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Over the years I have done bits of work here and there for Devin Townsend and Strapping Young Lad. I have the privilege of meeting the guys many times over the years. All good times. The second guitarist of Strapping Young Lad - Jed Simon - is probably one of the more under-rated metal guitarists out there and was most commonly seen sporting a custom ESP Flying V over the decade or so that SYL were active.

Jed was kind enough to supply me with bits and pieces of information about "whitey" which I cross-referenced with specs from the ESP NV. The production ESP model is fairly similar however the devil is in the details....

Original specs are fairly vanilla. Maple neck-through with Alder wings and Ebony fretboard, single EMG 81 in the bridge position, TOM bridge, etc. A few of these have been altered on the basis that I don't want to make a 100% slavish spec-for-spec copy. In addition to this I am making a 7-string version.

Preliminary flattened CAD sketch:


Awfully shot photo of work so far....


The specs of the two guitars are different from the original and also from each other. Both bodies are Sapele, cut with the grain aligned to the outer edge to strengthen the wing tips. The 6-string version ("JSV-6") is a deep-set neck tenon with a laminated Wengé neck. Not pictured is the 7-string's ("JSV-7") neck which is laminated Khaya. All laminations were aligned to give a quartersawn blank.

The JSV-6 runs 24 frets over a 25,5" scale with strings anchored through the body using a V-plate. The same applies to the JSV-7 excepting that the scale is extended to 27". The EMG 81 of the original is maintained in the JSV-6 (even though Jed recently kitted her out with an EMG 57) with the JSV-7 being similarly equipped with either an EMG 81-7, 707 or perhaps an 81-7H with the brushed black cover.

The build process is relatively straightforward except for the bevels. In lieu of a better way of cutting them, the body was initially shaped from the blank to be specifically oversize - wider near the neck and deeper in the rear cutaway. This allows all of the bevelling to be cut using one 45° router bit with the final shape reducing the bevels accordingly. This can be seen in the photo where the body on the right (JSV-7) is pretty much fresh off the initial bevelling process whereas the JSV-6 on the left is the final shape.

The initial neck fit is <tuco>tight tight tight</tuco> and true to the centreline. The mortice need a little finessing for the angle when I make a 2,5° routing template for it, but is other dead on.

For finishing, I took onboard Jed's advice that the paint is NOT the crappy Arctic White or whatever ESP call their plain white finish these days. The original finish was a very lightly off-white pearl which has apparently ambered over time. I found this strange at first although photos of whitey with the hardware off confirmed this to be true.


Still, all strangeness with the finish aside I paid a visit to an auto refinishing suppliers here in Pori (http://www.pp-maalit.com/index.php) and dug through their colour chips. The two finishes I'm deciding between are 2007 Subaru "Ice White Pearl" and a metallic colour code from the PPG chips. Both require a basecoat, top coat and clear. Should be pretty sweet! For reference, this is what the Subaru colour looks like:


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No, I'm using PPG products instead. The Subaru colour was merely a guideline to ascertain the degree of iridescence, colour temperate, etc. To be honest, I'm probably going to go for the most convenient paint schedule given my level of experience shooting three-stage pearl (zero) and the equipment available. Depending on how much I need to be involved in the process I might even sub the whole thing out to the auto painting department at the school I'm studying at. Whilst I know I can get whatever I want mixed to order from PP-Maalit, it might come in cheaper (or even cheap as free) if I make the job student work. Ultimately it comes down to whether my lack of experience (but bags of enthusiasm) coupled with expensive paint or more experienced painters with less choice and quality control is the better option.

A mistake I made in the store was only getting the simple code off the chip in the booklet, "M007". I've no idea what this references otherwise I could hunt the Internet for working examples of this paint....

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Cutting the neck tenon today for the JSV-7.

-2,50° angle dialled in on the cross-cut fence. This is for cutting the bass side shoulder. The cut is checked against the marking made on the top/side corner since my angle gauge is less reliable than the table saw.


Blade height set against the workpiece to double-check. I've set the blade height on the controller too many times only to find out after the cut that I forgot to action the setup. This is left 1mm shy of target since I will clean up the shoulders by hand anyway.


Say my name.


Cross-cut fence set to 2,50° for cutting the treble-side shoulder.


Cross-cut fence re-set to 0,00°, blade angle set 2,50° with a 3,0mm depth of cut. A little cleanup of the furring on the heel necessary however this is satisfactory since I will be stacking the heel slightly later on.


Bandsaw fence set to cut the sides of the tenon with around 3-4mm of play. This will be cleaned up on the table router....



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