Woods for a new build!

I went mad this week.  Inspiration struck, with the evolution of an idea I’ve had in mind for some time, and I drew a design for a rather ornate bass guitar top using several types of wood and several techniques to put them all together.

Since returning from my second, and more successful, Crimson Guitars course, I’ve been mulling over what to do next.  This idea has made the decision for me, and I’m going to at least start working on this build at home.  I could return to Crimson to finish the build, but I’ll take that decision later and at the moment I’m thinking that I should be able to do it all at home.

I’m going to start documenting this build with a series of pages on this website very soon, but for the moment I’ll just leave you with a couple of pictures of the woods that I’ve ordered.  These pictures were taken from the websites, and post my own pictures when the pieces arrive.  They are in two batches, because I found different wood suppliers with strengths in different areas.

I bought the main body and neck woods from Espen, a German supplier that has a great selection of blanks.

Then I bought some other pieces from Edelholzverkauf, also in Germany.

Because I have never done much woodworking before my Crimson builds, I don’t have a lot of equipment at home and so I’ve also ordered a number of tools, such as a router, making this a rather expensive build, but hopefully the first of many!

More information to follow…


Spotlight on Luthiers – AC Guitars (seen at NAMM)

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).

An AC Guitars Salace bass

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.

A Krell headless six-string bass

If you’re looking for a special bass, they seem to be well worth a look.

New stuff day!

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!

PRS Periscope Guitars 6 and 7

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.

Firstly, Periscope #6

And then Periscope #7

They were listed at £8,995 – a bit above most of our budgets, but certainly unique and very beautiful guitars!

The Pickle Jar Pickup

I just saw a post by Seymour Duncan from last year talking about an experiment that they did at Billy Gibbons’ suggestion.  They dipped a Pearly Gates pickup into a pickle jar to see if it would work, and it did….so they put it back, and pulled it out from time to time, and it continued to work.

That was back in May 1978, nearly 40 years ago!  According to the story, the pickup is still there, and it’s still working.  I’m not sure that I’d be rushing to put it on one of my guitars, though!

40 years of.....something nasty!
40 years of…..something nasty!

Cigar Box Guitar – the headstock

I was on holiday last week (hence the quiet patch on this website) and so we missed out a weekend on the cigar box guitar build.  Last Sunday, though, we continued and the headstock was born.

This was virtually all my son’s work – my input was rather low this time, just helping out with a couple of small things.  The headstock was roughly cut to shape with the jigsaw, and then he used rasps and files to bring it down to the exact size that he wanted.  He worked out exactly where the tuning heads should go, so that they will be in line with the strings and the heads can be turned beside the headstock, and I think it will look great when it’s finished.

Because this was a rather simple process (even though it was still about 3 hours’ work), I won’t do a separate video but I’ll include the little bits of video from this session in the next video update.  I will therefore simply leave you with a picture of the nearly finished headstock (it will still be sanded and oiled towards the end of the build).


Next weekend he may come over on both Saturday and Sunday, so then we should have a major update, and hopefully the end of the build will be in sight.  My own guitar build is now less than five weeks away!

Spam and Faded Purple Jean

Sorry, this post is mostly not about guitars.  It’s about spam.  Someone is putting a lot of comments, containing some kind of spam in an Asiatic language, on my website.  They aren’t shown because I moderate all comments.  So please, whoever is spamming me or might think about doing it in future, don’t bother.  Your rubbish won’t be shown, and all it does is to waste my time and annoy me.  If this becomes too much of a problem, I will have to turn off user comments and perhaps user registration, which would be a shame as I would like some interaction on this website.

To get back to what this site is supposed to be about, here’s a photo of a truly wonderful PRS Custom 24 that’s just arrived at World Guitars.  If I had the spare money lying around, I’d buy this one.


Spotlight on Luthiers: Taran Guitars

Today the spotlight moves north to Scotland, and for a change it falls on a luthier who makes acoustic instruments.  Rory Dowling is the man behind Taran Guitars (Taran means ‘Thunder’ in Gaelic, apparently) and he builds a range of different acoustic guitars, tenors, mandolins and bouzoukis.  I’m not much of an acoustic player but these instruments look beautiful, and his website has some great build photos showing the innards of his guitars, as well as the finished products.

Here are a couple of examples of Rory’s work.  They almost make me want to play without an amplifier!

The 'Taran' model acoustic gutiar
The ‘Taran’ model acoustic gutiar
The Archtop Bouzouki
The Archtop Bouzouki

Mystery Parcel Revealed

The mystery parcel mentioned a couple of posts ago, which was a present for one of my sons, was opened to reveal this box…

A Box. Made of Wood.
A Box. Made of Wood.

When duly opened, its contents were revealed as the following:

The Box and its Contents.
The Box and its Contents.

This is a Cigar Box Guitar kit, from Crimson Guitars where I shall be going at the end of October for my own guitar build.  My son is also interested in guitars and likes making things – he helped me with my previous kit guitar too.  He liked the idea of one of these kits as a birthday present, and so here it is.  I chose the Ultra kit, which includes a small fret levelling kit (the rocker, beam and file).  This kit includes a Maple neck and a Purpleheart fretboard, with the fret slots pre-cut.

I have a few questions to ask of Crimson Guitars because there seem to be one or two small issues with the kit.  I will report back when they are resolved.

We filmed the unboxing and I will edit and upload that to my YouTube channel as soon as I can.  We also plan on making some videos of the build, which will probably happen gradually over the next few weekends.