Monday the 30th of May 2011
Inspiration comes where it will.. in this case at the local garden center.. how beautiful is this?
This guitar, one we built four years ago, comrs in for a quick setup and some new strings..
It’s very nice to see an instrument after all this time that is loved and played all the time..
Now to Andy’s new custom Plagiarist guitar, the final sections of the neck inlay are ready for fitting. These are the names of Andy’s wife and two children and they rather lend themselves to being inlaid don’t they?
They are glued in to the compound radiused padouk fretboard and left to cure over night.
Some offcuts from the rosewood neck blank are cut to size and used to extend the headstock width.
The glue has cured now and any excess alloy that is sticking above the fretboard is filed down..
A lot of glue gets in the fret slots and a lovely old saw is used to clear them of this and also to cut through the vines pieces that cross the slots.
The whole fretboard is sanded down now
and some definition is added to the letters with an engraving toool.. although as i type this I’m wondering about trying to learn how to do this with hand tools, it can’t be that difficult.
The frets are cut roughly to width
and I use a combination of pressure and glue.. the pressure holds the frets in the slots and the glue fills any cavities left to give as stable a neck as possible.
Pushing in towards the fretboard the ends of the frets are filed flush and at a comfortable angle.
The side dots.. not something any guitarist can do without!
The dots are glued in place
Now, our new headstock shape is drawn in place.
After roughing out the final shape the tuner positions are pre-drilled
and the shape is finalised using the bobbin sander, complete with the Carroll sanding drum, a thing of engineering beauty that I could not live without!
There are some slight adjustments to be made to the Plagiarists shape.. it is amazing how my eye for curves and design has developed over time..
Interesting timbers were chosen for this guitar and with all the knots and faults it just looks amazing..
The yew body wings are bandsawed out, making sure to keep the interesting bits of course.
The wings are run through the sander thicknesser to give them a uniform thickness and perfect glueing surfaces.
The new template is bolted to each wing in turn and the final shape of the guitar is routed in with a ball bearing bit.
The grain in the yew is so random that when bookmatched the middle was straight and boring.. still, this will be under the top so no worries.
excess neck is cut away from where the yop will end up.
And this custom guitar becomes guitar shape.. ideal!
Now to the top..another interesting piece of figured sycamour, the guitars shape is marked out.
and the chunk is bookmatched.. loosing some of the cracks along the way but this can’t be helped.
Jointed and left to cure.
A new headstock cap is cut from the same wood as the top and I use a fret saw to cut out the truss rod access plate.
Let’s see how many clamps we can get on one small guitar headstock.
The rosewood-topped twin has it’s fretboard masked off and frets blackened.
The frets are leveled
prifiled and highly polished.
A very nice looking guitar here, it surprises me that rosewood isn’t used as a top more often. It is both greta sounding and looking.. what more could you ask for?
The body is now in place and excess bits of neck are removed.. once again I say you cannot beat a good old hand tool that is well setup and sharp.. and pretty too.
The excess rosewood is turned to dust,
and chiseled and planed flush with the wings.
The top is also flattened by hand.
The final shape is marked onto the top including a small neck pocket.
and then the sycamour is roughed out on the bandsaw. Files and chisels are used to fit the neck.
And we pull out all the clamps and get a glueing.
Noew, while I am inspired by and love PRS as much as a man can I feel somewhat at a loss where their prices are concerned.. they charge £3000 odd for a mass produced cnc routed guitar which is a deal more than I charge for something made entirely by hand.. ,it almost makes me think I should be doubling my prices!? pretty though..
With the top in place the cavities are marked out
Every cavity is predrilled carefully.
the template needed adjusting, a notch cut out to bridge the end of the fretboard.
And routing begins.. one of my favourite parts of the build.
The tremolo cavity ius routed away.. I really am loving this wood choice!
A large control cavity as this beauty will be loaded with a few tricks.. ghost piezo system anyone?
And here is where I would normally leave it for a weeks work.. but there’s more! I’m desperately trying to clear the backlog and am putting in as many hours as possible.
including a few late nights working on the website.. an alternanting 404 page is needed and is much better than the standard fare.
Now, more inlay is required.. I feel like a mad scientist with this baby.
in need of some new valves but still a wonderful addition to our fold.. I needed a boutique amp to record demo videos on and a friend had no more need for this Mesa Boogie studio 22s… much fun will be had with this one!
The depth of carve is marked around the top,
and the dust flies.. and flies..
A fairly standard carve, but still fun to create.
The final shape is finalised with the big random orbital sander.
Some adjustments to the inlay design..
on to the back carving.. as a matter of course we give our custom guitars as much comfortable neck access as possible.
The real challenge is carving an accurate neck shape with an angle grinder..
the comfort carves are next.
The back plates are the final piece of this guitar puzzle, cut from the same sycamour as the top, of course.
A little more carving and the backplates match the curve of the back..
The whole guitar is rough sanded
The tuner holes are drilled, from both sides to stop ripping through the grain at the back.. alternatively you could clamp the headstock to some wood to achieve the same end.
we continue with the inlays.. all in aluminium.
The headstock process begins with the logo
which is glued in place.
The final pieces are all scored out with a new scalpel blade.
a combination of chisels and my small router recess the cavities..
Another late night and the homepager is finished..
On to the body inlays, each individual piece is cut out.
The headstock pieces are filed flush with the headstock.
As is those on the body, everything is then sanded.
And I am one very very happy little guitar builder, I just love how this baby is coming along.
All my best,
Crimson Guitars | redefining the UK custom guitar