Archives for GreenMan

Green Man

Green Man

Spring 2014 – Summer 2016


Model Name: Green Man
Color: Emerald Flame/Clear Shellac
Body Shape: Single-cut Carved Top
Body Material: Mahogany
Body Cap: Carved Flame Maple
Body Finish: Satin Shellac
Body Binding: Cream
Strap Buttons: Brass Dunlop Flush Fitting Straplok
Neck Type: Set Neck with All Access Joint
Neck Material: 3-Piece Mahogany (scarf joint)
Headstock Style: Classic 3×3
Neck Shape: Modern “C”
Neck Scale Length: 24.75”
Neck Binding: Cream
Headstock Binding: Cream
Nut: Brass
Nut Width: 44 mm
Fingerboard: Ebony
Fingerboard Radius: 14″
Number of Frets: 22
Fret Size: Jumbo (Dunlop 6100)
Fingerboard Inlays: N/A
Fingerboard Side Inlays: 3mm Brass Dots
Neck Pickup: Bare Knuckle Aftermath
Bridge Pickup: Bare Knuckle Aftermath

  • 1 x Master Volume, CTS 500K Coil-splitting potentiometer
  • 1 x Master Tone, BKP 550K custom potentiometer

Pickup Switching: Classic 3-way Toggle
Hardware Finish: Vintage Copper
Bridge: Schaller STM
Tuning Machines: Schaller Da Vinci
Pickguard: N/A
Control Knobs: Knurled Brass Vintage Copper Finish
Switch Tips: Vintage Copper
Unique Features:

  • Reconstituted Malachite ‘Matt Guest’ Runic Headstock Inlay
  • Coil splitting function on push/pull Volume control
  • Treble-bleed modification

The Green Man embodies the spirit of the forest and symbolises rebirth. This was my attempt to capture one of the most iconic and influential guitars of the modern era, Steve Vai’s Green Meanie. At the moment I am still building guitars to my own personal taste, so this project evolved into an interpretation of (in my opinion), the greatest electric guitar of all time, the ’59 Les Paul. The main aspect that differs from the original build of the ’59 is the neck-heel. Green Man features a rounded all-access-neck joint which gives very easy access to the upper register. The 3-piece mahogany neck has a full-feeling ‘C’ shape carve that really generates tone and sustain. Drawing from my personal preference, I have simplified the control layout to single Master and Tone for both pickups. Coil-splitting selection in the Master Volume allows instant single-coil Strat tones when required.

This has taken far longer than any of my other builds and feels like the best instrument I have worked on to date. I pondered over the headstock inlay design for many hours. It was originally intended to have an embodiment of the Green Man inlayed with Malachite, but limited resources meant that the result could have compromised the overall look and feel. In future builds I will revisit this design and utilise laser cutting technology to create the desired effect I have in my mind. As a result, the Green man guitar has a very reserved, simplistic finish which is reminiscent of the ’59 Les Paul.

Cove Router for PRS-style Controls

12_control_recesses_zps4f8214afGreen Man is going to be a classic single-cut carved top guitar which will feature Schaller brass control knobs. These are 18mm in diameter and around 15mm in height. Traditionally on Les Paul style carved-tops (from which Green Man is very much rooted), the neck control pots for volume and tone are placed on a heavy curve. Gibson don’t care too much about this, but Paul Reed Smith took some consideration for aesthetics and rightfully addressed the issue of the gradient creating a large gap under the control knob. PRS’ approach was to ‘scoop’ out the potentiometer hole so that the control knob actually sits in a little basin valley.

The gap underneath the control pot is not too extreme on the more traditional speed-knob or top-hat style controls, but Schaller knobs are quite narrow so they can tend to stick out like a sore-Glastonbury-Tor.GlastonburyTor

IMG_3750There are varying accounts of how to create this ‘dish’ on the internet, and I haven’t actually done it before, so I have researched quite a bit recently. Ben Crowe at Crimson Guitars ingeniously ground a flat drill bit to a rounded end to create the curved recess when drilling. But I have read accounts and watched Perry Ormsby of Ormsby Guitars use a Cove Router bit to create this. A bearing at the end of the bit is sized to match the hole drilled for the potentiometer, which allows accurate progression into the timber for the coving. This should be done on a pedestal drill stand obviously so it will be interesting to see how this works with my Black and Decker hand drill! There may be a good chance of some of the grain being torn out due to the relatively slow speed of rotation in comparison to a router machine. So I am preparing for some carving afterwards if it all goes pear-shaped.

Once the controls have been coved I can start on staining the Maple-cap with several coats of black before sanding back to leave the grain darkened and a slight sun-burst effect. The top will then have a few coats of ‘purest-green’ to finish before being French polished.

Green Man Inlay Design

3705506498_0960277a97The primary delay of this project has been deciding on the headstock inlay. It has always been intended to be the head of the Pagan symbol Green Man, but I have laboured over the style and design for a long time.

Cyanoacrylate & Malachite GranulesThe inlay substrate will be some form of Green. I have not decided whether this will be cut from reconstituted rock Malachite (like the brand logo will be) or whether to experiment inlaying green rock granules. The method with the grains of rock would entail inlaying a channel into the timber, around 2-3 mm deep, then filling with the grains and back-filling with thin Cyanoacrylate. This is basically a very low viscosity Super Glue that is even ‘thinner’ than water, which will enable it to filter between the grains of rock before setting hard, ready to sand flat. I have not attempted this method before, and can only find vague reference of it’s use.

