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Everything posted by Skyjerk

  1. My Les Paul

    WOW! Massimo, I am speechless. Your work is awesome! Your inlays are absolutely beautiful. I do my own inlaying, but have chickened out and paid someone else to actually cut the shell for me (except for some more simple pieces). I wish I had your patience
  2. Searls Guitars - 2015

    Holy smokes! I love that dreadnought! Its freakin beautiful
  3. There is no better dedication for your build than to your new son. Congratulations and welcome Thats a very nice bend I have to say. Ive done a couple that thick and didnt get such a nice joint
  4. 24 Magnum

    She plays really nice. It usually takes me a while to "connect" with a new guitar. Get the feel of how hard or soft to play to get the tones I want, where to put my hands and arms etc. Where to get the best harmonics, Etc To bond with it. I'm sure you know what I mean. This guitar took me no time at all to connect with. The action is low, but not too low. Frets are smooth and bends are nice and creamy feeling It plays easy and sounds really good. I made the right choices for pickups and body and neck wood. There is excellent synergy there. The sustain is phenominal, particularly considering it has a floating tremolo. I credit the neck-through construction, laminate neck and carbon fiber (it's very rigid) as well as the tungsten block on the tremolo for that. The block adds a lot of weight (the bridge plus block weighs nearly 2.5 lbs by itself) and that much mass completely offsets the loss of sustain you would expect from a floating trem. I'm not one of those guys that gets all fussy if the guitar weighs more than 8 lbs The downside is the block is $150.00 by itself which brings the overall cost of the bridge to around $350.00 which is a big pill to swallow, but when you play it you know instantly it was worth every penny Honestly I couldn't be happier with this guitar :-)
  5. 24 Magnum

