Watson Guitars
Idyllwild
California, USA

Custom Solid Body Guitar (Serial 09G034)
Call
951-659-8616.

   
Materials: Top:Highly Figured Koa Back:TBA. Core:African Mahogany, East Indian rosewood and Jatoba
Fingerboard: Gaboon Ebony with custom fret marker inlays
Pickups: Humbuckers
Hardware: Hipshot Chrome
Finish: High gloss Polyester resin with a sienna sunburst.

This special order guitar is quite unusual. First of all it is a new body design with extended horns, an angled body and a redesigned headstock. We used some of our figured Koa stock to create a very unique carved top instrument.

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hardware is now attached and it's almost good to go!
(6/22/10) Guitar has now been wired up and assembled and we are very happy with it. It is a very comfortable instrument and feels great to play. The sunburst and color of the Koa looks beautiful. This is definitely a one of a kind instrument. We are now getting it ready for packing and shipping to out customer in the UK.
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hardware is now attached and it's almost good to go!

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The Koa top came up looking beautiful after the finish.
(6/22/10) Finishing is completed. This guitar got a nice shiny coat of polyester resin which brought out the golden color of the Koa. In addition, we added a sienna sunburst around the edges to accent the contoured top. Our challenge now is to get all the recesses cleaned up and start assembling hardware onto the body. After that we'll have the internal wiring done. The last task is to set the instrument up so it plays well.

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This is the Tusk insert fopr the top of the headstock.
(6/15/10) This is the insert we are going to embed in the headstock with our logo on it. It is also made out of the same tusk material as the block inlay on the neck. Once we clean out all the recesses on the guitar we'll attach this to complete the look of the headstock. I machined the oval on the cnc and engraved the logo on our laser. Seems to have done a nice clean job. The top of the headstock was carved to match the shape of this insert.

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The neck has been machined and inlays have been completed.
(6/9/10) We have completed the inlay of the Mastodon Tusk. The tusk material was very hard, and took some time to cut into squares, however the end result was very pleasing. The detail in the tusk is really nice and it is a great contrast to the black color of the Gaboon Ebony. next I have to install the frets.
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Detail shot of the Mastodon Tusk inlay.

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Holes and recesses for the knobs and switches.
(6/7/10) While we are working on the fingerboard - there is a lot of work to be done on the body. As you can see in the photo, we have machined the holes and recesses for the control knobs and the selector switch. The most time-consuming thing we have to do is the sanding that is required prior to finishing. The entire instrument has to be progressively sanded down to around 400 grit so that we have a smooth and even surface all over.

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Cutting fret slots in the radiused fingerboard.
(6/6/10) Time to start working on the fingerboard. For this instrument we are using a nice piece of Gaboon Ebony. We start by machining the perimeter of the blank to the exact size of the neck it will be attached to. Then we use the CNC machine to cut the compound radius to pre-determined sizes. Next, we cut the 24 fret slots using a very small carbide end mill (as seen in the photo to the left). Then we machine recessed for the inlay material.

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Cutting the recess for the Neutrik locking jack socket.
(6/5/10) Since we already machined the control cavity into the back of the guitar we are now able to cut the recess for the locking jack socket into the side of the guitar. It's hard to see on the photo but we have also done most of the contouring on the top surface of the body. After some final cleanup and sanding we'll set the guitar up on another machine and cut the holes and counterbores for the controls.

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Koa top is on and now being carved.
(5/31/10) The two sycamore body halves have been attached and the Koa top has also been glued in place. After doing some trimming around the perimeter of the instrument I got started on the task of carving the domed top. This is currently done by hand as the countours are more of a sculpture challenge than a programming/machining challenge. We'll soon be cutting the fingerboard and working on the inlay!

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Body halves have been cut - also Koa top (in background).
(4/19/10) We have now done all the necessary machining on the core of the guitar. The body halves have been cut from a nice piece of Sycamore and I will be preparing those soon for assembly. I also cut the two bookmatched pieces of Koa for the top of the guitar. These are thicker than usual because they will have to be carved to create the domed top. We'll stain the sycamore to match to Koa color and the guitar will look really nice!

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Now the center core of the guitar is set up on the CNC machine.
(4/4/10) The completed neck/body core has now been transferred to the CNC machine. We start by cleaning up the face of the neck. This will be the surface onto which the fingerboard will be attached, so it needs to be very flat and straight. Next we will cut the perimeter of the center core removing the extra material. After that we will machine the headstock angle and clean up the body angle at the other end. Finally we'll cut the truss rod and CF slots.

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Almost done gluing the center core of the guitar.

(4/4/10) As you can see in the photo to the left we are almost done gluing the various laminates and veneers together. Once the last glue joint has cured we will have a very solid core which will be ready for machining on the CNC. So far the core feels nice and light but very rigid. It should make a prefect backbone for the finished instrument and look great with the Curly Koa top! We are anxious to get this one completed!


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The laminates are now being glued topgether.
(3/31/10) The various tapered laminates have now all been machined and also been into our vacuum press where we glued on veneer to the joint faces. As you can see in the photo to the left, we are now in the process opf gluing these laminates together to create the central core of the guitar. We're gluing one laminate at a time to make sure we have the best possible alignment and joint integrity. We'll soon have a complete core to work with.

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One of the center laminates in the Ornamental Mill for tapering.
(3/27/10) We have sanded the laminates for the neck so that they are flat and now we are cutting tapers on all of the center laminates. In the photo to the left you can see the center Jatoba strip being cut to the right taper. Following that we will cut the two East Indian Rosewood laminates to the correct taper also. next step will be to glue Maple veneer onto some of the laminate faces for pinstriping.

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Parts have been sawn up for the core of the guitar.
(3/22/10) We have cut up blanks for the core of the instrument. I chose African Mahogany for the outer edges, East Indian Rosewood for the dark stringers, and the center strip is a piece of Jatoba which matches the Mahogany very well. My goal is that these woods will work very well with the curly Koa top. Sound-wise they should also be a very good combination. Next we sill sand them flat and move to the ornamental mill to machine the tapers.

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I have a board of African Wenge which I may use for the stringers in the neck.
(2/22/10) One of the woods I recently purchased is a beautiful board of very consistent and tight-grained African Wenge. This wood is great for guitar building as it has very good sound properties and is very stable. It occurred to me that this particular wood when combined with the African Mahogany would be very complimentary in visual and sound properties. I'm pretty sure I am going ti use this stuff for the two tapered stringers in the neck.

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The top of this guitar will be a nicely figured piece of bookmatched Curly Koa.
(1/31/10) This is a very custom project for a customer overseas. I'm considering some nice African Mahogany as part of the structure. The top of the instrument will be domed, showing off a very highly figured Koa top. Back will probably be mahogany (although we have some other options) and the center core of this neck-through instrument will probably consist of curly maple and east indian rosewood. Hardware color not yet decided.
Last update June 22, 2010