Watson Guitars
Idyllwild
California, USA

7-string Multiscale Guitar - (Serial 17B083)
Custom Guitar
Call
951-240-1666. or email us here!
   
Materials: Top & Back: Book-matched Rosewood
  Body: Sides constructed from Rosewood matching top and back.
  Core Laminates: 5pc neck Curly Maple (mid) and Rosewood (outer and center)
Fingerboard: Scale Lengths 23" to 27" scale. Common 90 degree Fret 24
  25 frets - 20" radius on FB surface - Wire Warmoth SS6115
  Back of neck to have custom U-shape profile.
Neck thickness (with FB) will be 1.250" with larger volute under nut.
Nut: Custom nut - details to follow. 1.823" string spacing (ctr-to-ctr).
Headstock: Reversed in-line headstock (geometry confirmed)
  Pland for recessed tuners (reference drawing soon!)
Bridge:

Kahler multi-scale bridge. Offset 1in @ bridge, 3in @ nut.

  2.410" max string ctr-to-ctr to achieve straight linear string pull.
Ext. Finish: Satin Poly-Resin
Pickups: Custom humbucker pickups dedicated to guitar geometry
  Pickup angles consistent with fanned fret pattern.
  Staggered pole pieces for uniform string output
  Scatter 5% over-wound, tapped to maintain maximum signal balance.
Other: Solid body - custom sculpted back to conform to the player's body.
  String to FB edge: .177" upper and .138 lower.
  Lower bout edge to fingerboard 30.375" from nut (technical illustration here)
  Break angles of strings based on .300" above Kahler baseplate
  Pickups will have continuous grain covers.
  Probably Schaller locking tuners (black finish)
  No tone control
  Headstock thickness planned to conceal tuner gear from side view
  Custom tab on headstock for tuner attachment

This guitar is going to be a very custom instrument. It will be a 7-string multi-scale built to my customer's guidelines. The instrument will be designed to fit the player's profile in three dimensions. There will be some custom carving involved.

Highslide JS
I have a fixture on my CNC that allows be to set up a laminate so that I can machine it to a defined taper section. Just getting things ready to do that to these two maple pieces.
(1/28/18) Left: We have a few things going on - one is that I am setting up to cut the two maple laminates to their prescribed taper widths using a special setup. (2/1/18) Right: I'm cutting a center Rosewood laminate from my parent material and in the process I am adding a small amount for a tuner clip under headstock.
Highslide JS
The objective here is to get both sides of each piece flat and parallel singce they will be on my CNC for taper machining and I want good location surfaces.

Highslide JS
The pieces are a little awkward in shape to cut so had to use both circular saw and then jig saw.
(1/21/18) Left: Having the template allowed me to do some cutting to the core section components. Starting with the two maple pieces and will move ahead from there. (1/24/18) Right: While I am working on other aspects of this guitar I started drum sanding the two maple core components so that they are ready for machining.
Highslide JS
The objective here is to get both sides of each piece flat and parallel singce they will be on my CNC for taper machining and I want good location surfaces.

Highslide JS
This is the heastock we are moving on with. As close to the core setion as we can with minimal extra overhang. This is very helpful to have for my templates too.
(1/17/18) Left: Another small change was the profile of the headstock, this si the shape we finalized after careful consideration of many factors. (1/19/18) Right: The blue template is a result of hours of measurements and contemplation and decades of personal engineering mileage. Best estimate given our 3D geometry goals!
Highslide JS
I really did try to take everything into account in cutting what looks like a simple template - reality is is cannot be undersize and it has to account for a different cross section at every laminate. I think I allowed extra material everywhere and it's as safe as it can be to let me move forward!!.

Highslide JS
Since Kahler bridge has some minimum height requirements it's prudent to give ourselves a litte angle on the neck - almost but not quite 1 degree so it will be very discrete but mechanically necessary.
(1/12/18) Left: Perhaps a redundant pic but I had it anyway - cutting a revised template for core pieces including body angle. Building a guitar is 1000+ little jobs! (1/15/18) Right: We're currently working on reducing the headstock size to a minimum and also to keep the longest string as short as headstock will allow!
Highslide JS
Trying to compress the headstock geometry to yield the shortest possible string length.

