Watson Guitars
Idyllwild
California, USA

6-string Neck Thru - (Serial 16B080)
Multi-Scale Headless
Call
951-240-1666. or email us here!
   
Materials: Top & Back: Amboyna Burl
  Body: Purpleheart between the Amboyna front and back w/curly maple accents
  Core Laminates: Purpleheart, Macassar Ebony, Curly Maple
  Fingerboard: Gabon Ebony
Fingerboard: Scale Length 35" to 32" with 24 GOLD frets - common square fret #9
Electronics: Possible Richter Preamp. RMC MIDI Hardware, Graph-Tech piezo saddles
Hardware: ABM Gold
Options: 3 hot single coils
Finish: Satin
Other: LED/Fiber Optic Side Dots
  17.5mm string spacing at bridge 10mm at nut
  Inlay to be discussed - planetary theme?

We are building a six-string multi-scale monster using some very attractive woods. We are planning a scroll-type upper horn and this one will have three pickups rather than our traditional two! More details as they happen!


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Body halves are all cleaned up and rough sawn.
(4/20/17) Left: More gluing of various body components. Text and picture coming!. (4/26/17) Right:Text and picture coming!
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Body halves are all cleaned up and rough sawn.

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This photo shows the lower bout using a couple of thin slices of curly maple as accents. I will sand them down to probably just over 1/8 thick - they will show up and a beautful curly figured accent around the body, front and back.
(4/13/17) Left: I'm cutting up some nicely figured curly maple which will be used to create a beautiful accent between the Amboyna top and back and the core of the body. (4/16/17) Right: Just a quick shot of a sub-assembly where I am applying maple veneer accents to the upper & lower sides of the purpleheart body pieces.
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Applying some decorative veneer to body parts.

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Evening out the sawn surface on the CNC since it's the quickest way on such hard wood.
(4/4/17) Left: I have to machine the inner sawn sides of the purpleheart close enough to finished size to then move to the drum sander and finish the thickness. (4/9/17) Right: I got the two purpleheart body pieces sanded flat and also rough cut to the body profile. They're currently a bit oversize until I get them paired with back plates.
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Body halves are all cleaned up and rough sawn.

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Gluing carbon fiber rods into the neck.
(3/29/17) Left: CF rods are now cut and fitted and I am in the process of getting them solidly glued into the neck structure. This will yield a very strong neck. (4/1/17) Right: I was able to get the big chunk of purpleheart cut into two separate pieces so that I can use them for the center pieces of the upper and lower body bouts.
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Tough job but purpleheart finally split!.

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Getting set up to install CF rods into their slots. Note - truss rod hasn't been seated all th way back in its slot - I should have done that before taking the photo!!
(3/23/17) Left: Carbon fiber rod slots are now cut into the neck surface and I am test fitting the CF rods into the machined slots so that I can get them glued into the neck assembly. (3/26/17) Right: This is me working on the body shape as it related to the core section and the size and shape of our available top and back material.
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Working on altering the body shape with the scrolled upper horn to fit the Ambuyna material we are going to be using.

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Truss rod slot complete and rod has been fitted.
(3/19/17) The truss rod slot has been cut successfully into the neck. Because of the geometry of the rods I use this operation requires three different setups to make the rod fit perfectly. It's important that the rod is nice and snug in the neck as it optimizes its performance and doesn't cause the risk of rattling or vibration. Now that I have this operation doneI can get back to working on the body components. It will soon look like a real bass!

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Rough cuttingh the purpleheart blank that will be the body centers for upper and lower bouts.
(3/12/17) This is the section of purpleheart that will live in the center of the body halves. I have marked out the combined upper and lower profiles on the top surface and rough sawn off most of the extra material. Next task is to split this piece into two so that we end up with an upper and a lower half. Purpleheart is very dense and consequently hard to saw especially big cuts like this but if I am careful I will be able get it all cut out nicely!

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Body shape with minor revisions based on material and multiscale geometry.
(3/7/17) The combined profile shape of the purpleheart center section of the body halves has been applied to the wood and the shape has been rough sawn out. This gives me less material to saw up to complete the two halves. Purpleheart is very dense and not easy to saw up but as long as I am patient my equipment can handle it! It will be good to get these blanks ready. I have a revised body template that I will need to use when cutting shape.

