Watson Guitars
California, USA

6 String solid body guitar - bolt on neck. (Serial 087016)
Call for SPECIAL PRICING 951 659-8616

Materials: Zebrawood top and back, zebrawood and wenge core.
Fingerboard: Rosewood with Coral Snake inlay
Pickups: Humbuckers
Electronics: passive
Bridge: Wilkinson Chrome
Hardware: Chrome
Tuners: Hipshot or Equivalent
Finish: Satin Oil Finish

This is a very pretty and unusual guitar. The combination of woods look great together. We also have a very interesting inlay on the fingerboard - a Rasta Coral Snake!

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Back inside the cavity to wire some stuff up!
(3/28/14) Text Coming Soon.

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Yes it has strings!
(3/4/14) Text Coming Soon.

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Volume blend and tone controls have been installed.
(2/19/14)The three potentiometers have been successfully installed and tightened down from the top end. I will be digging up my wiring diagram so that I can get this cavity wired up and tested. I also have to add magnets and copper shielding to the inside face of the cover and get that fitted. We;re making progress though, and I'm looking forward to seeing how this instrument actually plays!

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Pots are ready to be installed.
(2/11/14) I have an assortment of electronic parts that will have to be installed in the control cavity. In the photo you can see the potentiometers for volume blend and tone controls. I will have to re-size the three holed through the top of the guitar to get these to fit. Once they are in I will attach the locking jack socket and gather all the wiring for soldering. We will then be able to string the guitar up and test for sound.

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Control cavity in now completely shielded.
(1/23/14) All the required copper shielding has been added to the control cavity. It is necessary to continue the copper up the sides and onto the horizontal surface so that the cavity cover - which also has copper shielding, can complete the shielding from all sides with electrical continuity. Now that this has been done I can start adding the potentiometers and get ready to connect the wiring that will give this guitar a voice.

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Magnets to hold cover on have been installed.
(1/16/14) Before I continue cladding the cavity with copper shielding I have to drill holes in the bosses and insert and glue in the magnets that will hold the cavity cover onto the body of the guitar. It's a fairly easy job but I have to be careful that I keep the polarity of the magnets consistent so that they are all pulling and not pushing! Now that they are securely embedded into the guitar I can get the remainder of the copper shielding applied.

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Working on the control cavity.
(1/12/14) Control cavity is being copper shielded. The two pickup wires have been threaded through from their respective cavities to the control cavity. Ground wire from the bridge is now established. You can also see in this photo the set of string ferrules inset into the back of the body which are aligned with the bridge on the front side. Once copper shielding is done I will set the pickups in their housings and screw them onto the body.

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Adding copper shielding.
(12/20/13) The instrument is ready for electronics and pickups so it is necessary to put in copper shielding where appropriate. I added shielding in the pickup recesses although our pickups are humbuckers and should not requite that. However in the control cavity is it definitely a wise addition. Bridge is marked out for scale length and alignment with the neck. I need to drill some holes so I can connect grounding wires from the bridge.

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Magnets have been installed for the truss rod cover.
(10/19/13) From experience I know two neo magnets are more than enough to securely hold the Truss Rod cover onto the headstock. I embedded two 3/16 diameter magnets onto the neck material. I will also put two flatter magnets into the cover itself and we'll have a safe and reliable fastening system. The cover is fairly thin so I will have to be careful with the counterbores. Once this is on it can be easily removed with a guitar pick or finger nail.

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Nut installed and ready to cut.
(10/8/13) The nut has been shaped, fitted and glued into the slot in the fingerboard. I will carefully mark out the locations for the strings and get the slots cut. They won't be cut to finished depth until the strings go on so that we can achieve just the right settings. I have a truss rod cover which I will attach using magnets. I need to first drill 3 holes to house magnets embedde into the neck material.

