Monday, August 29, 2011

Awesome 10th wedding anniversary present

We get to make a few guitars for special occasions.
Sometimes the recipient knows about it before it gets commissioned and sometimes it is a total surprise.

This was one that started as a total surprise about a year ago when one of my customer's wives decided to commission this beast, and then the cat had to be let out of the bag when her husband started serious talk of having a guitar made whilst plans were already underway.

As it happens she was almost 100% on target with what he was requested for hubby Ian (and to be fair I knew what Ian liked guitar-wise as when I have worked on his Fender strat he had told me of his wish to have a Les Paul to go with the strat).
With Ian having to be let in on the plan we only added a few extra details like a Graph Tech Ghost acoustic pickup system.

Their 10th wedding anniversary was last week and today they came to collect the beast (as last week they were busy doing romantic things that a new guitar would only distract from.)
So here is what was finally unveiled:

As you can see it is very much in the classic Black Custom mould.....
The rear view with the battery box and control panel for the piezo circuit board letting on that more is going on within

Of course it had our much liked all access heel - a deep set tenon right under the neck pickup allows the generous carving
I should have dusted it more before taking the photo - the black shows up every speck of dust as well as fingerprints

Fingerboard inlays were a split Mother of Pearl and Paua abalone combination into an ebony board
Neck was a 3 piece quartersawn mahogany construction with a volute for strength
Our new inlaid catseye logo looks fab inlaid into the ebony headstock fascia
Tuners were Sperzel trimlok in polished chrome
As usual we fitted an Earvana compensated Tuning nut
You can see that we prefer to use an ivoroid binding  and we use Black tahiti pearl for the side dots - they glow different colours as the light hits them

I'd better give a few more specs

Body is mahogany (carefully chambered to lessen weight but not lose punch) with a maple cap
The neck is our favourite 3 piece quartersawn, long tenon going under the neck pickups

Tailpiece is a lightweight Gotoh aluminium one held in place firmly by Tonepros locking studs
The bridge is a GraphTech Ghost system in a resomax casting

Magnetic pickups are a pair of BKP Mules with 4 conductor wiring going to a coil split on a push pull on the tone control
Volume pots are 550k BKP ones made by CTS
So we have 2 magnetic volumes, and piezo volume and a master tone for the BKPs
The mini switch switches back and forth between electric guitar and acoustic sounds with a mix position too

Straplocks are Dunlop

[b]And the sound - pretty fantastic![/b]

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Feline White Lion

Here is a guitar that we have just finished
It is based on the classic singlecut archtop design with a few tweaks to improve (in my opinion) on the original
The body is a nice slab of dense mahogany with plain maple top
The neck is a 3 piece splice (for strength and resistance to twisting), with a 2 way truss rod and an ebony board
We have a small volute for extra strength as well
The neck joint is our usual all access joint (with a long deep tenon) that makes top frets easy to reach
Frets are Dunlop 6000 - big but great feeling
Inlays are pretty Mother of Pearl blocks and black tahiti pearl side dots in the binding
Features an Earvana Compensated tuning nut, which sweetens the tuning
Sperzel machines and Tonepros bridge and tailpiece
Pickups are BKP Cold Sweats in Duncan Tripleshot rings
We were trying to get the Mary Kay see thru white finish
Sometimes the wood looks white and in other light you get a bit more colour of the timber coming through
The finish colour was the customer's idea
I knew it could be done , and we did it on a tester first
But I rejected a lot of tries to get it right before I was happy we had it right
I just wanted a certain amount of transparency/opaqueness - which we got right in the end
I drove my paint guys mad in the meantime

Here is the finished result :

The black pearl side inlay dots look like they light up under certain lighting

Of course it has my all access neck joint.
The neck is a nice big '59 spec neck but top fret access is still easy

Monday, November 8, 2010

Website update

Just done a massive update to the "On the Bench" and "Recently finished" pages on the Feline website.
Sometimes it seems to take an almighty push to get these updates done as I'd far prefer to be working at a workbench than slaving over dreamweaver, but I'm always pleased when I do a big update.

It's probably a relief too for those guys I'm making guitars for to see more up to date pics that they can show to their friends .

Now I just need to turn my attention to other areas of the website that are in desperate need of updating (or some content at all on some pages)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A guitar for me (again)

Thought I'd share the Feline Lion guitar I've just built myself

I'm in the middle of doing the prototype for the 20th anniversary model and decided to make myself something else as well
Some of you may know my love of flying Vs, and as I recently found myself without a V of my own since selling the Korina one to an existing customer, I decided I needed something to replace it tonally.
And due to my fixations with Michael Schenker and other players who had a similar kind of tone in the early 80s I chose my preferred combination of mahogany body and neck, ebony board and a pair of Cold Sweat Pickups
What a beauty she has turned out to be both visually and sonically

 It's like an all mahogany LP  but thinner bodied and lighter
In essence it's like an upmarket junior (cub) with an arched top

I've utilised some of the same appointments that we were introducing with our 20th anniversary Lions
One is the pearl inlaid headstock logo
Another item which was supposed to be an exclusive for the 20th anniversary was the fingerboard inlays, but I thought I'd like it for this guitar as well

Of course it has the usual Feline Lion  feature of the all access neck joint - so it's super easy to get to the highest frets

The full specs are
Mahogany body - 2 piece rear and 2 piece arched top - just like on a normal Feline Lion
3 piece mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard with deluxe inlay
24.75" scale with Dunlop 6000 frets (22)
Earvana Compensated Tuning nut
Sperzel trimlock machineheads
Tonepros bridge
tonepros locking studs with Gotoh Aluminium tailpiece
BKP Cold Sweat Pickups (4 con/long leg/vintage spacing/zebra finish)
BKP 550k ohm pots
NOS russian oil and paper caps (0.022uF on bridge and 0.015uF on the neck)
switchcraft jack in "electrosocket" retainer
Dunlop straplocks

This one is definitely for me and I'm planning on having it the same colour as the last Lion Cub I made a few years back
This is what I want the colour to be like
Should point out that it has the full arched top on it - you'll see it more once the paint is on as the light will reflect more and show off the curves
Should anyone want one like it - one the same spec would be £2000
Prices will start at about £1700 for one without binding and with dot (or no) inlays

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Welcome to the Feline Guitars Blog

Hi and welcome to our blog
My name is Jonathan and I run Feline Guitars
Check out our main website at

I'm a huge music fan, diverse in tastes from classical to punk, but rock has always been my solid staple. I still get out to see as many live bands as time allows and my appreciation of the best guitar tones serves me well with the guitars i work on.

I'm also a keen photographer – the pictures you see on the site are done by me on the premises., and  I have also started doing a lot of photo shoots for bands which have started to be used on album (cd) sleeves too.

About Feline Guitars

We specialise in guitar repairs, guitar upgrades and improvements. Set up work and fret work are areas which we particularly excel at. I love to make guitars play to their full potential and sound their best.

We create our own line of high-end electric guitars.

These are either standard models that we make or custom build to your own specific and exacting design. The idea behind our custom built range is to build great guitars without compromise - using the very best quality parts and materials.