    Hi Guys. I havent been around for a few months after first joining this forum back in in November. I did a build thread on this forum of an original design called the "22 Magnum" which I didnt actually complete. That guitar is still waiting for lacquer. I got side-tracked by a tragedy in my personal life and I didnt go into my shop for several months. When I finally went back I set the 22 magnum aside for a while to do a different build. This build is dedicated to my first born son, Chris. Chris passed away on Feb 18, 2017 from an accidental overdose of heroin/fentanyl. He was 24 years old. Christopher Francis Leahy April 6, 1992 - February 18, 2017 I wont spend a lot of time here detailing what Chris meant to me other than to say he is my son. My firstborn, my namesake, and a kindred spirit in many ways. He’s a part of me and I could not love him more. He changed me in a very fundamental way the day he came into this world, and he did so again on the day he left. A significant part of me died with him that day, but I hope that part will be reborn on the day I leave this world to join him. I miss him. I miss his face, his charm, his wit, his intelligence, and the twinkle in his eye. I even miss some of his more exasperating qualities because all those things together were uniquely Chris. Chris is gone from the physical world, the world in which the rest of us must continue to exist, and now 3 months later (at the time of writing) I’m still struggling to find a way to live with that. I have to conclude at this point that it will never be OK, nor will I ever be whole again. I’m moved by the deep and abiding love I feel for him to create some kind of physical memorial. Something that I can touch and see and that connects me with Chris through sight and sound and spirit. Chris had very recently found a true passion for playing guitar and making music, so a special guitar seems appropriate and right. I was already working on a custom build as a gift for him but he died before I completed it. That guitar sits unfinished in my studio and there it will remain unless and until my other son Jake, Chris’s younger brother, claims it for his own. He is the only other person on earth to whom I would ever consider giving it. The Phoenix is for me. As to why I’m calling it “The Phoenix”, that should become apparent pretty quickly. In addition to being dedicated to Chris, this build will also be a tribute to him and will feature a number of custom designed shell inlays that represent tattoo’s that he had that were special to him and to me. The largest of these is a phoenix taking flight on the back of the body and a large Aires logo also on the back of the body. I was there with him on the occasions he got those two tattoos. In fact, I paid for them. The phoenix was on his chest, and the Aires symbol on his shoulder. I also have a tattoo of a Phoenix on my own chest that predates Chris’s by many years and was one of Chris’s motives for choosing it for himself, and I have recently gotten Chris’s phoenix tattoo on my own arm in memory of my son. As low-brow as this all might sound, we have a mutual love of tattoos, and these two in particular represent special memories of some of the good times that we shared. I cherish them. Both tattoos are visible in the above photo of Chris. There will also be a couple smaller inlays, another Phoenix on the fretboard as a large 12th fret inlay, and an abstract Aires symbol on the headstock. The main two inlays will be quite accurate compared to the tattoos with regard to shape and size, but wont be accurate representations of the colors simply because shall is available in limited colors, and of course they will be set into dark colored wood as opposed to skin. As a side note, in addition to putting his phoenix on the guitar, I've also put it on myself as another remembrance. Back to the guitar. Approximate size and placement of the Aires symbol on the back of the body. The Phoenix will also be on the back, I'm still working out placement. This Phoenix symbol will be on the fretboard in white MOP The last inlay will be on the headstock and will be an Aires symbol in white MOP With regard to the guitar itself, the body and headstock shapes and top carve makes up for what was lacking in my <em>original</em> 24 Magnum design from a few years ago. Having lived with that for a couple years, and having played it, theres some more changes I\u2019ve made to the body shape, among other things. The plan with this design is to appeal to the tastes of people that like PRS guitars and fill that niche This body shape is called "Magnum" and this is a 24 fret version, hence "24 Magnum". I previously built a 22 fret, 25" scale version of this guitar which I called the "22 Magnum" In addition to a better shape, it also has a better top carve This model, as with most of my builds, has the following notable features: Neck-through-body construction 3-piece laminate neck carbon fiber neck reinforcement Specs: 25.5" scale length 24 stainless steel frets 12" fretboard radius Genuine South American mahogany ( Swietenia macrophylla ) body and neck Bookmatched, figured maple top and headstock overlay Natural "faux" binding Macassar Ebony Fretboard Original Floyd Rose Tremolo White mother-of-pearl Phoenix symbol covering frets 11, 12, 13 Planet Waves 3×3 locking tuning machines Seymour Duncan pickups - Custom Custom (TB-11) bridge, and Sentient neck) 5-way blade (n, n-split, n/br, br-split, br) CTS pots, orange drop caps Nitrocellulose Lacquer I want to take a minute here to give special recognition to my friend Paul Eckert at Sweetwater. I've worked with Paul for about 5 or 6 years and have made many purchases of recording equipment, instruments, and guitar parts over that time and he always gives first rates service. Over the course of our association we've also become friends. I always share pics and updates on my builds, we've talked about all manner of things, musical interests, our various recording projects, and most recently the birth of his own son who is now 7 months old. Upon hearing of my sons passing, today when I placed the order for the pickups and tuning machines for this tribute build, rather than sending me the usual awesome pricing he always gives me, this time he just said "This ones on me" I cant adequately express my gratitude for his generosity of spirit. All I can say is thank you, Paul. Materials for this build. The reddish-brown boards on the right are a very nice quality 8/4 Bolivian mahogany I picked up at Hearne Hardwoods in Oxford PA. They will be used to make the body, the neck, and the headstock and so will comprise the bulk of the guitar. I appropriately picked them up on what would have been Chris's 25th birthday 2 weeks ago on April 6th. &nbsp; So here is my basic design drawing. We'll compare when its finished and see how close we came &nbsp; Macassar Ebony for the fretboard Hardware for this build: Original Floyd Rose tremolo Solid Tungsten sustain block for the bridge. These are the parts I mentioned above that were donated by Paul Eckert at Sweetwater. Seymour Duncan pickups. Custom Custom trembucker for the bridge slot, and a Sentient 6-string for the neck. Also a set of black D'Addario auto-trim locking tuning machines, and finally, a 4-pole, 5-way super switch
  6. 24 Magnum

    What guitar pictorial is complete without a shot of the axe floating in space?
  7. 24 Magnum

    Thanks guys
  8. For those that might not have seen my build thread, I built this guitar in memory of my firstborn son Chris who passed away 7 months ago, Feb 18, 2017. He was 24 years old. The guitar has special inlays on the back that represent tattoo's that my son had on his chest and shoulder. A Phoenix (mythological bird) symbol, and an Aries (ram). Chris was an Aries and we both have Phoenix tattoo's on our chests for personal reasons. Also smaller versions of each on fretboard and headstock to match This guitar is named "Phoenix" The model is one of my own designs, called "24 Magnum". Its my 12th build to date, I build in my garage/shop at my home. This model, as with most of my builds, has the following notable features: Neck-through-body construction 3-piece laminate neck (all mahogany) carbon fiber neck reinforcement Specs: 25.5″ scale length 24 stainless steel frets 12″ fretboard radius Genuine South American mahogany ( Swietenia macrophylla ) body and neck Bookmatched, flamed maple top Ebony headstock overlay Natural “faux” binding Macassar Ebony Fretboard Original Floyd Rose Tremolo w/ tungsten sustain block Custom white mother-of-pearl phoenix 12th fret and Aries headstock inlays Custom white mother-of-pearl in ebony Aries symbol inlay on back Custom paua abalone and select blue paua Phoenix inlay on back Planet Waves 3×3 locking tuning machines Seymour Duncan pickups – Custom Custom (TB-11) bridge, and Sentient neck 5-way Oak Grigsby super switch (n, n-split, n/br, br-split, br) CTS pots, orange drop caps Nitrocellulose Lacquer The photo of my son Chris is included to show the tattoo's on his chest and shoulder that are the inspiration for the inlays, thus there are 9 photo's in all. I included only 8 photo's of the guitar itself so hopefully this is still in keeping with the rule stating "a maximum of eight photos for the instrument" since Chris is not the instrument
  9. 24 Magnum

