The Great Guitar Build Off

#1
Some of you may be aware of the Great Guitar Build Off, which is a competition between a number of well-known YouTubers to build a guitar from a Crimson Guitars kit. The idea came about from discussions between Ben Crowe and the guys from Texas Toast Guitars, and I think there are nine people entering the main competition. There's a website dedicated to the competition - https://www.greatguitarbuildoff.com/ - and you can find various videos on YouTube and posts on Twitter and Instagram using #greatguitarbuildoff or @greatguitarbuildoff.

A couple of days ago, Ben posted a video announcing that there was going to be a parallel competition for amateur (or at least other) builders. The deadline for the builds is later than the main competition, at the end of October, and I decided to give it a go. I have sent an email to register, and yesterday I had a rush of inspiration and started work.

Some of the details still have to be worked out, and I'm currently mulling over hardware (thinking that I might go headless on this one, which would be a first for me). I am, of course, rejecting the easy course of using a kit and starting from scratch...what's more, I'm making it even more difficult for myself by starting from scratch with this pile of offcuts....
GGBO Body 1.jpg

So the concept is a patchwork body made out of offcuts. I dug out a lot of different odds and ends, and I'm in the process of cutting them into usable chunks and working out how to fit them together. One of the ingredients, which you can see on the top of the pile in that picture, is the first, failed neck for the chess guitar, which I've chopped up and it will be sandwiched between the top and the triangular piece of padauk, with just the ends showing - see the picture below.
GGBO Body 3.jpg

I've also been gluing some smaller pieces, several off them offcuts of fretboards (and therefore more exotic woods), onto pieces of sapele, and these will be placed in the centre of the body so that you don't see the sapele and they look like solid blocks.
GGBO Body 2.jpg

For the top, I decided on a variant of the same theme. Again, I took a few oddments and I cut them into strips that I have sanded down to 20mm wide and about 10mm deep, with varying lengths.
GGBO Top 1.jpg GGBO Top 2.jpg

I have tentatively laid these out over my drawing of the body design - it's a sort of parquet effect, but with the different colours I think it looks interesting.
GGBO Top 3.jpg

That's not glued together yet (I haven't actually worked out how best to do that), so changes are still possible and I welcome any feedback and suggestions.

To finish the story, as far as my thinking has gone, my design is a bit Strandberg influenced although I've done my own take on it. I am currently thinking about making it a headless guitar as I mentioned - I'm vaguely considering tweaks like 7 strings or fanned frets, although those might be unnecessary complications. I'm a bit put off by the high price of decent headless bridges, since the choice seems to be either expensive quality stuff or cheap Chinese poor-quality knock-offs, with nothing in the middle. Further cogitation will occur.

Of course, I will post occasional updates on here but if you want to follow the build more closely, find me on Instagram (#gloopyguitars is a good start!) since I try to post a few pictures each week.
 
#2
One of the main requirements of the unofficial challengers is that they have to be able to produce a video of their build. I'm going to make a series of videos, probably about 4 or 5 in total. The first one has just been published, and it shows the early stages of making the body and the top.


What I haven't said in the video is that this is going to be a headless guitar, and probably multiscale - I'm thinking 25" - 26.5" but I'm open to any suggestions. I've ordered a pair of Lace Deathbucker pickups, and a special set of tuning saddles and headpieces from Mera Guitars in Ukraine - I hope it's a genuine guy or I'm going to be totally screwed!

Because this competition has a tight deadline of October 17th, I'm going to be working hard on this guitar and updates should be frequent. Please watch the video and give me a Like if you enjoy it, since that might help me to get onto the shortlist, which would be a great achievement for me.
 
#6
Episode 3...

You'll also probably have seen that the entries for the main competition are now finalised. I have to say that on the whole I'm not terribly impressed by the results - I like Texas Toast and Guns and Guitars, and Tamar's guitar was nice enough, but the rest? Ben Crowe's is hideously ugly, which is a great shame.

Anyway....let's see what comes out of the unofficial competition, where there are a few entries that look quite promising.
 
#9
I didn't do much over the weekend because of other family stuff etc. and I'm also going to be delayed a bit by my Proxxon multitool suddenly stopping working, which was weird. There are a few things that I can get on with, but I need the tool for the critical path items. I ordered a new one so I hope that comes fairly soon.
 
#12
My TV just informed me of your new video. I like the inlays, they are going to look great.
Yup, thanks for the reminder, episode 4 went up yesterday after much struggling with Corel VideoStudio which has been constantly crashing on me, so I just about managed to squeeze this episode out and I bought Cyberlink PowerDirector for editing future episodes. I installed that yesterday and had a quick try, and it looks much better.


I glued the top onto the body last night and that went pretty well, and I exchanged emails with the guy for the bridge and he said he's in the process of manufacturing it (well, I think it's six separate saddles), so I hope that will arrive in time.

I'm pretty happy with the way this is going so far, and the comments on the videos are very flattering :)
 
#13
Episode 5 has just been uploaded - this time I used PowerDirector which didn't crash at all, so that was a great improvement, although there was a bit of a learning curve to find out how to do all of the things I was used to doing in VideoStudio. Fortunately, the interfaces are pretty similar - I'm sure that both of them ripped off Final Cut!

I'm now on a pause until the bridge arrives....it's supposed to be on its way from Ukraine, and I really hope it will arrive this week or I might have trouble meeting the deadline of October 17th. There really isn't much more I can do without it - I could start wiring up the pots outside the body, and there's one more flaw in the top that I might consider repairing although it's risky because I might repair that but leave other unsightly marks in the process. I need to think about all of that.

 
#15
Got the neck glued in at last yesterday, and today I did the first coat of lacquer on most of the guitar...I didn't do the top because I filled a little gap at the base of the neck, but that'll get done tomorrow. I can get a few coats of lacquer on over the next two or three days and then it can cure for a week before the deadline for the competition.

If my bridge arrives before the 17th, I'll be fine! Still no sign of it, though, although it was sent about two weeks ago.
 
#16
Good news - the bridge arrived today! In fact, it's six individual saddles, and six individual "droplets" to hold the strings at the headstock. It's going to be fun fixing them, since I will need to drill 36 holes in total.
Saddle + droplet.jpg

It's a big relief because now I will definitely be able to finish the guitar by the deadline, although the lacquer won't have had enough time to really cure properly. I don't think that's a big deal, though, since it can just hang around here for weeks after the competition to finish that. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to offer the guitar up for sale or what to do with the proceeds if I do - that might depend on how much attention it gets at the voting stage.
 
#17
Episode 6...

The body is basically finished now....it's currently hanging up with the lacquer drying. I might put one more coat on, then I need to leave it to cure for a few days before buffing and polishing, and installing the hardware.
 
#18
IT'S FINISHED!!!! Just in time for the deadline, which was today....here's the final video!

Actually, I finished it yesterday but did the demos this morning and spent much of the day editing the video. I'm pretty pleased with the result....crossing my fingers that I will be picked for the final 25 that will be put up by Crimson Guitars for the voting. If that happens, I'll post it on here and beg for votes! :D

I wish the very best of luck to 24 of the other contestants.... :D

...and a mention for @drittal who has also entered the competition and made a rather handsome-looking instrument, good luck dude!

(make that 23!)
 
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