Emerald Deluxe Guitar

Please call 773.489.4830 or email [email protected] to discuss details and make arrangements for your commission.

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Description

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.

Features
  • Neck

    Flame maple neck with ebony fingerboard

  • Scale length

    25-1/2" or to order

  • Truss Rod

    Non-adjustable steel reinforcement

  • Frets

    Dunlop 6105

  • Body

    Basswood body with carved comfort contour lacquered in a blue-green opalescent nitrocellulose

  • Pickguard

    Emerald beetle wings laid up like miniature roofing tiles and vacuum infused with epoxy resin

  • 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

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.

Alex debuted his new Emerald Deluxe Guitar to the world when the band performed live on The Late Show with David Lettermen, Conan O’Brien and in a concert on CBS.com.

Read more about the making of this guitar including photos taken during the building process in our Blog posts:
Making Custom Beetle Wing Pickguard

Emerald Deluxe Guitar for Alex Kapranos

NOTE: After these beetles mate, they die and the wings are harvested for all manner of applications, so no beetles were harmed in the making of this instrument.

Specimen Custom Guitar for Franz Ferdinand Alex Kapranos
Specimen Custom Guitar for Franz Ferdinand Alex Kapranos
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand on the Late Show with David Lettermen playing the Specimen Emerald Deluxe
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand on the Late Show with David Lettermen playing the Specimen Emerald Deluxe
Specimen Custom Guitar for Franz Ferdinand Alex Kapranos
Specimen Custom Guitar for Franz Ferdinand Alex Kapranos
Specimen Custom Guitar for Franz Ferdinand Alex Kapranos
Specimen Custom Guitar for Franz Ferdinand Alex Kapranos
Specimen Custom Guitar for Franz Ferdinand Alex Kapranos