Agape Guitars


Re-routing to Facebook, y'all!

UncategorizedRich ChaffinsComment

Hey guys n gals, In light of the fact that my Facebook page is growing, and I am finding time to update this site difficult to find, I'm going to switch over to making my Facebook page my primary internet presence. Sorry about not updating in forever, but in better news, I've had time to get a bunch of guitars and basses finished! I do hope you'll check out my guitars and basses on Facebook here. Thanks a bunch, and God bless!

Nope, not dead.

UncategorizedRich ChaffinsComment

Hey, guys n gals! Hope you're swell. 

  Nope. Haven't posted for over a year. 

  Yep. I suck. 

I am NOT good at keeping this blog updated, obviously. 

So, the cliff notes of what's been happening since last we met: 

We moved.

My shop is now bigger, but not as big as I'd like, still.

I have finished some of the stuff I was working on in earlier pages, and some I am in the process of finishing up. 

My lack of faster progress is due to, in no particular order: me learning on the job several things I'd never done before; me being a slow learner; me having three other jobs that occupy my time, therefore having limited time to work on guitars; me being a husband and father to my lovely wife and my two sons, one of which is special needs; me needing downtime once in a while.

All that being said, I've learned a lot, and am now nearing the finish line on dang near everything left in my shop. I also have some interesting ideas I'll start working on as soon as this batch of seven instruments is delivered to their respective owners.

The big thing I have learned? Don't take too much on at one time. People (rightfully) get impatient, deadlines can get missed, my stress level goes through the roof. So....

Going forward, I'm going to work on roughly two instruments at a time. This will save me (and you, dear clients) stress. 

In the meantime, until I get pics and posts up here, you can find more up-to-date stuff on my Facebook page, or you can find me on Instagram, username agapeguitars. Thanks so much!


Jason's Apollyon- an update

UncategorizedRich Chaffins2 Comments

Hey y'all. Doing alright? This particular blog post brings news about a particular guitar. Got some work done on Jason's guitar, placeholder name Apollyon. Placeholder because I like the name, but not sure it belongs on this guitar. 'Kay? Moving on.

After a tragic misunderstanding about the neck which cost me quite a bit of time, progress moves forward! *Okay, long story short less long- I was making a scarf jointed neck, as usual, not realizing that the notes I took from our meeting on specs meant not just a Strat-like neck carve, but the Strat-like flat neck as well. Feh. For what it's worth, that particular piece of rosewood was giving me fits anyway, so it ended up working out nicely.*

The neck is packing a truss rod, fingerboard is glued on, and the neck is rough cut to shape. Final headstock shape will be done by hand, cuz the pointy bits would become the router's lunch if I let it near them. Will be installing dots within the next few days, as well as routing the neck pocket. This will be a set neck, and will have quite the long tenon to go with it. Yay for neck stability!

Jason was nice enough to come over to the shop last night, and we took a good while doing mockups, discussing placements, carves, and crazy ideas (all his, I'd like to point out). Also a 25th fret, for no apparent reason other than you don't see those, like, ever. Think this build is gonna turn out fuh-REAKY cool.

Here's some pics to add evidence to the above claims. Have a fantastic day! Leave fantastic comments in which you say fantastic things! Etc. !  Thanks. :)


Outpatient surgery Saturday...results on video

UncategorizedRich ChaffinsComment

Hey y'all...quick post while I'm at the computer finishing up a pickguard sketch for my Junia body that I'll soon be posting about. A couple of weeks ago, my good friend and musical artist extraordinaire Caleb Lovely called me about a little project he had in mind. He'd just bought a new, fatter neck for his Strat and had his old, perfectly good neck hanging around doing nothing. He found a Tele body he wanted, and asked me if I'd help him put it together once he got all the hardware in. Long story short, I agreed, and last Saturday, I met him at CRC about an hour and a half before he needed to be on stage for rehearsal. I did my best to set the land speed record for fastest guitar wiring/assembly ever. :) Caleb just shot a short video of the results,and here it is for your viewing pleasure.



BTW...go listen to him NOW. Amazing stuff. YouTube, iTunes...he's everywhere. :)

Post-holiday catching up

Frank's Protos, UncategorizedRich Chaffins1 Comment

Hey there! Hope you all had an amazing holiday! Now is back to the grind. Joy. Actually, I like my grind, for the most part. Building instruments, playing guitar both in church and my band, as well as teaching guitar/bass is a great way to make a living. Hoping for more of the building than the teaching at some point soon, but I'll take what I can get. :)

Not much to show this post, as I'm still waiting on people for a few of the instruments, but I do have a preview of Frank's Protos paisley pattern, as well as some sweet wood I just snagged that will soon be turning into other instruments. Take a look! Note that the paisley pattern on Frank's will most likely be a different shade of yellow to go with the hardware better. Have a great week!


