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Drak Build: The Sonic Crayon


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Thanks Biz.

The time I've spent on this is both fascinating and frustrating at the same time. I can blow through a 12 layer burst relaxed and enjoying it the whole time throughout. But this has been really slow and cumbersome and extremely thought provoking as I contemplate every color and its affect on the 'big picture'. Ratios, proportions, too much, overbaked, not enough, what needs to be there and what works against the final look. How different colors powerfully affect the other colors around them.

Nothing I've done on this was just 'tossed out', it was contemplated for hours upon hours. Tho to someone just looking at it, it may not appear such a thought provoking theme (yet). Not saying its anything great, but I have had to put more thought into this than most other projects w/o a doubt. Primarily because there's nearly no room for error. Spraying lacquer is not a great medium for changing your mind along the way. No Sir it is not amenable to 'eraser and edit' mentality. So everything counts, as layer by layer, everything must be 'a keeper', no room to caterwaul backwards down the stairs here.

Some takeaways I've learned through sitting with, and staring at, this for so many hours:

The 'North Star' (Belew's pastel schizoid-ish fun themed guitar) elicits a frolicsome scatterbrained lightheartedness. Mine, OTOH, could not have been more serious if I purposely tried to make it so, as it started out. Black and White is basically Life and Death, Yin and Yang, in proper proportions. A reasonable starting point. But all of Life happens between those two guardrails.

Red and Black are the colors of Stern Authority, Power, Lust, Control, and Death...very adult themes, not very frolicsome at all. But something inside me really liked those colors, and the curve, I love the curve. The curve is what differentiates his from mine, the patterns on his being scattershot, the curve asserting control and a specific direction. So it has been a journey, to 'find the center' where they can meet, to bring together the adult power, and the childish lightheartedness, in equal proportions that 'get along'.

So the 'gathering place' is the yellow, but you can overdo yellow really fast, yellow really needs some restraint, as its so powerful...a little goes a long way.

Yellow is highly accentuated when black is used to frame it out, those two love to hang out together. I have pics of it before I put the black boundaries on it, I didn't like it nearly as much.

I have decided so far not to intrude on the red or the black (tho I might by the end), so any new material 'eats away' at the white substrate, which I want to maintain a certain ratio of. I don't want to 'lose' the white as it gives everything else something to bounce off of. The white is the backdrop holding everything else in place.

If the shoot goes OK, I should have some more pics tomorrow, I have the next step laid out, which hopefully will add in some 'fun'. The 'serious' side is already nearly too strong, so from here forward, the momentum is all pointed towards the fun and 'glitchy' side of it.

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That explanation! I'm out of words, I can't even think what to say in my own language!

The yellow with the bold black outlines definitely adds a childish superhero vibe, furthermore it accents the "night and blood" feeling of the black and red. It makes me think of The Mask entering Gotham City by night. For some reason there seems to be no "big" super heroes dressed in yellow, maybe because of the meanings you described for black and red. There's some yellow villains like Reverse Flash, some minor heroes and a bunch of masquarade party costumes - maybe a guy dressed in yellow spandex would too soon be called the Wee-man...

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An hour to carve a piece of masking tape, and maybe two minutes to shoot the thing.

I carved the tape on a separate piece of wood as I didn't want to dig into the finish.

Then I just laid the tape down on the guitar and shot it.

Still have to do the edge and the back, then there's more coming (I think).

And cleanup, every piece that gets added has a cleanup stage to it.

But, so far, no caterwauling backwards down the stairs, I'm liking it, another keeper stage, another slow move forward.

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55 minutes ago, Bizman62 said:

For some reason there seems to be no "big" super heroes dressed in yellow,

So, if I say this, ...maybe I give away the goods too soon...

You have to remember this is all background, the pickguard will really be the star of the show.

Notice there's no Green (or blue) anywhere...hmmm...

If I said the Real Superhero of this Pimpin' 70's Movie rhymes with SuperWizard...

I can say no more, I cannot.

SuperWizard - Live

This is where the Red and Black (power, death) come in:

A SuperHero's Journey (The Pursuit of Vikings)

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Before the black framing.

Notice the 'other' yellow area.

Thought it was a good idea at the time...

Took 2 hours to carefully sand that back out, get back to the red and not destroy anything in the process.

360 Abralon pad to the rescue...'I put that shit on everything'...

It was a close call.

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1 hour ago, Drak said:

Took 2 hours to carefully sand that back out, get back to the red and not destroy anything in the process.

So that's the story behind the paint having been sanded in the spotted yellow stripe picture! Although the outline of the yellow still shows. I thought it was just a scratch waiting to be sanded away...

