nova

The Burlesque Revealed

Haze Burlesque

The teasing is over, ladies and gentlemen. Step right up and allow me to introduce the Haze Burlesque.

The Burlesque is a brand new model from Haze Guitars.

And it's pretty stunning. A figured-wood top and a curvy, mahogany body give an irresistible look, but the Burlesque's beauty is more than skin-deep. The two humbucker pickups are wound to vintage PAF specs for a sweet, classic sound. Their smooth tones coupled with a wraparound bridge mean the Burlesque can sustain all night.

A 630mm scale-length and twenty-two, gold EVO frets—along with a wonderful, bend-friendly setup—make the Burlesque something you won't want to keep your hands off.

A volume for each pickup, a master tone and a three-way toggle control things. Gotoh 510 tuners and a bone nut with straight string-pull keep the tuning solid.

Sweet tones, wrapped in a beautiful package. Be seduced by the Burlesque.

And remember, all this week you can tune in to Radio Nova to learn how to win your very own Haze Burlesque. There are some more images on Facebook and some more will be added over the next few days so pop over and Like Haze Guitars to keep abreast (ahem).

Burlesque Tease III

The teasing is coming to an end. I know you're ready, now. I can feel it—you're poised. Soon, soon. Hold on. Remember that you can win a Haze Burlesque with Radio Nova. Tune in for details.

In the meantime…

Haze burlesque custom instrumennt
Haze burlesque guitar

Burlesque Tease II

Remember that you can win a Haze Burlesque with Radio Nova. Tune in for details. And, incidentally, these are 'round-ups' of images posted on Facebook and Twitter. Check things out there for occasional extra stuff. In the meantime…

Haze burlesque luthier dublin
Haze burlesque hand-built guitar

Win a brand-new Haze Burlesque with Nova

Haze Burlesque

Well, Rocktober has rolled around and I'm delighted to be able to, once again, work with Radio Nova to bring you the chance to get your mitts on a Haze Guitar. And not just any guitar.

A brand, spanking, new model.

The Haze Burlesque.

Now, the nature of burlesque calls for a little teasing. So, to tantalise you, a little of the Burlesque will be bared to you each day of this week.

You're just going to have to wait for the reveal, but be patient—the anticipation will make it all the more satisfying.

So, for now, a little titillation…

Haze Burlesque

Alluring curves and a wasp-waist give the Burlesque a gorgeous profile. Stunning lacewood skirts pale maple in the three-piece, figured-wood top. The mahogany back has been tinted a deep, tobacco colour and a laminate of mahogony, maple and ebony forms the neck. The fretboard and headstock carry more dark ebony.

Bringing the bling, the hardware is gold; even the frets are gold. Tasty.

Vintage-voiced PAF-style pickups give the Burlesque a voice to sound as good as it looks. It's got plenty of power to rock all night without losing its focus or sweetness.

Great looks and rich tones make the Haze Burlesque a seriously tempting guitar.

And you can win one.

Literally, 'one'.

You can win Burlesque #001, the first of the line.

Tune in to Radio Nova over the next two weeks to get yourself in the running. You know you want to.

Gimme Some Sugar, Baby

A couple of posts back, I mentioned the awesome Pat Courtenay Presents gig in The Button Factory last week. You might recall I posted a photo of Pat rocking a Haze Blue Collar. Well, as this is the twenty-first century and we're all about the multimedia and the YouTubes and whatnot, here's a video of Pat playing Brown Sugar with The Clap. Handsome guitar, eh?

I suggest you get to Facebook and do a LIKE for Pat Courtenay Presents so you can keep up with news of the next one of these gigs. If it's anything like the first, it's not to be missed.

Pat also played a couple of numbers with The Harleys but I was backstage and didn't manage to get any photos. Hopefully, there'll be some video for that too—waiting eagerly.

Pat Courtenay Presents: ROCK

Pat Courtenay Presents

The first 'Pat Courtenay Presents' gig was last night and it rocked.

Local readers will probably know Pat from Radio Nova but this is something new. In a bid to help showcase local and rising bands, Pat put together a fantastic night of rock (hopefully the first of many).

There were three bands on the night The Clap, Eazy Tyger and The Harleys; each different sorts of awesome. If you get a chance to see any of these, take it. I suspect you won't be disappointed. As a clever touch, Pat had even arranged a couple of buskers to entertain as the bands changed over.

