This project started out in 2009 as a cure for a friend & customer who was diagnosed with a very acute form of the G.A.S (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome).
We offered to make him a unique masterpiece that would both calm his illness and at the same time bring us the opportunity to build our dream guitar with a “carte blanche”. The whole idea was to build a hollow jazz – guitar that could handle high volume feedback in a more compact rounded ergonomic body with a solid body style sustain…
ORVILLE GIBSON’S “STYLE 03” GUITAR BEING ONE OF OUR FAVE GUITAR DESIGNS
With its anthropomorphic visual and its experimental crafting method made it the most exotic vintage guitar in our eyes – some kind of mythical piece of craft, a milestone in Guitar History. This gave us the guiding conceptual direction for our “Phaeton”.
As explained by Lewis Williams in the first 1903 catalog “front and back made in swelled shape by being carved, leaving the layer grain of the wood in the same position as in its natural growth, thus insuring strength, free vibration, and unusual sympathetic resonance” or “special relatedness and agreements of parts”.
OUR OTHER MAJOR INFLUENCE BEING AUTOMOTIVE DESIGN
In all its forms, car styling aesthetics are obvious here, from the two tone color scheme to the sound – holes bearing air intake visual reference, the whole thing breathing our love for the golden years of American Car Design.
The “Phaeton” name has always been synonymous with class and luxury in the automobile history.
The models from the 30’s & 40’s are the most striking examples with the likes of Cadillac, Chrysler, Cord, Packard…
After several brainstorming sessions, and the drawings that resulted, we could finally take to our workbenches with heart. As mentioned earlier, we decided to build the guitar as were built Orville’s style 03 : hand carved out of two solid slabs of wood, spruce for the top & mahogany for the back ( most of Orville’s were in walnut ).
Here we are embarked on a long and exciting journey,carving the top in this nutshell fashion. The shape of the top’s face that was quite a challenge, as we couldn’t easily work around it with our caliper, we decided to bring the piece to correct thickness using the spotlight technique : reducing differences in color shades by checking the top over a light source. From scraping to the final sanding, this process took us almost 200 hours to complete and a thousand more to finish the whole instrument… putting our love & passion in the slightest details, from the custom made pot buttons, the handmade ebony carbon layered tailpiece to our magnet locked lexan back plates. Every single part was either custom made or at least customized to our standards ( see specs ).
A YEAR AND A HALF LATER
We were finally able to hear the thing ! This was the most emotional moment of all ! The Phaeton’s sound was as bold as was striking its looks, leaning toward Gretsch character but with a real voice of its own, smooth sparkling highs and super tight and rich basses, the tuning – fork – bar design giving amazing sustain. Although the Phaeton comes in a hot jazz drapings, this guitar could also unleash a more rockin’ attitude when pushed, which was really pleasant to us!
Please note that the guitar pictured above is a one off custom, therefore some elements such as pickups, colors, electronics… are left to customer’s taste.
One piece Spanish cedar with ebony fingerboard & headstock cap featuring Tao custom fretting : we start with medium jumbo to the twelfth fret, and finish with smaller ones, giving your fingers more space to play up the neck.Custom “KTS Titanium” truss rod for a lighter and resonant neck.
scale : 24′ 3/4 inch with a 12′ radius.
One piece Honduran mahogany back with 2 pieces alpine spruce top.
Gotoh “Stealth” tuners with matching color buttons and custom short brass bushings ; Compton solid brass compensated bridge with custom made height adjustment wheels..
Polished “vintage style” CTS pots, WCR push – push pots (client request), 3 way Switchcraft with custom made button & ring, Russian paper in oil caps, polished electro – socket output jack, custom wound Bare Knuckle Pickups featuring our trademark hand made covers.
Automotive DuPont colors (Rover, Bolero Red /sandalwood beige), clear
nitro lacquer top coat.
Hand-made, carbon layered ebony, high gloss lacquer finish.
Custom made lexan magnet-locked back plates.
Start at 18 000€
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