This is an unusual spotlight piece, because I think it’s the first non-UK luthier that I’ve featured – although I met the luthier in question in England. Luigi Valenti is Italian, but he was working at Crimson Guitars when I did my guitar build there in November 2016. Since then, he has moved back to Italy and started his own company, Valenti Guitars.
Luigi has developed three main models, the Nebula, Callisto and Pulsar. They all look rather stunning, and he will customise them according to your wishes when you order one. These are early days for Valenti Guitars and so he has only recently finished the prototypes, but they look very promising.
I wish Luigi every success for the future, both with his luthiery and with the other reasons for his return to Italy!
It’s been several months since I completed the course at Crimson Guitars, although the guitar itself was not finished. I had some work to do at home, and that turned into a lot of work because of a number of issues that I had to solve.
Sadly, the process came to a premature end – at least for now – when the truss rod broke through the back of the neck while trying to correct a neck bow. I think that I will have to take the neck out – not easy, as it’s glued in – and make a new neck (I’d like to recover the fretboard although I don’t know if that will be possible). That will have to wait until I have a suitable opportunity, which will probably not be in 2017.
I did a lot of other work on the guitar before that happened, though, and so all of that is described in my final article on this guitar, and in my last YouTube video about it, as you can see below.
I will be returning to Crimson Guitars in May to do another build, this time with my son (the one who build the cigar box guitar), so expect to see more information about that next month!
Not that I was at NAMM myself, but I was watching the Anderton’s video on boutique guitars at NAMM 2017, and noticed a UK luthier that I didn’t have on my list page. It’s AC Guitars, which is a one-man custom shop in Dumfrieshire, Scotland, and the man himself, Alan Cringean, focuses on custom bass guitars (although a recent post on his website says that he’s also making 6-string guitars under another name, Reiver Guitars).
AC Guitars makes a number of different body shapes and has lots of gorgeous finishes. The range includes basses with anything from four to seven strings.
If you’re looking for a special bass, they seem to be well worth a look.
I ordered a few bits and pieces from Thomann on Sunday evening, and they arrived today – pretty quick service!
I needed some components to play with for my Crimson build guitar, so I ordered two 250k pots, two 500k pots and two output jack sockets. I also got three more packs of my favourite Ibanez Grip Wizard picks, and the big thing is a new power supply for my pedalboard, to replace my two Harley Benton Power Plants and the separate Strymon adapter. I’m hoping that this will eliminate the noise that comes from my pedalboard.
The 1Spot Pro power supply was recommended to me when I last visited Anderton’s in October. It has 12 outputs, although I won’t use all of them – there are two 18v outputs and an AC output which are all currently useless for me, but that still gives me nine usable outputs. As I currently have 12 pedals on my board, I will either daisychain a few of them or kick a couple off the board.
On the bottom of the power supply, there are some dip switches which allow you to choose different voltage options for five of the outputs. These make it a very flexible power supply.
This could well be my only new gear day for 2017 as I don’t really intend to buy anything else. On the other hand….nah, that’s not going to happen!
Previously on this site, I posted links to the Periscope videos in which Paul Reed Smith and his team selected the woods for some very special guitars. Today I noticed two of them that have been sold by World Guitars. They both sport an unusual colour on the top, called Teal Nightshade. They are stunning guitars, and I thought they are worth posting here!
These are both McCarty 594 models with natural wood backs and necks; #6 has a swamp ash back, and #7 has a ziricote neck. The links lead to the World Guitars website where you can see more photos, but they probably won’t stay live forever.
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!
Phillip McKnight is an American guitar shop owner who regularly publishes videos on YouTube (see his channel here). Today he has posted a video in time for Christmas where he gives ten ideas for gifts for guitar players. They aren’t the usual, rather tired ideas of “a strap and a tuner and a cleaning kit”, but they are a bit more thoughtful and interesting – I particularly like his idea for a pick case.
Since today is the first day of December, I think this is a good time to watch this video – or to somehow persuade anyone who might want to give you a gift to watch it! Good luck 🙂
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.
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.
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.
Since I finished my guitar building course, I’ve been working to finish the videos. This evening I finally uploaded the last two videos to YouTube. They are linked in each of the pages in the Articles section, but here are quick links to all six videos:
The first video in my series documenting my recent build with Crimson Guitars has been published on YouTube. This video covers the first day, and there will be five more videos, one for each day of the course, and then one or two more to wrap up. I will try to get the other videos out quickly!