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  1. The instruments we make tell a story. The materials we use, the designs we come up with, the music we imagine our new instrument playing, and even the reason we decided to make the instrument are all elements of the story. I think this is one of the big differences between mass-produced instruments and hand-crafted custom instruments. The first are made for a market, the second are made to tell a story. Reading each of the different build threads going on here with so many different ideas coming to life tells us something about the builder. Even if we aren’t aware of it, the decisions we make in our build are driven by who we are and the story we are trying to tell. I think @mattharris75’s beautiful April 2016 GOTM winner illustrates this well – it’s a fantastic instrument on it’s own, but when you know the story behind, you understand the instrument in a whole new way. When I started making this bass, I didn’t know what story I was telling. I just knew I wanted to build a 5 string bass for myself. I wanted a versatile bass that could produce many different sounds for many different styles of music. I wanted to feature some nice natural materials – pretty, but not precious. And I wanted to pull in some elements of the world I’m seeing here in Japan (without, hopefully, being cheezy). The story of this bass is my story – it’s a snapshot of me right now. It’s autobiographical. Some things are completely obvious – made in Japan by an American, the koi inlay, etc. But the core is a subtler view driven by both the kind of player I want to be and where I’m at in my life. This bass is diverse, flexible, adaptable – all things I strive to be. It’s not that I don’t know who I am, but who I am is someone who wants to be many things. I played my first gig with the new bass last weekend. The gig was with a blues band literally on the banks of Mt. Fuji. I think that first gig – rocking out to one of the great American music forms while the sun set behind Japan’s most recognized icon - is a fitting end to this build thread. My wife reminded me during some of the more challenging parts of this build that “it’s not done until I say it’s done”. Finishing a build isn’t just checking off the last item in a checklist. It’s not even playing the first gig with an instrument. An instrument is finished when story the instrument tells is complete. And I’m happy to say that this build is complete. Here's a photo I snapped a few minute before we started playing: Now with that out of the way, there are a few other loose ends to wrap up about this build. First, I’m really happy with how the bass plays and am having a ton of fun making music with it. My G&L feels like a dog compared to it. That said, there are a few rough spots that I continually see. I don’t think anybody else will ever notice them, but they I can’t help but see them. Oh well… Those of you that followed closely may remember that I talked some talk about a mystery solution to resolve tear out. The plan was to create and inlay a traditional landscape scene (silhouette of Fuji and Torii gate) over the area of the tear out. I started it but never put it in place. It both ended up feeling too “precious” and amateur for what I wanted. But it did inspire the koi, which has ended up being the most distinctive and eye catching feature of the bass. So we can give the tear-out credit for leading me to the koi inlay. I saw a PRS Dragon for sale in Tokyo yesterday for $29,000 – it was certainly beautiful and clearly the dragon inlay (and not some playability or tone) is what makes it ‘special’. I was surprised to find leveling and finishing the frets to be one of the most rewarding steps in the process. It was certainly tedious, but there was something magic about seeing it all come together with just some very tiny adjustments. I sprung for a nice leveling beam and there’s definitely something inherently satisfying about using a quality purpose-built tool to complete a task. Finally, thank you all who have followed along, liked a post, made a comment, and answered a question in this thread. And a special thanks to @Prostheta, @curtisa and @ScottR for the continual feedback, insight, and support. This website is awesome. Now, on to build #2! Here's a blurry shot of the bass's debut performance at the Fuji Roadhouse, and once of it resting after the gig.
