Creme Caramel - How it was made

Firstly - How did it end up?

Well, beautifully - I love it. Still a bit chunky and twangy, but with a more natural smoother feel.

The problems I have with the Telecaster (and most guitars) have been partially addressed - usually they are clunky, old fashioned planks, covered in thick plastic paint, bolted together without many thoughts put towards the players comfort.  With nearly 70 years having passed since it's first production, no-one seems to want to update it - well, I did.  Most of my ideas have been "watered down" as a compromise as to potential customer expectations - there is no use making a guitar that appeals to only one person - however I would change only about a dozen things if I were to make it again...

The body is 2-part Ash. This means a long plank, sawn in two and joined together to make a wider piece of timber.  This piece had a particularly fine grain, which made the staining process more difficult and the sanding of the end grain, particularly tricky.


The back plate is English Walnut (rescued from the bin) and sanded to fit the bespoke control cavity.  The controls are placed further down on the body, to be "out of the way" whilst playing, but still accessible.  The control knobs are Zebrano, but I may replace them with Maple to match the colouring of the Pickups.  These pickups are modern P90 style, recessed and cream coloured - a "Nantucket" set from UK manufacturer Bare Knuckle. The bridge is a modern UK Granger, which allows top-loading as well as through-body stringing, the main body of which is milled from a block of aluminium. The lower half of the body has a relatively standard square edge, so it does not slip from the players lap, whereas the top half has been given the most extreme rounding, so that the players arms can never snag of a sharp edge.  A heavy "belly-cut" and "arm-recess" have been added for increased comfort.

Most visually notable is the base of the body having a large radius fully cut out of it.  This has been engineered not to affect normal playing (with the normal lower arch on the right leg), but to give an option of playing, whist sat, in a more "classical" position, with the left leg under the normal lower arch and the right under the new radius.  Many players find this position far more comfortable, whilst reclined or sat, but are unable to due to traditional guitar shapes.  You can see from the photos that fully recessed Dunlop straplocks have been used.  These are invaluable when playing when stood up as it is virtually impossible for the guitar to slip off, and when not in use, their incredibly low profile does not stab or interfere with the player as all other types do.
The extended reach neck join is a partial compromise between full ergonomics and traditional expectations.

Whereas the more traditional route has a solid square block, this uses recessed Granger washers in a bespoke pattern, alongside a radical neck cutaway for ease of access to higher registers than normal.  The lower horn cutaway has also been smoothed and extended - both front and back, which ensures genuinely free and easy access to the top 8 frets, previously annoying to get to with the standard "block" neck join.


The neck is one piece maple with a reverse head-stock, for ease of tuning whilst playing.  However - with staggered height, open back, locking hip-shot tuners and their precise positioning - this won't be often!
The nut is hand carved from Dupont Corian - a stone material used normally for kitchen worktops. This fantastically hard material has superbly low friction, whilst giving the strings a ringing resonance uncommon in other materials.

 

Finally, the fret-board is Wenge - a fairly dense, two tone timber with a grain pattern that gets more compressed as you move up the frets. There are "angel eye" dot markers in the edge of the neck and a single fretboard marker at the 12th position, on the front of the guitar.  This is so as to not visually overwhelm the fine piece of Wenge with unnecessary markers that do not assist the player of the instrument in any shape or form. The radius of the fretboard is an extremely flat 14" - which gives the whole neck a wider feel, when coupled with the C type neck profile.

 

The stain was custom hand-mixed at Crimson Guitars, and the body and neck have been given a very light final "flash coat" to add a slight gloss and protection to their newly dyed surfaces.

© 2019 by GJH / Sad Fernando Guitars

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