Two For the Road

Ready to Roll

About two years ago I purchased five Mahogany electric body blanks along with a fellow builder who was making a group purchase. Finally in the fall of last year I was able to put some thought into building a pair of electric somethings. What I came up with was a “Road Guitar”. Think of it like a new pair of shoes. You don’t get full use out of them until they are broken in and scuffed a little, or similar to pre-washed jeans. No, it’s a new guitar, but it’s ready to roll, rock & roll.

Each of the pieces are 8/4’s x 14” x 21”, a little thick for me but once I’ve cleaned up both sides in the thickness sander I place the body into the router box. First the neck and pickup planes are routed, measuring off the bottom, then I can take down the excess while the body is still in the router box. When that’s all done for both, they come out of the box and it’s time for pickup cavity and neck pocket routing.

I’ve learned after almost twenty years doing this that stuff happens, as in life, that are unexplained. One of those came up while drilling for control mounting holes. Of these two pieces, one is a bit thinner than the other and I failed to compensate, blowing out the top on one. My mind instantly went to a picture I’d recently seen of a repair where the body was broken across the control cavity. Second thought was .. “Road Guitar”.

One of the necks is Sapele and the other Kayah, which are both very close in appearance to the Mahogany. This will give a non-contrast aesthetic adding to the plain-ness of it being a no thrills workhorse. The finish is natural with polyurethane which adds again to the look. I did use a little red dye in the grain filler on one and a little black in the other. There is a subtle difference tiand where the reds are noticable.

At some point in the past I wanted to build something with a tremelo so I purchase a standard Tremelo, on sale I’m sure, and let it cure for about four years. Now was the time, so one of these has the Tremelo and the other has a Schaller Signum bridge. The Tremelo has Seymour Duncan SH-4 bridge and SH-2n jazz neck pickup and the other has the same SH-2n at the neck and a SH-1b at the bridge. Both have black Gotoh Magna-lok tuners. Rosewood fretboard, headplate and knobs and Abalone inlay.

Response, tone, sustain. Ready for the road.

Author: Rick

A life long woodworker, I've been building guitars since 2006 after attending a guitar building course presented by Martin guitars. I build acoustic dreadnoughts, electrics, and the "Hambone", a Terz guitar. I am a North Carolina native and am currently located near Charlotte, NC.