Introducing: Junia

Junia prototype, UncategorizedRich Chaffins3 Comments

Happy Tuesday! Glad to be back in the shop lately. Ben's Protos bass has been delivered and is adjusting to its new home. Currently working on a replacement neck for an older guitar of mine, a 5-string Logos bass that has a cuh-RAY-zee history that I'll be writing about soon, waiting around on a part for Alec's Revelator, and working up a prototype of a new, singlecut guitar shape. Meet Junia.[gallery] This one is made of poplar, and it's going to have a 3-piece top on it. You can see the quilted maple pieces on the second pic. The middle will be bookmatched Indian rosewood. I really like the contrast of light vs. dark wood in this one. It's a concept I'll be playing with a bit more in upcoming instruments. While I'm at it, I'm also going to try out a concept on this one that's been rattling around in my skull for a good while now...fitting two traditional electronics setups into one instrument. Assuming I can make it work ( :) ), this Junia will feature a full 2 humbucker/3-way switch and 3 single-coil/5-way switch. I'm keeping the switching as simple as overabundance of knobs/switches. Also, depending upon client preference, I can make the systems either an either/or (being able to switch between the two) or as a dual output configuration (imagine being able to run S-type controls to a Fender-style amp and an LP-type setup into a Marshall-type amp simultaneously. Hoo boy. :D

Also debating making a steampunk version of this guitar. *insert maniacal laughter here*

So, what do you think of the new body shape? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Obligatory Christmas post

UncategorizedRich Chaffins2 Comments

While getting ready to play 3 services at Chestnut Ridge Church, just wanted to take the time to wish you all a merry Christmas. This year's been really good, and I'm very thankful for the people I've been blessed with, as well as the ability to make my living doing what I love. I hope your holiday is filled with warmth, light, and love!In guitar news, I've got the new model rough cut, and will post pics soon. Take care, and God bless! PS- If you want to check out the service at CRC, we're streaming it live here at 3pm, and again at 10 pm. :)


UncategorizedRich ChaffinsComment

Hey all.

Hope you're doing well. I am. Took some time off after 2 weeks of just. plain. silly. hours working. This 4 jobs plus band thing is a circus sometimes. But hey...better than a real job! :) On to the progress!

Alec's Revelator: Okay....first, the crappy news. The neck on the Revelator took a bit of a bend in the middle. Got some serious backbow all of a sudden. Good thing I checked it before I started leveling the frets. :-/ It's a thick neck made of grenadillo, so the truss rod wasn't doing much. Thought backbow might've been introduced when I fretted. So...pulled all the frets. Backbow still there. Drat. Gonna have to do some re-constructive surgery. More info as I figure out what to do with it.

Frank's guitar: top glued on and cut to shape. Pickup routes and neck pocket done. Working on getting the back and top level sanded so I can hit it with a roundover and then get the concave arm rest on. Truss rod channel routed, rod installed, fretboard glued on and routed to shape.

Ben's bass: Truss rod channel routed, rod installed, fretboard glued on and routed to shape. Did a quick mockup tonight before I called it a night to see how the woods will look together. Seems pretty righteous to me. :)

Tomorrow, planning on getting Ben's top level sanded and get the neck pocket routed. Probably start on the roundover and armrest as well. Got tons of pics for you. Feel free to leave comments...good, bad, ugly. Have a great night! [gallery]

Trudging onward!...assuming one can trudge happily.

UncategorizedRich ChaffinsComment

Hello, friends! Hope everyone's having a wonderful week, day, hour and/or minute. Been doing a lot, but the camera is nowhere to be found. So, been using the painful process of phone pic, text to Facebook, right click/save as, insert here. Tedious, and not as high pic quality, but it is what it is. You can see the pics, right? Okay, good.

This week I've been primarily making copious amounts of sawdust out of Frank's geetar body. Since Ben's bass was routed, top attached, and cut to shape, I figured I'd catch this one up to about the same place so I could be doing similar things at the same time. Plus, I love not having to set up my truss rod channel jig twice!

So, what exactly has been done? Well, first, I bought a new random orbital sander since my old one wouldn't hold sandpaper any longer, and I'm happy as a pig in poop. Used it to level the top of Ben's bass. Also cut his fretboard to length today. On Frank's guitar, I routed it to shape, then started on the chambering. I realized with the last (chambered!) Tele that I built that I make heavy guitars. That one was fairly hefty, especially for being hollowed out a bit. So, on Frank's, I decided to add two more chambers: one behind the bridge, and the other in the lower horn. Objective reached. Weight significantly reduced. W00t! So anyway, got the chambering finished (it's amazing, btw, both how long it takes to hog out that much wood with forstner bits and a router, and the copious amounts of sawdust doing so produces) and moved on to gluing up the top wood. If you read and/or remember, I resawed about a 1/4" or so top off of each board before I glued the blank up. Now I'll glue it back down. No fancy top, since this one's gonna have a blue paisley finish. Once it's on, I'll do the "bubble" f-holes. Or maybe I'll be smart and do it before...hmmm.

