The 29th day of July 2011
This week is a slight departure from the norm, as is evidenced by the first picture.. metalwork is not a part of the job that I am completely comfortable with but any skill is worth building up, and it is rather fun to create shiny things!
Today the challenge is to re-create the seven string tremolo used by Music Man guitars, probably something they would not really appreciate so I will change the way it’s put together.
The solid brass base plate is flat while the original was more conventionally bent to give the saddles somewhere to screw to.
Another solid block of brass is brought out.
Lovely! Working metal really is rather satisfying.
I have something really new to learn though, up to now I’ve always used an electric engraver but the ones I have are a bit less refined than I want… Here we are with a new set of gravers.
The Crimson Guitars logo is marked into the brass with a scalpel.
And then the engraving begins… I see now why this is a skill that takes every bit as long to learn as guitar building, fun though.
The saddles will be screwed to this section of the tremolo.
It dooes look rather lovely all polished up.
My evenings are spent updating this diary, editing video and photo’s… properly cut out photo’s of the recent Plagiarist Vine will be online soon.
Back to the tremolo, the arm is very clever indeed, first off the little nodule on the bottom is turned.
The real fun comes in trying to bend the exact same shape as the original arm.
The next part of the trenolo is the block, again made from solid brass, I clamp it to the main plate and drill the neccessary holes.
The bottom of the block is angled.
The string holes have been drilled straight through but the spring holes are drilled at an angle.
The real clever bit, I wish I could say this was my idea!
A piece of spring steel is bolted to the block.
The channel it is in passes through the hole the trem arm sits in.
Stable, solid and positive feeling.. this is how I will do it from now on!
The twin neck has had it’s primer sprayed on and this has cured nicely.
Now it is time to flatten it all down, I need a perfect surface at all stages of the finishing process.
And while it is not the most scintilating of jobs (I much prefer actual woodworking) it is very worthwhile.
some small sections of end grain caused the primer to sink a bit so some automotive filler is used to build things up.
I don’t want a grey line showing later on so the masking is taken off.
And re-applied with a very slight gap, the final colour will wrap around the primer now… it’s the little details that make a custom guitar.
The next coats of paint are applied…
It’s almost tempting to leave it at this.. the ‘stealth’ doubleneck or something.
More fun though with this.
A flip flop colour shifting paint, I love it!
Again the whole guitar gets a rub down mid-way through the process.
to purple, and it’s a pearl finish to boot.
In between the finishing there is still some brass to be turned into something useful.
The new neck plates are shaped with the big disk sander.
Drilled and champhered.
Time to practice that engraving again.
A bigger logo than that on the tremolo will make life easier I think.
And I’m right.. easier, I’m getting the hang of at least two of these little tools.
More buffing up
It’s almost a shame to gold plate these…
But this is all packed up and sent off for just that process.
The flip flop paint has cured now and the masking is removed from the sides of the fretboard.
The same story with the paint, the masking has to be moved up a bit so that the lacquer sits around the edge of the paint..
Back to Robert Fripps next custom guitar..
The guitar is entirely hollow and picked up rather a lot of dust, I use the compressor to get rid of that.
It is now, at long last, time for the lacquer.
Not the best photo.. hardly the best environment for a smartphone :)
You can see the colour changing of the fli flop paint and also the pearlescent part of it.
The binding on Roberts new guitar does it’s job perfectly… I love it!
We couldn’t have two more different guitars but I do love a challenge and variation keeps life interesting.
Have a great weekend.
Crimson Guitars UK