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Neck is now fitted to the body.
(7/14/11) This photo shows the guitar body with the fingerboard attached. We cut an accurate pocket and the heel of the neck fits nicely in there. Neck angle to body and bridge height looks good. At this point I can flip the body over and machine in some counterbored holes for the retaining screws and washers which will hold the neck to the body. That done, I'll be able to shape the transition between the two parts.

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Frets are in and fingerboard is attached to neck.
(6/29/11) I cut some fretwire to suit this instrument and installed and dressed the frets. It looks much more 'complete' with the frets complimenting the inlay. Having completed that, I went ahead and glued the fingerboard onto the neck. We now have a complete assembly which I can start final shaping to get it ready for the body. When the neck is shaped I will apply some tratment to the fingerboard surface to serve as protection for the wood.

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Side dots have been installed.
(6/10/11) This project was on hold for some time but we have re-started the work with the involvement of its owner-to-be. The snake inlay has already been completed. While we were working on other fingerboards we took the time to drill the holes for the side dots and install the dot material and clean up to a finished edge. This fingerboard in now in a condition where we can install the frets and with that done, glue the fingerboard onto the neck.

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we are about half way through the inlay process. A little tedious but we hope the results will look pretty impressive.
(9/14/09) We had some time to turn our attention back to this project. Making the inlay for the Rasta coral snake is a little tricky because we are trying to insert flat pieces of veneer into a raduised fingerboard surface. We made little glued-up sub assemblies and then glued those into the recess in the fingerboard. So far so good - we are over half way and have only had to re-do one piece! Once this is done side dots and frets can go in.

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This is the hole and rectangular recess for the Neutrik jack socket. Needs a special setup to machine because it's on the side of the guitar body.
(7/11/09) A small but important step is machining the hole and rectangular recess for the Neutrik locking jack socket. It happened that I was cutting the same feature into another instrument so I took advantage of the setup and ran this guitar through at the same time. we are going to try and put some time into this instrument so that we can get the inlay and more of the shaping of the body done. Check back for more updates.

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The fingerboard has been cut on one of our CNC machines. All the inlay details are now cut into the wood and we have to find a way to inlay the colored pieces of the snake successfully.
(5/16/09) We translated the rough drawing of the snake onto a vector drawing file and from that we were able to program the shapes for the CNC machine. We cut the snake shape into the fingerboard and alos three marijuana shaped leaves to serve as fret markers for the fifth and twelfth fret positions. We used a laser to cut the shapes that will fit into our machined shape. The assembly of all these tiny pieces should be an interesting process!

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We are looking forward to creating a very impressive Rasta Coral Snake inlay in the fretboard of this instrument. Watch this space folks - it's conna be cool.
(10/25/08) This guitar presents some quite exciting challenges for us. This will be our first guitar (or bass) where we have a theme running all the way up the fretboard. In this particular case, our customer wants to see a Coral Snake inlayed on the fingerboard. We're going to change the Coral Snake natural colors to Rasta colors and add a few (dare I say it) Marijuana leaves as additional fret markers. This should look really impressive against the dark Rosewood fingerboard.i

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This is a shot of the machined control cavity showing the bosses we will use for the hold-down magnets.
(7/10/08) We set the body of the guitar up on the CNC machine and firstly cut the recess for the control cavity cover. This is about 3/16" deep so that the cover can fit into it flush with the back surface of the guitar. Then we cut the control cavity itself, to a depth of about 1" We cut the cavity so that we also created four areas which will provide material to embed the magnets which will hold the cover in place.

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The first of two body halves is being glued onto the laminated body core.
(6/08/08) Here we see one of the body halve being glued to the laminated body core. This has to be clamped securely and tightly in both directions to ensure a good quality joint. (no, not that kind of joint!) I always leave a setup like this overnight so that I am 100% sure the glue has cured. The setup is repeated for the second body half. Now we are ready to clean up the glued assembly and get it on the CNC for the next operation.

