The Battle of the Hands Part II

Following on from Battle of the Hands by Steve Hobson.

Lines are drawn, although more so straights and arcs, rather than lines in the sand. Supplies are rationed (we have selected our preferred neck blocks) but rules of engagement are yet to be agreed…

First off, I want to state this is not a competition! At least not in the true form. As Hobs previously states, this started out as a conversation, one day, sat in his flat drinking coffee and discussing some cool things to do. The design (at least in its 2D form) has been a process of collaboration, although a lot of the leg work was my own, the outcome was a process of deliberation, discussion and refinement. This was ticking along nicely behind a wall of manufacture and building business structure, until we got some good news, it looks like we will be doing at least one guitar show this year (exciting!), so we decided to press on with the battle of the hands! Ultimately the aim is to have two new guitars to showcase, (a lefty and a righty, of course) for the 2018 Guitar Show in Birmingham and possibly further shows.

SB7; The design

As Hobs says in the previous post, the  design, pictured below, rightly follows the SBC ethos, small light, high performance, through body construction, aesthetically striking.

The guitar follows a similar setup to our existing SB3, with a 23.5 or 25” scale as standard (although we intend to offer this at a varying scale and fanned fret option). As you can see, this is our most compact guitar yet, but further than weight reduction, the key to this design is intended to be a combination of good balance, hyper versatility, and super comfort!

The Rules

Both guitars must;

  • follow the same template for the outside (2D) shape of the guitar
  • use the same scale and have the same amount of strings and frets
  • for simplicity, have the same headstock (although this could be discussed in more detail


Some considerations for the guitars could be;

  • Pitched body (this could affect set-up and comfort)?
  • Pitched headstock?
  • Neck profile?
  • Heel and Volute?
  • Body thickness (and how this will affect balance over weight)?
  • Contours and shaping (not affecting the 2D/top down shape of the guitar)?
  • Materials?
  • Binding?
  • Neck width/depths?
  • Cavities and hollows?


The Outcome

As previously stated, this is not a competition designed to find a better builder/engineer/designer, this is a friendly competition designed to push each other to be the best that we can be. But the outcome will be two brilliant guitars, that will give us a handful of choices to derive a production model and to recommend customers on, for custom orders.

Predictions and first thoughts

Well, I can’t speak too much for Hobs, but I think our visions are shaping up quite differently even just in terms of materials. For simplicity, we have both selected 3 part necks, at a chunky 50mm depth (to allow for a 2 degree neck pitch, if required). Hobs has selected, some nice woods to form a sort of compound body block that works well (visually) with the cherry/maple/cherry and sandwiched veneers neck he has selected. I suspect Hobs will keep his build quite straight forward and opt for some interesting switching options to give a versatile sound.


My neck block is similar but replaces the cherry with sapele. It needs a bit more work which is part of why I have selected  it, the grain is unflashy and uniform, so although not beautiful to behold, it will be strong with an even temperament, for adjustment. I’ve kept my body wings quite plain as well, so far I have selected two bits of my grandads wood (I’m told It’s English yew, although, it looks quite different to the other English yew I have), it’s old, full of knots and figures, not to mention some long dead wood worm tunnels (has since been treated). But in the sun, it shines like gold! As the build is small, I’m planning to keep it simple, but I can’t seem to get this voice out of my head, telling me to make it semi hollow…

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