One-piece Bird's Eye Maple neck and body, Walnut wings
Sperzel tuners w/custom knobs for open strings
Häussel JB style pickups
TAN headless bridge for fretted strings
Häussel HB pickups
2x Vol, tone, 3-way switch, mute switch
A wonderful little project with our dear friends, the great Jersey Girl homemade guitars team - Kaz, Akiko and Eiko. After our trip to Tokyo for the 2019 Art Fair, Kaz sent me the raw body and neck for a ukulele that was going to be a gift for guitarist Yoshio Nomura, for his help in demoing our guitars at an event at Yamano Music. I provided the art work and sent it back to Japan, where the JGHG team completed it. They are amazing guitar makers of the first order, inventive and wielding stunning craftsmanship as they fashion their unique creations.
Combining the construction principles of the air screw of a plane and the torsion bar suspension of a Porsche 911, I developed this breakthrough design as a new way to keep a straight string path, an optimized string angle, and a controlled deflection under tension. The lines of the neck are extended beyond the nut, creating an elegant, sleek and streamlined appearance.
The 'Twist' features a Wenge neck, 25 1/2" scale, mounted into a flame Koa body. Ebony fingerboard w/ red bone markers and nut. The armrest and electronics pod are adjustable to allow the player to optimize the playing position. An extendable strap rod ensures perfect balance when using a strap.
Hipshot locking tuners with barrel knobs
Joe Barden SC in the neck, Two/Tone HB in the bridge. 3-way switch vol w/push/pull, tone
Original Steinberger locking tremolo with spring claw anchored at the neck heel
Pearwood body cap
Wenge body wings
25 ½" scale
Hipshot locking tuners w/ barrel knobs
BoneTop P-90 style pickups
Vol, tone w/ push-pull for series mode, 3-way switch
Hipshot fixed bridge
This commission was of the 'the wilder the better' kind. I had a pair of vintage John Birch (English luthier) pickups and an idea I had been kicking around for a while. The result is this guitar - a bit of a conceptual tour de force even for me...
This guitar was originally designed for my friend Tommy Aguilar, a talented amp builder (Apache Amps). It has a 27" scale Rosewood neck with flame Rosewood fingerboard, and chambered Mahogany body with a figured Goncalo top. The neck and bridge pickups were originally vintage Gibson pickups, but I later replaced them with Lollars. The tremolo on this guitar is a Don Ramsay 'Linear tremolo'. It is an amazing unit, jewel-like, running on precision linear bearings, without friction or wobble. Due to the design, its range is also adjustable, from light warble to dive. Strung with 11's and tuned to D this guitar sounds rich and throaty. It is now part of Henry Kaiser's collection.
A fun commission - anything goes, with a Sci-Fi theme. Bassist Norbert Zucker sent me a little green man and asked me to design something wild. The result is the UFO-Bass. The body and neck are Padouk, with a Redwood Burl top on the body. A polished aluminum handle/strap holder and aluminum control plate complete the design. The armrest contains the "capsule" for the alien traveller, set in resin. The combination of a Hipshot Bass Tremolo with the Sustainiac make for some otherworldly sounds.
Norbert's battle rig
A friend brought me one of John Cale's guitars for a repair. He showed him some of my work and John was intrigued. He had been thinking for a while for a tour replacement for his prized vintage LP Special and so he commissioned a guitar from me - a Totemguitar. Eventually he found he wanted something closer to a LP type guitar and this led to a series of guitars I made for him.
A bit of a tour de force, this mandolin was commissioned by John Sinks, legendary engineer and tech for Robert Fripp/King Crimson and many others. It has a 13-pin hexaphonic output in addition to a customized Bigsby tremolo, a Seymour Duncan mini humbucker, piezos, a Sustainiac and Sperzel locking tuners. Body and neck are Mahogany with a lightly aged nitrocellulose finish.
A small weight-relieved body with ergonomically detachable extensions and a headless design make for a full-size playing experience. Fits in most suitcases or airplane overhead bins.
