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Drak Build: Sean Costello Double-Cut w/ P-90's

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23 minutes ago, Bizman62 said:

Are the two last pictures really of the same stage, only with a different light and background?

Yep. Shot 30 seconds apart from one another, just different lighting.

OK, EDW edgeburst shot and this one's done.

It's dry, so it doesn't look as nice as the other pics which I got to shoot while they were still water-wet.

But its got the brown edgeburst, everything is A-OK, very happy with it, and waiting for good weather to shoot it.

You can see the spray shield laying beside it to the right, I did use it, but for this burst, I never even got near it, but that center stayed protected.

Just wait, she's gonna pop like crazy.

Gotta work on the neck and headstock in the meantime.


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So I hit the primary goal of the burst positively accentuating and working well with creme colored P-90 covers, that box is ticked.

Yes I could have made the burst deeper and more extravagant, but that wasn't the goal this time around, its exactly what I wanted it to be as it sits.

Really nice, but not 'too' nice (too gaudy blingy). I could see Sean picking this up and being OK with it.

I also have a neck available that has trap inlays, but I think that, again, would be too blingy, this looks more traditional and subdued, more Sean-style.

Now we get to hardware selection. I have regular (gold, of course) TOM's and stoptails, but I've been looking for an excuse to use this Harmonica bridge and Ibanez tailpiece I bought a long time ago just sitting in the parts drawer collecting dust.

I would prefer to use a Gotoh 510 adjustable wraptail like on my other doublecuts, but I only have one in black at the moment. And I can't stand spending money unnecessarily on parts when I have a truckload of parts already here. So, use what you got and make it work! But I do prefer the wrap-tail, maybe I'll suck it up and buy one.

The knobs I put on it are actually Ibanez sure-grip speed knobs too, so it has taken on a late 70's Ibanez appearance, sort of, but knobs can be changed.





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So...on to the rear treatment.

The back is a 3/16" Spruce piece that was destined for an acoustic guitar top about 15 years ago.

I needed the additional  3/16" depth, it was available, and light, which keeps with the original design.

That also allowed me to do the cavity cover cutout as an integral feature.

So...I really liked and enjoyed doing the distressed finish I did to the Oak guitars and decided to implement it here as well.

Which means shooting tinted finish, then sanding it back to taste, which I did.

If you want to do this, best to apply it in the early stages so you're not sanding through a bunch of clearcoats trying to uncover the wood.

I only shot about 4 coats yesterday, gave it a really light level sand, then shot 2 shader coats on the back.

This was Behlens Medium Brown Walnut with a few (like, 3) drops of black Mixol for a little opacity mixed into lacquer and sprayed.

I really like it...again! This time on the back and sides and obviously not on the top.

It really gives it an aged but cool appearance...to me anyway, I like it.

I start out with a 360 grit on the orbital until I start to see wood 'just' appearing in spots.

Then I put the orbital aside and use a 360 grit Abralon pad in my hand, it gives me great control over how things 'go'.

Now, it's just more clearcoats over the whole thing.




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I've used that same Gotoh 510, but man oh man the Ibanez tailpiece and harmonica bridge is the perfect choice here.

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Thanks K, consider it done, tho I was waffling on it.

The thing with harmonicas is (IMO) they want to be kept reasonably 'low to the ground', so to speak.

A harmonica bridge sitting too high would look bizarre, whereas a TOM you wouldn't notice so much.

Especially with the mass and size of a normal tailpiece sitting right behind it.

So I gotta check my neck pocket to make sure the angle is good for a 'low rider' setup.

Thanks for weighing in on the topic.

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4 hours ago, ScottR said:

Front and back have a very vintage look to them.....not vintage guitar as such just vintage 19th century style maybe.

I think its the brown...most old and worn and antiqued furniture is brown, just a thought.

The back looks like some old western barroom floor if you ask me...

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I must add this because its so hysterically funny.

If you look at the neck headstock veneer I removed above...

That neck 'was' relegated for the Beryl build.

The headstock didn't match that caramel finish so well, ...but it was OK.

If you look at the re-spray to the Bery build, the headstock (removed, above) would now be a Dead Perfect Match.

I was 48 hours ahead of myself in removing that.

I mean, I had no idea what I was going to do with the Beryl before I shot and clearcoated it, so there was no way to know.

