the 21st day of September 2011
It seems like forever ago that I started trying to clear the backlog of part-built guitars and start building just one custom instrument at a time, and it is taking much longer than I’d expected, however things are moving along at quite a nice clip now and I’m looking forward to the next stage of the Crimson Guitars saga.
We start again with the custom double neck guitar we’re building, the truss rod adjustment wheels were made a few weeks ago and are fitted here.
Next up the locking Schaller tuners find a home… all 21 of them!
Something I’ve been meaning to make for years now comes together on the lathe,
After drilling a hole matching the 1.5mm drill bit through the center of the rod a hole is threaded through the side.
The end result is an adjustable depth stop to ensure I don’t drill through the front of the headstock while fitting tuners…
Of course once the holes have been marked out the tuners are removed again, but the new little jig lends a sense of security that I’ve missed for the last decade!
It’s a milestone, the first hardware is on and the final stage is, finally, begun.
We were lucky to find a graphite nut that was, just, wide enough for the 14 string neck but the end result is lovely. I like graphite nuts a lot though for me it’s a toss up between the tone of a bone or metal nut (both of which I love) and the feel and stability of these graphite beauties…
Half way there I think, I’m not really known for bolt on necks but they surely do add an interesting dimension to guitar building.
The custom hardware we built a few weeks ago has arrived back from the gold plating place and looks stunning, though my photo’s are not doing them justice today!
It is surprising just how many times at this late stage in a bespoke guitar build you need properly sharp chisels, so we set to it with the water stones.
The necks are carefully fitted, the 5 bolts will help keep them stable.
I’m loving seeing the combination of the inlays and the paint together for the first time, initially I had thought the inlays were a touch garish but here it all looks of a piece and perfectly balanced!
The fourteen string neck will have an ivory saddle which is to be made from raw stock, so raw in fact that six months ago it was part of a single hippo tooth!
At this stage it is important to not forget the internal wiring, this earth wire will sit under the through body stringing plate and will earth the fourteen string side of this guitar.
Speaking of strings they are installed.
Once the neck has settled a bit under the great tension,
the strings come off again and the saddle height is adjusted to give a better action.
Finally the first half of this guitar is under full tension, the sustain from this neck is surprising even given the fact that, apart from under the bridge, this whole side of the guitar is hollow!
The Delta, her strings went on last week and we’re debating the wiring and control knobs.. I have an idea or two percolating away!
The fourteen string is in need of a tension bar, I’d thought it would be unnecessary but the incredibly long headstock has proved me wrong!
A couldn’t have a boring straight bar so it is to the lathe…
After some polishing it comes to life.
And is installed, the improvement is immediately apparent with a noticeable improvement in tone!
This stage of a guitar build is inevitably the hardest on my workshop with a myriad of little tools ending up all over the place, and we’re only half way there!!!
I built this custom seven string tremolo a few weeks ago out of brass with the design based on that used by Ernie Ball.. saddles in and ready to go!
The seven string nut is hand carved from an aluminium alloy.
I had a problem running the wire for the three way toggle but in the end a pair of magnets go fishing in the interior and we find success.
The Dimarzio pickups are installed next, direct mounted for extra tone, and I must say I’m fast becoming disillusioned with the look of pickup surrounds.
none of those here though as the seven string side of this beast is string up.
A bit dusty but I’m a very very happy man!
My poor workshop though looks as though a localized tornado has hit!
Now, it is common knowledge that I cannot function properly without at least a little real wood work every week, this 45rpm is nearing final finishing and I’m looking forward to hearing it play!
The side dot positions are carefully drilled out, on the bench you can see a stainless steel tube that’s had a 2mm drill bit glued in the end, this keeps the drills body away from the upper bout of the guitar and is a really useful little tool.
With the side dots in it’s time to move on.
The multi-ply binding is scraped clean of the worst scratches and while I’m doing this I notice one final bit of routing to be done.
The pin router is set up, the gap between the pin and the router bit is set.
And the inside of the top is routed away matching the carve of the front of this bespoke guitar.
Ag little road trip to Yandles in search of Rosewood for an upcoming build.. this place is just lust inducing!
A bit of fun resulting from that trip though is this handy little drill bit sharpening jig.. an hours work and it’s paid for itself two fold!
Back to the stock 45rpm and the final sanding is well under way, both by hand and with various random orbital sanders.
I love the way the binding around the back works, this should be really comfortable to play as well with a slight dish in the back.
I use Rustins grain filler on the whole guitar, wipe on across the grain and then wipe the excess away with white spirit and leave to dry for 24 hours..
The colour improves as well.
Now, as a stock guitar I can play around with the stains.. I was edging towards lighter colouring but with the black and white fretboard it all looked a bit lopsided..
In the end black stain, rubbed down with a blue stain on top does the trick.
After scraping the binding clean you see the final guitar and it will be lovely.. throw on a high gloss lacquer and I for one will be drooling!
Bits of stain have got everywhere and it’s out with the scraper again.
With some careful masking and wire wool we reach the end, this guitar is ready for lacquer and I’ve had a nice change of pace. Next week we’ll see some more custom hardware and a few finished guitars!
All my best,
Crimson custom Guitars UK