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Purpleheart for the core of the body of the bass.
(3/3/17) This is the chunk of purpleheart I acquired which will provide me with the material for the body core of the bass. It has some figure in it so hopefully that will show in the end result. Right now I need to get it rough sawn into upper and lower parts of the body profile so that I can get the pieces sanded flat. We'll see a big difference in the bass construction when these body parts are ready and complete and attached to the core section.

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Machining joint faces on the sides of the neck/body core.
(2/28/17) Next machining operation on the task list is to get the core section set up on the CNC and machine the slot for the double acting truss rod and also two slots to accommodate the two carbon fiber re-inforcing rods that I will enbed into the neck section. Once these operations are done the top surface of the neck will be ready for assembly with the fingerboard. This is already a super-strong neck but no harm in adding carbon fiber anyway!!

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Machining joint faces on the sides of the neck/body core.
(2/24/17) Today's job was to get the two sides of the core section machined flat, square and parallel to the neck taper so that I generate a joint face on the upper and lower sides of the core onto which the body halves will be attached. Because everything is on a taper it requires a few pretty fine adjustments and test cuts but things went well and I was happy to get this job out of the way. The fingerboard will be on CNC next for it's work.

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Fingerboard waiting for a chance to get on the CNC machine!.
(2/18/17) This is the fingerboard having been securely attached to its support piece and ready for machining on the CNC. My next move will be to get it set up on the CNC and I will machine the pouter perimeter of this multiscale fingerboard. When that's done I will generate a nice compound radius on the top surface. After that I will have a couple of operations on the board to remove machining marks and adjust profile. Then fret slots and nut slot.

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Gabon Ebony board sanded clean and ready for machining.
(2/15/17) The Gabon Ebony for the fingerboard is a good clean high quality board but since they typically come to me dry but rough sawn I have to run them through the drum sander to yield a nice flat surface on both sides. One of the sides is used to attach the board to a substrate so that I have a rigid support for the fingerboard as I run it through numerous machining operations. In this photo the board is nicely cleaned up.

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Getting all the component parts machined.
(2/10/17) In this photo you can see the neck core on the left which I have just spent some time trimming off very close to the neck taper dimensions. My next operation on this core is to machine body joint faces on the lower end of the core on the upper and lower faces. That will prepare the core for the attachment of the upcoming body halves which will be glued on soon. On the right is the Gabon Ebony fingerboard which I will be machining soon!

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Hard to get wide pieces of Gabon Ebony these days - I was lucky on this one - it's nice and black throughout too.
(2/5/17) This is the Gabon Ebony blank that I will be using to create a beautiful black fingerboard on this bass. This material is getting very hard to get in good quality so I am very happy to have this piece which is wide enough for this 6-string bass! I need to start by getting the rough sawn blank leveled and drum sanded to a nice flat piece just over fingerboard thickness. When that's done I will get started on the machining and fret slots.

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Body angle has now been machined on the core section.
(1/28/17) Left: I have now machined the area behind the neck that defines the neck-to-body angle. I will use this surface to finally machine the back. (2/1/17) Left: It's hard to see in this picture but I have now machined the entire length of the core to establish neck and core width. It will be more obvious when I remove the extra material!
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Neck and core final dimensions have been machined along the entire length of the core.

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Top surface of core has been cleaned up and established.
(1/23/17) Top surface of the core assembly has been machined down to its required level. I now have a clean surface onto which the fingerboard will ultimately be attached, This surface also becomes the reference plane for all the other surfaces and features on this core section. I now have to do some calculations to make sure I can plot the extents of the angled fingerboard and the headstock geometry. That done I can start the other operations.

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Setting up CNC to get some machining done.
(1/21/17) I now have the core assembly set up on the CNC and I will be getting started on several machining operations. First goal will be to level off the top surface of the neck and also machine a suitable neck-to-body angle on the top surface of the body area. These are both critical datum surfaces. After that I will probably machine the perimeter of the core along its entire length. This established neck width and also body joint areas.