But now, I have to laugh its so hilarious.

Its no big deal, I can make another similar to it, its just 'quirky', lets say, that 48 hours after removing that, I re-shot Beryl to look exactly like it.

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2 hours ago, Drak said:

I think its the brown...most old and worn and antiqued furniture is brown, just a thought.

That is a lot of it and the scrollwork on the tailpiece adds to the old furniture motif.

2 hours ago, Drak said:

The back looks like some old western barroom floor if you ask me..

Nailed it.


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  • 1 month later...

OK, catching up on several necks lately. The (now deleted) pics above of that Paduak neck, fuggedaboudit, that neck is now on Beryl.

So the neck for Sean Costello...has a very colored history behind it. I've probably had this neck for over 20 years, it was on a guitar for, maybe 3-4 of those years. I started a project a few years ago named 'Hotel California' that morphed into a new name 'Skinwalker'. This neck 'was' destined for that project.

Every once in awhile I'll have a Warmoth neck that the profile doesn't wholly agree with me. I've found that by giving it a slightly V shape, it always works out much nicer, and so that's where we start with this neck. This pic was taken in early 2018, for context. I don't think anyone needs to see multiple pics of a neck profile re-shaping, one should do. It came out great, the feel is WAY better for me now.


Once I finished that up, it got it's white with black trim paint job for the Skinwalker project. The Aria Diamond logo came off of an old '60's hollowbody 335 thing, long since gone now.




This was the Skinwalker project in different mockups. You'll notice the paint job evolving over time, the black 'grows'.





OK, that's all for the history lesson of the Sean Costello neck.

I loved the neck like that, I really did, it came out great, but the Skinwalker is a dead project now, and I sanded the neck completely back to raw wood.

For what's coming. So now picture a raw Maple neck in your mind's eye for the transition that will begin.


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This is the headstock plate job.

This wasn't much of a challenge as I've done this so many times before.

I found the back more interesting to do, to 'match' the barroom floor appearance of the body.

Without overbaking it and making it look fake and stupid.



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So, the back. The back was really fun and interesting to do, it was a multi-layered dye 'sandwich'.

The neck is Maple, the back of the body was Spruce. Maple and Spruce do not look alike at all.

So where I sanded the finish off of the back of the body to get down to the Spruce for the 'barroom floor' look...

That wouldn't work with Maple, they would look completely different, the Maple would sand back to white. Not good.

So I did a really light dye job straight onto the wood itself to 'mimic' the color of Spruce.



Then a few clearcoats to add layers of insurance that when I sanded the colored lacquer (coming), I wouldn't hit raw Maple.

This is the kind of thing I love to do, it's challenging and a rack of fun.

So, if you notice, the neck now looks similar in color to the sanded back areas on the body, the raw Spruce.



So, we have a light dye straight onto Maple wood to mimic the color of Spruce, then clearcoats to protect that.

Now, we shoot a single shader coat of the same color, with 2 drops of black for a tiny bit of opacity.

NOW, it looks like the REST of the body, not the sanded back areas.

Nailed it again and I'm totally loving this shoot.



So now we come to the sandback part.

I really thought this over before I touched it, because here is where the whole thing spins right down the toilet if I blow it.

And this part can easily be blown, so I really thought about where I wanted to add some 'barroom floor' texture, and how much.

I decided to really express restraint here and 'go mild'.

So I concentrated on the back of the headstock and did some 'light smear' work on the neck itself.

Here it is. Totally psyched with how it came out, couldn't be happier.

I've already shot the final clearcoats and it's done.




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I think this is the 4th time I'm opening this thread even tho there are no new posts. Hypnotizing quilt, great job so far, can't wait to see it put together.

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5 hours ago, Gogzs said:

I think this is the 4th time I'm opening this thread even tho there are no new posts.

Well, thank you for your interest!

I just blew out the neck a few (4) short days ago.

And...there IS an update, I just haven't posted it yet.

I made three custom truss rod covers to match the three necks I've been working on lately.

So this one now has a matching truss rod cover, a little miniature bursted 'mini-me' of the headstock.

The other two went like buttered bread, this one I had to re-do 4 times over before I was happy with it.

So...the build is now done, there are no more updates except the final finished shots when it gets put together.

Probably a few weeks, knowing my lazy ass...

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