This was such a wonderful guitar to build. I love it when a customer asked me to just use everything I can, all of the finest materials this world offers, to build them an amazing instrument. This Asian Ebony is a GORGEOUS wood and a delight to work with. It has striking bold black lines over chocolate brown backing. Just beautiful.
Here is a link to the completed guitar.
This is always a fun step in the building process, bending the first side. I like this step because its the first time I get to see the wood with a wet look, which is what it will look like with the finish. The color of the wood deepens and the characteristics all pop out with strength.
Of course, this is just prior to the side going into foil and then into the bender. The sides have a perfectly straight edge on one side, and a shaped edge on the other side. The straight edge will serve as my index for future steps in the build.
The back of this guitar was actually a sister set of a Custom Model F. That guitar was absolutely amazing as well.
The side bender is ready. This side bender has the ability to use different interior molds. This makes it much easier for a custom shop like mine. In this case, the Model E interior mold is ready for use. You can see the two slats of metal and the little orange line in between is a heating blanket. The heat from the blanket combined with the water will create a steam in and around the wood. This makes the wood plyable, and ready to bend.
After the guitar comes out of the bender, it will go into the exterior mold. I usually the side completely air dry for a day or two, and then I will proceed with glueing the end block and neck block, and then the back will get a radius, and the kerfing is glued. In this photo you see the fairly unsophisticated clips I use to glue the kerfing.
The back braces have been radiused and are ready to glue.
The sound board bracing is coming together. I use a Go-Bar clamping system that uses the energy from a bent fiberglass rod to clamp the braces to the soundboard. The soundboard is held within a radiused dish to match the radius on the braces.
When all of the braces are glued, the soundboard will hold the radius. In this case, on a custom Dome Top guitar, the radius is 7′.
This is the custom headstock used for the Dome Top guitars. This headstock brings together the style you feel in the offset oval sound hole, the shape of the bridge and tailpiece, as well as the overall serpentine lines of the body shape.
Overall, just a great guitar. A ton of fun to build, a beauty on the eyes, and the tone that you’ve really not heard before. The tone is a cross between a traditional carved acoustic arch top and a modern flat top instrument. I hate to say a blend of these tones actually, rather it gives the player the ability to pull tones from a bank of tone that includes some modern flat tope tones and some gypsy jazz tones.