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Guitar Of The Month For September

  

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I thought the lines in the fretboard wood were curved too. Didn't realize they were straight till I looked at some of the other build pics.

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Had to give my vote to Stew for the police guitar.

Here is why, forgive me for being harsh, but after reading nothing but praise on some of these instruments I'm going to be straight.

The police guitar, though probably not the most complex instrument here, is different, graphics aren't done often, and I liked the concept and the execution looks very well done.

De-Fre's SG guitar. Well, first, I don't like SG's, but I don't take that into account. What did strike me as poor was the cutaway's in the horns, perhaps it's in the picture's, but they look very rough. Also, the piece of maple between the pickup cavities makes no sense to me. Don't understand why you wouldn't have painted that as well. Honestly, I'd have given it higher marks without the pinup sticker as well.

Godin's guitar. Well, you've done well with building Godin, and I've read tons of praise, I like your design, but this particular one, to me was not executed well. IF (and that's a strong IF) your headstock is truly designed with the tuners spaced like that, then I'm sorry, but it's a poor design IMO. Not being symetrical is not a big deal, but the uneven spacing of the tuners looks like you screwed up. Next is your finish. I've seen you give lots of advice on achieving great finishes, so what is wrong on this one? There is more orange peel than the last orange I ate. Sorry to be harsh, but I can see it in the pictures, if you can see it in the pictures I'd hate to see how rough it is in person. I've been doing this long enough to know that pictures hide a lot of finish flaws.

Southpaw, There really isn't anything negative I have to say about your guitar execution wise from your pictures. Looks good, I don't like the neck pickup treatment personally, and I hate tele's :D but the guitar looks good, the reason I picked the Police guitar over this one is that the police guitar, although a strat, was something different finish wise, not another transparent finish on figured wood.

Phil, the bass guitar. This is a great looking instrument, however, whether it's this guitar, conklin, or anyone else, the part that always looks amatuerish to me is when an arm cutaway is done so that the back body wood shows through as in this case. To me, it took the nice smooth curves of your body design, and put a hard edge into it. Killed the look of the lines. Also, to me, it just looks like exactly what it was, the top wasn't as thick as it should have been, however, this is just my opinion, it's something that's been done by manufactures many times, I've just never got it, nicely done instrument though.

Big D, another nice instrument, another tele, but nicely done still. I guess I'm just getting pickier lately, I hate wipe on finishes, had you done a nice high gloss finish on this, I'd have been more excited about it, again, just me, but a nice high gloss finish gives a much more professional look IMO. Can't really say anything negative about the overall guitar though, it is nicely done :D

Perry, hard for me to pick your guitars bro, only because I expect nothing but the best from your stuff, the only thing taking me away from this guitar was the color really. Just didn't like it personally. But that's certainly not a crack at the guitar, just personal preference.

thegarehanman, I just really don't like the design on this guitar. The upper horn and the F hole look like mistakes to me, the upper horn just looks odd, really odd. And the F hole, I don't know what to think about it, it doesn't flow with the rest of the guitar at all. Just kind of ends in an odd fashion. The "launchpad" of knobs looks weird to me as well, I think with the heavy carve in the top recessed knobs would have looked a lot better, can't knock the wood work you did there though, I know from experience it's not a simple task. Not sure what the inlay looking part inside the horns is supposed to be either, but it doesn't fit with the flow of the guitar IMO either. Just to many things look out of place on this one. Having said that, the work itself looks good.

Cudbucket, Your guitar is very nicely done, I don't care for the color on it, particularly on the back, but color is a moot point. Overall the guitar is very nicely done.

I think it the end, what really stuck out to me with Stew's guitar, is of ALL the guitars this month, it is one of two that was not a transparent finish over figured wood. Figured woods are nice, but everyone does them. Having painted over 300 guitars to date, I would rather see a perfectly executed solid black, or Kandy color done to a transparent finish. There is so much more effort and technique involved in getting the PERFECT black, or the perfectly laid kandy pearl than spraying a transparent. That's not saying at all that a trans finish is easy to do, far from it, it's probably harder when you really have to consider the color and grain of the wood to end up with the perfect color, but the actual spraying, and clear coating is more forgiving than the others. Black means you have to be absolutely perfect in your finish or everything jumps out like crazy, Kandies mean you have to spray perfectly or you will see grain lines in the metallic or pearl from gun overlap. Having said that, as I mentioned earlier, pictures can hide many imperfections in a finish, so you really don't get a great idea of what things REALLY are in the finishes here. More than anything I was trying to judge all the guitars this month based on final execution, some I thought were really good, some really bad. That's how it goes.