Highslide JS
The template can be too big but I can't afford it to be too small at any point at this stage. The body form I will create from wood will be oversize and carved down after initial assembly.
(1/6/18) Left: There are so many curves and angles on the 3D form. I'm using core width data to extract thicknesses at various points along the shape. (1/9/18) Right: The laws of physics and the height of the Kahler bridge saddles dictated a small neck to body angle. I'm making adjustments to the sectional template.
Highslide JS
Based on the net height of the saddles on the Kahler bridge I was able to calculate back to yield the ideal hneck-to-body angle. It'ds very slight but necessary.

Highslide JS
I am paying close attention of grain patterns so that I can get the most attractive combinations of wood for the fabrication of the core section and boay halves.
(1/2/18) Left: I'm getting wood ready for cutting pieces for the core of the instrument. I have rosewood and maple selected and I am creating templates so that I can rough cut the component pieces. (1/4/18) Right: Since I had the material and some of the dimensional data I got started on creating a cross sectional template.
Highslide JS
I need to rough cut material suitable for the core section of the instrument and to do that I have to create a fairly accurate, albeit oversize, template. I have a lot of dimensions from my 100% scal drawing plus physical sizes from the foam body model. That combined with recent feature and sizes we have pinned down allow me to cut a fairly accurate template. I'm using some spare acrylic sheet.

Highslide JS
I am programming an exact 20 inch radius which will run the full length of the fingerboard.
(12/30/17) Left: I took a little time to program the 20" radius which we will be machining onto the top surface of the fingerboard. This is how it looks before I write the CNC code. (12/31/17) Right: Top radius established. The light areas of newly cut wood come up very bright after cutting but will soon return to its natural darker color.
Highslide JS
Fingerboard just off the CNC after cutting top radius. Newly cut Bocote is much more yellow than in its natrural state. In 24 hours this will be back to its pre-machined colors.

Highslide JS
Being very cautious in the cutting of this board. I was able to cut really close to the upper edge of the board to allow the maximum amount of material to come off the bottom edge thereby removing the little area of lighter wood.
(12/28/17) Left: Proceeding with cutting fingerboard - I'm treating it like a surgical operation. I moved the pattern as close as possible to upper side and was able to remove lighter wood areas. (12/29/17) Right: Got the perimeter of the board all cleaned up and the fingerboard looks great and it will look really beautiful on the instrument.
Highslide JS
Perimeter of fingerboard has been machined to size and this should work well for our instrument. Next step is to set up for cutting the 20in radius on the top.

Highslide JS
Just for general information only - my program is using a 2.750" in width as a section of 20 inch radius. That yields .0466" as a theoretical height difference which i will use for programming. The actual with of fingerboard at fat end is 2.564" which yields .0405" difference.
(12/25/17) Left: Plotting out fingerboard radius geometry in my CNC software so that I can guarantee a mathematically accurate 20" top radius. (12/27/17) Right: Quick note: I am adding 1" to the nut end of the fingerboard blank simply because I don't yet have specific nut sizes. I can always remove this later.
Highslide JS
I decided to add an inch of material at the nut end of the fingerboard blank. Always better safe than sorry in suituations like these. Nut may only be 3/8" and I don;t know if I will seat it on a recess on the fingerboard or onto the lower neck surface - just allowing for every possibility I can. It does not alter dimensions between nut and wide end of fingerboard.

Highslide JS
More of the same batch of wood but this stuff is about 1 inch thick so I am going to joint them together at an angle and that will give me plenty of raw material from which to carve the curved back plate.
(12/22/17) Left: I have been selecting the best pieces for the back plate of the body based on the grain patterns of my wood on hand. (12/24/17) Right: Neck geometry also under discussion right now although I'm going to be cutting the core laminates somewhat oversize so the critical size, shape and thickness will apply later.
Highslide JS
The neck and its geometry is a very important part of this build - we have been discussing many variable to arrive at the best combination of sizes and features.

Highslide JS
Our revised objective is to maintain a straight string pull from bridge string retainer through roller through nut to tuner post.
Just wanted to show a pic of the top and fingerboard together. Colors will obviously be slightly darker when finish applied - shoudl look beautiful.
(12/18/17) Left: Working on some finer details of the string spacing with customer. Based on fixed bridge parameters we are working on a straight string pull geometry. (12/20/17) Right: Updating revised drawings of the neck, nut and string spacing specs. I think we have all requirements set and are ready to cut fingerboard.
Highslide JS
This is the set of dimensions we arrived at for the shape and size of the fingerboard to be cut. .
Just wanted to show a pic of the top and fingerboard together. Colors will obviously be slightly darker when finish applied - shoudl look beautiful.

