After the incredibly successful first EGS build (pictured below), I have now started the next few builds.
I want to explore different material options to see how they influence the final product, so I will build two more identical hollow bodies: one with a wenge top and swamp ash back and one with a maple top and mahogany back. These will have a neck pocket for a bolt on neck that will allow me to swap necks between them: the wenge neck I have already, the Moses Graphite neck written about before and a new maple neck with traditional shape. Lastly, I plan to build a 7-string maple neck-through guitar with mahogany sides and (maybe, haven’t decided yet) a maple top. I will keep the electronics similar as well, sticking with Lace Alumitones. I will use the P-90 type pickup for the 7-string since it is a bit wider than a regular pickup.
When they are complete and I have gathered the information I need, I plan to sell all but one in whatever combinations work out the best.
I have slotted and fretted the Moses Graphite neck over the weekend.
Slotting the fingerboard was a pleasant experience. The material is easy to cut and there is no worry for chipping out, which is very nice.
The frets still require dressing and polishing, but it was easy enough to do the fretting – no different from a regular neck. What was different, however, was that when filing off fret ends, planing them (which I do with a whetstone) and crowning them, there is no concern over dust or metal entering the wood. Again, very nice.
My one concern is that I had to remove one fret and re-mount it. This turned out to be somewhat tricky because the tangs had already shaped the slot. I had to re-cut the replacement fret once to make it shift slightly sideways in position and move the tangs to a “fresh” place. I would hate to have this be a future re-fret problem. Having said that, I do believe that there are documented ways of doing it the right way to avoid these problems. If nothing else, Moses offer a re-fretting service.
Next step is to cut the fingerboard to make room for the string locks and to dress and polish the frets. Then it’s ready for mounting.
I have made a few sets of bridges in alternate colors – for marketing purposes but also for the future EGS demo builds.
Incidentally, I am unexpectedly sold out of bridges as of today 20 January. I would expect the next batch to be ready in about 6 weeks. This is a great opportunity to order custom colors since I can fit them into production at a much lower cost. Contact me if you are interested in placing a pre-order.
I have a couple of exciting projects in the pipeline. Both of them were a little delayed by my going to California for a few weeks over Christmas and New Years (the results of which can be seen in the previous posts), but I am eager to get going.
Graph Tech Ghost Piezo Saddles
Just before leaving for my holiday, I received samples of various Graph Tech Ghost saddles for integration into my tuners. This is the most common customer request, along with a 7-string tremolo and finishing the bass bridge, so getting this done will be fantastic. I’ve got to say that the support from Graph Tech has been absolutely amazing. Even as the tiny supplier I am, I got full attention immediately, and OEM Account Manager Tarina Dunwoodie has been great support. So stay tuned on developments on this.
Moses Graphite Neck
Upon arriving in California, I had a custom made Moses Graphite neck waiting for me. It has the same dimensions as the neck for my EGS guitar, and has been left un-slotted. I will slot this myself with the same mixed scale that I have already, to allow a simple swap back and forth to compare sound qualities on the guitars. I hope to be able to offer this as an option on my guitars in the future, assuming that it sounds good. Once again, awesome customer service. Steve Mosher at Moses Graphite has also been great to deal with, and the quality and appearance of the neck is fantastic. I can’t wait to get this project underway.
I was fortunate enough to be in the neighborhood of Watson Guitars, who I have mentioned before the week that passed and Alex and Tere made some room for me and my family in the middle of the final crunch of NAMM preparations.
We had a wonderful lunch, and a nice drive up and down the mountain although we didn’t have much luck with the weather. Idyllwild is situated in the most amazing surroundings, but due to fog, we didn’t see much farther than our noses reached. I did get to see the customer build that Alex is finishing:
Above it, you can see the second EGS tremolo build for Alex – a fitting operation for a customer.
In the above picture, you can almost see how stunning the inlay and finishing work is. In addition, there are so many nice touches on Watson Guitars’ instruments that you have to see to believe. For example, custom pickup covers cut from the top to match the grain, ditto control covers on the back, inlays, and so on. Watson Guitars are, like I said, exhibiting at NAMM so make sure to pay them a visit. The guitar pictured featuring the EGS Tremolo will be there, so it’s a great opportunity to try one out. Alex and Tere also told me about some of their plans for 2010 which are very exciting, but I will let you follow that story on their home page or in person at NAMM, obviously.
One more thing that you need to see in real life is pictured above – a semi-hollow 7-string bass. It will feature both a magnetic and piezo pickups and looks absolutely stunning already! Alex’s fingertips proved the amount of work that has been put into it and it had to be ready for applying finish the night I left… (I hope you got it done in time, Alex!)
Lastly, above is a picture of one of Watson’s CNC machines – very nice!