Inlays on the twelve-string

One of the two guitars that I’m building at the moment is my crazy 12-string, and in the last few weeks I’ve been working on some elaborate inlays for the fretboard.  They are based on a tree of life, but a simplified version with my own designs.

The inlays are now finished, so I can get cracking with the frets and then finally putting the guitar together.  Hopefully, the finished instrument will make an appearance on here in another few weeks!

Small update on the 12-string

As the second half of 2018 begins, I’m still working hard on the 12-string guitar.  This is just an opportunity for a quick update on the progress, with a photo of the body as it is today.

This past weekend, I glued the neck into the body and I’m now trying to make sure that I do everything necessary before gluing on the top.  Because there’s no back plate, for example, I had to fix the output jack in place now, as that won’t be accessible once the top is glue on – the controls will be fixed onto a removable plate on the front of the guitar, a bit like a Telecaster.

There will be a full-page update on the build in the near future…in the meantime, I hope you like this picture! 🙂

There is a reason why the inside is stained red!

New main page – Build Gallery

I realised that I’ve actually made a few guitars by now, and this deserved a new page on the main menu of this website.  I’ve therefore made a gallery page with a photograph of each of the guitars that I have made, and links to all of the related pages.

This new page can be found under “Build Gallery” in the main menu at the top of this page.  I will update it as I start or finish each guitar.

Random picture of a guitar during the build process!

Big update on finished guitars!

I’ve been very busily working on guitars both at home and on a third course at Crimson Guitars in March 2018.  I didn’t update this site for a while, but today I’ve caught up and posted pages for three guitars that I have completed this year!

First was the Padauk Strat, which was the first guitar I finished on my own.

Next the baritone “Freak” that I made as an experimental build for the course.

Finally the Hybrid Tele, which is the first guitar that I’ve made for someone else!

I’m currently finishing off the wenge 339 and working hard on the new 12-string build, so there will be more news soon!

Site admin

Today I have decided to disable subscriber registration on this site, and I have deleted all existing subscribers.  I believe that the vast majority of the nearly 2,000 subscribers were robots, and there has been no meaningful interaction on the site (e.g. genuine comments on articles), so I don’t see any need to allow subscription.

I apologise to any genuine subscribers.  The site will continue, primarily with documentation of my future guitar builds, so come back and check from time to time, or take a look at my YouTube channel.

Thanks for your understanding!

Another RCF Jam video!

The forum jam on the Rob Chapman Forum is now quite a long-standing tradition.  Every quarter a backing track is chosen, of around 45-60 seconds, and anybody who wants to take part can record a solo piece over the backing track.  Some poor soul (often me, though not this time) then has to laboriously glue them all together and produce a video which is published on YouTube.

The 2017 Summer Jam video has just been published.  I took the opportunity to give my new Crimson build guitar its first real public outing and my jam is the first one in the video (not my choice!).

I hope you enjoy it, and maybe one or two of you will join us for the next one!

Welcome to 2017!

After a break of a few weeks, I’m back for the New Year.  I took a break from building my guitar over Christmas because I was busy with other things, including skiing with family and friends for Christmas week.  I ran into some problems with the electronics on my Crimson guitar, and will probably need to return the entire bridge and piezo equipment for replacement, which is causing a delay.  More news will follow in the fairly near future.

In the meantime, Winter NAMM 2017 will be opening its doors in a few days, and I’ll post some links to the most interesting things I see here.  There have already been a few early reveals, but full details are not yet available about those.

I am also thinking of returning to Crimson Guitars for another build this year, although I haven’t yet taken a final decision on whether or when to do it.

I wish everybody a belated but happy and musical New Year!

An update on my guitar build

If you’ve been following my guitar build, you might be wondering what’s happened in the last couple of weeks since I returned from the course.  I had a few steps left to finish the guitar, and for some of them I needed to order components which took a week or so to arrive.  These included a Tusq nut, some small magnets, a fret polishing kit and a few other bits and pieces.  The nut was pre-slotted; I had a blank nut but no nut slotting saws, and it was considerably cheaper to buy a slotted nut than to get the saws.

In the meantime, I haven’t been inactive although progress has naturally been much slower since I’ve only been grabbing a bit of time in the evenings or at the weekend.  I decided that I preferred the natural wood to the stain, and so I spent a considerable time (several hours) sanding the top down again.  Unfortunately, the imperfections in the maple top have caused problems but I have decided on a solution that I will implement later.  Last weekend, I finished sanding and applied five coats of finishing oil, and now the guitar is waiting for the oil to cure for a few days before I can finish it off with a light sanding and perhaps another coat of oil.

Part of the body, now sanded and oiled, with the sponges that will go under the pickups.
Part of the body, now sanded and oiled, with the sponges that will go under the pickups.

I have done a few more things too.  I fitted little magnets inside the control cavity and on the cover so that it stays on without any screws, although I still need to do a bit more work to make sure that I can take the cover off.  At the moment, I have to push it off by inserting a pen through one of the holes on the top, but when the tone and volume pots are installed this will no longer be an option!  I have also been working on my truss rod cover which will be similarly held on with magnets, but that’s not finished yet.  I also managed to install the string ferrules and ground them, which was a rather fiddly job.

Lastly, I’ve also started working on the electronics.  This is completely new to me, so I spent some time researching and getting help in order to design the wiring, since I couldn’t find a schematic that fitted my pickup configuration exactly.  I’ve also never soldered anything before, so I watched some helpful videos on YouTube and got stuck in, doing everything that I could do outside the body.

The tone and volume pots soldered together, mounted on a sponge which worked surprisingly well!
The tone and volume pots soldered together, mounted on a sponge which worked surprisingly well!

I hope that the guitar will be finished in the next few days, at least to a level where I can play it although I will still have one or two final touches to do afterwards.