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  1. #1
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    Default The AT Custom Spalt Maple/Mahogany Wolfgang!

    Hey Guys:

    I've posted a few pictures of this guitar here already, but I just now got around to writing up a description on my Wolfgang replica project. It's posted below!

    --

    I completed one of my most long-considered custom guitars last month: a Wolfgang replica.

    Folks who know me or my playing preferences know my very favorite guitar is the Peavey EVH Wolfgang, designed by Edward Van Halen in the mid-90s. (I have yet to play one of the new Fender-made EVH Wolfgangs, released just this year.)

    Over time I've owned 24 Peavey Wolfgangs. Most I bought factory stock, some I made modifications to, and a few I assembled from parts. My first-ever "custom" guitar was in fact a reconstructed gloss purple Wolfgang Special. Though it was reassembled with only a few additional features, the project went together easily and itself afforded me the confidence to successfully build from parts a top-notch playing guitar. My second guitar project was also another Wolfgang Special rebuild, but unlike its predecessor its fashioning was not nearly as swift. Though frustrating at the time, the most important lesson of custom guitar building had been delivered: Sometimes things go together easily, sometimes they do not. Now 18 projects in I can comfortably say I've taken to heart the tasks associated with the processes and can, for the most part, anticipate what challenges may arise.

    I first conceived of the idea of replicating a Wolfgang in 2006 when I'd bought off eBay a brand new Peavey Wolfgang birdseye maple neck with traditional nut (intended for a non-tremolo model Wolfgang). At the time it seemed like something a person like me--a crazy multi-Wolfgang owner--should have, just in case. When over time I failed to break the necks on any of my Wolfgangs (thankfully), I started to consider having a body built to match the neck. Factory-stock Wolfgangs were built with a basswood body and maple top--a configuration I truly love. But in 2006, high on my Les Paul kick, I wondered what a stock Wolf would sound like with a mahogany body. If the Peavey Wolfgang Custom Shop still existed in this era it would have been a no-brainer to simply have them build me a Wolfgang from mahogany. But, alas, when EVH ended his association with Peavey in 2004 all production of the Wolfgang halted. Eventually that extra neck I had found a permanent home on Wolfgang #18 (http://www.andrewthomas.net/archives/00000108.html), but I never lost the ambition to build a replica. Then in spring 2008 I won a Wolfgang replica neck off eBay made by a builder known for his EVH-style projects. I started looking for luthiers to construct a body and found Stan Shields from Inventing Shed (http://www.inventingshed.com). We corresponded completely over email, pining over details which included wood selection (he sent numerous photos of maple tops to choose from), cavity routing, measurements, and carving details. I sent him the neck for fitting, and in relative short order (about three weeks) Stan got the body to me. Only a few weeks beyond that and the guitar was done.

    And so here is The AT Custom Spalt Maple/Mahogany Wolfgang, completed on May 9, 2009. To date I have never been so careful drilling for parts on a custom guitar--measuring mounting holes well more than twice, employing very regular use of a level, and contemplating placement of electronics and hardware in excess. I again went with a natural Tru-Oil and wax finish, only for this project I opted not to go over the final coat of Tru-Oil with steel wool so as to leave the finish more gloss than satin. I'm especially proud of the neck bolt ferrules (drilled for by hand), which I much prefer over the traditional neck mounting plate.

    Pictures of this guitar in progress, along with my other guitar projects, can be found in the photos section of my MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/andrewthomassolomusic.

    The parts list and photos are below!

    Inventing Shed Solid Mahogany/Spalted Maple Top Body--Tru-Oil/Wax Finish
    Frankenstraat Birdseye Maple Neck--22 Frets, 1 5/8" Chrome Locking Nut, Asymmetrical Profile, 10" Radius, 6100 Jumbo Frets, Black Inlays, Tru-Oil/Wax Finish
    Peavey Wolfgang Bridge & Neck Humbucker Pickups
    Gotoh Licensed Floyd Rose Chrome Tremolo Bridge w/ EVH D-Tuna
    500K Volume Potentiometer w/ Cream Knob
    3-Way Pickup Selector Switch w/ Cream Tip
    Black Control Cavity & Tremolo Covers
    Switchcraft Jack w/ Chrome Jack Plate
    Gotoh Mini Chrome Tuners w/ Ivoroid Buttons
    Gotoh Chrome Floyd Rose String Retainer Bar
    Chrome Neck Bolt Ferrules
    Chrome Strap Buttons














  2. #2
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    DUDE..that totaly looks wicked. I love the Mohagany/maple top...i did the exact same on my telecaster to give it a bit more depth. That wolfy most be a ton machine man. How is the Frankenstrat neck?...did you want years for it?.

    Congrat man...she's a keeper.

  3. #3
    Whoa, this is heavy! Jedi McFly's Avatar
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    Absolutely beautiful guitar, Andrew. Usually I don't dig naturally finished guitars that much, but that thing looks smokin'.

    Quick question: It looks like you replaced the Gotoh trem arm attachment with an Original Floyd style one? How the heck did you get the original one off? I tried to do that with a Gotoh recently, and couldn't figure it out for the life of me.

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    Top Of The World YMI5150?'s Avatar
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    yeah, that's amazing bud! I've considered building a custom guitar with mahogany/maple. did it pull the Wolf closer to a Les Paul as far as tone/sustain?

  5. #5
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    Superb as usual, Andrew. And a nice piece of wood from Stan the Man!