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  2. Hey everyone, I'm finally back at home after this weekend's event Everyone involved had a great time and the auction went very well! I just realized I never showed pics of the entire package up for auction. The guitar was bundled with a Gator vintage brown case and Couch Cadillac brownburst strap. The cool thing about this strap? It's made from original vinyl used on 70's Cadillac roofs. The event was held on a gorgeous property out in Jupiter, FL. The weather was amazing, it couldn't have been a better setup. So here's my little table. And after the auction, one of the bands wanted to try the guitar, so of course I let him have a go. He loved it! I must say, I'm impressed with the versatility of this pickup set. From the cleans and high-gain stuff Anthony did in my previous clip to this guy's country-style setup, the DiMarzios really handled everything well. Oh! By the way.... the guitar ended up raising $3500 for the foundation
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  4. Hello, our first of two instruments for guitar months !!!! Model '' Black Crow""* Bolt-on* Mahogany body * Top Spalted Maple Satin Finishes ( Black Opium* 5 piece neck, Maple, Venge with Spalted Maple Book-matched Head * Black Wood Fretboard (compound radius) whit lumi side dots & 12 Fret Logo Inlay * Scale length: 26,5¨ * Nut : Schaller Locking nut * 24 frets Sintoms * 2 APG Custom PickUps * 5 positions Schaller P Mega Switch * Tuning Machines : M6 Schaller * Bridge: Floyd Rose 7 ( Germany ) * Finishes: Oil * Neutrick Jack * Jack,Neutriik NJ3FP6C-B, metal housing and gold contacts * Wood Knobs Custom Made by Nugz Blacky * Strings: 10" - 56 More photos : https://www.facebook.com/NugzBlackyCustomGuitars/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1020078578058048
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  5. Here's my polishing kit: micro mesh and an automotive buffer. SR
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  6. True!... a sharp gouge is just fun. I've been carving the heel, that was a quick job. I will try to make kinda volute in the heel... Still needs some refining, but the big part is done. Sorry for the square neck profile, I need to clear out the surroundings before proceed with the neck carving. Have a nice weekend!
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  7. YOU GUYS. IT'S IN MY APARTMENT. And now for the good(?) part: I made a little video!
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  8. Here's the finished product... almost. Still gotta get it fully wired, but all the appearance parts are done and the finish is rubbed out and waxed up. Purpleheart/curly maple pickup rings, knobs and switch tips. Hope you like it! Oh yeah, almost forgot - she weighs in at 12.6 lbs.
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  9. And here we see the Quilted sapele super strat in its natural habitat. Here it hides in a batch of green mint plants, waiting to ambush its prey. It has been known to hunt solo, and also been known to shred its prey apart once caught. Most people figure it is at the top of the food chain.
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  10. Like is said in a post, I was working on my shop. I am almost done. I got some green shelving for the great price of free from a friend. When I was starting to organize everything my wife said why dont you put all the big tools in the middle so it gives you more room. Which was surprising. I am still not done but its really looking like a proper shop and really has came a long way. I still have more to do, but I thought I would share and also will start on the templates this weekend.
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  11. Todays idiocy done. Loads of trimming and a bit of scraping to do but it worked ok. I was pretty nervous about bending the ebony binding with the veneers glued to the bottom, but no scorching or delamination. Couple of small voids resulting from the tape I used not having enough tack, but nothing that's not fixable. About halfway through I worked out which order the veneers should have been glued to get a better transition through the neck to the headstock. hohum. Not 100% sold on bound headstocks, but it looks a bit neater than it was. At least I know that if it needs to be done, it can be done.
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  12. Sushkov Guitars #0001 The Saracen This is the very first guitar I built in my new shop in Prague last autumn though not my first build in general. Specs: Mahogany body & neck American walnut top, pickup covers and headstock veneer Rosewood fingerboard Set-neck guitar construction with archtop Custom low output pickups with AlNiCo IV and AlNiCo V bar magnets. HipShot Grip-Lock tuners Dual-action truss-rod SINTOMS extra hard NiSilBer frets 2.5 mm Tonepros Tune-O-Matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece Rare soviet paper-oil capacitors 2 Volume + 2 Tone pots with wooden knobs matching top wood 3-way pickup selector switch.
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  13. @2.5itim @curtisa Guys - I contacted the guys at Hipshot and they confirmed that there was an error of 0,27" in the offset. You got it more or less right on the head with 0,25". Bill passes on his thanks for snagging this and hopes that it didn't cause any inconvenience. Hipshot should be correcting their dimensioning in the meantime.