For the headstock design, I have trawled the internet for appropriate images and played around with minimalising the design ready for inlay. Here are some of the rough works that have not made the cut, to illustrate the basic work method. The finalised design will be much more ornate.

We have decided on an image to work from now at least. This will be edited into a silhouette form and then will go through a post-production stage to add shapes of flora around the edged of the hair and beard/moustache to keep the Pagan theme. Depending on how the resulting design looks, the eyes may be inset mother-of-pearl to highlight the piece.

All images will be inlaid into the black ebony headstock veneer.

Birth of the Green Man

Currently in the process of finishing the build to my specifications, Master Luthier Grahame Pollard has created another masterpiece. I will receive the project in its barest form ready to be inlayed, stained, finished, wired and set-up over the coming months.

Spring is coming and with it, the Green Man…

Green Man Inspiration


“… can it be true? That I hold here, in my mortal hand, a nugget of purest Green?”

– Lord Percy Percy, Blackadder II

These images represent the influences that guide my choice of colour-finish in this project: natural, dark, earthy green.


An early memory for me was rooting through my maternal Grandmother’s bookcase and being fixated on the cover of a SciFi book called ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’. The alien on the cover was walking solemnly towards the viewer and I remember thinking ‘He’s green: that’s cool’.

In fact, a great many of my favourite ‘things’ from childhood including art, toys, and literature have been not just green, but a deep, dark green.


The Peak District

For most of my youth (up to the point of discovering the Commodore 64 and becoming a pre-pubescent hermit), I would be found in the nearby woods, dells and general undergrowth around Thrybergh, making dens and fashioning rapiers out of Elderberry. The smell of sap to this day reminds me of the residue left on my hands as a child following hours of fencing with an unsuspecting tree or unruly mob of nettles. I feel most at home to this day in some thick woodland area or rolling English meadow, and the deep greens of midsummer naturally rearrange any predisposition in favour of a more soothing contentment.

For a green finish to work on a guitar however, I think it will need to be as dark as possible. To be at harmony with the timber itself, it needs to be an earthy moss, verging on brown. It can be such a striking colour that it would be very easy to lose the subtlety of the natural grain finish that I try to achieve in my builds. It can’t be a slap in the face.
This is more of a concern when it comes to the inlay material as this will be formed of a reconstituted rock, emulating a natural Malachite mineral. Although this can be corrected with varnishes to temper the tone prior to inlay.


Work on the Green Man Guitar will commence following the sale of Huginn, but inlay designs will begin in the near future.

The Green Man Concept

SaracenoI have been thinking recently about the next project I would like to work on following completion of Huginn, and have wanted to own a guitar with a deep green finish ever since I saw a Blues Saraceno promo in one of my brother Lee’s guitar magazines, circa 1993.

This idea reignited during a day trip to York last summer. I popped into a coffee shop just around the corner from the Guy Fawkes Inn with the latest copy of Guitarist magazine. Pending a rendezvous with Chloe, I had an hour to kill and sat reading the articles with some forgotten bun. The main article was regarding the Latest Ibanez Jem model called UV70P (catchy). A predominantly black finished guitar, though it had green highlights of pickups, controls and inlays. This was no doubt a subtle tribute to Vai’s guitar during the early part of his career, GreenMeanieaffectionately known as the Green Meanie. This was actually a Charvel manufactured guitar, so Ibanez would not be able to build an official replica tribute of this without stepping on someone’s toes. Vai had used this during his stint with Alcatrazz (it was a sunburst finish then before the ‘Loch-ness Green’ application) and more famously with David Lee Roth where he had carved out the lower horn to allow higher access to the fret-board (visible in the image on the left). As all the Jem guitars were built on the specifications of the Green meanie, it is a pretty iconic model.

This gave me the impetus to start thinking about a Green Meanie tribute myself. However, I have spent the last couple of years working on the Raven projects, which are super Strat inspired, floating-point tremolo guitars; I want to focus on a couple of carved top Les Paul type projects. Focussing more on figured timbers and minimalisim, these will likely have a single hard-tail bridge, solitary bridge humbucker and maximum control selectivity with a minimum of actual control components (ideally just one control knob). The body finish will be a trans-sunburst satin finish ranging from a very dark, almost black, moss-green up to a deep emereld. It will need to be a well figured grain as it will be wholly on show with the limited hardware, so I will be considering Walnut, Swamp Ash and Indigbo for the timber.
I have wanted to use a neck timber called Wenge for some time now, so this would probably remain natural with a clear finish as it will be dark enough to merge with the darker areas of the body finish. No scalloping this time, just jumbo frets with some elaborate fret-board inlay designs.



Initially I wanted this to be in the same vein as the UV70P, i.e. predominantly black with green highlights, but recently I have decided on a theme for the build which would require an all green finish (albeit almost black in areas).

As always, I needed to choose a soul for thGreenMane project in keeping with my ethos, so taking note of the green theme and applying some Pagan/Tolkien influence I decided on the Green Man. This is typically a representation of a man’s face surrounded by foliage and sometimes spewing vegetation out from the mouth and/or eyes, and represents rebirth.



My intention is to personify the symbol, and design a large headstock inlay constituted from varying shades of malachite, maybe in an Art Deco style.

The Green Man face will retain all the distinguishing features of the symbol, but will likely be stylised to cater for the (my) limitations of marquetry application. I plan to consider other similar mythical beings into the design such as Treebeard, Spriggans and Will-o’-the-wisps for fret-board inlay ideas.

Keep an eye out for posts in the Inspiration section as the project unfolds.