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    Quote Originally Posted by YMI5150? View Post
    yeah, that's amazing bud! I've considered building a custom guitar with mahogany/maple. did it pull the Wolf closer to a Les Paul as far as tone/sustain?
    i'm sure he's gonna get clips of this baby..but with Mohagany with a maple top SHOULD..give a much deeper / bass tone then basswood. cross breed between wolfgang and Les Paul..

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    That turned out great Andrew!

    If you order any more bodys from this builder, you may want to have some discussion about that gap behind your trem.

    If you look at the templates available, you'll see that the template shown for the top route is as it should look (more narrow). And if you then look at the template for the backside, the hole for the block is noticably wider.

    http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Sp...s.html#details

    I can't see any pics of the back route on your guitar, but I'm thinking that maybe the builder just routed completely through the body from the backside, creating a wider hole, which would cause a gap behind the baseplate of your trem.

    If he adjusted the depth on his plunge router when he routes from the backside, it would leave a lip that would cover that gap from the top.
    Just a suggestion.

    Unfortunately there are alot of production guitars like that too.
    I really hate it when someone sends me a guitar to install a Floyd and I end up with that gap! I try to make a conscience effort to let customers know that they might end up with this gap before they even send me the guitar.
    Just to let them know that, if there's a gap, it's not because I did a shitty install. Know what I mean?

  8. #8
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    Those woodworking guys freak me out.
    That's some badass lumber.
    Sweet ass axe Brutha.
    Sweet.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    "Talent is God Given, But Success is Hard Work"

    www.ronscustomguitars.com

  9. #9
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    Wow! That is one sweet looking ax there, Andrew.

  10. #10
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    Super sharp, as always AT.

    Hope all is well up north.

  11. #11
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    Thanks everyone for the good words!

    Quote Originally Posted by al3d View Post
    DUDE..that totaly looks wicked. I love the Mohagany/maple top...i did the exact same on my telecaster to give it a bit more depth. That wolfy most be a ton machine man. How is the Frankenstrat neck?...did you want years for it?
    It's held up very well so far. It was one of James' auctions on eBay a little more than a year ago--a "build to order" thing, and it took close to three months. (I brought up the transaction in one of our builder review threads.) The neck itself needed some fret work after it sat for a few months, but now that it's on the guitar it's proving to be a good piece. Here's the catch, though: I feel guilty in a way I got a neck so quickly when I read all the posts about people waiting years for their stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jedi McFly View Post
    Quick question: It looks like you replaced the Gotoh trem arm attachment with an Original Floyd style one? How the heck did you get the original one off? I tried to do that with a Gotoh recently, and couldn't figure it out for the life of me.
    Keen eye there, dude! The attachment nut on the bottom side of the trem arm bolt was actually glued in. I brought it in to the music store maybe two years ago when I first bought that trem (because it originally came with one of those thinner arms), and a couple of the guys there wrestled and fought with it until the thing finally came loose. The new Floyd arm and bolt fit right in with no problems once the Gotoh one was off, but man we had to hack away at that thing to make it happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by YMI5150? View Post
    yeah, that's amazing bud! I've considered building a custom guitar with mahogany/maple. did it pull the Wolf closer to a Les Paul as far as tone/sustain?
    I played it through my 5150 II/Marshall 1960 rig at a rehearsal the same day I finished it, and honestly in that context the difference in tone from a factory Wolf was hardly noticeable. I need to re-do a key component before I truly offer reviews and comparisons, though: the pickup shims. This was my first time making shims, and they're sitting just a little too low. I'm going to pull them out and simply start over. Acoustically this Wolf is brighter, and I'd rate sustain about the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by smithtone View Post
    Superb as usual, Andrew. And a nice piece of wood from Stan the Man!
    Thanks! Did you notice our pics are right next to one another on Stan's site? http://stanshields.showyourwood.com/

    Quote Originally Posted by Dino5150 View Post
    That turned out great Andrew!

    If you order any more bodys from this builder, you may want to have some discussion about that gap behind your trem.

    If you look at the templates available, you'll see that the template shown for the top route is as it should look (more narrow). And if you then look at the template for the backside, the hole for the block is noticably wider.

    http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Sp...s.html#details

    I can't see any pics of the back route on your guitar, but I'm thinking that maybe the builder just routed completely through the body from the backside, creating a wider hole, which would cause a gap behind the baseplate of your trem.

    If he adjusted the depth on his plunge router when he routes from the backside, it would leave a lip that would cover that gap from the top.
    Just a suggestion.

    Unfortunately there are alot of production guitars like that too.
    I really hate it when someone sends me a guitar to install a Floyd and I end up with that gap! I try to make a conscience effort to let customers know that they might end up with this gap before they even send me the guitar.
    Just to let them know that, if there's a gap, it's not because I did a shitty install. Know what I mean?
    You're absolutely right, Dino. If there's one part of this guitar I'm truly disappointed about, it's that extra large trem gap. That was my fault, actually. In our discussions of routing, I misunderstood a question Stan asked me about the gap, thinking we were actually talking about the spring cavity on the backside. I told him: "Just do the big one, and I'll figure it out from there." Uh... oops. The trem still functions fine, but it's an eyesore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron4406 View Post
    Those woodworking guys freak me out.
    That's some badass lumber.
    Sweet ass axe Brutha.
    Sweet.
    Yup. I love assembling guitars, and I've always enjoyed woodworking (no tools and no space for it right now, however). Someday perhaps I'll actually carve something. In the meantime, what these guys do is amazing--truly an art.

    Quote Originally Posted by chain View Post
    Wow! That is one sweet looking ax there, Andrew.
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by cokemach1 View Post
    Super sharp, as always AT.

    Hope all is well up north.
    Thanks! We've had a damn nice spring so far.

 

 

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