Watson Guitars
Idyllwild
California, USA

 

Chambered Guitar (Serial 12G046)
Bolt on neck construction

Call
951-468-4004 or email us here!

   
Materials:

Top: Spalted Maple Body: Bubinga, Maple and Wenge core.

Fingerboard: Kingwood with green shell inlay
Pickups: TBS
Hardware: Chrome
Bridge/Tuners

TBA

Options: Chambered Body with F-Holes
Finish:

Epoxy resin with green translucent tint

This guitar is a beautiful lightweight chambered Telecaster-style instrument. It will be receiving a transparent green theme which will match the green shell inlay on the neck.


Highslide JS
Finally got the green tint on the instrument.
(11/10/14) After a number of attempts to get the correct stain color to match the inlay, the guitar now has its green coating. I can now finish up some of the other caoted areas and get this guitar assembled and playing. As you can see - the wood and the inlay match each other pretty well. With the chrome hardware, this guitar should end up looking pretty impressive. I will be starting assembly very soon - pictures to follow!

Highslide JS
Wrapping up the sanding process - next is the green tint.
(4/3/14) Last coat on and touchup has been done wgere necessary. I am now ready to apply some of the green tint to the top. I'm not planning on putting it on the back of the instrument as it has a very nice color scheme in the natural woods. I will probably start with the headstock and then move on to the top of the body. Once I am happy with the tint and it dries completely i will coat the whole instrument with a clear lacquer.

Highslide JS
Wrapping up the sanding process - next is the green tint.
(3/19/14) I am happy to get to the point where I am putting the last coats of filler on this guitar and will be sanding it down for the last time. I do have some additional work to do to the neck but once these tasks have been done I can start working on the actual assembly of the guitar. It will be very nice to see it all come together. Next is sanding then applying green tint to the front. Once I'm happy with that we add some lacquer to finish.

Highslide JS
Pore and grain filling process continues.
(2/25/14) The back of the guitar needsa quite a bit more grain filling than the front because mahogany has a lot more pores in the wood that need to be filled. Right now I am applying successive coats of grain filler so that I can get to a point where both the mahogany and the wenge surfaces are acceptably smooth and I can then procees to color tinting and final finishing. The woods look great together. Can't wait to see the finished results.

Highslide JS
First coat of pore filler being applied to neck and body.
(2/14/14) I'm about half way though the sanding process but I need to start pore/grain filling the wood so that the filler and the successive sanding operations complement each other. Today I applied the very first sealer/filler onto the instrument Most of this saks into the wood and I will need to apply several more coats before we are close to a complete finish. It is good to get this process started!

Highslide JS
Testing pore filler on offcut wood.
(1/26/14) I am using an offcut of the top plate material to test a couple of things. One is the green translucent dye that I will be applying to the wood. I want to make sure I get the right color, and penetration in to the wood and because every wood is unique, I want to test drive that and the final finishing product on a piece of the same top material. The spalted maple is more porus so I want to test that. The magonany and wenge are more predictable.

Highslide JS
Work on body has been started - getting the edges started.
(1/19/14) This is the machined body - almost done with this part of the build. It is still rough and needs to be shaped and sanded all over but looks good so far and feels nice and light. It's going to make a night lightweight Tele! I will get started on shapng very soon. That will involve all the various radiused parts, joint areas, and the refinements on the body contour itself. Once that is done I will start the sanding process.

Highslide JS
Just cut the 6 ferrule recesses on the back of the body.
(1/7/14) Based on the careful location of the bridge detailed below. I was able to center and drill 6 holes through the instrument from the top surface. These holes will allow the strings to be threaded through the bridge from the back of the guitar. The next step in this process is to countersink each hole at two levels to accommodate the string ferrules which will be permanently inserted after the finish is applied.

