Based on my experience of my two guitar building courses, I have compiled some tips on how to approach your first guitar build with a luthier. This is based on a course where you have a limited time for your build, such as a week, which may force you to make some compromises.
There is also a second page discussing some design considerations and their complexity and amount of time required. You probably won’t be able to include all possible elements, so it’s worth thinking about which ones to include in your first build.
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!
Andrew Guyton, a luthier who makes copies of the Red Special for Brian May himself, as well as for other customers, has just released videos of two more unique versions of the guitar that he has made for other (clearly well-heeled) customers.
The videos and a bit of explanatory text are on his blog. He’s also in the process of working on some videos of an overhaul of the original Red Special which will come out in the near future, and should be fascinating for any Brian May fans.
I have a Brian May guitar too, although it’s not red! You can read about it on my gear page for that guitar.
There are now less than twenty days to go before my guitar build at Crimson Guitars! I will start on Monday 31 October, and the whole process will be documented on this website. I will post pictures here, and I will make videos of the build which will go on my YouTube channel and be posted here too.
Everything is ready; I just need to remember to pack everything I need to take! I already have the pickups, bridge + preamp (for the piezo pickup), tuners, strap locks and jack plate, and I will get all of the woods and other components from Crimson Guitars. I have a number of suitable t-shirts to wear for the week, although since I extended the course to six days I still need one more!
I’m not sure if I will be able to edit and upload the videos during the week of the build, due to time and bandwidth constraints, but I will certainly publish articles and photos on here. Stay tuned, and you’ll see everything in time.
All of the articles and videos that I have already published on this topic are linked on the intro page: My Crimson Guitar Build
Rob Scallon, a well-known YouTube guitarer, clearly needs to install pickups in some different places on his Ghost Fret in this video, posted a couple of days ago. I’m not convinced that I’d buy an album of this, but he gets full marks for inventiveness.
PRS has just announced on its blog that Periscope guitar no. 3 has been finished. If you’ve been following my news entries, you’ll know that I’ve been watching these keenly, and it’s great to see the finished guitars.
The PRS blog entry is here. Take a look at their page for more photos, specs, and to find out where you can buy it! Spoiler: the price is around $10,700…
A site called “The Hub” at Musician’s Friend has just posted an article showing some of Gibson’s new models for 2017. This information isn’t available on the Gibson website yet, and there are some rather tasty-looking guitars in the new line-up, with a few colours that verge on gaudy (sometimes possibly from the wrong side!).
You can find their article by following this link. Surprisingly, although I’m not particularly an SG fan (nothing against them either), I thought that the SG Special below looks really smart. I’m also partial to the rather colourful Les Paul Standard depicted on that page, at the other end of the spectrum between sober and gaudy finishes!
Anderton’s has also got on the Gibson 2017 bandwagon with some more picture on their blog.
I researched this some time ago, long before I made this website, and dug it out because I think it is a useful overview of all of the main types of effects pedals that you will find on the market. The descriptions of each individual type of pedal are very short in order to keep the whole article to a digestible length.
I found an interesting series of pages on Seymour Duncan’s website that give an introduction to pickups. It’s called Pickups 101 and it covers the basics of pickup construction, different types of pickups and their sounds. It’s a good guide to a subject that is of fundamental importance to electric guitar players, and it’s a good read for anyone who doesn’t yet know all of the ins and outs (or Norths and Souths) of pickups.
I have two guitars with SD pickups. My Epiphone Rosso Corsa has the Slash Alnico pickups, and my Chapman Ghost Fret (pictured below) has a Duncan Distortion (bridge) and a Seymour Duncan ’59 (neck).