The 16th of July 2011
Many changes at Crimson Guitars, for starters there are now social media buttons on every page and a comments section throughout the diary pages, please feel free to join the conversation, your input and opinions are so important to this business! And talking of your good opinion there is a new set of terms and conditions. Everything we build is, of course, covered by a warranty against faulty parts or workmanship but the new thing is that we will be building our custom guitars one at a time and each client will be given a date that they can expect their instrument to be completed by, if we do not meet that date then you get MONEY OFF your order! We really believe that we need to be exceptional and that applies as much to our customer service as the guitars we build. The Build Schedule has been provisionally worked out and we have almost exactly a year worth of custom orders on our books, all new orders will be added in the order in which we get your deposits, why not contact us to start the process of getting your own custom guitar built?
Back into the fray after two weeks building Robert Fripps new guitar and we have a lot of work to do, the new custom guitar building schedule we’re implementing is taking some serious organising; over the next couple of weeks we’ll be trying to clear various part built and nearly finished guitars and smaller projects, once the decks have been well and truly cleared we’ll be building just one custom guitar at a time with the rest of the week spent on building up the stock range.
The custom double neck guitar is the current custom build that is our prime focus; this, the Vanquish Vine and the Robert Fripp guitar were the test cases for the new build process.
The side dot marker positions are marked out carefully into the ebony fretboard.
All the hole are drilled,
and the high visibility white rod is glued in piece by piece.
Two necks all marked out and ready for the next stage in the build..
A slight distraction as I try open heart surgery on the angle grinder that decided to blow up while I was carving Roberts guitar, unfortunately it turns out it wasn’t the bushes or anything simple like that…
Part of every day life in a wood working workshop is trying to keep it all clean and organised, practically impossible in real life but nice when a bit of time can be spent putting things right.
One of several inlay drawers, some of these pieces of shell and cubic zirconium will still be in here in 50 years!
The hypo-allergenic gold-coloured frets on the twin neck have their ends rounded over with a small customised file.
And then it is on to final prep and sanding, a job I used to delegate to an apprentice but surprisingly therapeutic at that!
This is the stage in every custom guitar build where you find the tiniest little faults and niggles and sort them out…
although realising the headstock is 2mm too thick is not really a little niggle, out comes the plane!
The five bolt positions for each neck are marked out,
and drilled. I still have to make the custom neck plates for these but that can wait a bit.
Next up the positions of the outside strings on the fourteen string neck are drawn out into the body.
A tracing is taken from the original design we generated in this customers initial free design session.
Of supreme importance is the neck break angle, easy enough to adjust with a bolt on neck joint like these ones but still important.
Now on to the custom bridge that we are making from scratch in padouk.
The first stage is always making a new template. This is a job I really used to hate but the end results always make up for the extra work involved.
The base of the padouk blank is planed flat,
and slowly the new fourteen string bridge is appearing out of the wood.
The final shape is achieved using my go-to sander.
One more check of the string break angle,
and the bridge is carved.
and carved.. I can’t seem to build things with too many hard lines!
Finally the new bridge is glued in place.
The Muse Descendant has to be finished, the backplate recesses have been carved to match the shaping of the back.
Paper templates are made, and once again I bemoan my tendency to over-complicate my guitar builds!
Stainless steel and a jewellers saw, a good combination.
Back to the bespoke twin neck guitar, the string positions are double checked with a meter rule.
And the through-body string holes are drilled, the day I found this extra long drill bit was a joyous one indeed!
On to the workshop, my long-ignored engineering workshop gets a make-over.
A lovely tidy area… time to make some mess!
The wood storage area receives a bit of a make-over too…
Now back to the twin neck.
Some brass stock is cut to size on the band saw.
The first piece of custom hardware we’re going to make is the string-through seating for the fourteen string section of the double-neck guitar.
It is drilled out.
And then the milling begins… this is the fun bit!
Finally the piece is shaped by hand with a file
and then on to the disk sander.
The internal finishing stumped me for a minute or two but this dremel grinder attachment did the job perfectly.
Using the holes we drilled earlier the placement of the brass ferrules position is marked out.
Of course this means another one-off template is needed, but what the hell, it’s the job!
More routing with a small bearing cutter.
Beautiful, this is the final job at this stage of the build.
Another sneak peak of the completed instrument.
The fret boards are masked off, firstly the top and then the sides are masked,the side masking will be adjusted throughout the finishing process.
It is time, unfortunately, to say good bye to this lovely alder body.
Do I look good in this? Really?
Finally the primer goes on and the last stages of this custom guitar build begin.
The postman has been calling.. rather a lot of packaging for two little tremolos.
Back we go to the stainless steel backplates we’re making for the Muse Descendant, the final shape is sanded in with the bobbin sander.
The screw positions are hammered in.
The plates are shaped to match the curves of the guitar and the scratch proofing is removed to show off the stunning mirror finish. I will be using this again!
I wasn’t perfectly happy with the sound of the original aluminium nut I made so we’re going back to brass.
The radius of the fretboard is marked onto the brass blank.
And it is carved, slotted and buffed up.
The string depth is carefully filed into the brass.
One final piece of steel is used to cut the truss rod cover.
And that is that… this guitar needs a set-up and final going over and then will be all done. Nice!
All my best,
Crimson Custom Guitars