For every warrior there comes a time when they must find their weapon of choice, a Knight being no exception. If they are to venture beyond the common and achieve the wondrous they must locate or create a sword of surpassing qualities and spirit bond with it. As one the blade and I we ride. Gathering clouds, rolling thunder, We bring the storm.
-Sigfried Maleficsson "On Chivalry and Spirit Realms" Riga - anno 1253 ADThis project began with the idea of creating a guitar that had everything I want - sound, feel and appearance. My ultimate weapon. I already had a custom paint design in mind, sketched out and ready- white finish with black calligraphic quotes in Latin. Next, a list of my personal guitar preferences- Body Type: Stratocaster shaped Pickup Configuration: Humbucker, Single, Single Bridge: Floyd Rose locking tremolo bridge Neck: fast, slim, maple fingerboard Appearance: white finish, chrome hardware Throughout my guitar playing life I have always had Stratocasters or Strat hybrids of some kind. For a long time now I have been favoring my Jackson "Rising Sun" custom for heavy music. The humbucker sounds great and it has the sweetest neck I've ever had. Following that line of thinking I decided to start with a Jackson DK2S for the body and pickups. It did however come with rosewood fingerboard so that would need to be replaced, also found that the neck on those guitars feel a bit fat and wide for my taste. I wouldn't be able to use a neck from a vintage Jackson like the one I had as the neck scale is different on the two guitars. After research and hunting I came across the MIJ Jackson Professionals from 1992/1993 and found the neck I was looking for. Having decided upon the neck and body, the first hurdle was passed. Next, much of the black hardware was replaced with chrome finish -- tuning keys, knobs, switches, bridge & nut. Similarly the black pickup covers would need to be replaced with white. Then, in the pursuit of greater tone and sustain a few "bells & whistles" upgrades were added: Floyd Rose Upgrades - 37mm Titanium Tremolo Sustain Block & Brass Tremolo Claw from Adam Reiver's awesome F-U Tone. Titanium Saddle Mounting Screws, String Clamp Screws, String Lock Screws from Diablo Guitars. The "Extreme" Fat Neck Plate chrome plated cold rolled steel 0.0855 thick from Glendale Guitars. Bolt Neck Insert Kit from Onyx Forge. All of that was great for sound and feel (an instrument's most important aspects) however my real challenge would be the guitar finish, my first attempt at painting one. If interested I have made a list of all the paints, supplies and tools that were required (click here to visit list). What follows is a chronicle of my efforts in this regard. Having access to a studio in Woodstock NY, the plan was to work on visits over a period of time. As previously mentioned, the base for this project was a Jackson DK2S. I know some will be aghast at the idea of refinishing a sunburst, to each their own. I have always favored white finishes. -Marco Jackson DK2S 2007 Jackson Professional DK Reverse Neck 1993 Guitar body prepped- parts removed, surface sanded, ready for primer. After primer coats. After Olympic White coats. Prep for lettering, stencils are applied. After lettering application using Jacquard Black Screen Printing Ink. After calligraphy application, next came multiple clear coats. 3 clear gloss spray cans in total. Then wet sanding followed by buffing compounds. COMPLETION: After putting together rough assembly, it was ready for guitar tech/luthier finishing touches and final set-up. After all this time and effort, waited anxiously for the results. It is one thing to have all the quality parts and to have a nice “work of art” finish but as any musician knows, that does not guarantee it to be a quality musical instrument. Each guitar is an individual entity of its own, no two are alike and until you hold it in your hand, feel it, play it, hear it, you will not know. I would add that this is a very subjective and personal thing- what makes one love a particular instrument. Finally ready, picked up the completed project and brought it back to the laboratory. After running it through thorough testing and taking it through it’s paces… VICTORY! I could not be happier with the results, truly worth the time and effort. Believe I now have my weapon of choice. Now for it to be Battle Tested!