Crimson Guitars, the weekly workshop blog | 230112
Welcome to the Crimson Guitars workshop diary, for five years now I’ve been photographing every stage of every custom guitar I’ve built and put them into this blog, for the past year or so you have been able to follow each photo through the day as I post them to all your favourite social networks…
Last week I installed the floys rose tremolo system into our new PAF Hollow guitar, some of you thought the top would disintegrate under the tension but our stainless steel sound posts bolted between the front and back give both strength and improved tone to the guitar.. where I mis-calculated though was the aluminium plate that the bridge posts are fitted to, at 6mm (a quarter of an inch..ish) it turns out it is not deep enough to properly support the posts under the tension of this set of 12 guage strings.. you can see the angle that they are leaning at in the photo above..
so, as with many guitar building experiments, it is back to engineering and i start making up a new custom bar to fit the posts into.
ta da! Now each post is supported for it’s entire depth and the whole tremolo assembly will be perfectly stable.
And it is so!
We very rarely take on repair work but this guitar was in desperate need of a new nut and I couldn’t not help.. one interesting reason for the choice of brass as the material.. the client is a vegetarian and definitely did not want my usual ivory or bone offering.. plus brass does sound more like the frets and has given the guitar more sustain to boot.. no bad thing!
:) the workshop stool does not allow for a proper posture but it was nice to hear some real playing for a change. I, sadly, spent my practice time learning to build guitars rather than play them properly and am very much an elementary guitarist now days.
I do however spent a very pleasant half hour with the new paf Hollow and my Boogie seeing if I can create any problems.. none so far :)
And now I am in desperate need of some real woodworking time.. the detachable twin neck guitar and bass combo needs a body.. or two!
Both bodies are being cut from a single, super-wide, and beautiful piece of poplar I picked up from my local timber guy.. I’ve been saving it for a special project and this certainly fits the bill!
I’ve had a few pounds of raw abalone in my drawer for years but have never gotten around to using it, obviously none of it is flat.. but then neither are guitar fret boards..
The first of the two dragonfly designs I sketched..
Slowly I cut each shape, freehand, out of the shell.. freehand inlay work is much much easier, and more fun, than trying to create perfectly even rectangles or diamonds.. plus it tends to look better anyway.
.. pretty much there.. a little tidying up with some needle files..
and I score around each shape in the design with a scalpel.
a small router could possibly help here but I feel more comfortable with a chisel and my sense memory.
Finally we have the pieces in and curing.
The next day the excess glue and abalone is filed away flush with the fretboard. I’m very happy!
Now for the flightpath.. in alloy.
and despite a tricky start, it is rather a fiddly job after all, I’m happy with the result.. still one more to go though!
I however need a break and want to make some dust! We’ve been slowly bringing forward the range of stock(ish) guitars and these necks have had their fret boards glued on..
With the glue cured I have a bit of fun band sawing away the excess rosewood,ebony etc..
The twin necks twin bodies are roughed out while I’m in the mood..
..who wants one?
One last addition that Fred wants is a scratch plate.. he’s used to playing with one and we’re happy to oblige.
made from padouk to match the control knobs.. eventually..
It will darken down over time.. I love the look though! :) biased??
I don’t like using felt for my strap buttons.. leather just feels more ‘hand made guitar’ to me.. each disk is punched out by hand.
Similarly I believe that using a 5 penny wood screw to hold up your several thousand pound guitar is just stupid… threaded inserts and machine bolts are the way forward!
I also wanted something a bit different for the logo..
It is cut from some sheet alloy.
and eventually we have a 3-d logo glued in place.. much nicer than a standard inlaid logo I think.. sometimes at least!
The backplate is buffed up
And now I need to fit it.. as this plate was cut directly from the back there is no shelf for it to sit on..
So I thread holes into some brass stock
and fit it this way :)
Now, as this is the start of the year and the first guitar finished I’m finally simplifying my serial number system.. and it turns out I’ve made 117 guitars so far!?
sorry… 118! :) (I love that scratchplate!)
The intonation is set.. never a particularly straight forward job with a floyd rose system.. and then, bar a good shake down, this guitar is ready for delivery.. a happy day!
The problem with twin necks is that there are.. well, 2 of them!
Another inlay to do.. this time the smaller, male, dragonfly is cut from the abalone shell.
bubinga is surprisingly easy to cut out for inlay work..
Shiny under the sealing coats of glue..
And the day ends with both necks, almost, ready for frets.. I can wait to get these fanned fret beauties playing.. isn’t it great that my job still excites me!?
All my best,