Now that I saw the "before" picture I'm glad you outlined the yellow. Although there's nothing wrong with the flag of Germany.

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27 minutes ago, Bizman62 said:

So that's the story behind the paint having been sanded in the spotted yellow stripe picture!

Oh, it gets sanded and spot-cleared(coated) all along the process, in areas. Mostly everything is done by 'areas' with overall clearcoats done here and there. The tape leaves residue behind that must be constantly Naptha'd off. The Xacto blade leaves scars in its wake. The paint, although thinned, still leaves ridges, bumps, and humps from pulling tape. There's always cleanup to do with an Xacto blade to keep the lines sharp.

You have to be super-conscious of everything, all the time, so nothing takes you backwards.

ALL of that needs to be addressed every step of the way, its tedious going. Especially if I've done something to the front then needs the back addressed the same. You can't just then lay it on its front with a fresh unprotected shoot. So there's spot-clearing over new sections, dry time, sanding, cleanup, etc.

The Final Clearcoats make all that disappear and go perfectly smooth, as well as other aspects of the cleanup and detail.

Clearcoats are my friend, but you can't clearcoat the entire guitar after every section, it would take a gallon of lacquer if you did that.

So yeah, there's constant attention to detail on the section being done, and constant sanding and cleanup of surrounding areas.

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There's one thing that has puzzled me while making me proud at the same time since I started building guitars and following numerous builders all over the world: The usage of Finnish tools and accessories! Mirka, Fiskars... It's not only about people using them, it's about people all over the world swearing by them! I might add Sjöbergs workbenches as their Swedish factory is closer from my whereabouts than Lincoln is to Washington DC.

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57 minutes ago, Drak said:

A few clearcoats, everything mostly smoothed out now.

Indeed! I really can't see the half circle by the pool any more! But to be honest there seems to be a discontinuity issue on the back. I see it's similar on the front but that would be hidden under the pickguard. The yellow stripe just seems to stop without a reason. But I'm sure I'll be baffled when I see the final version!

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21 minutes ago, Bizman62 said:

The yellow stripe just seems to stop without a reason. But I'm sure I'll be baffled when I see the final version!

The 'end of the trail' (in this case) leads you to the very central heart of the guitar itself.

Where physical manifestation (visual art) transforms into sound and every note that will get played on the instrument.

The end of the yellow brick road leads you to transformation, from sight into sound, from the fixed into the possible.

Its the 'leaping off' point, where what is known and fixed and dependable (visually) transforms into the world of sonic possibilities.

Would you tell a child (using <sonic> crayons) what to draw with their crayons?

Would you 'expect' a 'certain' picture, or result, from them?

Or would you hand them the crayons and the medium and wait and see what they are inspired to create with it?

How far can they go with it, using their imagination, which changes from moment to moment?

It is the Road Leading to Possibilities Yet Undetermined and Unfixed, where Anything is Possible.

 

This is what I was working on last night.

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38 minutes ago, Drak said:

The end of the yellow brick road leads you to transformation, from sight into sound, from the fixed into the possible.

A-ha! I knew you have an explanation!

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I removed the sticker (successfully, no repercussions), ...just wasn't feelin' it.

I think I'm going to call this one done, shoot some final clear, and wait on the pickguard.

This thing has been like hiking up a mountain w/ a 200lb. backpack.

Time to take a rest beside the crystal clear waters of the mountain lake, relax, and take in the view.

 

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So turns out I'm not 'really' done. The knobs (on the pickguard) are very much a part of 'The Look', of the theme, so they're set.

But the EMG VMC is a double-ganged pot so I really need to use the knobs that it comes with, which are a sort of rubberized black.

So...that wasn't going to work on the pickguard, ...which prompted me to do yet another 'double-guard' job.

To both get that pot off the pickguard and onto the body, and to give me access to the battery from the back.

Like I did on the Oak Floyd with the EMG SPC pot sitting on its own.

Where there is a front pickguard, and also a rear pickguard.

Since I now have room for more pots, I think I'm going to add a 'Spin-A-Split' pot (for the neck pickup) to the body too.

Now, the story goes a little strange here. I only ever looked at the Belew guitar from a design/paint/inspiration standpoint.

I never once 'really' looked at his control setup, but when I did, what do I see? The Same Damn Thing.

He's got a loaded front pickguard, and more pots on the body, which means he has a rear pickguard too. Hi-Larious.

So, I needed to make a rear control cavity cutout and a matching pickguard (to the front).

BUT, it couldn't 'mess with' my design, No Sir, it couldn't interfere with that.

