The Wenge 339

This is a momentous build for me since it’s the first one that I’m making for somebody else (although I’m not yet charging for my services).  It’s for a friend who lives in a distant country, and he wants to install his own electronics, so it’ll be a bolt-on neck to facilitate the delivery.

The guitar is based on a Gibson 339 body shape although the construction is more like a Les Paul with large chambers for weight relief.  The body is two-piece wenge with a spalted maple top; the neck is a 5-piece laminate of ovangkol, padauk and purpleheart, with a violeta fretboard.  The top will be stained purple, and my friend and I think it’s going to look great – but you can make your own mind up about that!

This page has pictures of the early stages of the build.  I will make a second page with more pictures when the guitar is finished.

Selecting the woods to use for the build – the customer chose the topmost fretboard, which has a dramatic grain pattern
Gluing the body together. The grain patterns matched very well, and it’s hard to see the join in the finished body.
The body, rough cut with the band saw. This side will be the back – you can see how the grain patterns match.
The offcut from the body made a nice doggy door!
More gluing, this time the neck laminates – wrapped in paper to prevent the glue from sticking to the clamps.
And the glued neck on top of the body, with the first part of the weight relief begun.
Installing the truss rod – I have my own way of routing out the channel, not using a template.
Gluing again, this time the fretboard is going on the neck.
And the end result of that operation!
Guess what – more gluing! I had to be careful when gluing the two pieces of the top together, since the spalted maple is rather soft and so it needed careful support to make sure that it glued straight.
A bit later on, with the top glued onto the body and shaped. The guitar has a large control cavity because it will have a lot of controls!
From the top…
I started making some tests of the stains, using the Crimson Guitars Stunning Stains.
This was after sanding off the different colours and staining again with purple – there was very little difference in the final colours.

To see the final guitar, click here!