Guitar 46 “Orcas”


  Completed 2015.

  Top – Sitka spruce

  Back and sides – Bloodwood

  Neck – Bubinga w/Ebony fingerboard

  Scale 25″

  Rosette – Paua abalone and Black Mother of     Pearl

  Purfling – Paua abalone


This is an experimental guitar.  It is designed to sound like an acoustic guitar, but play like an electric.  There are 16 frets clear of the body, instead of the ususal 14, and the deep cutaway gives easy access to all 22 frets.  The neck is carved like that of an electric guitar.  The 25″ scale makes it fun to play, as all the chord shapes are a little easier to reach.  The body is also thin, and it tapers from the bass side to the treble side, so it’s very easy to get your arm over the box.  It’s comfortable to play.  There is a Barbera Transducer installed in the saddle slot.  This pickup gives a clear acoustic sound when plugged into an amp, but when you start to turn the knobs and add effects you can make the guitar sound like you are playing an electric, solid body instrument.  Bluesman Eric Krasno and his band stopped by my shop this summer.  We plugged him in and he rocked out on this guitar. 









I like using Paua abalone.  It comes from New Zealand, and it has a lot more color than the green or red abalone.









The rosette is a variation on the ribbon and ring design that I have used on several other guitars.  The ribbon in this case is shaped to look like Orca dorsal fins, and is made of black mother of pearl. 

The fingerboard inlay shows three Orcas backlit by the sun.  The Orcas are made of black glass and mother of pearl, and they are highlighted with brass wire.  The sparkles on the water are also brass. 

To get 16 frets clear of the body of the guitar I reshaped the curve of the shoulder.  This left the bridge and the soundhole in the same positions as in a 14 fret to the body guitar.  This guitar has a nice feel, and easy access to all the frets. 

This view shows the wedge shape of the box.  The side of the guitar that sits on the player’s knee is full depth, but the top side is narrower.  This make it much easier for the player to get their arm over the guitar, and it is especially useful for people who have had shoulder injuries.  I think the wedge design was invented by luthier Linda Manzer, and it has become popular with many makers of custom instruments.