Agape Guitars

Alec's Revelator

UncategorizedRich Chaffins1 Comment

Today in the shop...working on Alec's Revelator. A bit of back story:

Alec is a kid that used to take guitar lessons off of me. Started 3 or 4 years ago. Great kid, loves guitar more than (insert thing/person that loves something here) loves (insert object of affection here). To make a long story respectfully vague, he had an amazingly rough spot in his life a year or two ago, so I suggested we build a guitar together. It's been slow progress up til recently, because he moved about 45 minutes away after the previously mentioned rough spot, so he gets to come to the shop pretty sporadically. Plus, he's a teenager, so not the most motivated person in the world. ;) But anyway, thought it'd be cool to hang a bit and turn wood into metal (he's a fan of da hevee rawk...never seen him in non-black). So, the specs:

  • Revelator body style, swamp ash body/spalted maple top, blackburst finish
  • Grenadillo neck, cocobolo fretboard, matching spalted maple veneer on the new "blade" design 3x3 headstock.
  • Electronics: Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz pickups, 3-way selector, 2 volumes, 2 series/parallel switches
  • Black hardware: 2-point Strat-style tremolo, Planet Waves locking tuners

    For those of you who haven't worked with spalted wood, another way of saying "spalted" is "rotted to one degree or another". The cool thing about decomposition of wood is that it generally leaves black, spiderwebby lines/spots and possibly different colorations in certain areas of the wood. The uncool thing is, depending on how long the decaying process went on, the wood gets soft/crumbly. The Tele that I just finished is an example of discolorations in the wood, this Revelator is an example of the black lines and softer wood.

    For today's time in the shop, I began by finishing installing the side dots, and polished the fretboard up to 8000 grit with Micromesh. You can see the mirror shine cocobolo takes in the photos. Resawed a spalted maple veneer (two actually; the first one broke) and glued it up on the headstock. Also started the staining process today. Using a combination of oil-based fretboard dye on the sides/burst and water-based stain on the front. The maple seems like it's taking less dye in certain places, particularly in the discolored parts of the wood. You can see a lot of red sticking out. The ash back came out more even.

    Gotta say, though: I like the unevenness of the finish. To tell the truth, I actually left the body a bit rough in some places before I started finishing. Also left some of the larger scratches on the fretboard, while still getting a mirror finish on it. Lazy? No. I think an instrument should be an extension of the person, and I think Alec is reflected in the guitar, particularly due to the troubles he's been through. No one's life is perfect. We all have had (or will have) our hearts ripped out in one way or another, and we all must find a way to deal with the shadier and sadder parts of life. This guitar, in all it's little imperfections, is a tribute to Alec and his family. And for all its imperfections, this Revelator (and life) still has beautiful music to make and to be listened to. [gallery]