Highslide JS
Locating the bridge on the body.
(12/9/13) We are getting ready to get this instrument finished up. I have all the hardware on hand so now I am making sure that I locate the bridge in exactly the right position both for scale length and just as importantly for the alignment to the neck. We want the strings to be collectively centered on the neck so it is very important to make sure the bridge is accurately located. I also mark positions for holes that will allow strings being retained from the back.

Highslide JS
knob recess and switch holes have been cut.
(11/25/13) Back on the CNC for some more work on the body. This time I cut a recessed knob hole for the volume/tone controls and also a slot that will accommodate the 3-way selector switch for the pickups. Now that these are cut I can move on to other final details of this instrument. We are getting close to the point where all it needs is a good sanding before we start applying the final stain and finishing products! very exciting stuff!

Highslide JS
Setting up for some work on the top of the body.
(11/9/13) Now that we are able to bolt the neck onto the body it is easy for me to check the alignment of the neck to the body. Ideally if I did everything right - the neck should line up with the bridge in such a way that the bridge is perfectly centered to the center line of the body. As I had hoped, this is indeed the case with this instrument. Next I have to mark the exact placement of the bridge on the body based on the scale length.

Highslide JS
Serial number added to back of neck.
(10/26/13) It's time to get the official serial number added to the instrument. Typically I will cut a recess in the back of the neck on a guitar (on a bass it's usually inside the battery compartment). In this case I cut the recess carefully alinged on the center laminate of the neck. Once that is done I cut the serial number in the laser and cut it out so that the two pieces fit perfectly together. Once it is glued in it's pretty much a permanent part of the instrument.

Highslide JS
The four recesses for the pressure washers have been cut into the beck of the body.
(10/9/13) In order to be able to bolt this guitar together I needed to machine holes and counterbores into the back of the body. These will hold the retaining rings for the neck screws. I kike to get them very accurately positioned because if there was any error you would see it against all these laminates! Once the holes are established I remove the setup from the CNC and finish the holes to a larger diameter on the drill press.

Highslide JS
The Watson logo has now been cut into the headstock.
(9/15/13) This is the engraved logo after coming off the laser. It creates a very clean and sharp piece of artwork and I can now proceed to the final finishing of the neck itself. I still have to do some shaping and countoring and then some time consuming sanding but we are definitely getting closer on this one. I will also inset a serial number tab on the back side of the headstock. Looking forward to getting tye green tint on this one!

Highslide JS
ready to laser the logo onto the headstock.
(9/4/13) I need to engrave the Watson logo into the headstock of the guitar. The blue tape serves two purposes. It protects the wood from discoloration when the laser is burning, plus it lets me do a light test burn to make sure the positioning of the logo is correct before I commit to burning into the material. I try to position the logo so that it does not interfere with tuners or the string trees which we will attach when we are done.

Highslide JS
Pickup holes have been machined into the body.
(8/15/13) I have two very nice pickups to go into this guitar. The next step here was to set the body up on the CNC and machine out the two cavities into which we will install the pickups. The blue tape is used to establish the exact location of the bridge and also to prevent machining chips from falling into the hollow body of the instrument through the two f-holes. I am now much close to getting this instrument complete and ready for finishing.

Highslide JS
Getting set up to cut the pickup cavities.

(7/30/13) Much of the work on this guitar has been done - I am now at the stage where I am measuring my pickup dimensions and preparing to machine suitable pickup cavities into the body of the guitar. I am using some nice pickups on this guitar which will make it sound very good. In the photo I am setting up the body to machine the bridge and neck pickup cavities (different shapes). We're getting close to completion!


Highslide JS
Cutting the recess for the Jack Socket
(4/20/13) In order to get this instrument closer to finishing I decided to take advantage of a window of space on my CNC machine and cut the hole and recess for the Neutrik locking jack socket. One step further towards completion. My next task will be to cut pickup hoes in the top of the instrument and also holes for the control knobs. At that point it will be time to concentrate on final sanding in preparation for applying the finish.

