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Entry for August 2020's Guitar Of The Month is open - ENTER HERE!

frank falbo

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About frank falbo

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  1. I might have to hold you to that! You GOTM regulars keep on fighting. Divide and conquer, that's how the little guy wins. Now to offend everyone, and lose any remote chance I might have had for a vote: Idch-when you wrote "run n hide-duck n cover" were you being antagonistic, or just typing your national anthem after Drak typed ours? Drak-The more you spice up a tele, the more it's reveals it's limitations. Welcome to the glass ceiling. And saying anyone STARTED on a tele and then moved to something else when they got better, doesn't help your case either! (but "go USA" and all that!) Jeremy- You've stayed out of all this banter like a good Canadian should. You just stay up there and let the big boys handle this one. Perry-You aussies are always up for a fight and we like that. Sometimes you throw punches first and ask questions later. We like that, too. We just can't have you beating us at anything, so enter your 5 guitars, and split your vote 5 ways. That's how you guys fight anyway, throwing dozens of wild drunken punches hoping something lands. Now I'd like to take this opportunity to say goodbye to my GOTM December chances. But I'll be there anyway.
  2. Yeah, the Tonepros studs pretty much negate the issue of how far back the bridge sits on the studs, from a sonic standpoint. Man, you're taking this way too hard, Matt. The 7-string I'm hopefully entering in December is the pinnacle of design for me. The shape is pretty original, and I put more time into it than any other build, getting the carve just right, etc. The sounds and feel are perfect for me. My whole heart and soul are poured into it. And I still fully expect to get my clock cleaned by some Drak tele or Ormsby soloist. Not to mention the Leviathan that's already in there. I'm sure someone will say my horn is too long, or they don't like the way the pickup is angled, or whatever. Or "why isn't there a pickguard?" LOL. It's no big deal. Everyone has their thing. And amidst all the battling and vote-splitting, December is going to be a wild card anyway.
  3. RIGHT! That's what I'm saying. What a perfect time for guys like us to enter. No loss of self esteem. And if Drak, Perry, and LGM enter multiple guitars, they do indeed split their own vote, so maybe we'll have a shot. They'll each be eachothers' Ross Perot.
  4. Actually all the December heat works quite well for me. I was planning on entering a solid quilt 7-string that's almost complete. With all the other talent in there, I will feel really good about losing in a landslide. You know, like the Astros probably feel like "well we lost, but at least we lost to the best!" And Matt, I hope I made it clear that your guitar is awesome too. Like Fryovanni, the stuff I mentioned was really minor, but contributed to the vote because it was so tight this month (and this year) Since Drak was calling out the "non-Matt" voters, I thought I'd share some specifics to back up my "non-Matt" vote. Although they're minor. The "gangly" reference was in how to my eyes, the cutaways don't flow into eachother, or lead the eye to the waistline smoothly. I think the new Carvin carvetops have the same issue. But I mean, that's the way you drew it, so it is perfect for you. Heck there're some guitars I think are hideous, and they sell lots of them. So everyone's different. It's just like Drak was saying about his entries. In another group, a different month, it's a winner.
  5. I just don't think Matt's guitar is on par with some of the others. Flawless? Maybe, although I would have liked to see the bridge studs placed back farther so the bridge had more meat on the studs. The saddles are pulled back pretty far, too. The shape is just a little off to me. It's a little gangly. But it's certainly something to be proud of. Just not a vote getter in this group. It's really a toss up between the rest. I love the RW neck LP. That's almost exactly how I'd make a Les Paul for myself, with good woods and a dramatically improved neck joint. The Swede makes a fine guitar, too. Perhaps not as dazzling as the rest, but that's not his fault. Perry finally did something that I can say is worthy of a vote. In the past I always witheld my vote from Perry because I judged him against himself. So a typical superstrat with fancy woods wasn't enough from him. His recent entries were very "Jackson custom shop" influenced. I'm sure they're better, and I'd rather have an Ormsby than a Jackson any day, but since he's won G'sOTM in the past, I want something new from him. So this month he delivered, by showing his first airbrush guitar. He gets mega extra points for trying something for the first time AND having it come out perfect. I know someone has talent when their first attempts at things are 100% successes. And I'll be darned, it still looks like something right out of the Jackson catalog. If Mattia hadn't found worm holes in his top, my vote would have gone to Perry. That inlay is great, and the spirit of the guitar is great. It represents overcoming obstacles. It represents taking life's tragedies and not just living with them, but turning them into triumphs. It repres...Oh whatever it's a cool guitar. Even though some of the execution doesn't match Perry's, I had to vote like I always do, on the whole thing. Like if Perry made that guitar, it would've had a cleaner body binding line, without the angles and such. But I don't hold the cavity covers against mattia. I personally don't like flame maple as a back cover. And I don't like the angle that narrows it either. I prefer a straight rectangle. But he can just as easily put a plastic strat cover on later.
