really looking forward to hearing the Delta for the first time.. this is the first of it’s kind and I am rather excited by her.
This is Daves PAF Hollow/Robert Fripp Hollow cross-breed, another very exciting project!
Three in the booth now awaiting lacquer.
And also awaiting a fourth, Roberts next Crimson Guitar is also rubbed down.
And all four have three or four coats of finish applied over the course of an afternoon.
While I wait for those to cure it is back to the Helmet guitar, this project has been much delayed and beset with finishing problems while I took over the finishing after several very unsatisfactory proffessionals screwed me over… anyway, we finally have finishing down pat and I could not be happier with the results we can achieve now.
After a final buffing she is ready for hardware.
First though the fretboard is masked off.
The truss rod is adjusted for a perfectly flat fretboard and the frets leveled.
I’ve masked off the side of the board for the first time and rounding over the fret ends is a bit more straight-forward.
Each fret is then polished with various grits of wet and dry paper.
And then they are all buffed to a mirror shine with some jewelers compound and a dremel.. the side masking helped me to buff the ends more efficiently and this is my best ever fret job! I do love learning new ways to do things in the workshop.
Who would have thought such a small change to the SOP would have such a big effect. Lovely!
The Brazilian rosewood fret board is de-masked and the oiled, repeatedly, there are few things worse than a dried out fretboard.
Time to install the direct-mounted Wizard pickups.
Not forgetting the Roland GK MIDI hexaphonic pickup and Kahler tremolo.
Excess finish is reamed out from the tuner holes with an old reamer from my days working with Baroque instruments.
Now, Sperzel tuners are incredibly handy, you can easily take the machinehead to pieces and swap what side of the headstock it fits to… perfect for those awkward four and two combinations that look so damn good.
The tuners are carefully fitted.
The nut will be custom made from this Hippo ivory
After the basic dimensions of the nut are realised using a big disk sander the fret board radius is marked onto the new nut.
And it is slowly shaped and carved, the scallops are really just there for the looks, but why not? This scalloping is something luthiers have been doing for 400 plus years!
A solid abalone truss rod cover goes on followed by this custom guitars first set of strings, it’s a good day when you hear the character of a new guitar for the first time.
A basic set up as the Kahler tremolo and nut heights are adjusted.. I can’t resist half an hour playing each guitar even before wiring them up, the sign of a truly good custom guitar is the natural acoustic tone when unplugged.
The carved flame maple back-plate is fitted next.
Now it is time for the wiring… the five way switch needs a bit of room to manouvre.
And the entire control cavity is shielded.
I can’t leave well enough alone, the switch is re-threaded to allow the use of these allen head machine screws…
They just look so much better!
Next up a lovely big chunk of raw abalone.
A slot is cut for the switch.
Two sections are cut out using a small diamond wheel and a dremel multi-tool.
After a bit of carving and polishing,
This is the result, and I love it!
It’s the small things that count with custom guitars, be it custom abalone dswitch tips or qulity left-handed CTS potentiometers…
The magnetic side of this custom guitar is wired, and she sounds stunning, of course I will be shooting a demo video as soon as I get my Mesa back, mmm, remind me to learn how to play upside down!
I’m loving this guitar, let me know what you think in the comments section below.. :)
All my best,