Headstock from Hell

Pressing onward with the Hell’s Half Acre guitar, I’ve gotten the neck blank to the rough carve stage. To do this, I use a cabinet scraper as described in my previous post. After the truss rod has been installed and the spline glued in, the final headstock shape could be cut. Jim looks on as I finsih up.


In the photo below, you can see the tuner holes which are undersized until the moment the tuners are fitted. This will give a snug fit for improved vibration transfer.


The stepped channel for purfling and outside binding has also been cut. I’m using a half-herringbone purfling made of alternating maple and ebony pieces to create a look that evokes an image of the cowboy’s lariat. Here, you can also see the ring groove that has been cut at the headstock tip for the pearl monogram inlay. More after a while…

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Jol Dantzig is a guitar builder, designer, writer and filmmaker. He has worked for Gibson, Fender, Guild, Ovation, Gretsch, and was a founding partner of Hamer guitars—one of the first boutique custom guitar brands. Dantzig’s work has been played by hundreds of artists including Sting, Steve Stevens, Larry Coreyell, Dug Pinnick, Billy Gibbons, Keb Mo’, Nick Lowe, KK Downing, Glenn Tipton, John Abercrombie, Glen Campbell, Rick Nielsen, Kenny Vaughan, Lita Ford, James Honeyman Scott, Elliott Easton, Andy Summers, Peter Frampton, Martin Barre, Lyle Workman, Brad Gillis, George Harrison, Jeff Ament, Dweezil Zappa, Jeff Tweedy, Nancy Wilson—and many others.

2 thoughts on “Headstock from Hell”

  1. Hi Jol.
    I am a beginning amateur luthier and I have a technical question. Is it necessary to apply a spline over the truss rod? Could it be to glue the fretboard directly? Thank you. Congratulations for your work.

  2. Fabiano, thanks for stopping by.
    A two part truss rod could possibly be done this way because it does not rely on a curve or location (depth) to bend the neck. Still, I would prefer to cover it with a strong spline to prevent the fingerboard from cracking or coming off from the pressure. Rods without a spline can force the fingerboard to come loose.
    My truss rod is a single rod that is placed below the centerline of the neck. This is how it works. If it were just under the fingerboard, ti would bend in the opposite direction.

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