Agape Guitars

Revelator/Variax transplant for Stott

UncategorizedRich Chaffins1 Comment

So, a bit more back story. A couple years ago, we were rehearsing for The Passion, a "rock opera" presentation of the Gospel, when my friend Stott asked if he could try my guitar. Stott is the choir director at a local middle school, a great vocalist and guitarist, and one of the people I respect most in this world. Heck of a great guy. Stott is primarily a classical player, so he was intrigued by my guitar, since I built the neck a bit wider than other electrics, and the 'swoop' cut out of the back of the body to facilitate sitting in classical position. So anyway, after about 3 minutes of playing, he exclaimed, "I want one! How much to build one for me?"

I was floored, and honored, and scared all at the same time. Building a guitar for someone I respect that much came with a bit of trepidation. However, Stott is a very mellow guy, and put me at ease through the design process. I had him over to my house, and we talked over options: wood, shape, electronics, everything. I had just started a new Revelator as an experiment for some techniques I hadn't tried out before, including a multi-laminate neck and semi-hollow body. He liked that one, so we settled on using this guitar. However, there was a hitch: during talk of electronics, he remembered a Line 6 Variax that I'd had, that used a piezo bridge and modelling technology to emulate 25 different guitars, including acoustics, 12-strings, and a banjo, among others and also supported "virtual" alternate tunings. He fell in love with the concept, so we decided to take the plunge and do it with the Variax electronics instead of traditional. This required some modification to the design. I had just started on the guitar body, and had already routed the control cavity. So, had to do a 2-piece back cover, free hand, to cover the big honkin' circuit board. Oh yeah, I should add that the electronics aren't sold separately from the guitar, so I had to find a used Variax on Ebay to plunder for the guts.

All in all, I'm very happy with how it turned out. This was my first guitar to use a concave arm rest, which was an answer to the question I'd always had: why are guitars built without much thought to comfort for the player? This arm rest provides support to the forearm without constantly reminding the player that it's there. Another feature here that's in a couple different models is the 'swoop' I mentioned earlier, which makes the guitar more natural feeling when you're sitting down playing by conforming to the shape of your leg, rather than pushing into it as most designs do. So, on to specs and pics!

  • Chambered cherry body with a 1/4" zebrawood top
  • 3-piece African mahogany/flamed maple neck
  • cocobolo fretboard, large diagonal dots
  • zebrawood headstock veneer
  • Cocobolo and ebony detailing
  • Line 6 Variax electronics, L.R. Baggs piezo bridge
  • bone nut [gallery]