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Core section prepped for CNC work.
(1/12/17) This is the core section after cleanup and it is now ready to go up on the CNC machine for a number of machining operations that will move things ahead quite a bit. This is going to be a very strong and rigid neck based on the materials we are using. I also like the combination of colors combined with the decorative veneers. It will also be nice to see the continuity of using the purpleheart also in the centers of the two body halves!

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All the core laminates and veneers have now been assembled.
(1/8/17) The core is complete and is now ready for further machining as soon as I can get it up on the CNC machine. Everything looks good and it will certainly come out looking awesome on the finished bass! My next task will be to get some of the critical dimensions machined, plus I need to get the body profile plotted and cut out too. Lots to get done! I cleaned this glued core up to remove excess material thereby making it a little easier for me to fixture.

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All veneers on and ready to glue into one complete core.
(1/3/17) This is the end resullt of the application of the darker veneer onto the maple laminates of the core. After they were glued on I cleaned them up flush with the edges and I can now glue all three of these pieces together to create the completed core. It's safer for alignment to glue them one at a time so that will be my next goal. Ones that's done it will be ready for some machining on the CNC to establish some finished dimensions.

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Adding the final two decorative veneers.
(12/27/16) I am now in the process of gluing the dark decorative veneers to the light maple laminates. I have to add one to each side of the five already assembled core laminates and once they are on I can add the two outer Macassar Ebony sides. I'm anxious to get this core completed because it will allow me to get started on some of the critical machining features that will combine to bring this bass together.

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Maple veneers are on both outside parts - now two dark veneers.
(12/23/16) In this photo you can see the set of 7 laminates together. The outer two (the Ebony) have not yet been attached as there is one more decorative veneer to be added to each side before assembly. The maple-to-maple section has already been glued together so we only have these two outside pieces to attach to complete our core for the instrument. The resulting assembly will certainly look really impressive!

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Now gluing the 5th (maple) laminate to the core assembly.
(12/19/16) Now getting set up to glue the 5th of the 7 laminates. Once this second maple laminate is part of the core I will have to add a couple of decorative veneers to the outsides and also to the two outer laminates of Macassar Ebony. I have already sanded those two outer pieces, so once the double veneers are on I can finish up the core section and consider this stage of the instrument's construction complete.

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Getting started on gluing the seven core laminates together.
(12/14/16) I have started the process of gluing the laminates together. In this photo I am gluing the center Macassar laminate to one of the neighboring purpleheart laminates. I use a lot of clamps because there are very important joints that need to have the best possible integrity. I leave these uniti I am certain that the glue has completely cured. Next will be the purpleheart laminate on the other side and we will move on from there.

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Maple laminated in the vacuum press getting dark veneers attached.
(12/11/16) The two maple laminates are now in the vacuum press getting their dark veneer added. I will see how things look but I suspect I will do a double veneer on the other side of the maple since it will be up next to the Macassar ebony outer pieces which are pretty dark colored. All in the quest to make the instrument as beautiful as it can possible be! We will see the core section coming together very soon and that will be a big step forward!

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Maple laminates machined, we have five out of seven!.
(12/7/16) The maple laminates have now been machined and cleaned up and are ready to receive their dark veneer application. This is how the core section looks right now - these are the five central laminates and I have the two Macassar Ebony outer pieces ready for assembly when the time comes. I want to keep things moving so that we make good progress so the maple laminates will be in the vacuum press pretty soon!

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In the middle of machining down the two maple laminates.
(12/4/16) I'm currently in the middle of machining down the two maple laminates. I have more to remove from these so I have a roughing process and that will be followed by a finishing cycle. As soon as they are machined I will clean up the surfaces and get them into the vacuum press where I will apply a dark veneer for contrast. Completing that will allow me to start gluing these 7 core laminates together to create the heart of the instrument!

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Purpleheart laminate getting veneer applied.
(12/1/16) Not a very exciting photo here but it shows the maple veneer being applied to one of the sides of the tapered purpleheart laminates. I will be adding the other one also so that we have both of these laminates prepped for assembly together with the other pieces I have been working on. I typically assemble these from the center outwards but in this case I'm planning to do two maple/purpleheart sub assemblies. More pics coming.