  6. You guys are killing me...What if the inlays are contracted out? What if the neck was bought from Carvin, Stew Mac, Perry, LGM Setch? Who cares!....Why if the inlays are contracted? will that make you not vote for it? Same as for the pup rings, don't we buy most from outside sources? ← The easiest way for me to clarify this is to say "No, it wouldn't make me NOT vote for it" and that is the truth. But what is ALSO true is that if I found out he DID carve up those mounting rings and cut the inlay himself, in addition to everything else on that guitar, that would make me WANT to vote for it. I know it's a subtle difference in language, but I want you to see that the questions about what is contracted out are meant in a positive light, not a negative one. I would LIKE to give credit where credit is due.
  7. So since you're here answering questions, would you mind telling us what parts, if any, (mainly the inlays) were contracted out? I like the guitar, and I'm not a snob about having to build all your own stuff or anything, but it's pretty close in my eyes between you and the zipper. See, the things you contract out are totally fine by me, but then I have to judge them as a design element and not a labor element. And BOTH are important to me. I've seen plenty of "all custom" guitars here where the design and execution both sucked. Sure the guy put 100's of man hours into it, but I'd rather vote for a well designed and executed Tele in those cases. Project Guitar has a "DIY" connotation to it. So when you DON'T "DIY" we need to know, just like Zipper and Derek told us they used pre-fab necks. It would be misrepresentation to tell us they made the necks, and would give them an unfair advantage. Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer these questions, Doug.
  8. Like Perry, I'm not ready to vote yet. I need to know what (if anything) was contracted out on Doug's guitar. I think the "offset" mounting ring comment refers to the fact that the wall is thicker on the insides than the outsides. That doesn't bother me at all. It's a design element. There are lots of things I don't like about Doug's guitar, but also like Perry I personally don't let that influence me. Jehle's Oddboy is perfect until you get to the headstock. The shape is goofy enough and the natural wood with the stripe makes it even goofier. Perhaps a black or matching paint job on the headstock would make it less awkward. Derek's tele is just that. A quilt top tele with a Mighty Mite neck. It's a guitar that could get my vote, but unfortunately not when there are some excellent 3-dimensional carves in the same month. C'mon, Derek, you have to start carving up those thick tops you have! I realize this was for a friend so you just have to let that dictate the job. The Zipper is fantastic. If he had made the neck it would be a guatantee. The shape and carve are perfectly designed and executed. I can't fault the hardware and component choices here because none of us knows what someone else's budget or availability is for parts. So Jazzclub and Derek basically built bodies and gave pro setups to factory necks. In that case Jazzclub's carve and original design trumps a slab tele. Basically if Doug did all that work himself he gets my vote, even though I hate the natural coloring and the antique brass. It's still a great, "out of the ordinary" design with excellent execution. Depending on what was farmed out, my vote could flip to the Zipper.
  9. Jeremy you're comments are all fine but you're nuts if you think the bass should've had a thicker or bent top. 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.
  10. Phil's got some design elements that I couldn't ignore. It really shows a lot of thought and care went in at every stage. What stinks is most of the others had that too this month. So I really did want to vote for others, too. There is no criteria here, which is the beauty and curse of the voting process. But for me, my criteria is probably most like wes'. I'm looking for artistic design, (which Godin nailed, too) and that doesn't mean I'm anti-tele/strat/soloist because artistry can be what you do WITHIN those designs. I'm looking for implementation/craftsmanship (most of you nailed that, too) and least important is what I like personally. I'm sort of anti-cliche, so saying "here's a tele, but with fancy wood" probably isn't enough for me vs. an original build like the Crucible, Godin's piece, Phil's bass, or even the Egress. Perry, I guess my only apprehension for you is that you've won twice already, it's your main job, and we all know you're a fantastic builder. So unfortunately you're going to really have to wow me before I'll support a third win. Your top finish is amazing, but it's still "just" a carved top soloist. Plus I feel someone at your level should make that neck transition a little sexier, and perhaps flow it into the cutaways more smoothly. But between that and your green one last month, you've convinced me to put zebra pups in one of my RG's. So you can take credit for that. Godin amazes me. At your age I keep trying to figure out who's helping you and how much they're doing, because I'm in disbelief. I was 17 before I was building with curves like that. The Crucible would've gotten my vote if the shape was a little more flowing. I like the cutaways to flow into eachother, and to have a bit of symmetry. The Crucible, not unlike the Schecter S-1 has what I've termed a "dog leg right" in that it throws your eye to the right in the cutaway section. That's a personal thing and is no reflection on the guitar. It could have just as easily been a tie between that and the bass. Way to go Phil!