No, I'm not becoming arrogant, I think my guitars are nice, but I know they still have a ways to go before I'll be totally happy with them.

Most of it comes down to personal taste, but then really, that's what GOTM is anyway, a popularity contest of sorts. So, I really tried to be objective in this months vote. Sorry if I hurt any feelings or offended anyone, but the only way you really get better, is when people give honest criticism and you can take it and use it to your advantage for the next ones.

Peace......

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LGM: interesting thoughts, overall. I have to say that I agree with most of them, except for a scant couple:

first the 'carve through' on the armrest, well, that's half the charm of having laminates in basses of that type. I can't begin to describe how wrong it would look if it had a bent top there. Matter of taste, I suppose, but it's a valid design choice and while I personally might've carved a little more, so as to smooth/curve the transitions by the tiniest fraction, it does still follow the curve of the guitar. Mirrorerd, up a tiny amount. I just think yer weird for not liking it ;-)

Also, paintjobs? I don't particularly care that a black or a Kandy is friggin hard to do, and that's not going to make me downgrade a natural finish. Wipe-ons/oil finishes are also fine, but to me, only fit certain designs, and Teles ain't them. Basses, similarly 'organic' designs, yeah.

Design choice, wood selection, hardware, how that all works together is more important to me. I may never do a completely solid black finish ever, I very much doubt I'll do many pearls or solid colours in general, but that's a choice I've made, fits my sense of aesthetics best, and is in-line with the kinds of isntruments I tend to build (not shredder guitars). To each his own, I suppose, but how difficult something was to achieve shouldn't be a critera. How well it was executed definately should. I mean, no offence to anyone, but Telecasters are about the simplest guitars in the world to make, and Strats ain' far behind.

For the record, I voted for Phil's bass, which is the one instrument this month that stuck out for me. Clean workmanship, smooth, flowing lines, lovely detailing (matching coverplates, home-built pickups with wooden covers, bold yet restrained fingerboard design), and a design that, while recognizable, doesn't look (to my non-bass expert eyes) to be one I've seen somewhere else exactly. Much as I like Stew's design and aesthetic, I'd like to be voting on something other than concept, paintjob, and assembly alone. The man's got fantastic finishing chops, and a funky, funny sense of design (this one, and that yacht themed guitar last month), but ultimately it's a customized parts guitar. Not that that's a bad thing, but it tells me little about his building skills. Tells me he's great at finishing, though, but this isn't a 'finish of the month' contest :-)

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Cudbucket, Your guitar is very nicely done, I don't care for the color on it, particularly on the back, but color is a moot point.  Overall the guitar is very nicely done.

Jeremy, I'm not in love with the color on the back either. I have to chalk that up to my inexperience to finishing in general. I didn't know how the dye and the nitro would react together. I'm still learning.

Coming from you though, I take your comments as a compliment.

Thanks for taking the time to look!

Dave Frattaroli

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Godin's guitar. Well, you've done well with building Godin, and I've read tons of praise, I like your design, but this particular one, to me was not executed well. IF (and that's a strong IF) your headstock is truly designed with the tuners spaced like that, then I'm sorry, but it's a poor design IMO. Not being symetrical is not a big deal, but the uneven spacing of the tuners looks like you screwed up. Next is your finish. I've seen you give lots of advice on achieving great finishes, so what is wrong on this one? There is more orange peel than the last orange I ate. Sorry to be harsh, but I can see it in the pictures, if you can see it in the pictures I'd hate to see how rough it is in person. I've been doing this long enough to know that pictures hide a lot of finish flaws.

Okay with the headstock I see my error. No biggy I already knew it wasnt right with you folks :D

And Yes you are right about the finish. Right now it's taken apart and I am re sanding/buffing until I get a perfect finish. I already have the sides and back done but I am still working on the top. About 2 weeks after I sprayed the finish little specks came up through it. I'm not quite sure why this happend. Maybe you can hlep me out on this?

