It's been too long since I shared anything due to general busyness and lack of time...so lets put that right! Here is one of the projects I have been working on during the short social media/forum hiatus. It's an 8 string True Temperament guitar built in the style of a Cello, featuring a Spruce top, F holes and Ebony fingerboard, see the specs below for a full list. The philosophy behind this being the meeting of two worlds- traditional (Cello) and modern (see spec!).

This commission is now complete and the guitar is already with it's new owner (whom shall be revealed later) so the updates will be going up quicker than usual and pictures of the finished guitar just around the corner.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this guitar is the True Temperament system. For this guitar the neck was sent off to Sweden where it was fretted by TT. We are very impressed by the system and it really does have a noticeable effect on the guitar. Every note is perfectly in tune. This was the first TT guitar we have done but will not be the last, with a second one already in process.

8 String
27" scale
True Temperament
Bolt On
Mahogany Body
Thick Carved Spruce top
5 Pc Maple and Black Walnut Neck
Matching Spruce Head Plate
AAA Grade Ebony Fingerboard
Large Inlay Spanning Lower Frets
F Holes
Floyd Rose Bridge
Seymour Duncan Black Winter Pickup Set
CTS Pots
Gotoh 510 Tuners
Schaller Strap Locks

This was our starting point. A rough picture the client generated. We made some noticeable changes to the actual guitar. Most importantly the headstock which was changed to a 4+4 tuner layout. The F holes were also moved to a more appropriate location and the control layout revised to incorporate a tone control. The inlay here is also different.

Here are the neck woods which have been planed and are ready to be glued up

And here they are in the clamps! In answer to what you are thinking...No I do not glue up outside! The blank was carried out to benefit from better lighting for the picture

Here it is after it has been through the planer

Another neck blank shot.

Onto the body! This is the body template, notice the two cutouts either side, these are for the chambers which will be under the F holes. Careful thought was given to the location of these chambers as it would have been disastrous to place them somewhere which was going to be carved into or have hardware mounted to (pickups, bridge etc) and space was tight! They also needed to be in a location where the F holes looked correct and pleasing to the eye.

The Mahogany body being glued up. Notice the large pine cauls at the top and bottom, these keep the two halves level during glue up.

This is the body after it has come out of the clamps and is being lightly planed by hand to ensure 100% flatness for it to later receive the Spruce top.

That's all for now, stay tuned for more updates very soon!
Last edited by Manton Customs at Jul 7, 2015,
Next up we cut the angle for the headstock, I use a bandsaw to rough cut followed by a handplane to smooth it out. This guitar will have a volute to reinforce the headstock without using a scarf joint.

Here's a shot of the now planed headstock angle and a good close up of the neck laminates.

Next I rout for the double action truss rod using this very simple jig.

The truss rod in place and the jig still attached to the neck

Now I saw away the waste (which will be used for another neck blank) from the back and plane the neck down to the final thickness of the heel.

Here is the very rough profile sawn out and viewed from the side. Notice the lump behind the headstock... this will form the volute.

The templates attached, ready to be cut out using bandsaw and router.

More updates coming soon!
Now the Mahogany has been glued and planed the next job is the chambers. As the Spruce top is quite thick (20 mm) the portion of the chamber in the Mahogany is quite shallow...Too deep and we'd risk exposing them when carving the rear tummy cut/carve!

Here you'll notice I have glued up the two halves of the bookmatched Spruce top and cut it out using the template seen previously.

You'll also notice I have cut the first F hole. These are quite narrow in places so were done by hand using a template to ensure symmetry rather than using the router. They are just rough at the stage and will be refined before completion.

Here the chamber has been cut into the spruce, leaving a thickness of 5-6 mm around the F hole.

This is what it looks like on the back before gluing up

A shot of both F holes sitting a top of the yet to be glued and cut out Mahogany body. Lots of pen/pencil lines to ensure symmetery in the placement!

And now gluing the Spruce top to the Mahogany again using large cauls to distribute clamping pressure. Indexing pins were used to ensure both halves of the chamber line up perfectly.

The top glued to the body. Next the top will be used as a template to cut the Mahogany to the same size as the top. The white chalk lines were used as a guide for where to spread glue to during the glue up.

That's all for now! Thanks for checking this build out
Here is the body cut out. As previously mentioned, I used the spruce top as a template for the router.

Another shot of the body.

Side view showing the thick Spruce top. This is obviously before any sanding has taken pace and straight from the router.

The Mahogany back.

Next up we will be returning to the neck. Thanks for looking
Thank you

On with the neck! Here the Spruce head plate is being glued to the headstock. Again using a caul to distribute the clamping pressure with waxed paper in between to stop the caul being glued to the neck!