Highslide JS
I wanted to have this fingerboard ready to rock and roll as soon as we were settled on its physical dimensions. It is now squared up and clamped and ready.
(12/10/17) Left: I'm setting up the fingerboard on a spare section of my CNC so that it is ready to be cut as soon as we finalize some critical neck dimensions. (12/15/17) Right: We are formulating a reversed Strat-style headstock to for this instrument that will complement the style of the body. I will be posting photos of that soon!
Highslide JS
Actual headstock shape remains to be discussed and this is ONLY a guideline for a reversed strat-type configuration. I may be able to reflect some of the actual body shape into the headstock.
Just wanted to show a pic of the top and fingerboard together. Colors will obviously be slightly darker when finish applied - shoudl look beautiful.

Highslide JS
I rough cut the top plate from the material I glued. In the interest of extreme caution I left about 1/4 all the way around until we finalize the other instrument geometry. Looks awesome!
(12/4/17) Left: Top plate has been roughed out for shape but I will hold off on sanding much closer to finshed size until we resolve fingerboard width. (12/6/17) Right: Beautiful wood combinations to look forward to. I have more work to do on the fingerboard very soon. I will be cutting its perimeter and top radius.
Highslide JS
Just wanted to show a pic of the top and fingerboard together. Colors will obviously be slightly darker when finish applied - shoudl look beautiful.

Highslide JS
This wood is really beautiful and I can see how the whol guitar will come together color/grain-wise. Slightly darker due to natural color settling and of course the application of the finish.
(11/30/17) Left: Gluing the two top plates together. The grain will look really nice in its completed bookmatched condition! (12/2/17) Right: The Kahler bridge will be receiving some slight modifications based on recent decisions on scale length distribution. I need to sawp out some bridge parts.
Highslide JS
The bridge is getting converted to suit out decision to have a 1 inch differential at the bridge end.

Highslide JS
This is the geometry of the nut end of the fingerboard which we have to establish as it affect many of the other dimensions of the overall instrument.
(11/26/17) Left: Fingerboard being prepped for machining. I'm busy writing programs for the features on this board right now, and hope to be cutting it very soon after. (11/28/17) Right: We will be seeing more of this drawing. Right now I am scaling everything in a vector program from the template. Will be adding many other specifics.
Highslide JS
this is the basis for the drawing I am creating in Adobe Illustrator. It will adopt all the dimensions of the customer template and allow me to add other specifics to bring all features together. I need to drop in the finished fingerboard extreme widths and bridge geometry as the next step.

Highslide JS
I had some machine time free so I put the two plates up on CNC in order to clean up the two joing faces.
(11/21/17) Left: Happy with the two top plates now, I wam machining a clean joint face to glue them together. (11/23/17) Right: Putting together a vector file to help define some of my customer's geometry spepcifications related to the top of the guitar and its relative positions for other component parts. Starting with scaled photo.
Highslide JS
This photo was imported into my vector drawing software. Fron there I will establish an accurate scale drawing with critical dimensions noted.

Highslide JS
Not very pretty right now since it has been cut o my bandsaw and discolored due to the friction. It will look beautiful afetr I get it sanded flat.
(11/17/17) Left: Finally got the material split into the two bookmatched pieces. Took a while as it was pushing the limits of my bandsaw! (11/19/17) Right: The two plates for the top of instrument have been cleaned up and I will have to do some more drum sanding to eatablish a final thickness for the top plates.
Highslide JS
Tops plates have been cleaned up and now only nbeed to be thicknessed.

Highslide JS
Raw material for top plate has been cut to length - I will be marking the profile of the combined top/bottom profile and then trimming.
(11/13/17) Left: I have now cut the material for the two top plate halves and I will now trim it up a little and then tackle the challenge of splitting it for bookmatching. (11/16/17) Right: Right now I am about 5 inches into the cut and it's going slow since this big chunk of wood is hard! I'll keep on it and will get through eventually!
Highslide JS
I'm being careful to make a clean and straight cut all the way through this big chunk of hardwood. Slow work but making progress..

Highslide JS
I use the customer template to cut out a paper template with a centerline which will allow me to plot the cutting path for the top plates.
(11/6/17) Left: I needed a paper template that I could fold in half to allow me to pre-cut the material for the top plates. It will have other uses down the line. (11/9/17) Right: Laying out the template in preparation of cutting up the bookmatched top material (and maybe also the back material) on the bandsaw.
Highslide JS
Using the paper template to define the upper/lower combined profile so that I can get the top plate pieces sawn up.

