The Axe

This was a fun commission build, very nice to do something so different, most of my work these days is on vintage guitars so I know my Fender's and Gibson's inside out, it's a welcome change to allow the imagination to run wild so thanks to Ben, the owner, for allowing me to have a more or less free hand in the design details.

Let's continue with some pictures...

A taster to start

Here we are at the beginning, the body blank cut out and some routing done, the neck is a 24 fret from an Ibanez and a Strat style trem. The body is two piece centre joined Mahogany with a very nice grain. With a one-off design it's very important to draw it all out first and make templates, once this is done you can position all the hardware and start making decisions on where stuff goes.

Here's the first unique feature, next picture will make it clearer...

.....a slide-out leg rest...Have you ever owned a Flying V, the most annoying thing is that you cannot play it comfortably when sitting down it always slips off your knee, so this was my solution.

And here's the workings of. for me doing bits and pieces like this is the difference between factory and custom guitars and makes projects far more exciting. Notice that I've also done most of the body shaping.

So many unique features on this one, the "axe handle" is clad with copper sheet, quite a difficult job to do, handy that Ben wanted a used look so I didn't have to be super careful not to mark the copper. What makes a build of this type fun is thinking outside the box You don't have to have all the functional bits in the usual places, you'll see the custom made knobs later.

The overall look for this guitar was to be quite "industrial" and on this note I wanted to make quite a few custom parts. I'd have hated to use plastic pickup rings so it was out with the hacksaw and angle grinder, hardly luthier tools but what the heck! So these are cut from quite thick mild steel, I also left them rusty as I thought they looked better this way, these are all little details that came into my head as the build progressed.

The back, all the controls are placed at the end of the axe handle, although unconventional they'll still be easy access, the pickup selector switch will be on the top side, a modified Strat style jack socket on the bottom side and the Volume and tone on the end. I'm still deliberating over where to put the strap buttons.

And here's the whole thing.

Details of the volume tone and modified jack socket. Just to keep the flavour of being different I decided to use dome head slotted screws instead of the typical countersunk X head, kinda keeps a theme going with the rivets.

The back, lacquered rusty metal cover and neck plate.

With leg rest extended.

A close up to finish with. The axe blades are finished with cellulose silver and clear lacquer, the wood finished in tru-oil, there's still a few bits still to fit but it's essentially done. It sounds like it looks with the active Seymour Duncan set up, Like I said it's nice to do something different and thanks to Ben for getting in touch and don't forget to send me pictures when you gig with it.