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Center laminate with maple veneer glued on.
(11/28/16) I am now working with the two Maple laminate blanks. I ran them through the drum sander to get a good flat surface on both sides of each piece. I now have them set up on the CNC machine and they are ready to have the fixture adjusted to the specific taper and then be cut to their finished sizes. As soon as I can, I will get started on the machining of these two pieces. There are the last pair of the 7 laminates to require taper machining.

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Center laminate with maple veneer glued on.
(11/26/16) I wanted to put up a picture of thecenter Macassar Ebony laminate with one of its Maple veneers attached to it. The vacuum press does and admirable job of applying veneers to flat surfaces and I don't need to use any clamps! This piece will have the maple applied to both sides before I add neighboring laminates to begin the core assembly. I should have the purpleheart ready amd laminated soon so that the assembly can begin.

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I'm busy machining the purpleheart laminates.
(11/22/16) I am half way through quite a time consuming process of machining the purpleheart laminates to their required taper dimensions. It's a hard material and chips out easily so I am taking care to make the process yield a clean and accurate result. Doing these as a pair ensures that they come out of the machine with a good amount of dimensional accuracy. When these are done I will get them veneered and also start on the Maple laminates.

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Center laminate in the vacuum press for decorative veneer application.
(11/19/16) This is our center Macassar Ebony laminate in the vacuum press where I am applying a nice contrasting maple veneer to one of the two sides. The vacuum press is a great tool for ensuring a very good joint integrity when you are dealing with something as delicate and hard to handle as a long piece of wood veneer. Once this has cured I will clean it up and deal with the same process for the second joint face.

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Purpleheart laminates just off the drum sander.
(11/14/16) I spent some time today getting the two purpleheart laminates leveled and cleaned up on the drum sander. My goal here is to get one good flat surface on each piece so that I can use that as a location surface when clamping onto my fixture on the CNC machine. I can now get these two pieces mounted and set up to machine them to their taper sizes. Once that's done they will have decorative veneers applied to the joint faces.

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Machining of the taper complete on the first center laminate.
(11/9/16) The taper on the center Macassar Ebony laminate has now been machined. I can now take it off the CNC and do some minor cleanup after which I will be adding maple veneer to both sides as decorative pinstriping. As soon as I can - I will be adding the next pair of laminates to this setup and get those cut too. It's a noisy and messy chop so I would like to get this all done as soon as possible! We will have a nice instrument core soon!

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First of the seven laminates ready to be machines to its tapered profile.
(11/5/16) I now have the center laminate set up and ready to machine on the CNC machine. It is mounted on a tapered fixture which pre-determines the actual taper generated on the laminate. All the renaining ones will be done in pairs, this is the only solo one. Once it is machined I can add decorative veneers and get the assembly process under way! I am busy preparing the remaining six laminates for their treatment too - going to be busy!

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Using the band saw to remove extra material from the center laminate.
(10/29/16) First task in creating this core section for the bass is to deal with the center laminate. It is the only unique one that does not have a pair and since I don't want to waste a lot of time machining extra laterial off it I chose to first cut the piece closer to its finished with on the band saw. I will use the side I drum sanded as my location face to se this piece up on the cnc and will then cut it to the taper dimensions already calculated on my vector drawing.

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Doing some calculations for string spacing and laminate tapers.
(10/24/16) I am working on the 100% scale vector drawing of this bass to establish the string spacing and for immediate purposes, the ideal thicknesses of the various tapers that will combine to create the core section. We already know the order of the woods so I just want to make sure I choose a balanced relationship between the three species for best visual affect on the finished instrument. This data will let me start cutting the tapers.

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Getting some of the core laminate surfaces cleaned up in the drum sander.
(10/20/16) This may not be the most glamorous shot in the whole building process but it shows where I am running all these core laminates through the drum sander to establish good reliable surfaces which I will be using for fixturing when I machine tapers to five out of the seven core pieces. The drum sander is great for creating flat datum surfaces in what is typically rough sawn or planed hardwoods. I have some busy machining in my near future!

