Entry for September 2019's Guitar Of The Month is now open!
Walnut Memorial Strat It's been a few years since I've submitted a GOTM candidate. It's been a few years since I've completed a guitar, for that matter. Life sometimes gets in the way. In any event, here's an instrument I (finally) just finished last weekend. This one is my 15th instrument. In February of 2012 my father passed away. Before he passed, he gave me some special wood. This wood was from a walnut tree that grew on the family farm where my father was raised. He grew up playing in this tree. Later when the tree had reached the end of its life, my father cut the tree down. When he passed away, at his request I built him a cremation urn from this tree to hold his ashes. After the urn was finished, I had a bunch of the scrap pieces and off-cuts left over. None of them alone were large enough to be very useful. However given the nature of where the wood originated, I didn't want to just throw them in the scrap bucket or the burn pile. So I concocted an idea: I would take the little pieces of scrap and glue them together into larger pieces. From those larger pieces I could plane and joint stock in sizes useable enough to build a guitar. This guitar would be my tribute to my father. Rather than just an heirloom object that would sit on a shelf somewhere, this could be something I could use in a way that would be a fitting tribute to my dad's legacy. In addition to the wood being special, I decided to take my memorial instrument one step further. Under the pickguard there is a compartment that holds some of my father's ashes. It's a way to keep a little bit of my dad near me. You may find this touching or you may find this creepy. I haven't fully decided myself which it is. But it felt like something I needed to do, so it is what it is. I started building this guitar in late February of 2012. A few months later at the beginning of May 2012, my mom also passed away. For a variety of reasons the guitar project ended up getting placed on a shelf for about four years. A couple months ago I decided it was time to pull it out of the closet and finish it. I did a full documentation of my build on my web site: Building The Walnut Memorial Strat. There's also some pages on my site covering the build of the above mentioned cremation urn, in case you're interested in seeing that as well. Here's an overview of the specs: Neck Type: Bolt-on Neck Wood: Walnut from the scraps of my dad's cremation urn. Truss Rod: Dual action Neck Reinforcement: Two carbon fiber rods Headstock: Fender-esque flat style (non-angled) Tuners: Sperzel style locking Nut: Bone Body Wood: Walnut from the scraps of my dad's cremation urn. Body Features: Standard Strat shape, forearm contour, rear belly cutaway. Fretboard: Cocobolo, 10" radius Scale Length: 25.5" Pickups: GFS Premium Vintage Alnico Controls: One volume, two tone, five way pickup switch. Hardware: Chrome Finish: Gloss nitrocellulose lacquer Weight: Ten pound range (guesstimate). Not unbearable, but not a lightweight either.
What the heck, I might as well throw my latest into the pot... I've never been a big fan of Flying V guitars, but for some reason about six months ago I got a hankering to build one. I had to wait until I finished up a couple others that I had in the works before I could start on this project, though. I think I'm starting to get a little faster, as this guitar only took about six weeks from start to finish, not counting design time which I did while visiting my in-laws over the holidays. The specs on the guitar are as follows: Body: Body wings made from cherry, maple and bookmatched walnut front and back, classic "V" shape, tune-o-matic bridge, string-through design, Dunlop strap locks. Neck: Neck-through design, curly maple, cherry and walnut laminates, ebony fretboard, mother-of-pearl "T" inlay at 12th fret, Gotoh tuners, graphite nut, dual-action truss rod. Electronics: Seymour Duncan Custom-Custom in the bridge, and Jazz in the neck, volume control, 5 way "P" style super switch (gives same pickup combinations as a PRS), strat-style output jack plate on rear. Finish: Tru-Oil