#1
It's been awhile since I visited this forum, so as a way of getting reacquainted, I thought I'd post some pictures of my most recent build.

First a bit of background. My dad was a Harley Davidson dealer for a couple of years before WWII. When the war hit all HD production switched over to military, so he didn't sell many machines. I ended up with various pieces from his collection, including part of a wooden crate that the motorcycles were shipped in with my dad's name stenciled.

While the crate is pretty cool in that very few have survived the past 70+ years, and Dad's name was on it, I really didn't know what to do with the thing. Then I got the idea! Build a guitar of course!



The guitar is based off a Les Paul Special. Everything except the electronic components, the fretboard, tuners, and bridge I made from scratch.

Top - crate material 1940
Back and neck - black walnut (I wanted to keep US grown species)
Fretboard - rosewood
Frets - medium/high
Truss rod - double action
Neck - Set, long tenon, 12" radius '50s style asymetrical chunky
Scale - 24.75"
Tuners - Grover vintage open-back, aged nickel
Nut - 1-3/4" brass, made out of a common brass bolt, aged
Fret and side markers, brass
Pickups - P-90 alnico 5 dog-ear aged chrome covers
Saddle - compensated wrap-around LP jr. style aged chrome
Knobs - aged brass nuts topped with buffalo nickels, heads=vol, tails=tone. Dad was an avid coin collector. Two of the nickels are 1917, his birth year
Pots - 500K CTs
Caps - .22uf NOS Russian paper/wax
Headstock decal - original 1939-40 HD oil tank decal
Truss rod and back control covers - aged sheet steel
Finish - amber shellac, satin lacquer on back and neck
Weight - about 9 lbs.

On to the pictures....







The truss rod cover on the LP is engraved "In Memory of Dad 1917 - 2009". When I sold one of the motorcycles I used part of the money to buy the Les Paul to remember Dad by. He and Les were born only a few months apart, and died within a month of each other. The guitar was built the same month he died.



I happened to have an old late '70s Les Paul case... perfect!



Thanks for looking!
Last edited by stormin1155 at Aug 1, 2013,
#2
LP body + Harley Dvidson + P90s + Buffalo Nickel Knobs + your Dad?

That.

Is.

SWEET!

Honestly, of your build quality is as good as your build aesthetics, you need to write that history up to stash in the guitar's case: that thing should last decades, and those who come to own it in the future should know its unique history. That's a classic bit of American folk art, there.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#4
Really cool, unique build. The aesthetics are really creative and pleasing to the eye, especially the headstock decal. I'm sure your father would be very proud of you for this build.
#8
Amazing. I love seeing the passion in a guitar build. Some are just pure works of art.
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#9
excellent
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#10
Holy **** - that's awesome!! I want one!
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#11
Here's a thought: have you contacted Harley Davidson about it? I mean, sent them an email or letter with pictures? I bet you they'd be interested in talking to you.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#13
Thanks for all of your kind words guys! In answer to DannyA's question. No I didn't contact HD about this, but one of the things I ran across when I was going through Dad's stuff is this un-cashed check for $1.00. Apparently Dad had overpaid on his account. Anyway, the really cool things is that the check is signed by both Walter and William Davidson! I wrote to HD and pointed out that they still owe $1.00 plus interest to my dad's estate since the check was never cashed. Instead they sent me a nice letter, tickets to the HD museum, and a nice coffee-table HD book.



This is a picture of my dad (right) and uncle with their '39 knucklehead as it appeared in David Wright's "History of Harley Davidson" book.



This is that motorcycle as it looks today. It, along with much of my dad's other stuff, is in a private museum. The current owner is writing up an article on the motorcycle and my dad for HOG magazine.

#14
Given all of that, yeah...you really should contact them. They'll probably flip over seeing your guitar.

If nothing else, they or that museum would probably love to use its image on merch. That means $$$. I could easily see it on a postcard, or in front of an amp next to a bike in a HD calendar.

Now, if only you could get your hands on more material to build a speaker enclosure...
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Aug 2, 2013,
#15
Awesome build, great idea, I just love sh*t like that!
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#16
more cool than one thread should handle.

incredible story man, awesome les paul.

#19
Wow that's beautiful.
By any chance, do you think we could get a video of it?
Would love to hear how it sounds.

It's a nice tribute to your dad and a great way to remember him by.
Lifes a grave and I dig it!
#21
Yea, that's very impressive. Definitely send hem an email, post it on the Harley forums etc.

Some good threads lately.
#22
I definitely approve of this guitar, very creative and original idea. And it was done tastefully as well, with the nut knobs and aged aluminum parts. This is one of the most well-done customs I've seen in a long, long time.




Nice '39 too! I've got a '38 civilian with a factory suicide shift that was given to me by a Korean Vet. It's in rough shape and not road worthy, but the bike is 95% complete and runs.


EDIT: I keep looking at this guitar and thinking, there isn't a single thing about it that I would've done differently. Excellent, excellent build sir! The only thing I could think of would be adding a small piece of Harley memorabilia to it, like making the control cavity cover out of a period-correct oil can

Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
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[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
Last edited by Flux'D at Aug 3, 2013,
#24
Quote by Flux'D



EDIT: I keep looking at this guitar and thinking, there isn't a single thing about it that I would've done differently. Excellent, excellent build sir! The only thing I could think of would be adding a small piece of Harley memorabilia to it, like making the control cavity cover out of a period-correct oil can



Thanks! Yes, I've thought about using an oil can for something... I have several. I've also considered somehow putting the picture of my dad, uncle, and the '39 on the control cover.... maybe adding the Davidson's signatures to the back of the headstock....

Is your '38 a flathead or knuckle?
#25
Quote by gregs1020
more cool than one thread should handle.

incredible story man, awesome les paul.


Nailed it.
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#26
So does this guitar prevent you from doing turnarounds and refuses to stop?
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#27
Brought a tear to my eye.
Really beautiful thing going on here
I shouldn't post when drunk..



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#28
Quote by stormin1155
Is your '38 a flathead or knuckle?
Knucklehead
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#29
I've gotta ask, where you did find those P90 covers at? I've been searching for a set like yours, except soapbar covers instead of dogear
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#30
Quote by Flux'D
I've gotta ask, where you did find those P90 covers at? I've been searching for a set like yours, except soapbar covers instead of dogear



You mean metal covers in general or ones that look like mine? There is usually an assortment of metal covers to be found on ebay. Here is a link to a quick search I just did..... http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=metal+p+90+cover

Mine didn't look like that when I got them. They were gleaming chrome, but thanks to muriatic acid fumes and a couple other tricks I have, I transformed them into what you see in the pics.