And your not being harsh at all :D Without some criticism how would I get any better?

Edited by Godin SD

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I think it the end, what really stuck out to me with Stew's guitar, is of ALL the guitars this month, it is one of two that was not a transparent finish over figured wood.  Figured woods are nice, but everyone does them.  Having painted over 300 guitars to date, I would rather see a perfectly executed solid black, or Kandy color done to a transparent finish.

I was considering not voting this month, since none of the guitars really thrill me personally --and Jeremy helped put the finger on why that is : I'm just getting bored of seeing all these highly figured woods...

and what do you people have against pickguards? Don't you understand that they're functional AND they're an important element of the design.

So I'm voting for Stew (again), despite the kitsch factor (it helps that the guitar really is for a police band), and despite the fact that he didn't do much of the building on the guitar either it seems, which is not big deal for me either. Yeah, I know, he 'forgot' the pickguard too, but the graphics fill in the void.

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I was considering not voting this month, since none of the guitars really thrill me personally --and Jeremy helped put the finger on why that is : I'm just getting bored of seeing all these highly figured woods...

and what do you people have against pickguards? Don't you understand that they're functional AND they're an important element of the design.

That's your right, of course (note to self, don't count on idch's vote if you ever submit one of your carved tops). On flat topped/slab guitars, I quite like pickguards, but there aren't all that many of those designs I'm wild about. I like carved tops, end of the day.

On the other hand, part of the fun here is the wide variety of tastes represented in terms of what we build. Got lots of people building wild, outrageous 'metal' type designs that I wouldn't touch with a 50 foot pole because they do nothing for me aesthetically, but which I can admire in terms of workmanship, quality, etc., to people building Teles or carved tops in the Gibson/PRS 'tradition' (that last one's me, although I do quite like Telecasters now..simple ones.)

Besides, want to shake things up? Build something different and submit it :-)

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I concide. :D I didn't think I would win, I just wanted a good showing, which I did not get. oh well. I am glad it looks like phil will win he deserves it bout time a bass wins. I thought that thegarehanman would get more votes, and I was surprised to see perry get all those votes. Perry you got less votes on a killer guitar, can't remember which one that was.

I love LGM comments, its great to get good reviews, not just blah blah...

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Besides, want to shake things up? Build something different and submit it :-)

Ah, I guess the Bocaster isn't different enough, eh? :D

My next project won't be anything original though --it's based on an existing, if somewhat obscure, design. And the mod I've just about finished is a tele with a --ugh!-- natural finish... :D

I'd say that coming up with a truly unique and original body style that actually works --not only functionally but aesthetically --is something extremely difficult to achieve.

And this seems especially so for project builders-- you don't have the same split in functions that you'd find at an actual guitar company, that is, a dedicated design department, a dedicated engineering division, and a true production unit. Coupled with the resources to build as many prototypes needed as necessary to perfect the design.

Which is why it's rare to see a project builder stray very far from what's already been done (although a few of them will try to tell you their design is original). And it's even rarer for a project building to come up with a completely original design that still works on all levels.

Hell, even companies like PRS end up copying other companies' designs, just tweaking here and there so they can call it original...

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Ah, I guess the Bocaster isn't different enough, eh?  :D

Hey, I'm new here. I really can't keep track of who's built what quite yet ;-)

My next project won't be anything original though --it's based on an existing, if somewhat obscure, design.  And the mod I've just about finished is a tele with a --ugh!-- natural finish... :D

I'm shocked! Shocked and appalled! Except, y'know, I like Teles and Strats with natural finishes, and I'm not afraid to say so *looks around fearfully*

I'd say that coming up with a truly unique and original body style that actually works --not only functionally but aesthetically --is something extremely difficult to achieve.

And this seems especially so for project builders-- you don't have the same split in functions that you'd find at an actual guitar company, that is, a dedicated design department, a dedicated engineering division, and a true production unit. Coupled with the resources to build as many prototypes needed as necessary to perfect the design.

Which is why it's rare to see a project builder stray very far from what's already been done (although a few of them will try to tell you their design is original). And it's even rarer for a project building to come up with a completely original design that still works on all levels.