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This photo shows the headstock veneer (bookmatched) and the control cavity cover (continuous grain) cut from the back of the guitar.
(5/16/08) In this photo you can see two significant components of the guitar. On the top is a carefully bookmatched piece of Zebrawood which we will use as a veneer onto the headstock area of the guitar. It will be a nice finishing touch to the instrument. Below is the control cavity cover which we took the effort to remove from the parent material on the back of the guitar so that the cover is part of the continuous wood grain. This is always extra work to do but the end results look great!

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We cut a nice piece of Rosewood for the fingerboard and we now have it set up on the CNC to cut its compound radius.
(3/14/08) The fingerboard on this guitar will be Rosewood. we had a nice piece of raw material which we set up on the CNC. First we cut around the perimeter to establish the width and length, then in the same setup we cut the compound radius with a ball-nose cutter. When that's done, and while we still have the fingerboard clamped and aligned, we'll move on to cutting the slots for the frets.

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The laminated neck is up on the CNC and we are in the process of cutting the top surface, neck profile, slots and headstock angle.
(2/26/08) Now that the various wood laminates have been glued together it's time to clamp the neck assembly on the CNC and start machining some of the critical surfaces on the neck. First we cut the top surface (where the fingerboard is attached) and in the same setup we cut the truss rod slot and the two slots for the carbon fiber reinforcing rods. Finally we machine the top surface of the headstock at the correct angle.

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In this photo we are gluing on two small matching pieces of Zebrawood to allow for the extra width of the finished headstock.
(2/22/08) We cut two small pieces of Zebrawood so that the grain of the wood was a close match to the headstock area on the neck. With careful alignment, we then glued the two 'ears' onto the end of the neck. The addition of these pieces allows for the extra width needed for the headstock of the guitar. Taking care to get a close grain match makes a difference in the final product as the finish we apply will be clear, therefore the woodgrain will be visible!

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Some of the body parts of the guitar are spending time in the vacuum press where we glue veneers onto the various layers of wood.
(2/18/08) Here we see some of the body layers in the vacuum press. We are gluing light and dark colored veneers onto the sides of the laminates. These will result in contrasting pinstripes on the final body assembly. The vacuum press guarantees a perfect glue joint without the need for elaborate clamping. These parts will be in the vacuum press a couple of times each as I use light veneers against dark woods or veneers and vice versa.

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We used the bandsaw to rough-cut shapes our of Wenge and Zebrawood for the neck-section of the guitar.
(11/17/07) Using a template, we drew out the profile of the neck section on pieces of Wenge and Zebrawood and used the bandsaw to sut out the five laminates which will be used to make the neck. The are cut with some extra material on them to allow for alignment adjustment when we glue and clamp them together. These pieces are then run through our drum sander to achieve a good consistent and flat surface finish.

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Here are the two top pieces for the guitar after they came off the bandsaw.
(11/10/07) Here are the two bookmatched pieces of Zebrawood after we resawed the material in the bandsaw. At this point, the two halves are around 1/2 inch thick. This thickness, combined with the addition of a Walnit laminate will give us the extra material required to carve the domed top of the guitar. We'll drum sand these two pieces flat and apply a couple of decorative veneers to them as pinstriping. Then we'll glue the top plates together.

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We have to split Zebrawood down the center on two pieces of wood to create the bookmatched top and back pieces.
(11/10/07) The body top and back material has now been rough-cut to the approximate shape of the guitar. The easiest way to do this manually is on our scroll saw since we are leaving a little extra material all around allowing us to refine the body shape as we go. We will sandwich the Zebrawood top and back onto a core of Wenge. We're also planning to introduce an extra laminate of walnut which will become a nice highlight when the top is shaped.

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We're getting this guitar started. Here are the two pieces of Zebrawood we are going to use for the top pf the guitar.

(11/7/07) This guitar is going to be mostly zebrawood. We have allocated material for the bookmatched top and back of the guitar. To create a contrast, we are going to use Wenge as a nice derk colored accent wood for the laminates running through the body and the neck. Zebrawood comes up a beautiful honey color when the final finihs is applied, so this guitar will look really nice when complete.

Last update June 29, 2011