The chips are flying and the lacquer is wafting through the air in the workshop as I press onward with my series of Artist’s Proof guitars. These are basically prototypes—all different. The first examples are now entering the painting stage, and include the first two of the Georgia Pine guitars.
The second GP is all pine with a maple neck. As with the first, the fingerboard is rosewood with pearl dots and a seven-piece “claw” inlay at the 12th fret.
These instruments are insanely light in weight, and I can’t wait to hear them sing. Although they are routed for humbuckers, I intend to use single coil pickups in the neck position. The airy and open sound of the pine should match up nicely with what I have in mind.
At the moment there are ten different A/P guitars in progress, and although a few have been spoken for, there are still some available for purchase. Contact me to discuss the details—this is a great opportunity to get what amounts to a one-off guitar at “Team Built” pricing.
One of the things I’ve wanted to incorporate in my designs is an old-school type of relief carving sometimes called the German carve. While at Hamer I couldn’t really do it because it was not in the “Hamer tradition” as it was called. The closest I came was with the Monaco guitars, which featured a more radical scallop at the edge. But in my shop, I make the rules, so I’m making a few Artist Proof instruments to see how it looks on a Dantzig guitar. What do you think?
The resurgence of the so-called “German carve” is an interesting development in the world of guitar fashion. Traditionally used on furniture, I first noticed it on the Mosrite Ventures models I lusted for in my 1960s youth. Actually, it was quite popular with European guitar builders (mostly in Germany and Italy) where a man named Roger Rosemeissl grew up working in his father’s guitar shop.
Eventually, Rossmeissl came to America and began working at Rickenbacker, where he designed a number of instruments in the late 1950s. A few of his designs featured the carved relief technique he had learned at home in Germany. Later, Semie Moseley would work alongside Rossmeissl at Rickenbacker before striking out on his own. Moseley’s new company was named Mosrite, and he carried the European carving over to his designs for the Ventures.
Today, all things old are new again so it doesn’t surprise me that the scalloped appearance of the German carve would appeal to a new audience. For me, it is a tip of the hat to some of my guitar-building heroes—and to the Ventures model guitar I dreamed of owning when I first started playing guitar. I can’t wait to finish these new instruments.
There will soon be a small number of unique and interesting “Artist Proof” Tulsa guitars available for purchase.
Work on the Tulsa models continues with a major streamlining of the workspaces in the shop. Beacause the Dantzig guitars (as opposed to the Signature models) are team built, I needed to create fixturing and work process standards that all of us can follow.
Right now in order to test the tooling I am personally building a few guitars in very different configurations, including alder, mahogany pine and Limba bodies, spalted maple, German carve flame tops and full Korina guitars.
A couple of these instruments will have maple necks with rosewood fingerboards.
This is a fun and satisfying part of the process as I explore options beyond the stock Tulsa specifications.
This group of guitars will help me decide on future configurations for the Tulsa model. For right now, these are “Artist’s Proofs” which I will offer for sale after I get a chance to evaluate them. This is an excellent opportunity for some of you to acquire a rare version of my Tulsa model. If you are interested in grabbing one of these guitars, contact me directly.
Here’s one from the archives, as published by Premier Guitar magazine. I like how the publisher and editors allow me the freedom to express my love for every aspect of my guitar and craftsmanship obsession. This one is about factories closing down.
If you ever wondered what a typical day in the shop is like, I can say with confidence that you rarely know what you’ll get. As much as I’d like to say that it’s all cutting and carving wood and making lovely instruments, it often is far from that.
This morning I wanted to drill a few holes in a fixture I was building, but the drill bit was vibrating a bit as I set about to drop the quill. A quick inspection with my favorite Brown & Sharpe indicator showed about .005″ run-out at the chuck. This would translate to a more severe wobble at the end of the bit, so it had to be fixed. Sometimes a chuck will have debris inside, or the bit may have a burr; either of which can create a bit of run-out. I examined the bit, and it seemed fine—a roll test on the surface plate showed it was true. I was confident that a quick blast of compressed air would clean the chuck interior and I would be on my way. Or perhaps it was the arbor coming loose. My conscience demanded that I set things truly straight by disassembling the whole thing to put my mind at ease. I’d been wanting to reduce the return spring tension as well, so no better time than the present. The best way to determine a problem is to systematically go through each step until you find the source of the problem.
Out came the wrenches, wedge set and the arbor drift. Before I knew it, two hours had passed. Measured, solvent cleaned, then lubricated properly—the whole thing went back together beautifully. The culprit? A little bit here, a little bit there all added up to too much play in the end.
When I put the indicator on the arbor it was only showing about .001″— which is pretty much dead nuts for this type of machine. With the chuck cleaned out and fitted snugly, it was ready to rock. By then it was lunchtime. At least I knew that the rest of the day could move ahead without incident.