Custom OM-Style Guitar #54 160

Completed April, 2016

(click any of the thumbnails for a higher-resolution photo)


This snazzy OM guitar features a tight-grained red spruce top and striking curly maple back and sides. The neck is mahogany, with rosewood fretboard, peghead overlay, bridge, rosette, and bindings. It's all topped off with Waverly tuning machines, mother-of-pearl logo and position markers, tortoise celluloid pickguard, bone nut and saddle, and a hardshell case. The gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish has been left one buffing short of a glaring shine for a realy pleasing finish. The neck measures 1-11/16" at the nut, and is slim and fast. As with all Skipper instruments, hot hide glue is used throughout the construction, and it's tap tuned at every stage.

The sound of this instrument is by nature not the in-your-face boming of a dreadnought, but is sweet and resonant and wonderfully balanced, while still having all the volume you'll ever need for a good jam. The way this instrument vibrates against your stomach will make you smile. Here are a couple of sound clips (please excuse my poor playing).

And here's a fresh clip by talented multi-instrumentalist Ron Webb:

$2,650 will get this one coming your way. Paypal accepted, 48-hour approval.

Construction Photos

Construction begins with the joining of the plates with hot hide glue. The top is sanded to thickness, and the rosewood roset is cut and recessed into the top. The bracing is shaped and glued to the top.

A rosewood backstrip is inlet into the maple back. The back is cut to size, and the braces are partially shaped and glued in place. The sides are bent and placed in an external form. The headblock is fitted to the top.

The head and tail blocks and kerfed lining are glued in place. The kerfed lining is notched to receive full-width side reinforcing strips, then the notches are filled with a slightly thinner lining. The rosewood end graft is recessed into the sides. The plates are tap tuned by shaving the braces.

The braces are inlet into the sides. The top and back are glued to the sides with hot hide glue. The following day, the instrument is removed from the form and the overhanging plates are trimmed flush with the sides. The top is given a coat of shellac to both protect it and to prevent fiber pullout durin the binding process. The binding and purfling recesses are cut and the binding and purfling are glued and taped in place.

A rosewood fretboard blank is sized, slotted, radiused, and gold mother-of-pearl position markers are inlaid. Frets are set in a thin line of hot hide glue and pressed home. The mahogany neck is partially shaped, and matching slits are cut to receive the carbon fiber reinforcing bars. The tape is removed from the bindings, and the bindings are scraped level with the surrounding surfaces. The matching dovetail is cut in both body and neck, using a specialized jig to assure alignment in every plane.

Final fitting is done by hand for a perfect fit. The neck heel is shaped. Channels for the carbon fiber reinforcing bars and the truss rod are extended into the body. The neck is roughly shaped, and the peghead is attached to the neck. The fretboard is glued to the neck. The "Skipper" logo is cut from gold mother of pearl,

then recessed into the peghead overlay and set in epoxy. The peghead overlay is glued to the headstock. Final shaping is performed on the neck. The saddle is located on the top, and areas to remain unfinished are masked off.

Epoxy pore filler is applied to the neck. The body receives a light coat of aging toner followed by a coat of vinyl sealer. A series of lacquer applications begins, with light sanding between series. After two series of coats, the instrument is sanded perfectly level and two final thinned coats are applied. The instrument is then allowed to cure for ten days to two weeks before final buffing and setup.

When the finish is cured, the instrument is wet sanded with Micro Mesh paper. Waverly tuning machines are installed. The bridge and neck are glued to the body. Nut, saddle, bridge pins, and strings are installed. A bit of setup and adjustment, and this one's ready for a new home.

Thanks for watching this project

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