• Sam

To Those About To Build, We Salute You

It's that time of year again folks.

It's time once again for The Great Guitar Build Off competition, as run and organised by the lovely people over at Crimson Guitars in Englandshire.

This is the second year of the competition, and last years inaugural one was a runaway success. There were 8 official entrants, who between them manages to raise an incredible £30,000 for their various chosen charities, and then there was literally hundreds of unofficial entrants too, all building alongside and publishing their progress on YouTube.

This year, due to the overwhelming interest and participation in last years competition, the guys at Crimson have organised things in a slightly different way.

In order to bring the unofficial competitors on board, they've split the competition into the Open challenge and the Invitational challenge. Essentially the Invitational challenge is the same as the main event last year, whereby Crimson select and invite a small number of luthiers with a large Youtube following to compete. The Open challenge on the other hand is the rebrand of the Unofficial challenge last year - but now it's become official, if you follow thus far.

And then to confuse matters one step further, there are two categories within the Open challenge - the kit build and the scratch build, which both speak for themselves.

Now BTLX are still a fairly small fish in a huge pond, so we aren't on the radar yet to be invited to the Invitational challenge, so we've entered the Open challenge in the scratch build category.

Technically the contest doesn't start until March 2021, however there's nothing in the rules that prevents us from starting our planning and designing right now - and that's exactly what we've done.

Our design is based upon a bottle opener. Specifically the violin shaped bottle opener pictured here, which I received this year as a Christmas gift.

I felt this would allow a lot of exploration with complex curved forms and also enable us to experiment with interesting materials and composites.

And of course, as a fan of Hofner guitars, I happen to think that violin shaped guitars are just downright sexy and gorgeous.

So, you're probably wondering how we plan to accomplish this build.

Well, it would be insane of us to show all our cards this early in the contest, but we still want to share our journey with you, so I can tell you that the top and back of the guitar will be formed from laminated carbon fibre. This is a material that we love working with here at BTLX, and it does give instruments a beautifully unique sound while enhancing the environmental stability of the guitar.

The top will have a small area custom finished in Mrs BTLX's Custom Finish Shoppe, while the rest will be showcasing the gorgeous shimmer of the carbon fibre.

The sides of this guitar will be formed using one of our own composite timber materials - essentially a laminate of walnut veneers and carbon fibre.

And finally, the through-neck will be a 3 piece construction from beech and mahogany, with a fingerboard made from iroko.

In terms of hardware, this instrument will be kitted out with simple wiring to blend a piezo pickup under the bridge, and a Warman double hot rails humbucker at the neck position.

This instrument will be a hybrid of electric and acoustic. It's doubtful it will fall into either semi acoustic or the electro acoustic camp, but we're cool with that. Lets create a new genre.

Fergus O'Verdrive, BTLX Guitars very own leprechaun luthier
Fergus O'Verdrive, BTLX Guitars very own leprechaun luthier

So your guide and commentator through our Great Guitar Build Off journey will be our mascot, Fergus O'Verdrive - our very own hard rockin' leprechaun luthier.

Hailing from our home town of Carrickfergus, and living in a secret cave below our magnificent 850 year old castle, Fergus loves nothing more than to rock out on his battleaxe shaped guitar.

He's a lover at heart, not a fighter, but watch out because that axe has got an edge and he's not afraid to swing it when he's been at the auld whiskey and he hears bad music. So if you see him when you're out and about our wee town, be sure to sing him some Rory Gallagher, Gary Moore or Thin Lizzy and you'll stay in his good books. Just stay away from the boybands and the techno dancey stuff.

So, any time or any place you see Fergus on your journeys, you can be pretty sure there's a Great Guitar Build Off update nearby. Click on the link or just jump straight over to our YouTube Channel for the latest updates from our workshop.

That's all for now guys, peace out and love to you all.

Watch this space for updates.

They're coming soon.

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