Watson Guitars
Idyllwild
California, USA

Chambered electric guitar. (Serial 07G012)
Call or email for
special pricing.

Materials: Beautiful Flamed Maple top and neck. Dual acting truss rod and 2 carbon fiber rods. Graph-Tech Nut with zero fret system. 25.5 inch scale.
Fingerboard: Gabon Ebony with white pearl fret markets.
Pickups: One of the first guitars to feature WATSON single-coil pickups.
Electronics: Has a 5-position active boost that ranges from super clean to powerful overdrive.
Bridge: Hipshot strung through body.
Hardware: Black, with Ebony control knobs and custom pickup covers
Tuners: Hipshot.
Finish: Dark Blue sunburst tint with High-Gloss Polyester Resin finish.
Other: Neutrix locking jack socket, locking strap buttons, mstching black string trees and ferrules.

This guitar is a special concept design which has been custom tinted and finished. We decided to make this guitar a hollow-body with 'F' holes in the top plate. This is a very attractive and lightweight instrument just a little bit smaller than similarly styled instruments and a LOT lighter. It features custom WATSON pickups and a unique 5-position active signal boost rotary switch. If you want to be seen on stage, this guitar will do it for you. Call for our special pricing, and you'll find out this one is a great deal!

Right: (3/4/08) One of the nice features of this guitar we didn't anticipate is that the blue color looks different under different lighting conditions. It varies from a subtle teal color to an intense royal blue. The grain of the flamed maple really catches the light. The back of the neck and the headstock are also flamed maple.

The pickup covers are machined out of solid Gabon Ebony, which is the same ebony we used for the fingerboard. The inlay on the fingerboard is white pearl which is very reflective. Above each one, on the upper edge of the fingerboard is a pearl dot (two for the 12th fret). The body is 1/4 inch smaller all round than simil;aryl styled guitars which makes it very comfortable. Most of the body is hollow so it is very lightweight.

Left: (1/9/08) Here we see a shot of the headstock right after finishing. The fret you see on the fingerboard will be a zero fret, doing part of the job of the nut. We'll instrall a nut for string spacing right behind that.

The truss rod slot will receive an ebony cover, we will install the black Hipshot tuners and a couple of string trees. After that I need to dress all the frets and bolt the neck in place.

The end result should be quite attractive. Quite a lot of detail work still to go before we even get to the point of adding the rest of the hardware and Watson pickups. Most of the time at this stage of building a guitar goes into the fine details.

Right: (1/9/08) The body and neckof our instrument has been dyed and coated with polyester resin. The color is just right and we are very happy with it. We now have to start preparing and building this instrument so that it is ready for the NAMM show which is just about a week away!

First job is to re-fit the neck to the body after the coating has been applied. Overspray from the resin usually have to be removed to achieve the perfect neck-to-body fit.

We also have to fit the cavity cover on the back and cut and fit the two pickup covers which we have cut from ebony on he CNC. Then the continuity of the copper shielding has to be checked and additional shielding added to the cavity.

Left: (12/27/07) Here's a quick look at the back of the guitar right before it goes to finishing.

The body has been sanded down to a very smooth finish. neck has been shaped and sanded, tuner holes have been drilled and the serial number put on the back of the headstock.

On the body, the cavity cover has been completed, and the cavity itself has been resprayed with copper shielding. You can see the four recessed holes for the neck retaining screws.

I also engraved and filled the Watson logo on the front of the headstock. Frets have been rough dressed and will be finished when the tinting and lacquer process is completed.

Right: (12/25/07) In this photo, you can see some of the work that was done over the past few days.

The maple top was glued to the chambered body, the neck pocket has been cut to size (and to the correct angle for the neck), and the hole has been machined for the Neutrix locking jack plug.

On the other side of the body, the control cavity has been cut out and the cavity behind it has been sprayed with a coating of copper shielding spray.

I have also started work on teh raduis running around the edges of the body. The locations for the control knobs have been marked out ready for drilling.

Left: (12/25/07) The ebony fretboard has been slotted, I have insterted white Mother of Pearl inlay for fret markers and the frets have been installed. After cleaning up the board and pre-dressing the fret ends, I glued the fretboard onto the neck in the vacuum press.

The clamps are used in this instance to hold the fretboard centered on the neck. Normally I use very small location pins to stop the board from moving during the gluing process, but in this case there wasn't time. We have this guitar on the fast-track as we want to get the finish on it as soon as possible. With luck this guitar will be part of our exhibition at the 2008 NAMM show in January.

Right: (12/15/07) The flamed maple top has been cut to size and sanded down to the desired thickness. We then cut two 'f' holes in the top. These will add a decorative and unique touch to the appearance of the instrument and at the same time will allow any resonant sound to be heard while playing the instrument without an amplifier.

Since the body is chambered we expect the finished guitar to be unusually light.

We have also cut and radiused the fretboard, cut fret slots and slots for the fret marker inlays. The control access cover hole and cover have also been cut and we are currently sealing the inside of the body in preparation of shielding that needs to be done before the top is glued on.

