Emerald Deluxe Guitar
This guitar was commissioned by Alex Kapranos of the Scottish band Franz Ferdinand. Originally, he was considering a more basic Schnellercaster, but perhaps when he visited the shop one day and saw all the experimental process going on, Alex realized extra potential in the project.
We talked about his fascination with entomology and the blue green opalescence of certain flies and beetles. He asked if I could work this in to the design somehow. After some contemplation, I thought it would be nice to use actual specimens of a certain emerald beetle and embed them into the pickguard.
I found a source in Bangkok for the perfect beetle wings and promptly ordered six hundred, thinking that would be more than sufficient for the project. Alex loved the idea.
The neck of this guitar marks the debut of my new headstock shape - a nod to the larger-sized Tele Deluxe shape. It also features a non-adjustable steel reinforced neck with a soft V shape. The pickups were custom-made by Jaime Campbell of The Creamery located in Manchester, England. There is a wide-range humbucker in the bridge, a P-90 in Gibson humbucker format in the middle, and a Tele-style single coil in the neck position.
The three pickup system has always presented a conundrum and we wanted to keep it simple. I also didn't want things to take up too much real estate in the pickguard. We settled on two rotary switches. One is a typical three-way selector for the bridge and middle (one, both, the other). The other rotary switch is four-way and has four options: 1) nothing added; 2) neck added to other rotary switch; 3) neck only; 4) kill everything. This yields a circuit which provides every possible pickup combination with only two knobs. There are no tone or volume controls.
Read more about the making of this guitar including photos taken during the building process in our Blog posts:
Making Custom Beetle Wing Pickguard
NOTE: After these beetles mate, they die and the wings are harvested for all manner of application, so no beetles were harmed in the making of this instrument.
Neck: Flame maple neck with ebony fingerboard
Scale length: 25-1/2"
Truss Rod: Non-adjustable steel bar
Frets: Dunlop 6105
Body: Basswood body with carved comfort contour lacquered in a blue-green opalescent
Pickups: Custom pickups by The Creamery
Controls: Two rotary-style switches
Tuners: Gotoh custom made Specimen Kluson-style tuners
Bridge: Calaham nickel-plated stainless hardtail with a special 2-1/16" string spacing
Other: Small abalone beetle inlays for position markers
Please call 773.489.4830 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss details and make arrangements for your commission.