13th February 2018

Carved top guitar

This is a carved top guitar in a similar style to a Les Paul but with some refinements which I believe take it to the next level.

BODY
The body is a custom shape which is a little like a skewed Les Paul at the base but with uniquely shaped horns and is made from reclaimed strips of mahogany laminated together (17 of them!) which gives a very strong stable body and also looks attractive – result! The timber is very heavy so I routed out chambers to reduce the weight.

The top is made from rippled maple, book matched but with beautiful grain pattern which follows the contours of the carved shape.  The top is finished with black and ivory binding.

NECK
The neck is made from Korina which has been sawn and machined and then laminated with a piece of rosewood down the centre. This gives a very attractive finish as well as a strong construction and the Korina has some very strong grain patterns.  The headstock is also Korina and is attached using a 10 degree scarf joint. I like a 10 degree headstock angle as it is enough to keep the strings taught without jumping out of the nut slots but it also allows the strings to be tuned without sticking in the nut.  A scarf joint is a far stronger method of construction than cutting a neck from a single piece of timber – just look at the number of Les Pauls with broken headstocks!  The headstock shape is my own design and the positioning of the tuners allows the strings to travel in a straight path, again to avoid sticking in the nut.  The neck joint has a volute to strengthen the joint and also because volutes just look cool!

The neck has been hand shaped to a very comfortable size which is a little bigger than a Fender modern C shape.

FRETBOARD
The fretboard is ebony with custom mother of pearl inlays and black side dots in the ivory binding. It has a compound radius of 10 inches at the nut changing to 16 inches at the heel.  There are 22 medium jumbo frets which are (of course) levelled, crowned and polished to give a very comfortable neck in the hand. with

COMPONENTS
I use high quality components on my guitars and this is no exception. The pickups are classic PAF style humbuckers hand wound by Amdusias Devices – a small boutique pickup company based in Belfast.  They sound awesome and give a fairly low output (7.5 K approx) with a classic tone.

The bridge is a Tonepros and the guitar is strung through the body which keeps the hardware on the carved top a little more minimal and gives excellent string to body contact for strong sustain.

The tuners are locking Sperzel style – they are very good quality but do not cost as much as genuine Sperzel jobs. I like this kind of thing – finding a high quality alternative to a big name brand.

Electronics are the ubiquitous CTS pots and Sprague orange drop capacitors linked to a Switchcraft switch using shielded cable.  I use a wiring method known as the ‘star ground’ system which uses a foil shield as the common ground. This avoids the messy soldering on the back of the pots and gives a very quiet instrument.

FINISH
the guitar is stained to a vintage cherry burst on the top and similar colours are used on the headstock. The body has a subtle amber stain and the whole guitar is finished with 6 coats of Danish Oil which gives a beautiful soft sheen.  To top it off I use Renaissance wax which adds a little more protection and a touch more shine.  This finish allows the wood to breathe and is very tactile, which makes the guitar feel incredibly smooth and effortless to play.

This guitar has a real vintage feel to it, partly because of the finish and the pickups but also because of the timber from which the body is made which retains some of distressed elements from its former life as a table.  This is backed up by the neck – Korina often contains small holes which are the result of insect attacks, and there are two or three still visible.

This guitar is currently for sale for £1750 including free UK delivery and a Hiscox hard case.  This represents a considerable discount on the normal price because the guitar has been used as a demonstration instrument.

Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing the guitar.