Archives for Huginn


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…

Huginn Diary

Huginn Inlays

Using a reconstituted rock material to give a black marble effect, I found a profile image of a Raven in flight to use as a fretboard inlay centred on the 12th octave fret.

Chloe manipulated the image to create the silhouette effect I wanted and simplified it slightly so that it would make the cutting easier with the jewellers saw. ‘Reconstituted rock’ is basically just compacted dust, so it can be very delicate when cut thinly and has a tendency to delaminate. We printed out a few different sizes before choosing the one that fit the best, and then cut out strips from across the image to marry up with the existing frets. Ideally all inlay work should be attempted before the frets are installed, as it makes all the work so much easier.

The yellow poster paint allows a heavy contrast against the rosewood when scoring around the substrate to inlay, making the routing process much more clearly defined. The water-based paint is then easily sanded off of the woodwork, without leaving any trace.
As with all my builds now, included on the headstock is my rhunic monogram design, this time in figured mother-of-pearl.

Inlays now complete and ready to start applying the satin finish to the neck.

Huginn – On-board distortion pedal

Artec QDD – On-board Overdrive/Distortion Effects

QDD2Huginn’s control configuration will differ slightly from it’s twin Muninn, as it will feature on-board effects provided by Artec’s QDD2 device.

This offers five separate settings:

  • 1 : True bypass (off)
  • 2 : Clean boost
  • 3 : Blues Overdrive
  • 4 : Rock distortion
  • 5 : Heavy Metal

A great degree of versatility is added by this effects circuit, offering tone and overdrive/distortion options embedded within the guitar; eliminating the need of an external distortion pedal.

Powered by a single 9V battery housed within the control cavity will give over 3000 hours of use. An additional control position will be drilled for the QDD2 rotary selector accompanying the push-pull master volume control and coil-splitting functionality.

Huginn – Pickup Choice

P1010727         P1010728

For the Bridge I have chosen to utilise an EMG HZ4 just like Muninn. I found this pickup to give a very good ‘hot’ metal sound when driven hard.

As Huginn will have a brighter and more mellow finish with the gold hardware and ashen-grey finish, i wanted a little more warmth and tone in the neck position, whilst keeping the raw aggression of an over-wound humbucker. In this case I have opted for a custom Alan Entwistle ‘Darkstar’. This has an open-coil appearance by default, so i will be adding a plastic covering to give it more of an EMG vibe for symmetry.

Taming Huginn

This body (the twin of Muninn) has been cut out and ready for finishing for over twelve months now, since I began the Muninn build. Most of my time recently has been spent on a couple of personal projects, but I felt it was time to crack on with this project now.

As these two builds have drawn inspiration from two Ravens, a dark finish is a necessity. To set Huginn aside from its twin, I have decided to go with a lighter finish and gold hardware instead of all black.

Black_Grain_DyeThe body has gone through the same black-dyeing process as Muninn to highlight the heavy open grain of the Swamp Ash. This is then sanded back to 220 grit revealing a much darker figuring where the more open-pored grain retains the black dye. For Huginn though, this has been done on the face and bottom chamfer of the guitar only, the back and sides remain fully black. Huginn_final_sandedMy intention is to then finish the body with a trans-white Wudtone product. The full black of the back and sides should form a dark grey finish and the top will hopefully be a lighter ashen-grey with dark grain highlights (lowlights??).


Chamfered Edge

The bottom chamfer in this case will act as pin-stripe highlighting the natural timber as it will not be finished in the trans-white coating at all. This will leave the thin strip with a dark-grained amber-gold edge which will complement the gold hardware nicely.
This chamfering was designed originally to give the bottom profile of the Raven body a sharper defined, blade like edge. Taking inspiration from other guitar builders, I toyed with the idea of having a strong contrasting colour along this chamfer, like a red or navy blue, but did not want this aspect to be over-bearing. The natural finish will act like a window into the timbers character underneath.

The next step will be to inlay Raven silhouette design into the fretboard. This will be quite large and will be centered on the12th fret, maybe spanning across frets 10, 11, 13 and 14.