Guitar Build

Why a new guitar?

As anyone who’s familiar with my playing knows, I’ve extended techniques on the guitar in various ways which have become and integral part of my playing style.  I think you’ll all know what I mean when I say that I play with a very fluid pitch.  I mix unusual slurring techniques, extreme pitch bends and slides with more hard edged alternate picking lines.  All these things call on different things from a guitar and from my fingers.  For a long time I’ve been pushing against the boundaries of what my guitars are built for.  I’m now at a point artistically where I really want to push past those boundaries into new areas I’m hearing in my head.  But I need your help to make this happen.

Eggle fretboard
Eggle fretboard and neck shape is harder to play but I like the frets and edge curvature.

I’ve had my green Patrick Eggle guitar for more than two decades.  Every recording and performance I’ve done over that time has been on the Eggle.  I love the sound of it, but it’s not an easy guitar to play.  By contrast I have a Steinberger Spirit that I practice on which is so much easier to play than the Eggle.  I can do many things on the Steinberger that are just too difficult to play on the Eggle.  However for me the sound of the Steinberger and it’s tremolo system are just not right for recording or performing.  Its unusual tremolo system does not allow me to do all the fluid pitch playing I’m known for.  I need a more traditional tremolo system with springs in the back of the guitar to do that.  

Eggle bridge and sustainer knob
Eggle bridge is a traditional rear spring system that I like, but sustainer knob is in an awkward place.

So for a long time I’ve felt that answer was to have a guitar built for me that combined the aspects of the Steinberger that make it easier to play and the aspects of the Eggle that give me the sound I want and the tremolo system.  With such an instrument, I know that I could play more of what I’m imagining with less limitations currently imposed by the Eggle, but keeping all the best aspects of the Eggle’s sound.

Steinberger arm angle
The angle of the arm rest in the Steinberger body shape makes it easier to play, but I can’t use its spring compression style tremolo.

The other thing that’s always been a issue is that I run out of frets on the top string.  I’m always wanting to go higher than a 24 fret guitar allows so having some extra frets would be great.  I also need access to those high frets, so the body shape needs to be a modern one that allows this. Finally I need some extra features such as sustainer and hex pickup built into the guitar and various other design features taken from the Eggle and Steinberger.

Steinberger neck
Steinberger’s almost flat fretboard is easier to play (for me)

Who will build it?

The question was, who could build this for me?  I needed a great luthier but one who specialises in working on non-traditional designs.  I also needed someone who lived in the UK so I could work closely with them on the details of the design and have them take exact measurements from the Eggle and Steinberger. 

After a couple of years of looking around at various luthiers I found Tom Waghorn who owns Waghorn guitars in Bristol UK.  I love Tom’s designs and his craftsmanship is superb.  After showing him the Eggle and Steinberger and discussing the details of what I was after, it was immediately clear to me that he was the right luthier for this.

So after a lot of discussions about design, woods and detailed specifications we’ve got a plan for the guitar.  This is a guitar which will allow me to play all the things I’ve been imagining without the limitations of either the Eggle or Steinberger. I can already hear in my head what I’ll be playing on it. It’s something I’m pretty excited about if I can make it happen, with your help.

Eggle heel
Eggle heel makes higher frets hard to reach

What will the new guitar look like?

Here is a photoshop mock up in two possible colours:

Guitar wood mock up
Flatter finger board radius from the Steinberger. FIngerboard edge and frets from the Eggle plus extra frets. Better positioned knobs. Arm rest body contour from the Steinberg. Rear spring tremolo system from the Eggle. All maple neck and body like the Eggle. Through neck so no heel and extra cut away for better higher fret access. Integral hex pickup for the VG-88.
Guitar wood mock up
Guitar wood mock up

How you can help

Now I come to where I am going to ask you all for some help in making this happen.  As many of you may know, jazz musicians do not make a lot of money these days.  I also mix and master jazz and related music, but since these musicians are not making much money, no one can afford to pay much for this either.  All of playing new an alternative styles of music are all pushed to the limits of what’s sustainable financially.  My situation is made worse by the fact that my wife became disabled 10 years ago and is unable to work.  Needing to be around for her also limits my ability to play live very often. My finances are the reason I haven’t bought a new guitar in over 20 years. This isn’t a sob story though! I’m very happy and enjoy life even if it’s financially pretty limited and to some degree you just accept that if you’re going to do this kind of music. But as time has gone on it has been increasingly frustrating artistically to not be able to play everything I’m hearing on my current instruments.  

So I am asking each of you, if you enjoy my music to donate some money towards building this new guitar.  If you are financially struggling yourself, please don’t give me anything.  If you can only afford to donate the amount of a cup of coffee, that’s greatly appreciated.  If you are doing well in your life and can afford more you can really help to make this to happen, and I’d like to give you something in return.

So here is what I’m suggesting as a way we can work together on this.

Anyone who donates $20 or more will get exclusive access to a new song.

Anyone who donates $100 or more will get exclusive access to a new EP.

Anyone who donates $500 or more will get all of the above plus access to a video for the making of the EP and zoom call discussions as the album progresses.


Details of the new guitar

For anyone interested in the details here they are:

Elements coming from the Eggle and Steinberger

  • Sustainer from the Eggle (Sustainiac).  
  • Tremolo from the Eggle (Wilkinson). 
  • Fretboard edge curvature and fret width from the Eggle.  
  • Overall fretboard curvature from the Steinberger. 
  • String and bridge height from the body from the Steinberger.
  • Arm rest body curvature from the Steinberger.  
  • Scale length from the Steinberger.  
  • All maple wood from the Eggle.  
  • Hex and hot rails pickups from the Eggle. 
  • Tuning method from the Eggle.

Improvements over both

  • Extra frets.
  • Added neck stability
  • Better reach to higher frets
  • Sustainer controls where I can reach them but not hit them by accident (as happens constantly on the Eggle because its right under the tremolo).  
  • Built in Hex pickup and electronics.
  • Hex controls integral to the guitar body and easier to reach
  • Possible nut string lock (depending on string tension).