This page is to detail and document the build of Phoebe and the journey to find Phoebe within the wood and draw, or craft, her out of it. Phoebe will be a 6 string cigar box guitar. The name Phoebe comes from the wood that will be used on the top, sides and headstock of the guitar - Golden Phoebe. Old rippled golden phoebe is also the wood that will be used for the hand carved and 'blackened' tailpiece.
The phoebe wood, or 'Nanmu', is a superior durable softwood which, after drying, is considered 'medium density'. Nanmu was used historically for boat building, furniture making, architectural woodworking and sculptural carving. Nanmu wood producing trees can grow to 40 metres in height and 1 metre in width and more than 30 varieties of trees that produce nanmu wood exist. The highest grade nanmu wood is from the phoebe genus.
Exquisite grain figuring is a very common feature of the nanmu wood and it is also very resistant to decay as it does not react to temperature and humidity the same way other woods do. This means that the nanmu wood does not expand and contract much at all and this greatly reduces the chance of the wood cracking or splitting and warping. Nanmu will hold its shape nicely and can be sanded and polished to a mirror finish, showcasing its chatoyancy.
Back to the guitar... The top and sides of Phoebe will all be cut from the same two pieces of bookmatched wood for continuity of the grain pattern/figuring across the top and over the sides of the guitar; a 'waterfall edge' if you will. A black binding might be used around the edges but this might take away from the continuity of the figuring.
The staining of the wood will be achieved by using a blend of alcohol based inks (Mantilla Black and Shadow Grey) and then finished with a gloss nitro lacquer. The back of the neck will be either a satin or flat nitro lacquer for added smoothness.
Phoebe's internal framing and bracing will be comprised of Tasmanian oak at this stage.
The neck is intended to be 22 frets at 24.75" scale length and either mahogany or maple with an 'ebonised' rosewood fretboard and a golden phoebe headstock veneer stained to match the body. The headstock will be shaped uniquely. A 'blackened' bone nut or an ox horn nut will be hand crafted for Phoebe. The neck will continue through the body to provide some additional strength to the guitar.
The hardware will all be black so as to provide a catching contrast between it and the colour of the stained wood. The hardware, at this stage, will consist of the following:
Schaller M6 locking tuners (or Hipshot eqiv.)
Schaller neck pickup frame (only if humbucker used)
Schaller strap locks
Schaller TOM bridge (or Hipshot eqiv.)
Schaller volume and tone dome knobs
DiMarzio flat metal square jack plate
Mesh sound hole covers
Flush mount and/or top mount string ferrules
Metal box corners
The electrics within Phoebe will consist of 500K volume and tone pots, a 0.047uf PIO capacitor for this build, a treble bleed, possibly a blend knob, a 3-way toggle switch and/or push/pull pot for splitting the humbucker pickup coils and a standard output jack. The electrics will be wired in using a vintage style cloth pushback wire.
The neck pickup will be a splittable Entwistle NEMESIS 4 conductor ceramic humbucker with both a single blade on the south coil and 6 traditional pole pieces on the north coil. Possibly also a Schaller dual peizo pickup, which would be mounted internally near the bridge and either wired directly to a second output jack. Another option is to wire the peizo to a switch allowing both the neck and the peizo pickups to be used individually or together and wired to only a single output jack. Up to seven different and complex tonal properties could be achieved if using both the coil split humbucker and peizo pickup combination if it can be wired in correctly. An eighth 'natural' tonal option would also be achievable accoustically. The DC resistance of the NEMISIS neck pickup is 10.5K.
NEMISIS neck north + neck south
Peizo + neck north + neck south
Peizo + neck north
Peizo + neck south