Highslide JS
Fingerboard has been glued to the neck
(2/12/13) I had a chance to machine out the neck pocket in the body so we can now see what the neck and body look like as an assembly. This instrument is getting close to final finishing so I have to now machine some recesses for pickups and holes for control knobs. There is still a little bit of shaping and a good amount of sanding to do but we are definitely getting closer to a finished instrument! Can't wait to see the color on this one!

Highslide JS
Fingerboard has been glued to the neck
(12/5/12) The fingerboard - which has already been fretted, has now been attached to the neck. The neck has also has a veneer added to the headstock to perfectly match the material on the body top. The body and headstock will be stained green to match the color of the shell inlay. This should result in a very impressive and unusual instrument. Next we have to dress the frets and drill the six holes in the headstock for the tuners.

Highslide JS
Cutting the control cavity opening
(11/25/12) We recently cut out the control cavity cover from the parent material on the back of the guitar. The instrument was then flipped over and hachined from the inside to create a recess for a solid insert. The insert was cut and glued into the inside recess and now we are cutting the inner profile and creating the bosses where the magnets will be installed. The whole thing sounds like a complicated process but it's not as bad as it sounds!

Highslide JS
This is the spalted maple top we will be using
(11/18/12) This is the Spalted Maple we will be using for the top of the guitar. It has been thicknessed, and the joint faces have been machined. Both halves have been glued together and it is now ready for some more accurate shaping. Once the top is close to finished size, and before we glue it to the top surface of the body, we are going to machine in the 'f' holes. Once that's done we'll assemble the body and top together.

Highslide JS
Green Shell inlay completed!
(11/4/12) The green shell inlay has bee ninstalled into the recesses of the fingerboard. I also apply a sealer coat on top of the shell which cures almost as hard as glass. This protects the shell and does a beautiful job of blending the wood and inlay surfaces together. I also installed the side dots along the upper edge of the fingerboard. At this point I am ready to cut and install the frets. When they are in and dressed, the fingerboard can go on the neck.

Highslide JS
Green Shell inlay for this guitar!
(10/19/12) Here I am working on getting the shell inlay ready for assembly into the fingerboard. I wanted to grab a photo of the shell to show the depth of the color. We'll use this green to create just the right tint for the finish that is going to be applied to the body. That way everything on the guitar will match perfectly. This is the first block inlay I have done with this shell so I am anxious to see how it looks in the fingerboard.

Highslide JS
Kingwood fingerboard being prepped for inlay.
(10/9/12) The fingerboard on this guitar will be Kingwood. This is an extremely hard wood with a beautiful grain. It should compliment the other woods and colors of the guitar very well. We have machined the raduis - cut fret slots and recesses for the inlay. I am now in the process of doing the preparation work for the inlay shell. This involves several small operations to get the required results. Looking forward to seeing the shell in this fingerboard!

Highslide JS
This is the Spalted Maple we will be using for the top.
(9/26/12) This is the wood we have collectively decided upon with our customer for the top. It is a nice piece of Spalted Maple. Our goal is to apply a green translucent tint to the wood so that the grain shows through. We are also going to use green shell block inlay on the fingerboard to bring the color down the neck. Should look quite impressive. These pieces need to be rough cut and then bookmatched together, which I will do asap.

Highslide JS
Neck has been partly machined - more to come.
(7/12/12) The neck of the guitar has had extra material glued onto the headstock area and then rough shaped. The surfaces have been machined and we will be doing some more precise shaping of the neck very soon. As soon as we fit a top to the body we will be able to cut a neck pocket and have a complete looking instrument. Once the fingerboard is on the neck I will do the final shaping and contouring.

Highslide JS
Starting work on the fingerboard.
(6/18/12) We are using African Kingwood for the neck on this guitar. Not only is it a very beautiful wood, but it is very hard, has excellent tone qualities and its darker grain shows off any inlay we use to its greatest effect. We have just cut the perimeter of the fingerboard to match that of the neck. Now we have to cut the compound radius and cut the fret slots and the recesses for the inlay blocks.

