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Swamp Ash Body, Hard Maple Neck, Macassar Ebony Fretboard, and an inlayed Bloodwood Scottish Lion. EMG Pickups.
Completed Noverber 16th, 2007
Steve Ashley of the band Hunting Mclead first noticed the "different" shape of my Cuttingboard electric guitars. The feel and balance of the guitars appealed to him, but the design was just not metal enough. Well - that's easy to fix! Not so fast. Steve had to get even the slightest detail of every line just perfect before beginning. I designed the geometry and general placement of the main components of the guitar, then turned it over to him to finesse the curves. The headstock is his design and I love it. Then there is the Lion. I got the call, "what do you think of an inlayed Scottish Lion on the body?" "O...K...?" A few more weeks to design it. As I started cutting the bloodwood, I began to think, "just is a huge job, what have I gotten myself into?" But now looking at it. It paid off!
Steve is the kind of player who just leaves the pots up full, plays through a bunch of toys on the floor, only using the pickup switches at the guitar. So, "Off with their heads" - the pots that is. No volume - no tone. As I said, that stuff is on the floor. He also wanted to remain with EMG pickups, as on his current guitar. He loves the EMG's sound and response, plus, he would be able to use the same pre-sets keeping the current guitar and this new one to complement each other.
The other radical departure in this design are the rocker switches to control the pickups. A normal Strad style 5 position switch does not allow for all of the 7 possible combinations. There is no option for the front and back pickup ON, and no option for all three pickups ON. Using three rocker switches gives every combination, and also makes for a very low profile clean design.
Clean design is something we aimed at. Both an uncluttered body and a clean fretboard, with no position marks on top. I did however come up with extra large side position marks - see the photo above.
OK, OK, how's it sound? A Swamp Ash body and Hard Maple neck is a classic combination, so think - Strad or Tele. The Ebony fret board warms it up a bit. The lap-joint neck adds sustain that a Strad can't even begin to approach, adding the bite of the EMG's Humbucker is ferocious. There are really two sets of sounds on this guitar; Humbucker ON, and Humbucker OFF. With the Humbucker ON and using the single coils to colour the sound there are 4 combinations. With the Humbucker OFF, you are into a single coil type of sound for another 3 combinations.
So Steve, can't I keep this thing a little while longer? This is Steve receiving the axe.