Hybrid bass with double articulating armrest and strap extension. Neck-through design, Walnut/Maple laminate. Rosewood fingerboard, 34" scale. Two-way truss rod. Body wings Ash, topped with Thuya burl. Center section topped with Thuya burl and Wenge accents. Removable legrest of aluminum and Thuya burl. All aluminum parts are hand-shaped and polished from T6-6061 aluminum billet. Bartolini Music Man pickup, switchable parallel/series, Sustainiac circuit, Hipshot tremolo and tuners. Noll TCMP-3 preamp, Dunlop Straplocks.
The arm rest can be moved along its rotating axis as well as lifted or lowered along the body-center axis for maximum adjustability. The lower wing containing the electronics can also be moved for preferred placement of the controls. This has turned out to be a remarkable instrument with a clear punchy sound and great sustain (even without the Sustainer). The Sustainer in conjunction with the tremolo adds a whole new dimension to what can be done with a bass!
I devised the 'wiper' pickup arm to be able to move the pickup back and forth and built the bass around this feature. Moving the pickup all the way to the front will approximate a typical P-bass position, the middle will have more of a MusicMan character while the rear position is close to the bridge pickup in a Jazz Bass. There are infinite positions between these, each yielding a different tonal character. The pickup can be moved easily, or locked down in a favorite position. A friction screw can be adjusted according to personal preference. A further advantage of a single pickup vs. the blending of two pickups lies in the fact that there are no phase cancellations. The wider arc on top actually compensates for a lesser change in tonal character in the lower strings vs. the higher strings.
Strategically carved hollows in back relieve the weight of the body while retaining stability and ergonomic comfort. The tone opens up and rings fully, with a nice chime.
The 'beast' was built to the rather exact specifications of the client. The neck-through construction consists of a Zebrawood/Purpleheart center section with Zebrawood body wings. The neck is divided into a 34" scale bass side and a 25 1/2" treble side. The two fingerboards are Bocote. A headstock machined from aluminum crowns the neck. The fretless bass side is headless, with ABM tuners and a custom made bridge with Graph-Tech piezo saddles. A Bartolini vViper pickup and a Sustainiac comprise the electronics. The treble side, four courses of strings, are also fitted with a Sustainiac, piezos in the bridge and a P-bass style singlecoil. The treble strings run to the tuners on the headstock.
The wiring proved to be a major enterprise. Combining the various signal sources while ensuring a good power supply and minimizing interference took some figuring out. The 'beast' feeds a 13-pin output along with 1/4" outputs. Operating the 'beast' requires a manual, even though the knobs are grouped according to function - there are controls for the mag signal preamp, two Sustainiacs, the piezos and the hexaphonic output.
The intent was to create an instrument which can be played with a two-handed tapping technique, with the courses providing shimmering sound 'washes' under the bass side leads. Running the two necks into separate amps provides additional tone-shaping options.
Some years ago I had made a custom instrument for Anand Bennet with fanned frets and special tuning to accomodate his playing style. Now Anand asked me to make a full set of instruments for him - from a small, mandolin size to a full size bass, all specially designed for his unique playing style.
A new line of guitars for the road or studio with a wide variety of sounds.
These guitars feature a special pickup combination I've developed a while ago but that to date has only been installed in very special custom instruments. Two specially matched P-90 style Spalt BoneTop pickups in the bridge/middle position are controlled via a 4-way switch, giving you either coil or both in parallel or series wiring. The resulting selection is then mixed via the 3-way in the upper bout with the neck pickup. 9 sound options are intuitively accessible on the fly.
After we both exhibited at the 2015 Holy Grail Guitar Show in Berlin, luthier Ezequiel Galasso came to visit us in Vienna. We spent a few days sampling cake and the sights, and then decided to do a little project together. Ezequiel is a luthier from Argentina who has created some wonderful designs and pioneered the use of discarded skateboards as material for his guitars. The 'GASP' guitar was made from parts found from around the shop, among them an old Gibson P41 slide guitar pickup. Guitar tech to the stars Thomas Nordegg visited and we introduced Ezequiel to 'Vienna Ice Coffee'.
Body Basswood, with celluloid top.
Maple neck, 25 ½" scale
Vintage Gibson lapsteel pickup
Killswitch with LED flasher
Volume w/push-pull bypass