You're welcome to leave comments for any of the posts (click on the little pencil icon at the end of a post), or contact me directly at

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Right ... think I'll make me some neck blanks ...

Reading left to right, that's 3x sycamore, 4x sapele/mahogany, 2x walnut, 1x maple. That's a thick piece of maple too.

The plan is to make up some laminated 3 piece neck blanks ... sycamore-walnut-sycamore, sapele-maple-sapele ... that sort of thing. If I get really adventurous, I may try adding some veneer layers between the main pieces of wood too ... but I'll concentrate on getting the basic blanks right first.

Should yield me 40-odd blanks with some careful cutting, thicknessing and planing.

Will also yield me enough wood shavings to keep the wood fire going for a few nights.

DHL / StewMac - AMAZING service!

Decided I needed a few more bits and pieces (about $800 worth as it turned out). Learning from my past mistakes with eBay scummers, I decided to go back to StewMac to buy those bits and pieces. OK, so StewMac is a bit more expensive, but you can't fault the range of stuff that they stock, the quality or their totally amazing service.

I've used them once before, and was pleasantly surprised at the speedy service that time, but I always wondered if maybe that was a 1-off, that I just got lucky with that first order.

I hit the "buy" button sometime on Monday evening, and by Wednesday lunchtime the box had arrived ...

That is just amazingly good. Less than 48 hours to get a box of all sorts of bits and pieces picked, packed, shipped and delivered, from somewhere in the middle of the US, to me in the middle of nowhere in the UK.

It takes longer for the UK parcel delivery industry to get something from one side of the this country to another, whereas DHL deliver from a different continent, with a tracking system that lets you see where the parcel is for every step of the way.

Top marks to StewMac, and top marks to DHL. I'm noy buying my guitar stuff from anywhere else in future.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Put it to the vote ...

... here:

Someone suggested that build #2 should be submitted to the "Guitar of the Month" challenge on the Project Guitar forum ... so I have done!

But, being something of a numpty, I managed to waste my vote (by opting just to look at the vote scores and submit a "null vote", d'oh), so I'll not be voting for my own build, but in case anyone else wants to ... the link is above ;-)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A pause ...

There's been something of a pause in the build of my thinline Tele-alike ... it's done apart from finishing the fretting properly.

I thought I'd get some decent tools to do the job properly (as it looks like I'll be repeating the job on a few builds in the future!), but rather than buying from a good, reliable, trusted source, I thought I'd venture into the the unknown of eBay.

Now, eBay is great from many perspectives, and I've used it successfully many times. But it's also great for scammers and rip-off merchants. After 3 weeks of waiting for my fretting tools to arrive (from the US), after emailing the seller without any response, I finally got fed up and informed them that I'd raise a Paypal dispute. Whereupon they replied (!) with a dispatch note.

Have they really sent anything? Have they sent what I bought and paid for 3 weeks ago? Will the tools be of decent quality if/when they arrive? Am I just another poor sucker who's been ripped off by an anonymous scam artist?

Such questions and excitement is all part of the eBay experience ...

Next time I'll buy from StewMac again. Their prices may be higher, but the quality and service can't be faulted.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Quick Pics

Here's the new arrival ...

And here it is with the rest of its family ...

Found the Kawai!

This isn't really about guitar-building, but it's still about guitars so I'll share it anyway ...

Finally, after years of searching, I've finally managed to track down a Kawai KS-11-XL. Actually, the seller tracked me down from the link on this blog!

What's a Kawai KS-11-XL you may ask ...

One of the Made-in-Japan quality guitars from the late 70's. This is an original Kawai design rather than the more common jap LP/Strat copies, and is a higher-end guitar, comparable in many ways to the Yamaha SGs of the same era ... which puts it higher up the quality and sound scale than many of the more famous US-made guitars from the late 70's. In my opinion, of course!

Solid mahogany body with a curved maple top, 3-piece set mahogany neck, double cutaway design, twin HBs, Badass bridge.

I bought the "top end" model (KS-12-XL) back in the late 70's (thanks, Tim Gentle Music!), and for many years it was my only or main guitar. I still have it. I found the low-end model (KS-10) on eBay a few years ago, and it was a "genuine eBay bargain" - not a phrase that you hear that often. I'd missed an immaculate KS-11-XL on eBay before that, and am still kicking myself for that. If the buyer ever finds this blog ... contact me!

So when Matt contacted me through this blog, telling me about his KS-11-XL, I was slightly more than happy, and a deal was done. Guitar arrived yesterday and it's in amazingly good condition for a nearly 30-year old guitar. It's the violin sunburst finish rather than the natural, which is why I'd still be interested in hearing about any natural-finish examples ... if any still exist!

Pics to follow ...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

No guitar building today ...

... because I spent too much time here last night ...
There are just some things that a man has to do ... apart from guitar building ... and sampling the odd glass or two of a few different varieties of freshly brewed beer is one of those things. But when I woke up this morning, I realised that someone had been hitting my head with a hammer all night. And they were still inside my head, still busy with the hammer.

So no guitar building today or this weekend ... but it was a worthwhile sacrifice!