Photo by Jojo West
custom guitar design
Custom Guitar no.1
Guitars are cool in a very similar way to cars. It's hardware geek stuff for someone to fixate on. The richness of the woodgrain, the precision of the details. Artistry, craftsmanship, and science neatly folded into an apparatus. To have a custom guitar designed uniquely suited to the player is to imply the deepest bond between instrument and musician. The guitar becomes part of the body and an extension of the the will.
I've fixated on guitars since I was 14. Everything about them seemed cool. I knew that to have a guitar that was a one-of-a-kind, designed by me, was something I wanted to do since I since I first saw Jerry Garcia's guitars. He didn't design them, but they became synonymous with him and his style. Lots of guys played Les Pauls and Stratocasters, 335s or Telecasters. I knew that I wanted something different and unique. An instrument that would stand out amongst the throng of factory made standards and "customs"*.
*Ed. note: "Customs" rarely are all that custom from the big box guys...
But a totally unique guitar was like your crest, like Batman and his icon. It was an emblem of your identity.
I designed her by doodling her out endlessly while at day jobs, on band van rides, and late nights after gigs over the course of years. One thing I knew immediately was that with her design, I wanted to combine elements of classic guitars that I loved, but with a new spin. Olivia is a new guitar, but she embodies enough classic traits that she doesn't look out of place with classic models.
After ten years of pipe-dreams and pencil sketches, Olivia was built in 2015. The body was carved from swamp ash by friend "Guitar" Beau Keckeisen. I then finished it using Wudtone's "Vintage" Fade finish, which is an oil-like finished slowly rubbed in to the wood. After that, I brought all the pieces to my friend Garrett Burton at Old Country Strings to do the final assembly and setup, as well as him cutting the pickguard
Siegfried Design Custom
Swamp Ash, 2 piece body
Wudtone "Vintage" fade
Maple one piece with maple fingerboard
Scale length: 25.5"
Tuners: Fender Standard
Lindy Fralin P-92 (n)
Cavalier Huge Lion (b)
Bridge: Bigsby B5 tailpiece, chrome
Photos by Jojo West/ 1692 Mag