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Discussion Starter #1
I'm excited to announce an extraordinary instrument that is being built for me by some good friends of mine. Since 2013, Tim and Nick Frank, of Frank Brothers Guitar Company, have been producing some of the most extraordinary guitars in the world. I've been fortunate to witness the progression of their business, and the transformation of their 'Signature Model' to the point at which it is now. I'm even more fortunate to be waiting on my very own FGBC guitar.

As put by Westwood Music, the FBGC Signature Model "captures the quality and playability of the electric guitar era’s most venerable instruments with an original design distinctive of Frank Brothers." In essence, the brothers combine the best of old and new to create a masterclass instrument that pays homage to the classics of the 50s and 60s.

Up until this point, the FBGC Sig Model was available in one basic form; though the future owner did have the ability to chose top and back woods, as well as the guitar's finish. Now available, and you heard it here first, is a variation to the original concept. The boys will be producing the same basic guitar but with P90s, a plain maple top, satin finished back and sides, unbound fretboard/headstock, Gotoh mini tuners, and brushed nickel hardware. The idea was to offer potential buyers a new guitar (that is still quintessential Frank Bros.), plus pass along a substantial cost savings. Features such as top and back woods, finish, electronics, etc... are still customizable. This will allow the lines between the original Sig Model, and the new model to be blurred. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to own the very first one.

Included are some photos of the original design. If you're interested, stay tuned for updates on my guitar.






 

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Discussion Starter #6
i have a friend who works there. I watch his instagram videos of him building guitars and i am full of envy
Your friend must be Simon... I'm a little envious of him as well. He won the job lottery. That said, he does great work!
 

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That looks very well made. The body style isn't for me, but I appreciate their take on the instrument.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Update 1:

I went and visited the shop last week where the boys took me through their large stash of wood. We strategically picked each piece of wood needed to make this guitar with tone in mind.

FBGC guitar bodies start with a 2 piece Honduran Mahogany blank. The wood that is being used in my guitar came out of a barn in Southern Ontario. Tim and Nick have direct contact with their sawyers, and as such get specific details on the origin of the woods that they use. The owner of the barn bought the Honduran Hog at an auction more than 20 years ago. The boys milled it in Aug 2016, and it has been tucked away since. When I requested light weight body wood, they brought me directly to these boards. We spent more time than I care to admit tapping on each board to find the most resonant pieces.




Next stop was the hoard of neck blanks. My goal was to find a tight grained, very dense piece of perfectly quarter sawn Honduran Mahogany. The guys only use quarter sawn wood, so that made things pretty easy. Again, we spent far too long tapping on the wood trying to find a dense neck blank that resonated nicely. Mission accomplished.

I'm of the opinion that the fretboard is nearly as important to tone as the body wood. We must have gone through hundreds of Macassar Ebony fretboard blanks in an effort to find the most resonant, longest sustaining piece of dark Macassar Ebony. Yeah it had to be dark.





As I mentioned in my first post, the FBGC Signature Model is usually equipped with a figured maple top and back, but this more economical version will utilize plain maple. Seeing as I plan on having the guitar finished in a solid colour, I decided to go for a Mahogany top and back. Quartersawn Honduran of course. This was thanks in part to Johan Segeborn's recent YouTube video comparing maple and mahogany as tonewoods in electric guitars. Again, lots of tapping to find a nice sounding bookmatched top and back.

Last step was to find a nice looking headstock overlay. I let Nick use his judgment as this is his specialty. He picked a bookmatched piece of Macassar Ebony with a gorgeous grain pattern to contrast with the dark fretboard.

 

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Discussion Starter #12
Update 2:


These boys work quickly! When they first started producing the Sig Model, a little more of the process was done by hand. Bodies and necks were cut on a bandsaw. Now, they use a CNC to rough cut the bodies and necks. Final shaping is still done by hand. I remember Tim explaining to me how they can't argue with the consistency of the results of the CNC. The boys are obsessive when it comes to the details. They're proud of their product, and refuse to let an instrument leave the shop with even the tiniest (completely unnoticeable to everyone else) imperfection.


The renowned Canadian luthier and inlay artist, Mark Kett, assisted FBGC in dialling in the CNC machine. They wouldn't settle on just any machinist to program the machine. Someone who understands the importance of accuracy when it comes to building a fine instrument was needed. Mark was a good fit.


...On that note, the body of my guitar hit the CNC yesterday!





As you can see from the pictures, the Sig Model is technically a semi-hollow guitar. But unlike your typical semi-hollow, FGBC starts with a solid body and strategically routes cavities into the wood. Certainly not the most cost efficient way of going about it, but you end up with a body that rings and sustains like nothing else.