Okay, children, it's time to go to sleep. Here's some pics until the next time. See ya![gallery]

Sunday, lazy Sunday...

UncategorizedRich Chaffins1 Comment

Okay, not really. What was supposed to be a "do-nothing" day after leading worship this morning turned into "got home, Misty was doing MOPS stuff on the computer, Nick was playing PlayStation and Wes was asleep, there's nothing to veg out in front of so I guess I'll go to the shop". Got Ben's body out of the clamps, bandsawed then routed the top flush with the body. After that I set up a routing jig and rough-routed the top to get it even. Think my orbital sander has reached the end of its usefulness, as it has trouble keeping a disc of sandpaper attached to itself. Blech. Oh well. Gonna attempt to do a whole lotta nothing the rest of the day. We'll see how that goes! Happy Labor Day to all.

Quick update before the gig

UncategorizedRich ChaffinsComment

Howdy ho! Just a quick post before Under Shelter's gig tonight. Spent most of the day on other pursuits, but I did get Ben's top all the way glued on (stupid glue squeeze and half a top gluing), and Frank's guitar rough cut. I'll have to switch to a smaller blade for a closer cut before it goes to the router, but not bad for a 1/2" blade. Progress marches on! Have a great night. :) [gallery]

Update in my sleep, because Ben is high-maintenance. :)

UncategorizedRich Chaffins1 Comment

Hello and a happy Thursday.

Since I got back from the wood store, a crazy week has transpired in which it seems like I've had way too much going on to make any sort of progress in any of my jobs. Weird how that works. Anyway, here's some progress to report.

Frank's guitar: top resawed, put aside, and the rest of the blank glued up, ready for routing/bandsawing. Just got it out of the clamps this morning. Liking the walnut accent line in the middle.

Ben's bass:Top resawed, yielding 2 tops for the price of 1. Out of 4 sides to choose from, Ben stuck with the original top I showed him. I would've done the same thing...the way the stripe down the middle tapers down to the neck looks great. However, I tried a different method of gluing the top on, which was featured in the first luthierie book I bought. This method involves gluing the top onto the body 1 piece at a time, as opposed to gluing the top together, and then onto the body. I am here to report that the 1 half at a time method sucks rocks. Spent over an hour tonight scraping off glue from the join (and yes, I wiped it off well when I clamped), and it's still being difficult. Oh well...that's a problem for another day. Namely tomorrow. Here's a few pics..nighty-night, y'all. [gallery]

Back from the road trip. With stuff.

UncategorizedRich Chaffins3 Comments

Hey guys,

Real quick before my lovely wife and I have our date night (W00t!), wanted to share a bit I got done today.

Went to Pittsburgh to pick up some wood, and came back with a goodish amount. Got some East Indian Rosewood for Ben's neck (and enough for someone else's guitar), some cherry for Frank's guitar body, and enough Peruvian walnut for several guitar necks. Which is funny, because I went to get African mahogany for Frank's neck. But man, the tap tone on the walnut was MUCH better than the mahogany, and I really think it would not only look great, but walnut makes for great-sounding necks. I don't think Frank will mind that his guitar will sound better. If ya do, my friend, let me know quickly. :) Also, with the walnut, I picked up a thin strip of walnut to put between the cherry pieces. Should get a nice little stripe on the back of the body to tie the neck and body together.

After I got home, I was able to rout out both Ben and Frank's neck wood. Check it out in the pics below.

Gotta go hang with my favorite person now. Enjoy the pics![gallery]

Progress 8.26.10

UncategorizedRich ChaffinsComment

Happy Thursday, y'all.

Well, I guess I should say I hope it was a happy Thursday, as it's mostly over. Not a whole lot of time in the shop today due to familial obligations, but I did manage to get the control cavity hogged out and the cavity cover recess routed out in Ben's bass. I would like to say that it amazes me how much time it takes a drill press and forstner bit to chew up an inch and a half thick hunk of swamp ash. Fo'evah. However, that was a lesson learned the hard way that slower work = cleaner work. I had to learn that one quite a few times over, friends and neighbors. Quite a few.

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my beloved ShopVac. It was sucking sturdily along whilst I hogged out the control cavity with the drill press, then started hacking a bit. By the time I started wondering what was wrong, it hacked a great big hack, and quit. Despite a few resuscitation attempts, it remains as dead as the fabled doornail. Looks like that'll have to be replaced soonly. Speaking of which...