  11. If I'm using water based aniline, often times I'll use the first coat of stain, or a lighter mix of it as the "wet and sand back" medium. In my experience, wetting and sanding back can reduce the effect of the figure. What you've basically done is to activate all the natural variances with clear water, then sand them away. If you do that too many times, you have a flatter looking surface that doesn't pop out as much IMO. Each time you wet and sand back with clear water, you produce a more uniform surface, which in turn accepts stain more uniformly. For figured tops, I want the randomness of stain direct to wood. I don't want a smooth, even color. I can get that with shader coats if I wanted. I end up getting a similar effect as a black pre-stain because the dye penetrates and collects so deeply into the figures, the way black would. I often use a highly potent mix of the final color for the first stain and then sand that back rather than using black. Black will kill the flash. On veneer you don't have much flash anyway, because there's no depth. A black pre-stain could help or totally ruin the piece. If the black just goes into the little pores, but doesn't absorb into the figure, then it will look cheap. A prime example of this is Epiphone's "boneyard" finish, compared to the USA Gibson version. Besides being a Koean factory guitar, it's a veneer. So it almost looks like a picture of a guitar up close, not the real thing. For a veneer, I'd say no moisture prior to staining, like Drak said. Then, don't sand it down too much, leave it a little furry until you get your sealer coats on there, and sand those back. Sanding to too high a grit also kills figure, and depending on the figure, sometimes using a scraper helps lift it up.
  12. I think that's the guitar's owner, Frank. Hence the big smile on his face. I wonder if years from now we'll have an annual "lifetime achievement award"
  13. What a great month! This is the first time I've ever been "judgemental" about anyone's work. But I was in last month's gotm so I abstained from commenting on that batch. In order: Maiden69: Fantastic guitar all the way around. Pre-made neck, but with enough custom work to it to take ownership in the whole guitar. Jabi: Interesting idea for the back end, both with the trem recess and the bottom curve, but overall a hodgepodge of incoherency. The design doesn't flow for me. But the workmanship looks good. 82DeanZ: Great guitar aside from some general misalignments. I think I'd prefer a black middle single, but maybe in the pics it's contrasting too much. Maybe in person it looks better. The neck is gorgeous. Stew: Can't pay you enough compliments. (other than my vote) That's rattle can?! It looks like a thick marine/spar finish. Design and implementation is flawless. And way back when I first glanced at it here, I didn't like it. Before I digested the concept I dismissed it as a typical multilam. Boy was I ever wrong. The garehanman: Beautiful work, and a close 2nd. neocon58: Looks great for a first, and the paint looks great too. Perry: You're at a different level. Your guitars aren't an "of the month" but rather an "of the career" You'll always make 100% quality items. This one didn't have anything out of the ordinary. Malmsteen: Nice looking guitar, very clean looking. Some of your fret slots are off, and some are angled. But the scallops look real good and the rest of the work is clean. I guess I put a heavy element on design for gotm.
  14. Hey does my 7-string lap steel count? Made from Walnut strips with two Purpleheart accent layers 2 Dimarzio "Custom 7" pickups wired Hum/off/Single Kluson tuners. Custom made Walnut bridge, string through holes drilled at the appropriate angle, kind of like a Takamine or Ovation acoustic bridge. Maple fretboard with frets as markers Purpleheart nut Interesting features: The "saddle" is fretwire, bent around. It goes down into the body. At the treble end it is grounded through the electronics cavity, so the strings are grounded. The bridge was really fun. The string holes are angled corectly and there's a Godin-like oval cut right where they emerge. There're 3 jacks. One is a loop, so you can run OD/FX on the lap steel only. The other (obviously) is an out. One is an "IN" for whatever guitar you're playing on your shoulder. The black toggle switches between the shoulder guitar and the lap steel. So I can do near instant changes, even mid-song. All the material besides the fretboard were spare parts. The lip on the bass side is a slide holder. I use a chromed slide and there're magnets embedded under there for a slight "grab" on the slide when its in there. So I realize it's not much, but it's a "something from nothing" story, and sometimes those are fun, even if not a contender. It gets a lot of play, I guess that's a good measure.
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