So I made a CURVED custom control cavity router template, routed out the cavity, and used it to make the pickguard for it too.

Airbrushed the edges and cavity white.

Glad I snuck this in before final clearcoats go on.

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Supposedly the rear cover will add yet another colourful element to the palette, or then not?

I definitely like that you've not copied the cubistic theme to your crayon. I find that similar to that there's round, triangular, square, hexagonal and other shaped crayons which all can be used to create the same style of art. 

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6 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

Supposedly the rear cover will add yet another colourful element to the palette, or then not?

I definitely like that you've not copied the cubistic theme to your crayon. I find that similar to that there's round, triangular, square, hexagonal and other shaped crayons which all can be used to create the same style of art. 

So if you want to go deep diving, I'll supply the tanks and gear, tho you'll have to sign the required mandatory waiver and rental fees.

So...I discovered how his guitar theme 'works', where the Cubist influence can 'hang it's hat' and not only survive, but flourish.

I didn't really know, I'm no art major, and left unattended, cannot even draw a fair egg by myself. I just figured it out by looking at it for awhile. As with mine, I only figured it out after the fact.

It starts with the 'frame', where the artist took tape, and by visual manipulation (black being a very strong visual influencer) changed the curvy Fender-ish outline into straight lines and various angles. That's what gives all of the free-form cubist shapes within the frame license to operate. The eye, by accepting the changeover from curvy outline to angular outline, literally 'strong-armed' to do so by the use of the black influence, then easily accepts any and all straight lines and geometric shapes within the frame. That's why his works (IMO).

Mine, OTOH, uses the very strong singular arc (black being an influencer again) to set the tone for the rest of what lies within. So what 'is' the arc and why is it so influential? The bottom 1/3 is a 15" radius, the top 2/3 was taken directly from the right-hand side of the pickguard I made. I just flipped it over to give me the angle I wanted. The black/white separator 'arc' on the upper short horn taken from the pickguard also. So there are now Three reference points all correlating to the same arc, the right-hand side of the pickguard. The black/white separation line of the upper horn, the upper portion of the red/black arc, and the pickguard itself. The other arcs are 10" radiuses.

So the control cavity simply is 'in agreement' with everything else, being of a pretty similar arc. Yes, You've Got It.

The rear control cavity cover is made out of the exact same pattern as the pickguard material, so a very colorful addition to the back as well, you've got it.

The back now mirrors the front in nearly every way.

It's already made as I had some previous material, enough to make the control cavity cover out of, and the truss rod cover as well.

But of course, if I showed it, it would 'give the game away', now wouldn't it? And everybody loves a good unveiling.

5 hours ago, Prostheta said:

Crazy paint concept, Drak. It's so perfectly early 80s with a dash of Mondrian and Leppard....! Are you going to hide a cucumber in that?

Did you say Leppard? As in Leopard? Oh, I Love Leopard, yes I do.

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I used to love Steve Winwood until he contracted the dreaded Phil Collins' 'hitmaker' disease.

Which, oddly enough, started right around the album you posted, Arc of a Diver.

He could do no wrong up until then.

But I like how you intertwined two disparate comments I made and cohesively intermingled them.

Classy...and observant.

 

And I had to look up 'Mondrian', never heard of that guy before.

You people know how to keep me on my toes, and educated too.

 

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The Pickguard Material Is Here! <a hushed, awe-inspired silence falls over the crowd, with some weeping from the children>

And, Will Farrell had it all wrong.

When you're jonesin' and in need, the answer is not more cowbell.

It's Seaweed. Everyone needs more Seaweed. Healthy enzymes, nutrients, vitamins, Packed with everything good for humans being human.

I prefer my seaweed blackened on occasion.

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I totally like this now.

Still have to do the back (the side is done), and now that I can get a good look at it I might do some very small editing to the front.

The one upper piece right next to the yellow brick road looks a little too straight and stiff for me, I can fix that right up easy peasy.

This is finally looking like something I had at first imagined, I think I can call this done and be really happy with it.

I did a fair amount of research on various animal prints...leopard, cow, cheetah, zebra, etc., they all have a specific 'look'.

Then I saw a zebra print that actually reminded me of seaweed and I said 'That'll do, that's it, that's the look'.

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10 hours ago, Drak said:

The one upper piece right next to the yellow brick road looks a little too straight and stiff for me,

Now that you said it... The human eye likes symmetry and that one can be seen like the lower half is just flipped and turned like the figures on playing cards. A hair in any direction would not have created that illusion as the proportions would have been different. Then again, that looks totally natural as well, seaweed swaying in the subsurface flows can take startling shapes for a second, collapsing back to psychedelic waves.

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