All my guitars are built to satisfy the customer’s specific requirements, but the “Battleaxe” was perhaps one of the more unusual commissions.
Steve, the now proud owner of this er . . . unusual guitar is a bit of a metal fan and already had a few guitars of rather original appearance before he approached me to build this 7 string.
The starting point was a rather tatty bit of paper bearing the image of an axe shaped guitar, no more than about 40mm long that had been torn from a magazine. “Can you build one of these”? Was the basic question; “sure” I replied, “is this all you’ve got to go on”?
The next step was to decide on a few basic parameters like scale length, pickup type and arrangement, controls, fret profile and so on. We settled on a 648mm scale length, and a single Seymour Duncan Invader-7 humbucker with just a volume control. There was only one kind of sound this guitar was gonna make, but it was going to make a lot of it. It turned out that even the volume control was superfluous ‘cos it was always going to be flat out.
Unfortunately the picture, apart from being very small, was taken with the guitar horizontal but leaning backwards at an acute angle, about 30 degrees from the horizontal so the actual proportions of the guitar were distorted. The solution was to blow up the picture to about A4 on a copier, scan it into a CAD (computer aided design) package and give it some dimensions. Since we knew that we were going to use a 648mm scale length and that we only wanted to copy the basic proportions from the picture, we used the fret spacing on the picture as a reference and scaled the rest of the body, neck etc to that.
Now the picture had to be rotated so that it’s height to length ratio was correct i.e. as though the picture had been taken straight on and not at an angle. This was achieved using CAD. The image was ‘tilted’ upwards using known dimensions until, in this case the pickup height and width, were correct. The whole image was then split into a grid so that a full scale detailed drawing of the whole guitar could be produced. Armed with that the rest was business as usual.
The body is made from Basswood and the neck from American maple with a rosewood fingerboard. The headstock is reinforced with an ebony veneer and is fitted with Gotoh machineheads. Surprisingly the balance is very good considering the body is quite short, must be all that weight below the strings acting like a pendulum. The whole project was great fun. Thanks Steve and keep on rockin’.