November updates

On my way to Uppsala I spent a day in Oslo to show the bass prototype to my client and to meet an experienced jazz musician I had previously talked to.

Regarding the bass: we decided to make several changes to the bass' body; so much so, that I opted for beginning from scratch. That new drawing is done, and I'm working on the new body, but that'll be the subject of another post...

The thing is, the meeting with this jazz guitarist gave me lots of insight from someone who knows precisely what he expects from an instrument. He very much liked the looks and feel of my guitar, but had also several comments, if I was to build for a jazz player. The first thing that was clear was that the action I've been using as standard for my guitars, was all too low for his playing style. Unfortunately, I had left my wrenches elsewhere and he had to struggle with a guitar that was buzzing all over the place! He also suggested I build a guitar with 22 frets so that the neck pickup's pole pieces  could be placed closer to node at the 24th fret position. The guitar he played had the thinnest neck that I've made, and he would have preferred a stiffer, thicker neck too. All this feedback got me thinking about how to make a guitar that would please the jazz/blues crowd.

The model choice was easy: I'm going to use the KV -which he also liked-, and the pickups will again be stacked P-90's with the push/pull set up I've been using. The neck will use the same 25 1/2'' scale and 16'' radius, but will only have 22 frets. The neck profile will still be asymmetric, but in a much more subtle way and it'll also be a bit thicker towards the body.

The body woods were easy to chose too: a centerpiece in ash with mahogany wings separated by thin strips of wenge.

The top was a tougher choice. I thought a lot about what kind of woods to use and how to make the guitar stand out without so much bling factor. Jazz guitars usually have linings and inlays in plastic, abalone or mother of pearl, but those are not materials I'm interested in using. To achieve the bold contrasts I was looking after, I went for a wenge top with linings in bird's eye maple. All hardware and pickups will be black, and for the pickguard I'll use white pearloid plastic sheet from some pieces that were lying around at the shop.

For the neck I'm using a maple/walnut/wenge sandwich with a spruce core. The fingerboard is of very figured ebony, the kind that is not considered top grade because of the occurrence of sapwood, but that actually looks really good.

Pickups won't arrive until next month, so I'm just doing the finish and will have to wait. Here are some pictures, please share!

Leonardo Michelin-Salomon