Project guitar completed

After somewhere in the region of 100 to 120 hours of graft, over a two week period, the RockMangle is pretty well finished.

The sound, especially through my home built valve amp is much better than I could have dreamed – biting growl but still with warmth. Amazing sustain and, surprisingly, quite a jangle too.

The balance of the guitar, on lap or strap, is really good. It feels really comfortable.

I’d installed one of the cheapest pickups I could find, an Axetec Platinum 90, but this thing is stunning. Vibrant, well balanced and a real sparkle. I think this is going to be staying just where it is. I cannot recommend the Axetec stuff highly enough. Phenomenal value for money. I bought the tulip head tuners from them too and they’re really top notch: Smooth, stable and well finished.

Here’s a quick snippet of Hedley Vick playing the guitar. It is just recorded with my mobile phone, which struggled with the volume. It is plugged straight into my Ampmaker SE-5a.

There are a few jobs left to do and a few improvements I want to make:

  • With stripping off the paint from the face of the headstock, it has dropped the nut too low. This is why in the clip above there’s a capo on the first fret. This morning I’ve shimmed it up, with a sliver of maple, but I’ve ordered a couple of bone blanks, so I’ll remake the nut when they arrive.
  • I’d planned to leave the face of the headstock unadorned and plain oiled wood, but I’m having second thoughts. I think I may see if I can find a nicely figured maple veneer, and perhaps have an experiment at inlaying a small “M” logo into it. I’m not sure yet whether to go with a contrasting wood such as ebony or burr walnut, or maybe a darker MOP inlay if I can find some.
  • The guitar still needs to be properly set up. I’ve adjusted the truss rod and the relief is close to perfect now.
  • Intonation is close but needs further minor adjustments, which I’ll do this afternoon.
  • The action, whilst still playable, has got scope to come down a bit lower, but I’m not going to do this until the nut has been replaced.

For the headstock I fired up GIMP and had a go at mocking out what each might look like, painting over the current plain wood finish with a stock image of flamed maple, and a logo picked out in either MOP or burr walnut. I’m going to sleep on it but I’m leaning towards the walnut at the moment.


For info, the font used for the “M” in the logo is from the truetype font called “Medieval Scribish” and is the same as that used for my amp logo/faceplate.

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3 thoughts on “Project guitar completed

  1. What a fantastic result! You must be chuffed to bits!

  2. I’m absolutely delighted with it. Of course it is not up to Benford standards but I’m amazed how well the first attempt has turned out. Just planning out the next one now. The left-handed Tele build starts tomorrow if this rain dies up.

  3. Sounds like a beast in such a small package. Nice job!

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