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Build #5 - Luke's Hardtail nearing completion

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I've been working on this on and of since October for my friend Luke. It's a custom 24 style guitar but he's a big les paul fan so there are a few gibson style elements including 12" radius, tunomatic and tail piece and some trapeze inlays. It was my first serious effort at hand-cutting inlays.

It's a 5 piece flamed maple/kyaha laminated neck, 1 piece khaya body then a 2 piece carved maple top, ebony fretboard and headstock cap with flamed maple inlays and maple/ebony binding. I got a 2m plank of flamed maple cheap on ebay so I made it all out of that, it means the top isn't bookmatched because the plank was 22mm thick but that was a sacrifice I was happy to make.

I used the same plank to make the neck laminates and inlays, and it was my first attempt at making my own binding strips instead of buying in. The ebony binding came from a couple of slithers I cut of the board before slotting it.

It has a demarzio liquifire and super distortion, grover mini locking tuners, and graphtec tusq bridge and gotoh tailpiece (graphtec tailpieces are apparently out of stock for the forseable) 3 way switch craft toggle and 2 cts push pulls for volume and tone. I had a bit of a nightmare getting push pulls to work in this guitar due to lack of depth on the body, in order to fit the control cover over them, I'm going to have to carve the inside of it, luckily I can do this because it's 8mm thick and carved to the body contour (the back fo the body is also carved to mirror the top. But it's the first guitar I've made to include an "arch top" control cover 😀 Anyway, the push-pulls were a PITA, but they were worth the effort because it means we can coiltap the pickups individually for extra tones - Personally I often use the combo of bridge humbucker and neck single coil, it's one of my fave tones.

To colour the top, I went over the whole thing with black water based dye, sanded it back to bring out the figure, then once more with black to blend in the burst. Then I mixed blue artist oil paint with mineral spirits and gave it one coat of blue, then after a week or so of drying time, I mixed more blue paint with Crimson guitars penetrating oil to give it a coat of tinted blue oil finish. Once that first coat was dry, I scraped back the 'faux binding' with a scalpel blade and then oiled the back and sides so there was no colour bleed - I like this method because there is no painters tape involved!

The finish isn't really there yet, the top and the body needs a bit of work so I am at some point going to take it apart again and give it a very fine sand and several coats of oil and buff. I wanted to get it all together to A) make sure I could get the push-pulls in and working properly and get luke over to have a play on it and make sure he's happy with the neck carve. One of these days, I will find an order of doing things that actually works and doesnt involve me doing the same job twice :D



Edited by ADFinlayson
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  • 1 month later...

Finally finished! Handed it over to Luke last night. I'm very happy with it as is he, but also glad it's gone to be honest. The pics aren't the best unfortunately, I wanted to take some proper photos, but just ran out of time yesterday.

Body: 1 piece carved african mahogany
Cap: 2-piece flame maple w/faux binding
Control cover: carved flamed maple
Neck: Laminated flamed maple and african mahogany
Headstock: Ebony w/ flamed maple inlay
Fretboard: Ebony with flamed maple trapeze inlays
Binding: Ebony + flamed maple
Frets: 24 medium jumbo nick-silver
Nut: 43mm graphtech tusq
 - Top: oiled blue burst
 - Back/neck: oiled Natural
Tuners: Mini Grover Rotomatic 3x3
Bridge: Graphtech Resomax untimatic with tusq saddles and Gotoh tailpiece
Pickups: Dimarzio Liquifire bass, SuperDistortion trebble
 - Switchcraft 3-way toggle 
 - CTS push-pull volume with treble bleed
 - CTS push-pull tone, both pickups can be coiltapped individually.
 - Ebony lampshade control knobs









Edited by ADFinlayson
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  • 7 months later...

After a few months of procrastination and worrying that the lacquer might change colour or crack. I've finally wired her up. New mahogany body, Croatian maple cap and rejig of switch/pot positions. It's a done deal. Didn't enjoying going over old work, but really enjoyed the finishing process. To be collected on Sunday :D 













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