Next the fingerboard is glued on.

...and trimmed down to the neck using the bandsaw and flush cutting router bit.

Next up was carving. I didn't actually get any carving 'action shots' but here is the result. This shows the volute from the side. The volute does not only look attractive but also adds significant strength where it is needed.

A shot of the heel, carved so that it flows nicely into the body.

A shot looking down the neck. You'll also notice I have drilled for the tuners.

Another shot of the volute

And a picture of the now carved and sanded neck. Next up inlay!

Thanks for looking!
This is great stuff, but please put spoiler tags on your images! I can't load this thread inside of 5 minutes with all those images.
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Youre officially uber shit now.

Quote by StewieSwan
3d9310rd is far more upset than i 

Quote by Bladez22
I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
"Spoiler tags?"

I'm considering an 8 at the moment, but they can get to be such big clumsy things that I'm leaning heavily toward the 27" scale neck-through headless Carvin Vader V8. I'm not a fan of bolt-necks in this format, but that's not the biggest factor. I like the much reduced length and weight of the Carvin, but I think I'm going to have to play one a bit more before I lock it in.

I'll be interested to see what they do with the true temp frets. That's going to look pretty freaky to anyone who's never seen one before, and especially so with 8 strings to tweak. I've played a couple of Strats that have had TT necks, and they've been a bit weird to bend on.

And I'm really interest to see what happens with the F holes -- are you going to carve the top much/at all? Has that been taken into consideration in the thickness of the top where the F-holes live? And if so, how did you do that?

Altogether a fun build to watch! Looking forward to seeing the final product!
Big image
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Youre officially uber shit now.

Quote by StewieSwan
3d9310rd is far more upset than i 

Quote by Bladez22
I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
Not sure how do to the spoiler tags . Not sure if they are necessary either as the thread loads in seconds on every computer I've used to view it and also my phone.

8 strings can be big heavy things, though this one was pleasingly light (due to careful wood selection) for such a big neck, 8 tuning machines and a Floyd! I'm kicking myself for not weighing it before it left though! The guitar was completed and with it's new owner around the beginning of the month so I have had chance to play it and didn't find bends any different than a regular guitar, what problems did you have with bends?

The top isn't going to be carved above the F holes, it's heavily carved at the edges though, in the style of an Ibanez RGD. So these carves and F holes were carefully located to avoid cutting into them while still having them looking good.

Glad you're enjoying it! The finished pictures should be up within the next 7 days (when the updates have ran out!). Thanks for the interest.
Quote by Manton Customs
The guitar was completed and with it's new owner around the beginning of the month so I have had chance to play it and didn't find bends any different than a regular guitar, what problems did you have with bends?

I didn't have *problems* with bends (I think all I said was that it was a bit weird), but I could feel the changes in the frets, so it was a little strange.

This is the inlay design the client came up with, it is loosely inspired by a pentagram. It was a tricky shape to cut from mother of pearl and had to be made from two pieces due to the size. This is the result after several hours cutting and filing it to shape.

Here is a quick symmetry check.

Here I have scribed round the inlay, the next step is cutting the recess for it using Dremel, scalpel and fine chisels.

The completed inlay!

I also inlaid side MOP position markers...this was actually done after the neck had returned from Sweden, though as this update was focusing on inlay I included it here.

After the inlay was complete I oil the board to protect, seal and improve colour. The neck here is in a purpose made drying cupboard powered by a single 100w light bulb. This aids with drying and keeps dust off, it comes into it's own when using a wiping varnish/oil finish (which I seldom do anymore!).

A shot of the finished fingerboard (minus frets!) and inlay.

The neck, all ready to be sent off to Sweden!

Thanks for looking
Wow man, looks great! Really enjoyed reading/watching.
Quote by Invader Jim
The questions people ask here makes me wonder how the TS's dress themselves in the morning and can shower without drowning...
Back to the body and I'm routing for the neck. In this picture I have drilled out the waste with a Forstner bit.

Here I've routed the pocket. The router will leave the corners of the pocket untouched and as the neck has a square heel we need to deal with these corners. 5 minutes with a couple of chisels and a scalpel and they are taken care of!

I then move onto the Floyd Rose cavity. No sharp corners here, so no chisel work is necessary.

The tremolo spring cavity is then routed.

This is the control cavity shape we decided on, fairly standard but I feel it's is a big improvement on the "one cavity for every component" approach which features on the Ibanez. The lip for the lid will be routed later. You'll also notice I have drilled for the controls...more on this on the picture after next.

Now the pickups are routed. Again the router will leave behind the corners which need to be chiseled out around the pickup tabs. Here I'm halfway through and your can see I've already dealt with the lower corner but not the upper one.