Hell, even companies like PRS end up copying other companies' designs, just tweaking here and there so they can call it original...

Well, to be fair to PRS, they more or less pioneered the 'blend between Les Paul and Strat' thing, and did it well. They stayed within the realms of classic guitar design, and created what I'd term a modern classic with their standard doublecut design. The electric guitar's not as young as it once was, and all sorts of shapes have been tried, tested, tried again, and the successful ones (and/or the ones people find pretty) stick around. You get variations in acoustic guitars, but again, they're mostly just slightly redrawing curves, with basic dimensions staying unchanged. The results can be quite dramatically different, though.

Personally, while I tend not to want to build exact replicas of anyones guitar, I have no problem in doing my own version, my own interpretation of what are now fairly 'classic' designs (various carved-top set necks. Although given my friends' statements of late, I feel more Tele building coming on, which is fun, but not overly challenging). If you look at them, they're quite recognizable, where my influences lie is clear, but put em next to the guitar they 'copy' and you'll notice that yes, they are quite different.

Is it particularly original? Nah. I step in the footsteps of many who've gone before me, and I really don't mind. Is it an exact copy, be it in homage or otherwise? That also ain't the case, because while I admire what's gone before, I generally don't want clones. It's a matter of degree, but they're still my own designs, ones I spent a long time pondering and playing around with on paper. They terribly original? Nah. But I think they look good and work, look and feel like what I think guitars should look and feel like, so I'm content to stick with them, make each one by hand, slightly different than the previous one, different carve, different detailing, attention paid to each part, quite obviously not a factory built guitar, or a clone. That's what makes building interesting, for me.

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Jeremy you're comments are all fine but you're nuts if you think the bass should've had a thicker or bent top. :D The double lamination is what gives it beauty. If the olive top was directly against the Mahogany I might feel different. The tummy cut on the back looks awesome too.

I don't like Strats or RG's with an elbow line, but on Phil's bass the receding top gives the eye some symmetry from the bass to the treble side. And then the double lamination comes through as a pinstriping. That's what makes it acceptable to me. That's not poor planning, it's proper planning. But yes, if you take a widely accepted shape, and top it with an elbow line, it usually looks bad.

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Jeremy you're comments are all fine but you're nuts if you think the bass should've had a thicker or bent top.  :D  The double lamination is what gives it beauty. If the olive top was directly against the Mahogany I might feel different. The tummy cut on the back looks awesome too. 

I don't like Strats or RG's with an elbow line, but on Phil's bass the receding top gives the eye some symmetry from the bass to the treble side. And then the double lamination comes through as a pinstriping. That's what makes it acceptable to me. That's not poor planning, it's proper planning. But yes, if you take a widely accepted shape, and top it with an elbow line, it usually looks bad.

yeah,the top is what i like about that bass

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Jeremy you're comments are all fine but you're nuts if you think the bass should've had a thicker or bent top.  :D  The double lamination is what gives it beauty. If the olive top was directly against the Mahogany I might feel different. The tummy cut on the back looks awesome too. 

I don't like Strats or RG's with an elbow line, but on Phil's bass the receding top gives the eye some symmetry from the bass to the treble side. And then the double lamination comes through as a pinstriping. That's what makes it acceptable to me. That's not poor planning, it's proper planning. But yes, if you take a widely accepted shape, and top it with an elbow line, it usually looks bad.

I'm not nuts, I'm simply entitled to my own opinion. What I don't like about how the lamination ends there is that it kills the curve of the body. If it had been carved into more of a compound curve, like the tummy cut on the back, I'd probably like it more, but it's the straightness of the line interupting the flow of the curve around the body that bothers me. And true, I don't like laminations in a body like that, I think it looks like mistakes more than planning, but again, that's my opinion, doesn't make it right or wrong though. I like the way the laminations work on the tummy cut, it continues with the flow of the tummy cut, stll sweeps through, but on the top, it's just a straight line that seemingly comes from nowhere.

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EDIT: On second thought, I don't feel like arguing about anything.

However, I want it to be known that I think Phil's base looks well planned and appears well executed. I like the design. Also, I have no regrets about my own designs; I fully stand behind it.

Edited by thegarehanman

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