    I officially dedicate this guitar to my firstborn son Chris who passed away Feb 18, 2017. He was 24 years old Its called "Phoenix"
  10. 24 Magnum

    Well, as any activity that focuses my mind and occupies my hands its very helpful. Being busy works for me right now. Emotionally, the inlays and such keep me connected to my son, which I really need. This guitar is only a part of my overall project. The very last time I saw my son in person while he was still living, I recorded a few tracks in my recording studio with him singing against a really crappy backing track. He hated the way he sounded (typical). He actually sounded really good. I was unable to make myself listen to this until only two weeks ago. It was hard. Anyway, I decided I'm going to dump the backing track, and re-record it all using real instruments. Of course I'll be doing the guitar tracks (using this build), I have the drummer from my band thats going to do drums, and a former bass player that will do the bass. I'll do backing vocals. My brother is going to play keys. Gonna make this into a bad-ass tune. I'd always dreamed of one day jamming with Chris, this is the best I'll get and while not exactly what I had in mind I'm grateful I have this much,
  11. 24 Magnum

    OK, sanded and buffed. Still need to clean some compound out of some cracks and crevices... sometime in the next two or three days I'll level, crown, and polish the frets, and then put it all together. Just a couple days from finished guitar
  12. 24 Magnum

    Well, its been hardening 2 weeks and still a couple to go, but its hard enough to take it off the hanger and get a few pix that give an idea what the finished product will look like. Picture this with all the black hardware (pickups, rings, Floyd Rose, tuners, knobs) installed, as well as back and TR covers. The lighting in these pix make the mahogany look a bit more yellow than it looks for real. Of course the very minor orange peel and you can see on the top as well as the little crust of nitro along the fretboard edges will be gone too
  13. 24 Magnum

    Ive actually considered this very type of thing. Problem for me is that with only a couple exceptions all my builds are neck-through, This presents quite a challenge in determinie how to reliably mount it since theres no neck pocket or screw holes. I've come up with a couple ideas but havent actually tried anything. Ive seen devices that can hold the guitar in the pickup cavity bu that would prevent unobstructed access to the top for spraying and I'm not sure it its held securely enough to hold while its rotating...
  14. The Helix build (video series)

    Yo John, Really enjoyed the video. I've thought about doing one myself, however just the added time of taking detailed pictures, editing the pictures, and posting them to document a build is a huge increase. Probably adds 10-15% more time to the job. Video I have to think is gonna add 50% more to the job itself, and then all the editing into a coherent production after the fact, I decided not to bother. Plus my shop is always such a mess
  15. 24 Magnum

    Thanks. Yes, I used about 5% retarder in the cut I shot on the top
  16. 24 Magnum

    Thanks everyone for the kind words So I had some lacquer issues over the weekend that required I sand the clear off the back. As it turns out, shooting nitro in high temps can cause some issues with bubbles forming in the clear if you shoot even a moderate coat. Temp on Sunday was a cozy 95 F. (35 C.). Humidity wasnt too bad, around 55%. I shoot in my garage with the door all the way up so its outside for all intents and purposes. I'd hoped to finish the clear and put the guitar downstairs to harden and be finished with this phase, but I'm just going to have to wait for better conditions. Normally I shoot in spring and fall, but didnt really want to wait on this guitar so I gave it a shot. The top on the other hand helps me feel like the day wasnt a total loss. I had already shot most of the clear a couple weeks ago without issue. In addition to the back, I level sanded the top with 320 grit dry paper which made short work of the job, but of course left pretty heavy scratces, and then I shot a flow-out coat of lacquer that was cut with 60% thinner and 5% retarder. I shot it with the guitar laying on its back and let gravity be my friend. It also prevented runs and sags which a very thin lacquer can do very easily. the result is almost no orange peel at all. I'll still have to level sand this when the time comes but its going to be a very quick job. I'll hit it with 800 wet and then go straight to the buffer and I'm confident its going to look spectacular. This is definitely the best pre-wet sanding finish I've managed to date. So I still need to get about 4 good coats of clear on the back. I'm hoping to do this piece meal like one coat each day early evening when the temps are lower but before the humidity gets too high... So the below pix are the finish as shot straight from the gun. Not wet sanded or buffed at all. Its gonna look like glass after I actually do the wet sanding and buffing...
  17. 24 Magnum

