During all the various lockdowns we been having in the UK (finally coming out of the third one) my woodworking was seriously curtailed. I had some scrap sapele boards left over from a previous project and had a roughed out neck I made a few years ago from meranti and rock maple stress relieving in the rafters of the shop.
So I set to work making another guitar and finished it off last weekend April 25th 2021. This is a hybrid digital and analog guitar meaning it has conventional pickups and a pickup for a guitar synthesizer. I inlaid the ebony fingerboard with mother of pearl clouds and there is a telescope above the clouds in position 1. One of my other hobbies is astrophotography and the guitar has been made in homage to that hobby. We haven't decided on a name for this instrument yet but it will probably have scope, telescope, clouds, stars or something like that in the name. When we (my wife and I) have decided what to call it I will use my pyrography tools to burn its name into the truss rod cover plate.
The body is made from sapele and I book matched veneered the flat top with some Macassar ebony I have in stock. This is beautiful wood and I bound the edges with mother of toilet (aka plastic) binding. This veneer was also on the headstock. The neck is bolted on as I personally don't like set (glued in) necks as they are difficult to repair if something goes awry.
I have used some dye stain on the top which is yellow. Then the edges of the top have been coated with a dark blue dye stain. This has turned out quite black and is ok. I used the Bob Ross technique of wet on wet to do this purely with a shop rag. It works ok.
This time I decided to finish it in ArmRSeal but actually ended up with SealRCell on top instead as that was a bit glossier. The amber of the ARS has given the yellow a nice deep colour. I was surprised how a polyurethane finish intended for furniture feels on an instrument as I normally use nitrocellulose or a specifically formulated waterbourne finish. SealRCell feels great and I would have used it before but unfortunately we can't get it anymore do to the volatiles and I'm down to my last couple of cans. I believe it is not available in some US states now either. It is a shame as the GF wipe on finishes are superb. I won't show all the boring construction details as you have seen my methods before and no doubt they are still on the forum somewhere.
Here it is on the bench in the shop.
The large cover plate is made from 1/8" birch plywood which I faced on both sides with sapele veneer. The round cover plate is solid sapele.
The control cavities within are lined with copper foil for grounding purposes as are the cover plates.
Here you can see the bolt on neck made from meranti and maple. The tuning machines are locking ones and the truss rod is adjusted from the headstock end.
The technical details:
Scale length: 25" strung with D'Addario XL NIckel wound 0.046" to 0.010" strings
Analog pickups: Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates (as used by ZZTops Billy Gibbons on his Gibson Les Paul "Pearly Gates" guitar)
Synthesizer Pickup: Internally wired Roland GK3 divided hexaphonic pickup
Bridge: Schaller Hannes
Nut: Handcut bone
Controls: 2 volume (they go up to 11!), 2 tone, 1 Volume/multi use control for synthesizer, up/down and other selectors for synthesizer, 6 way (yes that's right a 6 position switch) Freeway 3x3 switch for analog pickups.
Body lumber: Sapele with Macassar Ebony veneer bound with "mother of toilet" binding
Neck lumber: Meranti/maple laminate with integral bi-action truss rod.
Fingerboard: Ebony with custom mother of pearl inlays clouds/telescope.
Frets: Sintoms nickel silver frets 2.4mm wide
Tuning Machines: Schaller M6 locking machines
Strap buttons: Schaller Straploks
All hardware is chrome plated or stainless steel.
LED power indicator
1/4" jack plug conventional output - for those times when you just want to plug into a normal guitar valve amplifier
13 pin digital synthesizer feed output - this feeds to an external Roland Guitar Synthesizer
The neck pickup has the sound of Billy Gibbons - a shame that he is not playing it.