Guitar Project Feed


Raw Project

Spring 2011 – 2014

Model Name: RawP1010834Full_Crop
Color: Natural Swamp Ash
Body Material: Swamp Ash
Body Shape: Stratocaster
Body Finish: Tung Oil
Neck Material: Zebrano
Neck Style: CBS Reverse Headstorck
Neck Shape: Wizard “D”
Scale Length: 25” Conversion
Fingerboard: Goncalo Alves
Fingerboard Radius: 14″
Number of Frets: 22
Fret Size: Jumbo Gold ‘Evo’
Nut: Brass
Nut Width: 42 mm
Side Inlays: Black with Gold Surrounds
Neck Plate: Matt Guest custom ‘Daemon’ neck plate
Pickup Configuration: S-S
Bridge Pickup: Seymour Duncan YJM Fury
Neck Pickup: Seymour Duncan Quarter-Pound Flat
Controls: Master volume, 3-way selector switch
Pickup Switching: 3-Position blade:

  • Bridge only
  • Bridge & neck
  • Neck only

Bridge: GOTOH VS100
Hardware Finish: Gold
Tuning Machines: Schaller Da Vinci
Pickguard: Ash
Control Knobs: Ash volume
Switch Tips: N/A
Unique Features:

  • Crimson Guitars hand-made neck
  • Treble-bleed wiring modification
  • Crimson Guitars Customised ‘Bullet’ truss-rod

Following the completion of the ’Duck’ copy, I became slightly envious of my brothers new guitar and wanted a Strat of my own. At the time I only owned my number one guitar, a 1997 Epiphone Les Paul and wanted to have a Stratocaster option for playing SRV licks.

Raw Mk.2

I sourced a blank Strat-style pickguard from the States and used the black Warmoth one to mark out pickup routing and mounting holes etc. I didn’t want to start oiling the pickguard in case it began to warp, so I mounted it to the body before applying Tung oil.

The result looked pretty sweet, and much better than the harsh contrast of black plastic. You could argue that a body routed Strat would have made more sense, but I like the fact that it has the classic configuration of the pickguard, but has the impression of an all-natural finish.

For the neck, I approached Crimson Guitars to build me one to my own specifications which included some exotic timbers: Zebrano and Goncalo Alves. To follow the gold hardware theme I had gold Evo frets installed too. I was aiming for as close to the setup and playability of my number one guitar, but was conscious that it also needed to be different in some way (otherwise there’s no point of having another guitar). So I opted for a ‘D’ shape neck profile. This gives a flat back profile to the neck and makes the feel very different and more ‘Metal’. Ben Crowe at Crimson guitars also calculated a conversion scale for the neck, so that even though it is fitted to a standard Fender Stratocaster body, the resulting scale is actually 25” (like a PRS).

Raw Mk.1

I decided to contact Warmoth in the first instance as they offered great customised options of timber and configuration etc. of bodies and necks, and at the time I had formed limited luthier contacts. In this case I wanted initially to source a signature Fender Yngwie Malmsteen neck and have a fully scalloped neck guitar.

Looking through the Warmoth website showed some beautiful timber varieties, and made me decide to have a natural finish without any paint. This decision was also partly influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughan’s number one guitar which had been worn down to the timber after hours of abuse.

As a homage to Richie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen, I decided on just two single coil pickups (neither artist uses the middle pickup). This meant that I only needed a three-way selector switch and the wiring configuration was more akin to a Telecaster. The black pickguard was originally intended as a little nod to Blackmore’s 70’s Strats too, but the end result never quite looked right against the natural Swamp Ash finish.

I sourced an Yngwie signature neck from eBay and following the wiring and a few coats of Tung oil, my dream guitar was built! The reality of playing a scalloped fretboard was not actually what I had imagined though. I loved the feel of the floating vibrato sensation, but being quite a heavy-handed player I found the treble strings cut into my hands too much. I decided to sell the neck and commission a new one to my own specification (see Mk.2).


Raven Projects : Huginn (2 of 2)

Spring 2012 – July 2014

Model Name: Huginnfront_crop
Color: Ashen-grey
Body Material: Swamp Ash
Body Shape: MG/CR Raven
Body Finish: Wudtone ‘Olympic Girl’ and Black dye
Neck Material: Rock Maple
Neck Style: 3×3 Headstock, satin Wudtone finish
Neck Shape: Modern “C”
Scale Length: 25.5”
Fingerboard: Rosewood
Fingerboard Radius: 12″
Number of Frets: 22
Fret Size: Jumbo
Nut: White composite
Nut Width: 42 mm
Side Inlays: White dot
Neck Plate: Matt Guest custom ‘Daemon’ neck plate
Pickup Configuration: HB-HB
Bridge Pickup: EMG HZ4
Middle Pickup: N/A
Neck Pickup: Entwistle Dark Star
Controls: Master volume, Artec QDD2 onboard effects selector switch (9V battery included)
Pickup Artec Onboard Effects Switching: 5-Position rotary:

  1. True Bypass (off)
  2. Clean Boost
  3. Blues Overdrive
  4. Rock Distortion
  5. Heavy Metal Overdrive

Pickup Switching: 3-Position blade:

  • Bridge only
  • Bridge & neck
  • Neck only

Bridge: 6-Saddle, twin-pivot modern style floating tremolo
Hardware Finish: Gold
Tuning Machines: Grover
Pickguard: N/A
Control Knobs: Gold brass knurled volume, Gold vintage style ‘chicken-head’
Switch Tips: Black
Unique Features:

  • Custom abalone headstock inlay
  • Reconstituted marble Raven fretboard inlay at 11, 12 & 13th frets
  • Machine-thread neck insert for neck-mounting
  • Dunlop low-profile locking strap buttons
  • Treble-bleed wiring modification

Originally planned as a single, unique design and build, I managed to get a good deal purchasing the timber from Phil at Guitarbuild.co.uk and ended up with two Swamp Ash body blanks. With two potential builds, I decided to theme along the lines of Norse mythology primarily as I wanted to create a transparent black, natural finish that would enhance the figuring of the Swamp Ash grain, but also because it seemed cool. The inspiration for this colour effect was a Raven’s wing, so I decided to theme the builds as Odin’s Ravens, Muninn (memory) and Huginn (thought). The body design was the result of many long hours in consultation with Chloe, aiming for a contemporary mix of Les Paul and Super-Strat body styles whilst keeping our own unique twist. The right horn was finished with a bevelled edge for a sword-edge-like emphasis and was cut deep to allow easy access to the high fret area. This guitar was designed to look and feel sharp and edgy, and so I felt it needed a very fast action.

There is no scalloping on Huginn (unlike Muninn), alternatively a rosewood fretboard has been used which features the Raven design inlay across the 12th fret in reconstituted black marble.

An EMG high-output passive pickup has been used in the bridge position giving an appropriate darkness to the sound, while an Entwistle custom wound Darkstar humbucker is used in the bridge position. Huginn features onboard effects via an Artec QDD active electronic modulator. This 5-way selector switch allows Clean Boost, Blues Overdrive, Rock Distortion and Heavy Metal profiles and also features a true-bypass ‘passive’ mode to allow a nice clean tone.

” Huginn and Muninn Fly every day
over the mighty earth.
I fear for Huginn that he may not return,
yet more I fear for Muninn.”

– Odin, translated from Old Norse

Follow the design and build diary of Huginn…