Jump to content
  • Guitar Of The Month - January 2017

    The Swel ZebraCaster

    "I initially started with a refinish/customizing project, but ended up building a guitar from scratch with raw wood, which I didn't think was do-able for me yet, so I'm thrilled already to be able to post in this topic!


    • Tele-style body of Mahogany with 6mm Zebrano top
    • 25-1/2" scale
    • 250mm neck radius with assymetric 'thick' D-profile
    • Birdseye Maple neck with Rosewood fretboard and Swallow-bird inlays
    • Jumbo 6100 frets
    • Zebrano-headstock finish
    • Ibanez Edge floating trem with top-lock
    • Dimarzio Paf Joe and Paf-Pro humbucking pickups
    • 1 Volume (push pull) for high-pass filter and , 1 Tone (push pull) for single coil switching
    • Gotoh tuners
    • Tung oil finish

    I designed/built this guitar for myself. Specs were based partly on my Peavey Wolfgang (neck) and on the specs of an Ibanez Satriani JS10th (electronics, radius). The looks were inspired by Searls' Guitars (forum member @demonx). I used the JS10th specs as I once owned one and really liked the radius of the fretboard and the versatile pickups. The Edge trem I had available and I really love Floyd trems, so that was an easy pick. Finally the birdseye maple neck because I love my Peavey wolfgang neck and because I'm a sucker for birdseye maple, so it will probably end up in every guitar I'm going to build! 

    I was able (fortunately) to use a friend's workshop to do bandsawing and some bandsanding. Most of the work was done in my garage and back-yard however.


    Some tools I created to get this done:

    • fret press
    • fret-slot duplicating jig
    • simple thickness routing jig
    • templates for body, neck, pickup cavity routing and trem routing


    This guitar is special to me as it proves that with few professional tools but a lot of care and attention basically anybody can build a good guitar. I've had the idea of building a guitar for a long time, but just not felt comfortable doing it and stuck to customizing. In the end it's just a question of doing it! 

    Special thanks to all  you guys on ProjectGuitar providing tutorials, tips&tricks and advice. Without this I wouldn't have been able to get this result. I've learned tons of stuff for my next projects.

    Swel Guitars

    Swel is Frisian ( local language ) for Swallow and is the symbol of my town so I used it as a name for my guitar(s) and hence also the inlays.

    Thanks for reading!

    ...link to a short video with crappy guitar playing. ;)



    Report Guitar Of The Month Winner

    User Feedback

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.


    Count The Guitars

    • 9
       1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

    gorgeous  guitar, I really like how you incorporated the zebra into the rear covers.  ok why not ten stars ,its a "tele" and I like tele bridges.

    Share this review

    Link to review

  • Create New...