|| Making the Blaze Model
|It starts with good wood. The back and top are matched up, glued and the top is hand carved with a deep taper. The neck material is selected, the fret slots are cut and the fingerboard is glued to the neck. A dual action truss rod is installed into a precision CNC milled channel with very a very tight tolerance. The Ebony headstock veneer is glued onto the headstock early on.|
|Each Blaze signature model gets a logo inlaid at the 12th fret using a special technique, Delrin and a router bit so small it can be used to cut the fret slots if needed.|
|The headstock is detailed. Care must be taken to allow the veneer to come out clean on all edges including the truss rod channel and bevel.|
The prototype that Steve uses needed a lot of Cad work before the routes could be cut. Hours of careful layout laid the ground work for an exceptional guitar.
|The neck is then fretted prior to being glued into the body and even before the back of the neck gets shaped. Steve prefers jumbo frets and much time and effort goes into the fret work. The fret tang barbs are removed .002" of an inch at a time until they press fit into the slots at which time they are glued in. The fret edges on all Guilford Guitars is a calling card for our quality. They are meticulously shaped as is the side of the fingerboard for a comfortable feel. |
|The frets are glued in overnight to ensure better tone and perfect seating. Very little fret material will need to be dressed to achieve a level fret job. |
|The body is then routed for the neck tenon. A Guilford Guitar neck tenon set ensures approximately 20% more glued contact than other makers and this is a big reason why the guitar sounds better than other brands. After careful analysis of all the possibilities from a full neck through to a bolt on, this is the recipe that has proven to work best with a top carve solid body.|
|The neck angle was calculated and the neck pocket was cut before all other pockets on the body. This is a crucial step and must be done with absolute precision or the guitar will not resonate correctly and the harware setup and playability will suffer. |
|The neck on Steve's prototype was not glued in or supported in any way before the router cut the pickup pockets right across the neck tenon. I've seen builders hold up a guitar to show that it is snug but I had so much confidence in the fit on this guitar, I knew it would not move EVEN AFTER the router had removed a portion of the tenon. This is the kind of stuff that justifies the price tag.|
Once the neck pocket and pickup channels are cut, the rest of the body is routed out.
|Test fitting the electro socket. It is recessed rather than flush mounted. It is an aesthetic detail that counts. Some makers would prefer to disrupt the body profile with a flat line but a little more effort goes a long way. The net effect is a jack that is neatly tucked into the side of the body and out of the way.|
|A test sample of "Blaze Blue" was worked up for Steve's approval prior to being applied to the guitar. Funny how the electronics look like a face. |
The neck must be glued into the body before the stain is applied. It takes a lot of time to correctly tape off
the joint before the glue is applied. The body and neck are now a guitar and left to dry overnight or longer.
|The body is then stained. More taping is done to protect the neck from unwanted color. After hours of wood work and sanding and care you arrive at this the point and there is no going back. I always remember the words of a Vietnam vet in a college art class who said - "You got to live a little - let it happen". It helps every time.|
|The guitar top is sealed, tapped off and the back is painted black. |
A killer Blaze Blue prototype waiting for more clear coats. It is hard to resist staring at it - in person, it
is completely mesmerizing!
|The Prototype guitar recieved less than 10 thin coats of Nitrocelulose lacquer. It was allowed to cure prior to the sand out. No buff wheel is needed when you progress from 400 to 2000 grit and then hand buff with a power drill and polish compounds. Smooth glossy perfection and such a satisfying feeling at this point.|
|The neck is treated with a proprietary blend of ingredients. The neck feels so welcoming - it is not a relic job, it is different and new but reflects the values of a hard core player - someone who pays their dues in the wood shed. The "shed neck" is better than anything on the market for comfort and vibe. The prototype Blaze guitar features a lacquered headstock but the spec will probably change to just the headstock face but the photo helps to illustrate the difference the treatment makes.|
|The Seymour Duncan Blackouts pickups are wired and the guitar is strung up. The Buzz Feiten tuning system is applied and set. This is a guitar that is worthy of a professional player like Steve but still priced to be within reach. When you get down to brass tacks and look around, there is NO better value on the market for the price.|