The treble side of the body is completely hollow, while the bass side gets angled routes about the size of a finger. The routes run in opposite directions on the top and back sides, crisscrossing each other, to avoid creating weak points. In effect, the bass side is left mostly solid to reduce boominess often associated with a traditional semi hollow design. Being mostly a blues and rock player, this is my favourite feature of the guitar.






 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Update 3:


Things are starting to take shape.


Neck construction has started. This has got to be the most complex component of the guitar. I attempted to type up an explanation, but ended up texting Tim and asking for the official mumbo jumbo. In Tim's words:

"
We use a curved single action compression truss rod that we make in house (inspired by the Loyd Loar design). The curve in the rod allows us to embed the rod at the headstock much shallower than a Gibson compression rod. On top of that, the volute adds mass behind the truss rod where the grain is shortest and most prone to breaking. We also add headstock "ears" on the edges of the material that makes up the headstock. These ears are selected for a good colour match from quartersawn genuine mahogany, which adds strength to the entire headstock. All those elements sit under a quartersawn headstock overlay. In short, we've taken the vintage lightweight compression rod that we feel adds to the sound of the guitar, and addressed every structural issue that is present on traditional applications of that truss rod.


The truss rod curve also allows us to pinpoint the apex of the compression, making the rod very reactive with a very smooth relief or dial in dead flat straightness.


The neck, inherent to its design, ends up so stiff that we have to build the relief into the neck when we machine the parts. String tension does not add significant relief. We build in this excess relief so that we can add tension to the truss rod which in turn adds more stiffness to the neck. This means that you can "loosen" the truss rod nut to the desired relief while still having tension on the rod essentially making a single action truss rod into a double action true rod"


Next level stuff right there!









You may have noticed from the above pictures that some progress has been made with the body. The quartersawn Honduran Hog top and back have been added, as well as the binding. The blank is routed for the binding which ensures a perfect fit with no gaps.


 

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This is the epitome of a great post for this forum. Exactly one of the things I was hoping for when I joined.
 

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Oops! Just checked the website. $5000? I haven't played a guitar yet that I would pay that much for.

I am not trying to be insulting -- just saying -- there is no way any guitar can add that much value to my playing. I have been offered more for less and declined. And I have two "world-class" "custom-made" guitars from the late Glenn McDougall. About $1400 each. Wonderful to play. No effort spared in the build.

Of course, I would never pay for an expensive vehicle either...

"Your mileage may vary."

Still a great post and I wish the brothers the best! I personally love the shape. And I am sure that they need that kind of money to make it worth their while.
 

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Oops! Just checked the website. $5000? I haven't played a guitar yet that I would pay that much for.

I am not trying to be insulting -- just saying -- there is no way any guitar can add that much value to my playing. I have been offered more for less and declined. And I have two "world-class" "custom-made" guitars from the late Glenn McDougall. About $1400 each. Wonderful to play. No effort spared in the build.

Of course, I would never pay for an expensive vehicle either...

"Your mileage may vary."

Still a great post and I wish the brothers the best! I personally love the shape. And I am sure that they need that kind of money to make it worth their while.
Its actually 5K US. Not out of line for a high quality boutique build IMO but there is a lot of competition at that price point.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Oops! Just checked the website. $5000? I haven't played a guitar yet that I would pay that much for.

I am not trying to be insulting -- just saying -- there is no way any guitar can add that much value to my playing. I have been offered more for less and declined. And I have two "world-class" "custom-made" guitars from the late Glenn McDougall. About $1400 each. Wonderful to play. No effort spared in the build.

Of course, I would never pay for an expensive vehicle either...

"Your mileage may vary."

Still a great post and I wish the brothers the best! I personally love the shape. And I am sure that they need that kind of money to make it worth their while.
It's a lot of dough, no doubt. I can understand it being an unjustifiable amount for most people. When you take into account the unparalleled workmanship, and amount of time in each guitar, you can see where the money is going. Might not make it justifiable, but understandable.

When compared to a Fender Custom Shop guitar, or even a Gibson Custom Shop guitar - this thing is a bargain, and much easier to see where your money is going.

Stay tuned to the thread and you'll get an idea of the level of design and craftsmanship that goes into each guitar.

PS. On the topic of money, the revised Signature Model (like the one that I'm having made) will be significantly less expensive than the current model. I'm not in the position to disclose exact pricing at this point, as it's still in the works, but I will say that the Frank Bros are looking at targeting a completely different market segment with this one.
 
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