Tomorrow (by which I mean Friday, which is possibly today depending on when you read this) I'm heading up to Pittsburgh to grab some wood for some projects. Most specifically, gotta pick up the rosewood for Ben's neck, and all things wooden for Frank's paisley monstrosity. Frank's fretboard is in already, and Ben's was ordered today. Also gotta pick up some odds and ends such as a 1/2" bandsaw blade so I can resaw the top for Ben's bass and get it glued up. Man, that wood is HAWWT. Check the original post on Ben's instrument to check out the schexy spalted maple top he's got goin' on this rock machine (pronounced "ma-cheen"). Pure love.

Until tomorrow, friends, check out the progress pics below. Comment if you'd like. I'd like you to. I feel lonely. [gallery]

Working on Ben's bass

UncategorizedRich ChaffinsComment

Quick note before I go teach tonight...

Got Ben's bass planed down to the correct thickness without a planer. It's too big for my 12" planer (15" is on my wish list, lovely wife), so I spent a good chunk of the day realigning boards and doing it with a router, one swipe at a time.

Anyway, I planed the back to keep a flat gluing surface for the top to go on (perhaps tomorrow, if I can acquire a good resawing blade by then), then sanded it flat with the orbital sander. A few pics of the process: [gallery]

Perhaps I'll have something interesting to say later in the evening, as well. Have a lovely day, y'all.

New build: Frank's (insert T-style model name here)

UncategorizedRich ChaffinsComment

Wow...2 posts in one night! Car-azy!

So, Frank is a stellar volunteer at CRC, a guitar student of mine, a rabid country music fan, and above all, a dear friend. He played the (T-style model) I recently finished and asked me to build another one like it, with a few modifications. Should be interesting...being the Brad Paisley fan that he is, he wants a paisley finish on it. Yikes!Paisley Tele

It'll be a challenge, but it'll be fun. Also, it'll be an honor to build an instrument for a good friend. The specs:

  • cherry body, chambered; "bubbly" F-hole, Dark blue paisley finish
  • African mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard, matching dark blue paisley headstock
  • gold hardware
  • pickups TBD
  • Stellartone Tonestyler tone pot
  • large, traditionally-placed abalone fretboard dots
  • staggered locking tuners
  • thankfully, he eschewed the B-Bender. :)

    Well, the hardware and fretboard have arrived, and I'll be heading up to Pittsburgh to pick up wood for this and Ben's bass in the next couple days. Can't wait to get this one started!

The story of this week so far...

UncategorizedRich ChaffinsComment

Hey guys n gals. Hope it's a frickin' spectacular week so far for ya.

First bit of good news: the camera has been recovered! Yay for mo' better pics. Second bit of good news: I'll be putting a post up about my next commission, and have inquiries into 3 other builds. Yay for building more instruments! The final bit of good news: progress rolls ever onward. :) Had a lot of repair work in the shop last week...setups, pickup swaps, etc., so I didn't get as much done on the instruments as I would've liked. However, got stuff done somewhat over the last two days. And here we go!

Ben's bass: not a whole lot going on until I make it up to Pittsburgh this week to grab wood for the neck. However, I have it set up to plane it down to make room for the spalted maple top, and all centerlines, pickup placement and neck pocket has been mapped out, pending final bridge placement.

The tele-style build: still trying to work out a model name. Grrr. Kicking around Prime, but so far I think it only sounds good with Agape in front of it. But then it sounds like a Transformer. *smirk* Ideas welcome. But anyway, remember when I posted a review of how it sounded and mentioned that the B & E strings kept slipping out of the nut? Finally got the staggered tuners in, and problem solved. :) Put 'em on today. Debating getting a Stellartone Tonestyler to put in it, as I still hate traditional tone controls. Might do a bit of work on the finish in the next couple days.

Alec's Revelator: The neck is fretted. The headstock logo was put on and sprayed over today. I know I've said it a million times, but I heart the Sign Factory. Brandy awesomely suggested a color for the vinyl logo that would go with the cocobolo fretboard wood, and hoo boy. I'm in love. The logo for the blade headstock works out really well...fairly metal. Let me know what you think of the pics below. [gallery]

Update: Alec's Revelator

UncategorizedRich ChaffinsComment

Hello and a happy Friday.

Before I get ready for tonight's gig, I figured I'd put up a couple pics of the Revelator post-poly. Really happy with this one so far. Love the bits of red that show through from the spalted maple. Just got the fret saw and depth stop in the mail today so I can start deepening the slots a bit and get fretting! This one's getting really close! Let me know what you think. Have a great weekend![gallery]