how to build a guitar with the Crimson Guitars blog – 090712
Welcome to the Crimson Guitars guitar building blog where you can follow the processes of building each custom guitar and bass from start to finish, don’t forget you can subscribe to an email update when we upload a new post (that’s to your left) and you can browse 5 years worth of posts through the menus on your left. We really appreciate it when you share our work with your friends through the buttons on the right.. and finally, let us get down to the guitars, that’s what we’re here for after all!
I’m trying to clear the decks a little before the next custom build on the list is started, there are always a myriad of jobs that sit in the back of my mind like little vultures intoning ‘doom doom doom…’ ad infinitum and this gets old fast.. so, this early Scorpion 8 sting guitar I built in 2009 is on my bench.
Being a little bit old now the strings come off and the bespoke rosewood pickup surrounds are re-oiled.. as you can see these are held in place with magnets rather than ugly screws. The magnets are very small neodyium disks that do not have the power to affect the pickups in any meaningful way, what it does do is make the whole instrument look more streamlined and beautiful.
A new set of 8 strings is installed, the extra strings in this case a low Bb and a low low E… although that can be changed and adjusted to suit.. the saddles are a set of graph tech string savers and are mounted in to a custom brass fixed bridge I designed to be as unobtrusive as possible.
I have a hole in one of my eyes from a day when I’d forgotten to snip the ends off a new set of guitar strings.. no more!
Using my wonderful Peterson Tuner (see a link to buy one on your left ;-) ) I finalise the intonation and setup.
The old tone pot was a bit muddy sounding with these custom humbuckers, in the intervening years I’ve started using 250k pots for tone control on pretty much everything I build, it really sounds better!
Talking of better.. why is it that it looks so much prettier in monochrome?? Anyway, the 8 string is put back together and then run through its paces as I shoot a demo video.. (I hope to have this edited down for you all by next weeks blog but can’t promise anything!)
I find that there is a Hiscox case for pretty much anything since you can carefully beat a custom shape into the foam with a polished planishing hammer, and this is no exception. Sheer quality hand made in Britain!.. both the case and the guitar :-)
Despite the impressive stats of the Hiscox case I do not trust couriers one bit and wrap the whole thing in 4 inches of bubble wrap and a nice sturdy box.. you can’t have too many bubbles or too much ‘fragile’ tape in my opinion!
Now, this is another custom guitar that I’ve been building for stock that seemed to have fallen off the radar in recent weeks.. the bespoke solid alloy bridges intonation was a guess at best (not a bad one considering it’s the first of its kind) and I have to carefully cut away the metal to get the strings to intonate properly, a slow job but important nonetheless!
A long long night is spent watching netflix and sanding all the custom hardware down to a nice flat finish which I then shotblast to hell and gone to get this lovely matt look.
Each piece is rubbed down with a degreasing solution.. I can’t tell you how many budget tooth brushes I have about the place, very useful guitar building tools they are!
I now get to play with acid and electricity.. the pieces are suspended in a bath of acid with some lead and a current passes through it all, thus the aluminium is anodised.
The custom pickups are pulled out of the guitar while the acid bubbles away, it turns out if you add a new cover to a pickup it will almost inevitably start to create microphonic feedback when put through an amp, this is not good and when reassembled the pickups will both need to be potted.
I punch out a pair of leather strap button cushions.
And, after sealing in boiling water, the custom anodised guitar hardware is dried off and the pickups are put back together.
And promptly dropped in a pan of very hot wax.
If you missed it the first time here is a video we created following the whole process of wax potting your pickups..
Once the pickups have cooled down after their brief sojourn in a vat of hot wax I start putting the guitar together again.
custom pickups, bridge and control knobs.. what do you think?
I’ve started playing with 3d logos on my stock guitars and this piece of padouk is marked out and then cut to size.
The carving was actually a really fun bit of work! In other news, spurred on by the magnets in the 8 string guitar build, the truss rod cover is held in place with more small neodyium magnets.
Again giving a lovely slick look to the headstock.
And here is the final product, a beautiful custom guitar that could be yours.. we’ll be shooting demos and photos etc in the next few weeks.
This is another stock guitar that has been in the works for a while, if you ever plan on using an oil finish over a stain be prepared for a long job of it, you need to apply three or four times as much finish to make sure the stain does not seep through the finish and ruin your clients shirt mid gig (it has happened!)
..oh, I forgot, the backplate, padouk to match the set neck of the Dissident guitar, is fitted..
and that really is a newly completed guitar.. #124 I’ve made :)
More custom hardware, this time one of our bespoke ball bearing tremolos.. in pieces.
and together, fully loaded with graphtech string saver piezo saddles to run a MIDI and piezo system.
and here’s the back view.
Now, this paf Hollow cross breed is in my sights.. and here is how much wire is needed just to get the 3 way toggle and kill switch working (with a fernandes sustainer thrown in of course)
The pickup surrounds are matted down with medium wire wool to give a finish and feel uclose to that of the ebony fretboard.
And here is where I leave matters.. I’m thinking the chromed bridge pickup looks out of place and need a consultation.
All my best to you and yours,
Crimson custom Guitars UK