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Two of the three Ebony neck/core laminates have been cut from the parent material.
(10/16/16) I have cut two of the three Macassar Ebony laminates - I will have the other one done very soon. This will give me a complete set of laminates for the core section of the bass which is my initial goal. I will be drum sanding each of these laminates and then cutting them on the CNC to the requires taper sets. The actual taper dimensions are a product of the vector file i am currently working on. I will post the related drawings in the near future.

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Macassar Ebony material - 3x times the price it used to be not long ago! This will yield the three main pieces of our neck/core section.
(10/11/16) This is the Macassar Ebony material I just hand-picked today from one of the very few wood suppliers that happened to have it in stock. I had to get hold of enough to provide me with three core laminates. Pretty expensive stuff nowadays and getting harder to find due to harvesting restrictions in countries of origin. Anyway - we now have enough to get the core of this bass assembled so moving ahead to get these cut and ready.

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Maple laminates ready for the next stage in production.
(10/8/16) These are the two maple neck/core components I will be using in the upcoming assembly. As with the others - I need to now sand them on both sides and set them up on my milling machine to cut the tapers on each piece. I just ordered more veneer so that I can add all the decorative pinstriping between the laters as we assemble the core section of the instrument. I have also spoken to my MIDI circuitry supplier about the electronic hardware.

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Got the two Purpleheart core laminates rough sawn.
(10/3/16) I created a new template for this project and have now rough sawn the two Purpleheart laminated that will become part of the core assembly of the bass. I need to repeat this process with two pieces of Curly Maple and three pieces of Macassar Ebony. These laminate pieces will be sanded to clean up the surfaces ad then run on my CNC machine to achieve pre-determined tapers such that when they are all combined they follow the natural taper of the neck.

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Discussed laminates with my customer and we came up with this combo of Macassar Ebony, Purpleheart and Curly Maple.
(9/29/16) We have decided to create the core section of this bass using the laminates shown in the photo. The main wood will be Macassar Ebony with additional laminates of Curly Maple and Purpleheart. I will need to discuss the center wood on the body halves at some point in the near future but right now my immediate task is getting these laminates created and machined so that they can be assembled together to create the core section.

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Updated body profile with scroll-type upper horn.
(9/26/16) I have been discussing body styles with my customer and we are looking at modifying the design a little bit to incorporate a scroll-type upper horn on the instrument rather than its original single-cut concept. This will add an element of style to an already impressive formula. I need to make a template for this body shape because I want to show an actual outline on the top wood we bought for the bass. I will post that here very soon!

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Some nice purpleheart for the core section of this bass.
(9/22/16) I was able to purchase some nice dark close-grained purpleheart that will provide us with what will probably be the center laminate in a multi-laminate core construction using this plus Macassar Ebony (still waiting for that) and nice Curly Maple. No question this is a very good recipe for rigidity and great tone in a bass guitar, plus it will also look visually inpressive too! I'll ge this stuff sanded and rough cut as soon as possible to keep the ball rolling!

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I'm getting ready to cut some curly maple stock material to get the core section under way.
(9/14/16) I am getting my maple stock ready for the cutting of the blanks for the core section of the instrument. I shoul dhave Purpleheart and Macassar Ebony stock very soon and that will allow me to get the core pieces cut, sanded and tapered in order to build the core of the instrument. In the meantime I am also working up a 100% scale drawing of the bass in a vector program so that it can be my reference for the duration of the build.

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Amboyna Burl package of wood arrived.
(9/10/16) The wood I ordered recently for both the top and the back of the instrument has arrived and I found a little time last night to get the package opened and see what we have. The material has a lot of very impressive grain and will finish up looking at least as impressive as the photos below. I will decide from using a body template which piece would work best for front and back. Right now I'm giving the material a cat scan to make sure it's OK!

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Walnut, Maple and Padouk - nice looking combination.

(8/31/16) After looking at several wood options we ended up finding these two sets of Amboyna burl. It is relatively difficult to get consecutive pieces like this to allow an instrument to boast matching wood on the front and back. We were lucky with this. Figure will match up very well with the instrument body profile - should look awesome!

Highslide JS
Walnut, Maple and Padouk - nice looking combination.
Last update August 30, 2016