Highslide JS
This is the template for the shape of the guitar and it also indicates lrelative locations of features on the instrument.
(11/1/17) Left: I'm using the customer body mock-up to help define the cross sectional shape of each of the core laminates as they are different on either side of centerline. (11/3/17) Right: This is the Kahler bridge that we will be using on this instrument. I'm doing measurements of its adjustment parameters to supplement our drawings.
Highslide JS
This Kahler bridge is designed to allow for the difference in scale length between the top and bottom strings of this multiscale guitar. I need to know the intonation adjustment travel, string spacing and height adjustment parameters.

Highslide JS
I have enough material on this board for bookmatched top and back. I want to make sure I'm using the nices looking parts before reough cutting and splitting.
(10/29/17) Left: Now that we have a lot of the basic raw materials on hand I have to decide which pieces to cut to yield the best bookmatched top and back. (10/31/17) Right: Fingerboard blank has been drum sanded both sides and I have attached it to a substrate that will keep it stable all the way through fret installation.
Highslide JS
Fingerboard sanded and attached to a stable base so that I can get the machining started on this part.

Highslide JS
After a few conversations with my customer we chose the rosewood based on its grain and good tonal properties. My challenge was to fin a way to also create the body halves so that they would match the decorative top and back plates. I was able to purchase more wood from the same supplier and by my calculations it should be enough to fabricate the thick body halves and yield a beautiful looking assembly.
(10/26/17) Left: After various discussions about wood species we decided that the Rosewood would yield most impressive results. I drove to my wood supplier and bought some more of the same batch so I had enough on hand for for top, back and sides. I was lucky because I purchased all he had and it will just be enough to yield the bookmatched top and back and the remainder will allow ne to create the thick sides to yield 4 in body thickness!

Highslide JS
I have to get the body template down on paper in order to get top plates cut. I established an accurately placed centerline and will use this resulting template to cut the wood blanks.
(10/6/17) Left: I took the customer template I have on hand and carefully created a scaled paper template from it. This allows be to work on the individual halves of the top plate. (10/11/17) Right: These are some of the woods Maple and wenge) that I plan to use for the somewhat unusual core section of this instrument.
Highslide JS
This photo shows some of the really nice figured maple I will be usig as part of the core structure.

Highslide JS
We will be using Bocote for our fingerboard - this is a nce looking piece and bocote is nice and hard.
(9/28/17) Left: I am getting started on the fingerboard which is a really nice piece of Bocote that will look really nice on the instrument. (9/30/17) Right: Fingerboard marked out for rough cutting. I also ran it through my drum sander to guarantee flat top and back and even thickness. I will now attach it to a support piece.
Highslide JS
xxxx.

Highslide JS
This drawing us under development but it uses real sizes from samples and real measurements from calculated dimensions. I'm goig to use it to cut core blanks.
(9/23/17) Left: This is one of the 100% scale drawings I have been working up which uses my customer's data to create a cross-sectional template to allow me to rough cut core material. (9/25/17) Right: Regarding material: At about 4in thick I am trying to consolidate available materials so that I have top, back and 4" thick sides!
Highslide JS
xxxx.

Highslide JS
This is more like the color of the Koa when wood is finished.
(9/18/17) Left: I'm currently going through my inventory of hardwoods to locate enough of one species to allow me to create the complete body from the same material. (9/21/17) Right: This Rosewood is an option if it will yield enough to do the complete body. We have some very workable options for the 5-piece neck.
Highslide JS
Another option was Rosewood which would make a very pretty top.

Highslide JS
Inserting upper and lower scale length geometries so we can analyze best layout for frets.

(9/15/17) Left: I'm working on a 100% scale drawing that is plotting out all the geometry of the bridge, nut, fingerboard and fretslots plus other features. (9/18/17) Right: We looked at several wood options and one thing that came out of our discussions was that the top sides and back should be the same material.

Highslide JS
I can;t get curly Koa any more but had this piece in stock and thought it would fit - it did!.

Highslide JS
This is the template for the shape of the guitar and it also indicates lrelative locations of features on the instrument.
(9/11/17) Left: My customer sent me some materials to help create the finished form that this guitar will have. This photo shows the top plate. (9/12/17) Right: This is a cast foam representation of what the back of this guitar is going to be shaped like. It will be sculpted to closely fit the player in a sitting position.
Highslide JS
We currently have a rendition of the foam shape which we are going to replicate in wood for the back of the guitar.
Last update September 17, 2017