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  14. The idea had been floating around for a few years and I tested it as working a long time ago, however it was Andrew that made it happen as a permanent jig. Currently working on the impractical super deluxe version:
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  15. Kinda like an Airfix model. Picture overload
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  16. Sorry, been slacking on posts. Been getting a lot of work done, but not much to take pictures of. Here it is with test parts: r. And here is the black SS, refinished
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  17. Nitro spraying is all done, now a month or so of patience while the nitro dries completely. The pic is taken with a flash so it looks a bit brighter than in real life: And here's the TR cover on the headstock:
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  19. Allo! I first started posting pics here a LONG time ago with an 8 string guitar that I built. At the time, there were no production 8 string guitars and the only way i could get one is to get it custom done or do it myself. It turned out....ehhh. I didn't really know much about scale lengths required to accomodate an 8 string's low F#. Fast forward to today - I built the 8 string that I was supposed to have YEARS ago. I couldn't be happier. 30 Inch scale 25 frets, 12 - 25 scalloped zirocote fretboard swamp ash body and headstock figured roasted maple and purpleheart neck Hipshot hardware graphtech nut Petrucci 3 way Bareknuckle Aftermaths w/ gold bolts\
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  20. Thanks Chris (x2!) The first build out of my new shop is done! Better pics and a demo video soon. Specs Body: Chambered swamp ash w/walnut top Neck: 7pc maple/rosewood laminate Fretboard: Indian rosewood, Jescar 58118SS fretwire Hardware: Hipshot hardtail and staggered open gear tuners Pickups: DiMarzio Air Norton/Air Zone
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  21. This will likely get a few more coats during the week and then it will hang and cure whilst I travel around the country a bit over the holidays. And finally a few shots with some low angle natural light from the setting sun. Whew, that was fun! SR
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  22. I started this a while back, and back porch lacquering was such a headache that I shelved it for over a year. I was about to sell all of my tools but decided to try some satin I had sitting around before giving up. With that said, I'm back at it on another project. Since these pics I've updated the tuning machines and set it up properly.
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  23. Wow it has almost been a month since I buffed it out. I was working on the bass and was also waiting for a hard case but thanks to Auspost that hard case is lost and I don't know where it is. I was holding out for the hard case before assembling but enough was enough so I bought a gig bag locally instead. I think I have too many hard cases anyway haha. Of course I'll be getting a refund. So I hereby present to you, my second build. I will take better pictures with my DSLR on a better day of course. I just spent the last 2 days trying to wire it together, only to find out the problem was with the pot, not my wiring! Specs: Hardware: Gotoh SG318 tuning machines Kluson modern string retainer Wilkinson 5+1 contemporary tremolo Electronics: Seymour Duncan JB (trembucker) in the bridge Seymour Duncan Jazz in the neck 5 way super switch wiring: 1. bridge, 2. bridge (north) + neck (south), 3. bridge + neck, 4. neck (north) + bridge (south), 5. neck 500K audio Push pull volume pot, with a blower switch to bypass all electronics and send the bridge pickup straight to the output jack, plus treble bleed mod. 500K audio tone pot with Fender's grease bucket tone circuit. Sorry for the blur pics. Will take better ones soon.
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  24. Consider it finished. I have not wired the push-push pots yet, but it is working, set up. Sounds fairly good. Do you feel it too, the stress when you first string a new one up, trying to guess the character from the first string not yet tuned, and it slowly starts to show as you tune and set up? This one was good sounding right from the first strum, What a relief.
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  25. Time to sit back and watch the paint dry.....and the grass grow. SR
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  26. And finally the first shots of clear. SR
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  27. The limba/wenge guitar is in the happy hands of its new owner! The owner is going to work on a video and sound clips soon, though I can assure you that this is one mean-sounding guitar. As always, I'll post it as soon as I have it! Thanks for joining me on this journey...now on to the next one!
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  28. Phew! After a few long, dusty nights, I'm finally done sanding! We're up to P600 here, which is where I like to be before applying oil. I'm hoping to get the oil process started this weekend, stay tuned for some cool finish pics!
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  29. Here is an update on the 7 string. All routed, drilled and i got the neck glued in tonight.