    OK, shooting the clear. Still have a couple coats to shoot on the back this evening. Learned something new yesterday. It was 95 F. in my shop, but humidity was low, around 50% so I thought I didnt need to use retarder. I shot one coat a bit heavy and it formed all kinds of bubbles under the surface. A bit of reading showed me that in temps like that it skinned over too fast for the solvents to escape so they formed bubbles. Waited till it hardened and then sanded it off. Re-shot it with a little retarder and lighter coats and didnt get the bubbles. I thought retarder was just to prevent blushing in high humidity, but I was wrong Still learning... Used timbermate for mahogany to grain fill, but darkened it with trans-tint tobacco brown I like the darker fill in the pores.
  18. 24 Magnum

    Thanks. Yup, it does. Especially now that it has a beak and an eye and the head looks like a head instead instead of a pseudopod... I used one of the floating flame pieces to make the beak and for the eye I just carved a divot with my dremel and filled it with epoxy when I set the rest of the floating flame pieces for his eye. It looks like a stained glass window. To be honest I was somewhat afraid this would come out looking stupid and wreck the guitar, but I'm REALLY happy with how this turned out.
  19. 24 Magnum

    Tattooing the guitar... Still some work to do. I have some small detached pieces of abalone "flame" for the phoenix, and a few gaps to fill. I plan to carve a bit of detail on the head like beak silhouette with another piece of abalone and an eye, but this thing really lights up. I decided to use a dark epoxy on the phoenix because I like the dark border. It sets it off nicely and looks more "tattoo-like" IMO
  20. 24 Magnum

    Yup The large size bling (the Aries in the 2nd photo above and the Phoenix) go on the back though, so the main view of the guitar wont be overwhelmed with inlays. The front only has what you can see in the photo above. Headstock and 12th fret inlay which you can partly make out in the photo above as well. I think it'll remain in the realm of tasteful with regard to the bling
  21. 24 Magnum

    Sanded the gunk down and then spent some time at the disk sander roughing things out. TR cover needs to be thicknessed to about 2/3 its current thickness (from the back) and trimmed off where you see it overhanging the headstock overlay, the rest of it is sitting in the approximate location. The big Aries inlay for the back needs to be trimmed in some more. Still a bit oversized and the shape itself needs a bit more work. I'll do that tonite. You can kinda make out the big Phoenix inlay on the counter there. I'll be inlaying that as well as the Aires tomorrow and will hopefully shoot the rest of the finish over the weekend. Then it'll just be wait a few weeks, sand, buff, and wire it all up. If I'm happy with the finished product maybe I'll enter it in August GOTM
  22. 24 Magnum

    My standard truss rod cover. Pix speak for themselves I'll sand it off and cut it out tonite...
  23. 24 Magnum

    Did a bit of inlay work over the weekend. Unlike the headstock inlay I did not cut this myself, but sent my design to DePaule and they cut if for me This comes glued to the the cardboard, so I had to soak it in water to remove the backing from it. Had this been a more complex inlay with a lot more pieces I would cover the top with clear packing tape and just sit the bottom in the water until it comes off. The tape keeps all the pieces in their places. then I would put it where it will go, tape and all, and proceed as usual. Taking it apart and trying to work with all the little pieces can be a gigantic mistake and lead to a lot of regret Many thanks to Komodo for the chalk idea. Next time I think I'll sand the piece a bit smoother beforehand as the chalk filled a lot of stuff I didnt want it in, however even with that it was still a lot easier to see the lines when I did the routing Also, all I could find on short notice was kids sidewalk chalk which might not do as well as real "blackboard" chalk. I'll know soon, I still have my TR cover inlay to do I'll be cutting this out with an oval border and inlaying the entire oval into the back of the guitar. I inlayed the MOP into the ebony first because the white MOP just doesnt stand out that well in mahogany and I want the symbol to pop.
  24. 24 Magnum

    Did Hm. Not sure what happened here
  25. 24 Magnum

    Thank you Dalton