Left: (12/6/07) The two halves of the top plate of this guitar were sanded down to their final thickness today. After that, they were set up on another machine to cut very accurate joint faces along the inner edge of each plate.

With those edges cleaned up so that they are perfectly square and straight, we proceeded to glue and clamp them together. This is a rather elaborarte setup as the two plates have to be aligned so that the grain matches, then constrained in two different directions to achieve a good joint.

I want to get this top glued onto the chambered body as soon as possible to avoid any possible movement in either of the sub-assemblies.

Right: (12/2/07) The first operation of the chambering is completed. I finished off the final few cuts with a ball end mill to add strength to the transition between the back face and the sides. This is hard to see in the photo. The thickness of the back of the instrument after chambering is about a quarter of a inch. More than that, and I would lose resonance, less than that and I would be risking possible distortion of the body.

Now that the main part of the material has been removed I will machine a couple of small transition areas to connect the two chambers. The maple can tolerate the removal of material quite well - I have left enough load-bearing areas and feel lthat the finished assembly will be more than strong enough under string tension. Pickup holes and neck pocket will be machined after the top plate is attached.

Left: (12/2/07) We set up the guitar body on the CNC so that we can get some of the chambering operations done. The chambering is done in separate upper and lower sections and these two sections will be connected between the pickups and behind the bridge.

Not only will this create a slightly resonant instrument body but it will greatly reduce the weight of the otherwise very heave maple body.

The bottom of the chambers will be raduised in order to provide a very strong transition from the back surface to the sides. I will make final adjustments to the wall thickness and body thickness after this operation is completed.

Right: (11/30/07) While the body is being machined on the CNC, the neck is in the clean room having its Carbon Fiber reinforcing rods epoxied into the slots we cut recently.

These rods will help heep the neck straight and stable. While the expoxy is curing the rods are held in place by spring clamps. This setup is normally left overnight to assure that the epoxy is fully cured.

We are almost ready to start work on the ebony fingerboard. This guitar is one of our current priorities so we should see some rapid progress on it over the next few days. We want to have it ready for its dark blue tint and gloss polyester resin finish by mid-December. We intend to show this guitar with a matching combo amp at the 2008 NAMM show in January.

Left: (11/30/07) A good amount of the work on this guitar will be done on the CNC. Our plan is to make this guitar a chambered instrument with 'f' holes in the front of the body. In order to achieve that we have to carefully plan out the location of the neck, bridge, pickups etc, and plan to remove material around these features.

We want to cut out as much material as we can without compromising the strength or integrity of the instrument istelf. The net result will be a lightweight instrument that should be able to be played unamplified.

In the photo - you can see the body of the guitar secured to the table of the CNC readfy for machining. We should be cutting the chambers tomorrow so I will post more photos of the results.

Right: (11/26/07) In this photo you can see that the center slot for the truss rod has been cut, and the two slots for carbon fiber reinforcing rods have also been cut. I will also do a quick cut at the head end of the truss rod slot to allow some clearance for the nut at the end of the rod, plus some room for an allen key when adjusting the assembled neck.

At that point the neck can be removed from the machine and go on to the next operations. We'll do some final shaping and start on the ebony fingerboard next.

Having established neck dimensions, I can now make plans to cut the neck pocket into the body of the guitar. That's a few days away as we have some body gluing to get done first.

Left: (11/26/07) In this photo we have the neck set up in our CNC machine for a couple of different operations. Firstly I cut the step and radius between the joint face of the neck and the head of the guitar. Then I machined a nice clean joint face onto which the fingerboard will be glued.

Finally I cut the actual perimeter of the neck on the same centerline. This gives me a very helpful guideline when shaping the back of the neck by hand. It's always a good idea to get as much work done in one setup as possible.

The neck has a very nice flamed grain running across the board. When it's finally finished and tinted, this will be a nice visual feature.

Right: (11/3/07) Since our guitar is ultimately going to be tinted blue, we chose maple for the body wood. On the right you can see the two body halves which have been glued together.

The maple body will be slightly heavier compared to, say Mahogany, so we will chamber as much of the interior of the body as psossible to relieve weight. It is possible we might choose to make this a hollow body instrument and cut 'f' holes in the top. There are many possibilities, and we will be making some further decisions on the ultimate design once the guitar has progressed a little more.

We are also working on the parts of the flamed maple neck. we'll post some photos of that as soon as possible.

Left: (10/24/07) Here is a photo showing the flamed maple figure for the top of the instrument. We have rough cut the body shape and resawn the material to achieve a bookmatched top.

The neck will also be maple but we have yet to select the most suitable material for the remainder of the body. It will have to be light enough in color to work well with our blue tint, and at the same time be light enough in weight to avoid creating a heavy instrument.

Right: (10/24/07) Today we started work on the blue guitar which will be part of our NAMM 08 exhibit.

We established the body design and created a template. This is slightly smaller in size than the instrument it is named after but we feel it is a more appealing variation and more comfortable for the player.

Next we will cut more flamed maple for the components of the neck.

Last update October 5, 2008