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  30. Something just as shiny but not quite as bright:
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  32. Thanks, folks! You have all been very patient, but you will be pleased to hear that, at last, we come to the end of the saga (or almost the end) So Tom arrived for the final tweaks: To put on his preferred strings To adjust the action To reshape and slim the neck profile to his preference To look at the jack plug housing alternatives and me just swop them round ...and he didn't want anything changed. To be accurate, he didn't want anything changed yet. He was chuffed to bits with it and, although agreeing that the neck probably did need a reshape, wanted to use it in action and drop it back to me when he was clearer about what final shape he wanted. My surprise was that he also wanted to keep the acoustic strings on it! That was in August last year and, although we are in pretty regular contact, he still hasn't brought it back In October, his facebook page showed this: This was last month with Tom with a festival notable at a music festival in Brixton, London: ...and here he and it is in action on stage with an african drummer, playing an african drum, almost certainly made from the same wood!: ...and, I noted with a smile, still with the same acoustic strings on... This hobby doesn't get much more satisfying than that Thanks for your patience and encouragement along our epic thread journey Andy Andy
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  33. I last had a thread up for my first prototype archtop guitar. Since then I've completed one other and have started on a 4th. This one will be a little bit different than the previous three, which are really jazz boxes. With this one I'm aiming to achieve a more balanced a full sound, as opposed to the focused mid-presence that my previous archtop guitars have had. To that end, here are the specs: -16" lower bout, 2.5" sides with x-bracing -No cutaway -Port Orford Cedar soundboard -Claro Walnut back and sides -Mahogany neck with bloodwood centre laminates -Ebony fretboard, 25" scale, 22 frets, MOP blocks -Ebony/redwood burl headstock overlay, tailpiece and finger rest -Pickup not yet decided - between a piezo transducer in the bridge and a Kent Armstrong 12 pole floating humbucker -Gotoh Stealth tuners -Ebony bridge with bone saddle -Arm and fretboard access bevels -Bloodwood binding with black/bloodwood/MOP purfling To set the scene, here is my second archtop and the concept for this guitar:
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  34. I've just completed this build. I call her the Siren. Maple/mahogany laminate construction 5 piece set neck Curly maple top and fingerboard Hipshot Grip-Lock open gear tuners Hipshot fixed bridge Dimarzio Evolution(bridge) Ibanez V8(neck) vol/vol controls, awaiting a 3 way toggle. I started building a little over a year ago, but I didn't really get much traction until earlier this year. I was building a Les Paul copy, when I hit a snag and decided to focus on something that I had drawn up. I'm glad I did. She plays surprisingly well. After working so hard toward this goal, I half expected to muck up the end result, but nope! She plays and sounds quite good. I'll be playing her on stage here Sept 20th.
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  35. Been doing a lot of work, but really only have negative things to mention, so i'll save it. Here is the one cool thing that i have actually done lately.
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  37. Justin mentioned a couple of times.......several times.......quite a few times that I need to sign this guitar. So I signed it. SR
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  38. Hi there, just finished this one! Painted with brush, hope you like it, and thanks for watching!
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  39. It is indeed comfy Muzz...... I did get some work done this past weekend......but it was one of those sessions when each day you get up and notice something that needs to be fixed and you undo half of what you got done the day before. I thought I'd use a mini buffiing wheel on my dremel to polish out the insides of the recesses. it worked great too, right up until I burned through a couple of spots and left divits in the finish. so I got my brush and nitro and filled the divits and recoated the inside edges of the recesses, When I was done I noticed a couple of nice drops of lacquer on the front. It was an excellent example of how on coat burns into the next. I wiped the spots by reflex. Then I filled them and went in for the night. I spent the next morning re sanding and buffing out those boo-boos. I did get the rest of the polishing done after that....well, after I decided that the leveling job I'd done on the front wasn't quite right. I felt like I'd polished up a little orange peel nice and bright....so I fixed that too. You may just recognize the shape of my old Black and Decker mouse that I turned into a buffer- polisher during my last build. It is covered with the most wonderful, thick soft half of a pair of socks that I have ever put my hands on. Apparently, my wife added them to my rag bag. These were her 'my it's cold I'm going to sleep in socks tonight socks'. You know the ones--the ones that will take at least a new diamond to get off so you might as well roll over and go to sleep. I've never seen them this close before, let alone hold themin my hands. These are niiiiiiiiiice --for buffing. They polished up this new guitar like nobody's business. I don't like the way the color looks as much in these inside shots--flash or no. You may notice a nut blank in the next pic. I bought a tusq blank and measured it out found the spacing, and screwed up the measurements somehow. I spaced them too close together. I had a bone blank and did it correctly. Today I decded I could file down the grooves and re do the tusq, which I did. And I got some machine heads put in tonight. SR
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  40. I take some 400 grit 7X 3M paper and cut a couple sheets to fit a foam sanding block. Then I rub the faces of those sheets together. This knocks the sharp edges of the grit off and leaves paper that cuts more like 600 or 800 grit. But the spacing of the grit is still 400 and the bottom line is it barely loads up with sanding dust at all. And it does not leave deep sanding scratches. It does do a nice job of gently leveling orange peel, thick areas, dust nibs and the like without cutting so fast you worry about sanding through. So......after: And back to hanging and curing for another week. SR