Highslide JS
Body has been glued up and chambered.
(6/6/12) The two mahogany body halves have been glued onto the core section and cleaned up on both sides. Next, we put the glued blank onto our CNC machine and cut out the material which will become the chambered section of the body. When that was complete, we cut the perimeter of the body around our template and cleaned up the edges. We can now cut in the wiring channels and get ready to remove the cavity plate from the back bout.

Highslide JS
Neck and body core are completed.
(4/10/12) The gluing of the various laminates that make up the neck and the core section of the body has been completed. We will now glue wenge tabs onto the upper and lower edges of the headsock, and cut a couple of pieces of mahogany which we will assembl;e with the body core to make up a complete body blank. While that is going on we will select suitable materials for the top of the body and for the fingerboard.

Highslide JS
Almost done gluing the neck together.
(4/3/12) Here we are gluing the final pieces together to create the neck blank. This will be a very rigid guitar neck due to its five piece construction. It should also have excellent sound qualities because maple, and wenge combine very well tonally. It will also look spectacular when combined with the matching tapered core of the body. We have yet to decide what material to use for the fingerboard of the guitar. Possibly birdseye maple.

Highslide JS
Gluing the neck laminates.
(3/30/12) Today we got started on creating the neck of the instrument. I had already cut the laminates and tapered them so the next step was to start gluing the pieces together. I start with the center laminate and glue additional pieces on working outwards. I use a lot of clamps because I want to guarantee and even clamping pressure across the whole assembly. Normally this is left to cure overnight for a perfect joint!

Highslide JS
Gluing parts of the body core together.
(3/27/12) Time to start the gluing process. Initially I am gluing the three center laminates for the body core together. I'll do the same thing for the various pieces of the neck. The rough sawn blanks are fairly close to finished size so I have to be careful with the alignment of the pieces when I clamp them together. I'll probably allow this to cure overnight and glue the remaining pieces tomorrow. Should move along fairly quickly.

Highslide JS
Cutting a taper on the Bubinga core.
(3/18/12) In these photos I am cutting the center bubinga core and the maple stringers to prescribed tapers. My CNC is the only machine that has enough travel to do this. The operation goes fairly quickly and I like the way the result looks on the finished instrument. After these tapers are established the pieces can be glued together.
Highslide JS
Cutting a taper on the maple pieces.

Highslide JS
Added some curly maple for contrast.
(2/22/12) I cut some strips of curly maple so that we would have a nice white line between the brown colored woods. I think this makes the sandwich much more visually appealing. Currentle the individual pieces are the correct thickness but wider than needed so I will put the material up on mone of my machines and cut the center strips to a pre-determined taper which will comine to collow the natural taper of the neck.

Highslide JS
Some of the core pieces have been cut up.
(2/10/12) These are the basic pieces I am going to use to create the core of this guitar. The darker material is Wenge and the lighter brown is Bubinga. Both are very good woods for this purpose. Normally on the heavy side but with the chambered body we will not have any weight issues. I am going to add a maple layer too - have still to cut that material. The contrast between the three woods will be very nice.

Highslide JS
Bubinga and Wenge for the core of this guitar.
(12/29/11) I decided to make this guitar a little different and use darker woods for the core section. I'm cutting up some Bubinga and Wenge for the neck and the center section of the body. These will look very nice together. Probably Mahogany for the back of the guitar. The big question will be what to use for the top. I have a few options with material I currently have in stock. I am also working on plans and progams for the chambered body.

Highslide JS
My rough drawing so I can get this guitar planned in my head.
(11/20/11) This is how a new instrument starts. I have a concept in my mind and an inventory of materials. Between the two I can formulate the plan for the instrument. In this case we are building an instrument which will be chambered. This will yield a very lightweight instrument. It will also have some very attractive woods in the formula. I have already started on cutting some of the wood for the center section of this guitar!

Last update August 7, 2012