Creation of my Custom Dream Guitar (Part 4, the Final Installment: The Spec Sheet)

This is the final part of a 4-part blog. Read the previous 3 posts here: An Update On My New Suhr Lefty Modern Guitar, My All-Time Favorite Custom Suhr Modern and The Custom Guitar Decision Making Journey.
There will be 1 more post with pictures, when I receive this new guitar. (Scheduled for January 2014)

Trans Blue Bleach

10739 Check Photo

Years ago, spending some time on the Suhr forums, I had a “Wow-moment when I saw a picture of this guitar. It was love at first sight.
This is the Suhr guitar that made me fall in love with what Suhr calls “Trans Blue Bleach”.

I made the mistake when I ordered the Suhr I currently play (which you saw a picture of in Part 1 of this journal), of trying to describe little modifications and color nuances that I wanted differently than the color on the photo here depicted.

In hindsight, my current guitar looks a little darker and less lively than I would like.
I should have just asked them to make it exactly as on this photo.

I made it a point to ask for exactly the same color like on this picture for my new Suhr.

Burl Maple Top.

4) Fireburst Burl Maple

Before I had seen this photo on the Suhr forums, I had never heard of Burle Maple before.

I instantly fell in love with this the moment I saw it. I just knew my new guitar had to have a burl maple top.

I can’t wait to see how this is going to look like with Trans Blue Bleech finish and gold hard ware.
Wish me luck haha. šŸ™‚

The Pick Up Decisions Struggle

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In the previous installment of this custom guitar creation journal, I talked at great length about all the pick up and wiring decisions and how tough these decisions had been.

This guitar was the reason why it took me for ever to make up my mind between gold covered hh or hsh.
I usually would always go for musicianship, content and versatility over looks.

In this particular case though: this guitar (to me) looks so unbelievably beautiful, that for a while I strongly considered giving up on a single coil in favor of having this amazing gold hardware with gold plated humbuckers look.

But as you already knew from previous installments in this custom guitar creation journal: I eventually found a way to have both the sonic versatility and the looks. (hsh with gold magnet poles and pick up screws)

In my quest to figure out what choice to make (2 gold covered humbuckers or hsh): I did utterly silly things.
This was one of them. šŸ™‚

I figured, since my current and my new to be built Suhr have lots of visual similarities, that it might be easier for me to picture how my new guitar would look like with gold humbuckers, if I taped gold humbucker pictures over the 2 hh in my current guitar.

IMG_1143

(I had to cover the single coil in the middle with my fingers to not get distracted by it).
I know it’s not the most efficient thing I have ever done. šŸ™‚

Blue abalone neck dots.

5) gotw-week9-day2-main-img-front

I wanted blue abalone position dots in the guitar neck to nicely integrate the color of the dots with the body and headstock color.

This is the photo I emailed John and his peeps as an example of which abalone dots I wanted. (The bright blue-ness of the dots is easier to see on the larger, original picture)

Grade 5A Roasted Birdseye Maple Neck

This roasted neck will make this THE most stable, most reliable guitar I eve owned.
I went for birdseye maple because how great it looks.
There is lot of debate, confusion and conflicting theories and opinions about the stability of birdseye maple vs flamed maple.

Which leads me to the word: “roasted”.

John Suhr explains following on The Gear Page

“The wood is treated before anything is cut
The Kilns are specialized, it is a patented wood heat treatment technology, utilizing a natural thermochemical reaction and steam at temperatures of 230-240Ā° C (450Ā° F) without ANY chemical additives.” (John Suhr on www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=905747)

More importantly: this wood treatment burns all the the humidity and impurities out of the wood, making the guitar neck so stable that you could literally be playing in the Sahara one day and in the Amazon Forest (or hot and humid New York for that matter lol) the day after, and your guitar neck would not have budged the slightest bit.

Scalloped Frets.

Scalloped_fretboard

It crossed my mind a couple of times to go for a completely scalloped guitar neck.
Scalloping is the process where the guitar builder takes away wood in between the frets, scooping out the wood to create a “U” shape between the frets.
This makes that your fingertips don’t touch the fretboard while playing.

I was concerned though about the possibility of not liking it or about the possibility of having a hard time adapting to the scalloped feel.

Ritchie Blackmore from Deep Purple preferred playing scalloped guitar necks. Yngwie Malmsteen, counting Richie as one of his main influences, is another guitarist who is known to prefer his guitar necks scalloped entirely. John McLaughlin experimented and performed with acoustic guitars with scalloped necks during his time with Shakti.

I ultimately decided to only have the top 4 frets scalloped, which is how Steve Vai has his signature guitars set up.

So Finally: The Spec Sheet of My Dream Guitar.

I put more thought into putting together this list of specs than I ever had done before for previous custom guitars.
I am sure it will pay off.

I can’t wait to get this Lefty Modern.

There is a lot more I can say about this.
I did not even discus which pick ups I chose and why, or why I chose for scraped binding (and what that means), or the custom compound 11-16 radius which is a rarely used option, or the really cool looking reverse headstock I chose for, the implementation of the tremol-no (which allows me to lock up my Floyd Rose), the Drop D-Tuna (which allows me to drop the low E-string down to D with the flick of a switch so to speak), etc.

While there is so much more I could say about this guitar and while there’s a lot more decision making that went into the creation of this guitar than this 4 episode journal reveals: I had to narrow things down to avoid this 4-part blog post from turning into a novel.

So without any further a due…

17767_Customer-1

It’s out of my hands now.
My work is done. Now it is just waiting till people at Suhr will be done building it.

Of course: there is one more final episode that will be added to this journal.
I will post pictures here of my new guitar as soon as I get it.
It goes without saying that I am utterly anxious and excited like a 6-year old in a toy store.

If you have any questions about creating or building your custom dream guitar: leave a comment here and I will get back to you.


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  1. Dev Says:

    Interesting read… it looks like it’ll be a killer guitar. When do you expect to receive it? I’m interested to know how it sounds with your elaborate pickup configuration.

    May 22nd, 2014 at 6:53 am
  2. ZOTZin Music Says:

    Hi Dev,

    I could go pick up my guitar at Suhr Guitars December last year. So I had it right before the end of the year. This guitar made me want to practice all the time again. It’s the very best guitar I ever had on so many levels. I also literally get every sound out of the guitar that I ever wanted.

    You make a good point. I probably should write a blog with pictures of the end results. Need more hours in a day haha. šŸ™‚

    May 22nd, 2014 at 12:10 pm
  3. Dev Says:

    Great to hear that you’re enjoying the guitar. I may use your previous diagrams as a starting point to create my own HSH guitar in the near future.

    I know Suhr make some beautiful guitars so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a future blog update šŸ™‚

    May 23rd, 2014 at 2:36 am
  4. ZOTZin Music Says:

    Yes it is really amazing to have 10 different pick up configurations. It took a lot of work and a lot of thought to figure this out, but it was totally worth it.

    So yeah you can totally use the diagram I came up with for your own guitars. That’s why I posted it: so other people wouldn’t have to figure it out anymore. šŸ™‚

    May 23rd, 2014 at 9:57 am