The Chuncaster

 
 

The chuncaster is a unique guitar, designed to specification for Tristan Dales of the band IKARI: it combines classic t-style looks, a rich mix of black korina wood and gold hardware, and a pure rock sound that will surprise those who assume all teles must twang.

This was our first full commission, and we started as ever with the sound: Tristan wanted the Seymour Duncan hot rails pickup, famous for its rich metal sounds that suit his style of music, which we then paired with a Symour Duncan stacked vintage to provide a range of tonal options (the mix of the two pickups being the luthier's favourite on this build).

Next came the looks: Tristan wanted something distictive with lots of natural wood and gold hardware; he also specified a maple neck to provide something different from his other go-to guitar, a PRS Custom 24. To provide the wood we sourced a beautifully textured slab of black korina (an African hardwood similar to mahogany) that forms the heart of this instrument. For the gold hardware, we went all in: most gold equipped guitars still have nickle frets, but we fitted EVO gold frets and recapped the neck pickup to ensure it was 100% gold.

Put together the result is something special, that lets Tristan and IKARI channel their unique sound, as you can see here in the video for their single Ghosts:

 

Body Black Korina, finished with oil

Neck Maple with Gold EVO fretwire, finished with oil

Neck Pickup Seymour Duncan Stacked Vintage (recapped in gold)

Bridge Pickup Seymour Duncan Hot Rails

Tuners Gold vintage style

Wiring Standard T-style configuration

 

The Red Rocker

 
 

This t-style guitar is a reimagining of our very first guitar, only where that first guitar was something of a customised partscaster, this build is the first Electric Flapjack build straight from raw planks through to complete guitar. The body is an a two piece ash body, with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard.

Sonically this follows the path of all the best telecaster style guitars and will retain the the distinctive tele bridge pickup, and pair it a humbucker in the neck position to give it a stronger rock voice. Both pickups are from Chester based House of Tone, and voiced to give it a great rock basis, channelling American classic rock as the inspiration. For extra versatility the humbucker is coil tapped to provide an additional single coil sound for when you want a clean tone in addition to the punchier humbucker sound.

 

Body English Ash, stained cherry red, finished with oil

Neck Mape with a rosewood fretboard

Neck Pickup House Special Alnico 5 Humbucker

Bridge Pickup Texas Tea Bridge

Tuners Locking tuners

Wiring T-Style American HS configuration with a coil tap on the humbucker

The Blues Deluxe

 
 

The Blues Deluxe is currently a work in progress based on a Telecaster Deluxe, but designed tonally to be a distinctive blues guitar in both tone and looks.

It will be fitted with a pair of House of Tone House Special P90s voiced to give great clean and dirty blues sounds, and the switching will be 4 way to give both serial and parallel mixed configurations for extra versitility.

The body is ash, stained orange and with an oil finish. The neck is a maple with a beautiful piece of spalted tamarind for the fretboard. 

 

Body English Ash, stained orange, finished with oil

Neck Maple with a Spalted Tamarind fretboard, finished with oil

Neck Pickup House Special P90

Bridge Pickup House Special P90

Tuners Locking tuners

Wiring Standard Les Paul style wiring with 500k pots.

The Prototype Offset

 
 

Our first set of commissions was for a pair of offset style guitars, and as part of making those we started with this prototype offset to test the design. Whilst the commissions had more modern appointments like humbuckers and hardtail bridges, the prototype sticks to the classic configuration, with a dynamic vibrato bridge and even clay inlays on the neck, but with quality parts used throughout, like the Mastery bridge and hand wound pickups from House of Tone Pickups.

It is also the first guitar to feature the Electric Flapjack headstock design, which will distinguish all future guitars from other brands.

 

Body 2-piece swamp ash

Neck Maple neck and a wenge fretboard with clay inlays

Neck pickup House of Tone Mustang pickup

Bridge pickup House of Tone Mustang pickup

Bridge Dynamic Vibrato unit with Mastery M1 Bridge

Wiring 4-position rotary to give series and parallel configurations in addition to individual pickup access

Where it started

 
 

This is where it all started. I already had a tele, a nice 96 MIM Fender Telecaster from my uni days, but upon picking up the guitar again after many years of not playing, I found the sound didn't match the blues music I was trying to play. What I wanted, I decided, was a humbucker in the neck. But at the same time, I didn't want to destroy my lovely guitar that had been with me two decades. And I didn't want to buy one, I wanted a tele guitar with a Gibson humbucker in the neck, just like my idols had done before, so that ruled out an off the shelf guitar. So I decided to make the guitar I wanted that I couldn't buy.

So I watched some tutorials, I kept it easy by buying bits and tweaking them to suit. I was convinced the first one wouldn't work so I just bought cheap parts with the expectation that they'd mostly become firewood. But in the end there was no firewood, I ended up with my own custom parts build telecaster that played like I wanted. Yes, there were adventures along the way, but that's all the fun of learning. And that learning is what keeps me going today, both in learning more about building guitars, and in playing: I still play this guitar almost every day, as it makes the sound I want - because I made it that way.

 

Body Basewood, stained denim blue, finished with oil

Neck Maple with rosewood fretboard, finished with oil

Neck pickup Gibson 490r Humbucker

Bridge pickup Tonerider TRT1 Vintage Plus

Tuners Vintage style

Wiring T-Style American HS configuration

The little blue amp

 
 

One can't be properly excited about electric guitars without being excited about amps too. Having played some great sounding tube amps, when it became time to get my own, building one seemed a logical step.

This 5W practice amp was not just practice in terms of letting me practice at home, but it also was a platform for practicing other skills. It was the first wood work design I took from scratch through to manufacture in Autodesk Fusion 360, teaching me the power of parameterised designs and the ability to go straight from design to CAM. It was also the first serious bit of analog electronics since I was at university.

Based on early tweed champ designs, this amp is a great starting point for future amp designs that will deliver the right tone to match the guitars I build.

 

Circuit type Classic tweed style

Speakers 1 x 10 Celestion Ten 30

Rectifier valve 1 x 5Y3

Pre-amp valve 1 x 12AX7

Power-amp valve 1 x 6v6GT

Cabinate 18mm MDF

Outer Blue TuffCab paint