The Wenge 339 – finished!

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It’s been a long time since I posted the first page about this build, but finally it’s done!  It’s been a long process partly because I got distracted by other guitars and partly because I had an awful lot of problems with this guitar, for various reasons (the types of wood used, my incompetence, bad luck at times…).

This one is definitely a bit of a rookie piece, I must admit. It’s quite nice in some ways – I think the overall design and colours are good and the basics of the guitar are OK. However, I had lots of problems with the fretboard – to the extent that I nearly had to chuck the neck away but in the end it’s more or less salvaged, although close inspection will reveal a few flaws. Hopefully these flaws will only be cosmetic and it will play well anyway – the frets feel good and my test this morning had all of the notes playing OK with no buzz or anything.

This guitar isn’t actually complete, because it’s going off to a friend who will install his own electronics. I’m quite glad about that since, as you can see from the pictures, it’s going to have a lot of controls and it’s going to take a lot of soldering! I tried to prepare it well for everything that will go in there, with a large cavity and holes in all of the necessary places. It has a bolt-on neck and it’s now been dismantled and mostly packed up, so the pictures aren’t finally final – for instance I cleaned up the fretboard and oiled the heel where it had been sanded off a bit after taking it apart. However, I hope that the person who’s getting this guitar will take some photos when he’s installed all of his jiggery-pokery and then we can all see it in its final state.

The staining process was quite interesting. The top was stained at least three times, because the first times didn’t produce a good result for various reasons. I like the final result, which is a mix of red, blue and purple stains to (a) highlight the very subtle flame and (b) produce the gradual burst from a more reddish purple in the centre to blue on the perimeter. I’m pleased with the final result, and it’s been good practice for future stains.

So here are a few photos of the guitar followed by some specs:

The whole guitar, although still lacking pickups and controls
A closer look at the top
And the back – note my oak leaf inlay on the back of the horn!

Body wood: Wenge
Cap wood: Spalted Maple
Back plate: Panga Panga (don’t ask; I don’t know!)
Neck woods: Purpleheard, Padauk, Ovangkol
Fretboard: Violeta
Bridge: Babicz FCH Fixed 6 Hardtail
Tuners: D’Addario Auto-Trim Tuning Machines