It’s no secret that my builds are heavily inspired by sci-fi, space travel and exploration. Why sci-fi? Sci-fi often focuses on existence and what it means to exist. What is sentience? What other life is out there in the void and is it looking back at us (possibly not looking at us with envious eyes, but maybe concerned ones)? Sci-fi also has some of the best soundtracks going, which have inspired some of my favourite bands. It’s hard to imagine Cult of Luna hasn’t been heavily influenced by the soundtracks and themes of films like Blade Runner. Truly, sci-fi has a lot of influence to draw on, but sci-fi oftens frames things in a dark or dystopian world, and in a world that is feeling increasingly dystopian, it can be hard to imagine an optimistic future of adventure, celebrating art while we seek out new life, and boldly go…
This year I set off on my own adventure with my amazing partner, exploring the UK canals and waterways on our narrowboat home, while still building guitars. We chose to do this for a few different reasons, to explore the country, as well as the exploration of alternative, more off-grid living. We want to live more consciously; with greater awareness of what we need to survive (and thrive) and also conscious of what we waste and what we put back into the world. Most of the year, our power is supplied by four solar panels, even on grey days. Our boat is not perfect from a green perspective, but it is something we are increasingly more conscious of and trying to improve upon. This life gives us the chance to explore the country, via the fantastic and historic waterways, and as much as I would love to be on an altruistic adventure through space, spreading a message of peace, love and grindcore whilst taking in nebulas and exploding stars, we get to live in the heart of nature, making contact with ducks and moorhens as we traverse this fantastic feat of Victorian engineering, portaling through locks, gliding over aqueducts and slipstreaming through tunnels.
SBC has been on an adventure as well. I am still very much building guitars and I still maintain my workshop, but this new life has got me thinking about how I build. I’ve always taken a hands-on approach to building, but I now have limitations on my power consumption when I am not able to get to my workshop. I need to consider storage space as well. I must be considerate with my tool usage; everything must either be multifunctional or serve a single purpose that nothing else can do. I must consider my relatively small working space on the boat as well.
So, what does this mean? Has my building time slowed? Am I less efficient?
Well, not as such. Yes, some of my processes have slowed down, but so far I have produced more instruments in this year on my boat than I did the previous year (not on the boat).
Despite the way things feel in a worldwide sense, I feel full of optimism for the future of our planet and the adventures (and misadventures) we may finally have when we begin to explore the further reaches of space. That is the spirit in which I built this Thrace guitar.
My first Thrace guitar was more focused on mental health and atypical thinking. This build feels like my core guitar themes of sci-fi and ergonomics taken to extremes; an exploration of shape and theme whilst working in new ways and exploring different building methods.
The result is an optimistic beast of a guitar.
Built to an unusual hybrid/baritone scale and designed to sit at a higher angle, with complete, unhindered access to a full, double octave fretboard. Decoratively, a stabilised boxwood top has been left to do a lot of the heavy lifting, but the unusual ergonomically driven body shape has been embellished with exposed body carves and stains. The African mahogany in the body and neck is completely reclaimed. As well as being more carbon neutral, this adds extra stability to a light, thin guitar. The bridge comes from Mitsel Hardware in Ukraine and is comfortable and easy to use, (much like the rest of the guitar) leaving the user free to explore the realms of musical space!
Joking aside, if we ever want to get to a place where space travel is commonplace, we must have an earth left that can support the glorious biodiversity of life. For this reason, I will be donating £500 from the sale of this guitar to SolarAid.
- 28-26.5″ scale, 24 fret
- 10.5mm bridge spacing,
- 42mm Corian nut
- Two-way trussrod, carbon fibre reinforced
- Through neck construction, 7 part
- Jumbo Dunlop frets
- Bare Knuckle Warpig pickup
- Mitsel bridge system
- 500k CTS volume with push/pull coil split
- Reclaimed African mahogany neck and body wood. Padouk, maple and walnut neck splices with tulip veneers
- Fumed eucalyptus fretboard bound in UK horse chestnut, with nebula inspired brass and mica inlay
- Stabilized boxwood top
- Spray stain and polished Osmo oil finish.