This is the control layout we decided upon, everything is within easy reach and it creates a nice A-Symmetry.

That's all for now, more very soon! Thanks for looking
Next up the carves are drawn up (pencil lines around edge).

And the rear carves (tummy cut and lower horn)

Here's the body after the carves have been cut and it has been given a good sanding! The glare in the photo makes the carves look a little less pronounced than they actually are.

Another shot of the front, the carves are a bit easier to see in this picture.

The rear carves.

A close up of the tummy cut.

Next up was grain filling on the rear and sides (Spruce does not require grain filling). The body now appears much darker but this is before the excess has been sanded off. I used black grain filler to highlight the grain through the dark finish which will be added later.

A close up of the now filled grain.

That's all for now, thanks for checking out this build.
Quote by Manton Customs at #33474381

What an awesome inlay design.
Quote by Axelfox

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
Looking good! Loving the build.
Major of 7 String Legion 7 > 6

Carvin DC747
Ibanez RG2228
Schecter Avenger Custom Shop
and my baby....
Gibson Explorer Studio
Next we do a trial assembly to make sure everything works as it should, give it a play test and drill any final holes before the finish is applied. It's far better to find any issues at this stage rather than after the finish has been sprayed! Fortunately there were none and the guitar played and sounded great.

A shot of the headstock with the Gotoh 510 tuners.

Now the guitar will be stripped of all hardware again and we go into finishing. Next up is the colour coats!

Thanks for looking...we are nearing the end!
This is nice. I can see this thread both here and on MLP. Where else do you have it posted?
Thanks! I have it on the 7 string forum in the dealers section but nobody really sees it there! I've also put it on the bass forums after having some interest in the TT system there. It's also on all the social media sites (FB, Twitter, Linkedin).
Now we spary the colour coats. The colour we went for is a darker version than that of a typical Cello but still in keeping with the theme. This picture was taken in direct sunlight so looks a little brighter than it does in reality.

A shot of the back after receiving the colour

And the headstock (apologies for the glare!)

The neck gets the same colour

After the colour coats are complete we apply the clear coats. Following this the guitar is set a side for 2 weeks for it to cure. We went for a Satin finish in keeping witha Cello. This picture is before the 2 week wait (when the lacquer has just been applied).

Next update will be the finished pictures! Thanks for looking.
Now that looks sweet!
Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
Youre officially uber shit now.

Quote by StewieSwan
3d9310rd is far more upset than i 

Quote by Bladez22
I'm a moron tho apparently and everyone should listen to you oh wise pretentious one
Quote by Manton Customs
. We went for a Satin finish in keeping with a Cello.

Worth noting that most cellos do not come with a satin finish.

I was of course generalising and there are plenty of glossy Cellos out there. Perhaps I should have said Baroque first (which is what we were going for) or antique Cello finish or even "in keeping with a traditional Cello varnish".

Satin is a broad term anyway which covers anything from a bit glossier than Matte to nearly gloss.

Here we are at the end! The finished pictures! The guitar will be used with an organ so to run with that theme and provide some athompheric shots we took the guitar to a local church where we were kindly given permission to shoot.

A shot in front of a Lychgate, why will become obvious later!

The back, we made some anodised aluminium plates for the rear which set it off nicely.

A shot in front in front of the lovely church organ

The inlay (now with frets!)

A shot of the TT frets

Here's a shot of the headstock featuring our new logo.

A close up of the F holes and now fitted hardware.

The rear of the headstock with the Gotoh 510s fitted

Thanks for watching this build. Details on the new owner and a testimonial will be put up shortly.
fuck me that is awesome.
Quote by Axelfox

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
Thank you!

My client from the band Lychgate was kind enough to write a testimonial for us:

"It was almost surreal to finally play a guitar with such accurate intonation everywhere on the fretboard. I would press a key on my keyboard and find the corresponding note on the guitar, and find a very pleasing-to-the-ear relationship. There was no more tuning oscillation to be heard in the third "G" string (as is the case with most guitars) and no buzz anywhere on the fretboard; even on the first fret, bottom string. The action is exactly as I like it and I think we also couldn't have chosen our string gauge any better.

Working with Manton Customs has been a positive experience from start to finish. Nothing was ever too much trouble and all my concerns at every step of the building process were answered by the kind of luthier that really knows his job. This guitar is the model I have waited for in the back of my mind for a very long time, and it is truly given me back the passion and inspiration that I need. I'm now looking forward to pushing myself as a musician to the next level with a truly reliable and greatly engineered instrument."

Here's a picture of Lychgate guitarist Vortigern with his new guitar!