Phoenix Tele

I have a friend in England for whom I have already made two guitars, and this year he wants two more. The first is a relatively straightforward tele-style build…the only major customisation was to be a pick guard made of ebony, instead of a regular plastic one. The body is ash, the neck is a fairly simple sapele and maple laminate, and he wants a yellow body. So far, so simple.

The body and the pieces of ebony that I used for the pick guard, which were from a defective ebony fretboard that I bought very cheaply.

The ash body, however, gave me an association with a phoenix, and so I suggested that I should inlay a phoenix on the fretboard. My friend mentioned the PRS brushstroke birds as inspiration for the style, and my son, who is a much more talented artist than I, drew some designs. We picked our favourite, and I got to work!

The body and the pick guard, which is taped together since it is made from three separate pieces.

The inlays were cut from celluloid plastic sheets, in gold and red, and we also designed fret markers representing the flames around the phoenix. Since there were so many pieces, and many of them were very small, I kept them all on a copy of the design while I was working on them.

The phoenix itself spans the 10th to 14th frets and I’m very happy with the way that it’s turned out!

The finished inlays!

Currently, I am in the middle of the fret work but I hope to finish this guitar soon. I will post a second page with pictures when it’s done!