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  41. I usually start building during summer holidays but this time it was a winter start I bought a swamp ash body blank at a guitar show in Stockholm, Neck and fretboard blanks were already in my possession: No access to the band saw at my summer house, Japanese saw it is instead: Routed the lines, shaped the headstock: Fretboard gluing, clamps-r-us: Well, there it is. No visible glue line: Ordinary dot inlays this time around: Shaping the curve between fretboard and headstock: Starting the neck shaping with files, knives, spokeshave, scrapers...: Headstock starting to look ok. The neck is also fretted now, forgot to take pics...: Swamp ash body blank and drawing of the body shape: Cutting the body with an electric jigsaw (no band saw, remember?) and then sanding it to shape with sanding drums on an electric drill: Rounding the body edges: Rasps, knives, scrapers etc again, Body contours!: Made two pickguard designs: Chose the larger one, made a few in different materials. The metallic one is sheet aluminium that i machine turned with a brass brush attached to a Dremel: Clear nitro as a primer/pore filler: Mary Kaye white nitro from a spray can: A little masking..: ... and Sonic blue nitro spray can: I really wasn´t going to do the little fiddly details on this one... Didn´t hold my promise. Logo time. Aluminium, flamed maple, red dye: Dying the neck: Many layers of Tru-Oil: Tuners on, not much left now: And done: ...and another little detail, a switch tip to match the body and pickguard:
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  42. My nut came today so after fitting it I put the whole thin together. I'm pleased with how it's turned out, did I make mistakes along the way? - of course I did, is it perfect? - no of couse not, can I do better next time? - thats the plan. I've learned a lot during this build mostly from you guys that build some amazing guitars and found the whole experience relaxing and enjoyable. Now I just need to set it up properly and learn how to play - I used to play a bit of folk (badly) way back in the 70's but have never played an electric guitar in my life but as they say " its never too late"
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  43. Decided to round off the edges the old school way - using my vintage spoke shave which was given to me over 30 years ago, it did need a bit of a sharpen but then was ready to go. Then it was time to use it to start shaping the body, ran my belt sander over it to get the rough shape and finished off by hand to get yhe final shape. Then the whole body was sanded using 120, 180 and 360 grit sandpaper after several hours of sanding my arms and fingers told me that they had had enough so after cleaning up went iI ndoorsand and thought it would be a good idea to make sure everthing went togrther. The weather forecast for tomorrow is dry so maybe the final sand.
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  44. Here is the back of the bubigna. I really love carving the heel and the horn like this.
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  45. So here's stage two, in which we've gotten some painting done and taken delivery of a few machines.
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  46. Let's put some engineer theories to practice... ^^ According to the clamping pressure scheme that Prostheta shared earlier, and making use of a 40mm thick caul with the shape of the body, every clamp should cover about 80mm diameter around it, so I've made a circled template and start covering all the surface, marking the exact location of each clamp. That was cool because you don't have to spend time figuring where the clamp should be, which makes all the process a lot easier and faster. 27 clamps were needed for this operation. I got a clamp skyline. Hope it's ok, if I get a gap somewhere I will kill myself.
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  47. Haha I know what you mean, I liked the orange a bit more than the cherry tone it turns into. Here's a little video we shot while I was applying the oil. The transformation is fun to watch
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  48. Just remember to bring your towel. . . . always bring your towel. . . .
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  49. Last pik. Neck sitting in place with bridge plate. So to sum up. My King Mojo's specs are as follows It will have a genuine Fender hardtail with pressed steel saddels (part of the Mojo). removed from the prototype Black Lotus before it was sold a few years back (ptototype mojo) What I call a Guinness neck - Wenge & ash. I rekon Wenge is kinda like a black ash. It kinda looks similar, blunts blades & sands similarly - its just dark. So Black ash with a white ash top = a Guinness neck, Also both are made in Dublin Ireland (Gaelic Mojo) I worked on the refit of James gate years back & Im building this guitar (more Mojo) & the last drink I had, about 2 years ago was a Guinness (Guinness mojo) The last of my abalone dots for the fret markers. I had 5000 of these @ 10 dots a guitar = 500th abalone dot neck mojo Also - the fret board is made from the only remaining piece of the Ash from building the wifes wedding strat - so thats cool - More mojo, In fact - one for the ladies - Romance Mojo Baby !!
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  50. Name: Supernatural #1 Body - Swamp Ash with a flamed maple "toneguard" Neck - 5 ply Maple & Walnut Fretboard - Rosewood with Maple strip, 10" - 14" compound Radius with jumbo frets Tuners - Spertzles Pickups - EMG X's Tremolo - Floyd Rose Finish - Green Orange tint with water-based satin body and a tru oiled neck Knobs - Handmade out of maple This guitar was made as a tribute to Living Colour and Vernon Reid. I was able to give it to him when they played in Dallas. I just received a track from Vernon of him playing the guitar. Check it out here. I also added a pic of him with the guitar.
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