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New guitar build for 2021. This build is based on Gibson Les Paul/Fender telecaster guitar forms and embellished with Gretsch style hardware. I have tried to blend the styles a bit. It has a Baby bliss tail piece, so it is not stringed through the body but through the tail piece and it has ‘sweet 14’s’ pickups from https://www.creamery-pickups.co.uk Custom made by Jamie Campbell @the_creamery. The volume and tone pots are CTS and the knobs are custom made to look more like the Gretsch style and knurled round the sides. I have made the scratch plate myself from Aluminium and this will have a small ‘Solberg’ logo in black. It will be highly polished before finished with an acrylic lacquer to protect it.
The guitar has a specially treated inlay cut into the body made from Maple. This was achieved using 2-3mm single cutter routers. The inlay (Maple) is injected with a green coloured acrylic polymer at high temperature and pressure. Where there are open pores, the polymer will penetrate the Maple it giving colour but also hardening it. That does make it more difficult to work with but you get a very individualistic effect to add to your work. I think its great and well worth the time.
The body is made from American ash and this time I have used water based wood stains and lacquer from Tone Tech and Crimson guitars instead of the usual nitrocellulose organic-solvent based paints. Just testing different ways of making some new instruments. I found that you can be a bit more creative with water based products and if it goes wrong 🙂 you can use that as a base to test new somethings out. Have tried to do a bit of a sunburst here and then sand back to the wood around the edges to give it a bit of a retro feel. Also by the mixing primary colours in different proportions you can create your own shades and further dilution with water gives you bespoke colourings.
Obviously when using water based products in this way you have to be aware of the fact that no matter what you sand the wood to prior to staining, you will have to sand again due to swelling of the cellulose fibres. So what I do do to try and eliminate this after staining is to spray with pure water first and then sand back with 120 grit paper. After doing this I then apply the stain and sand with 400 grit paper when dry. However do not use wet paper when sanding after application of the stain, its water based and you will effect the shading. The water based lacquer can be applied simply with a brush at 2 hour intervals, I found 8 coats was fine, rubbed back after each application. Again do not rub back with water as this can reactivate the lacquer. The lacquer take about 2 weeks to fully cure and then I use 0000 grade steel wool followed by Mirka Abranet sanding discs at 600, 800, 1000. After that I use Mirka Microstar 1500 and the 2500 (8u) as a final sanding. The last part of this process is to buff the lacquer in three stages.
Thinking of using water based paint only in the future, its quicker, you can make your own custom colours and more environmentally there more friendly than the organic solvent based paints. But expect as usual it is a matter of taste.
Well the first new model for 2021 is well on its way now. It is still in progress and I need finish soldering the electrics in and finishing and staining the neck and head. It will be interesting to see and hear the final product.
Published by Filip Solberg
Bespoke built custom guitars in the East Neuk of fife Scotland. We build high quality guitars to exact details of the customer. Pick ups, woods and all hardware are specifically chosen based on tone and play-ability required. We do not have any stock guitars these are built for order only.
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