I drank a pint or two and did some minor guitar-tech stuff for Pat, who played a few songs with the bands. Rather splendidly, he played his Haze Blue Collar guitar. You can call me biased if you like but, damn, it sounded great.

Thanks to Pat for the shout-out on the night and for organising a night of great music.

Haze Bassmaster and Radio Nova

Haze Bassmaster 6

Haze Bassmaster 6

The time has come. Tomorrow morning (Monday 16th July), I'll be down with the lovely people in Radio Nova to present the Haze Bassmaster 6 to its new owner, Greg. Greg won Nova's Rocktober competition and his prize was a custom, hand-built instrument from Haze Guitars. After some discussions, the Haze Bassmaster 6 (with a few tweaks) was decided upon.

Thirty inches and six strings. The Bassmaster is a wonderful, quirky, beast with a tone that'll get you noticed. This one looks great with a lovely ash body peeking through that burst. Nice. You can check out the build process for the Nova Bassmaster if you like or you can read a little more about the Haze Bassmaster 6.

More images to come but do tune in to Pat Courtney on Nova tomorrow morning (100FM) and you might get to hear a bit more. Hurrah!

Nova Guitar - Progress

custom guitar finishing

Let's see what's happening on the Radio Nova prize winner's guitar.

Last time around, we saw the neck completed—it was cut, shaped, carved, fretted and so on. That and the body were sanded.

A lot. Finish-prep really builds those arm muscles. There are a number of sanding stages, each with a slightly finer grit and each involving a lot of inspection for little imperfections in the wood that will translate into bigger imperfections in the finish.

Finally, though, it's ready for some finish.

Finishing schedules vary depending on what you're working on, what you're using, what effect you're trying to achieve, and exactly seventy-three other factors. Well, more or less. What I'm getting at, though, is that there isn't a definitive way of going about 'finishing a guitar'. With that in mind, let's take a look at how this Bassmaster has been finished.

As the body is a nice piece of ash, I've decided to accentuate the grain a little. Some creative grain-filling will do the job.

Grain-filling, by the way, is necessary on certain woods in order to achieve a smooth, flat finish. Many woods (ash, for instance) are considered 'open pore' woods. This means that the grain pattern tends to have a lot of tiny holes or pores. If these aren't filled, the finish applied will simply sink into the pores and won't allow that perfect gloss that many like to see on their guitar.  The grain doesn't have to be filled and leaving it unfilled is perfectly acceptable if that's the effect you're going for. Here, it's not.

I (usually—see above about schedules) shoot a sealer coat onto the wood before filling the grain as that tends to make it a little easier to manage filling. After grain-filling, I carefully remove the excess filler and let it dry. Then I seal that in too. That's the stage you see in the first image above.

guitar finishing ireland
instrument finishing

Now to take some of that pale look off the wood and warm things up a little. A coat of amber-tinted lacquer will take care of that quite nicely.

As this instrument will be a 'black-burst', I've hit the edges first with some black pigmented lacquer. I get these coloured first, before moving on to the top and back and the actual burst.

custom sunburst guitar finishing

Incidentally, the reason you're seeing the back of the guitar in all of these shots is that I'm spraying this in the old Fender style. On the front of the guitar are three nails that support it—raised—above a turntable. When spraying, I do the front first and then flip it to do the back. It's at this point I can more easily take a photo.

Now the money-shot. The burst has been applied to the body. For any readers who don't know what the hell I'm talking about with all this 'burst' talk, it's a method of applying finish with a gradual fade from one colour to another. Burst is short for 'sunburst' a term coined (I think) early in the last century. There are many kinds of sunburst finish and different manufacturers have different styles and methods but the most common are one and two graduating colours from a lighter centre (which, make what are called two or three-colour bursts).

In this case, we have a two-colour burst: Light amber at the centre graduating to black. A black-burst.

Nice.

Haze custom guitars bassmaster

We'd better not finish up without a word about the neck. This neck has a dark, ebony fretboard. Couple that with this headstock and we've got a nice, Spinal Tap, none-more-black thing going on.

A silver Haze logo and a Bassmaster 6 logo applied and we're good to coat over with clear lacquer.

And that's where we're up to. This was all completed a while ago and is sitting, waiting for the lacquer to properly cure. At that point, I can wet-sand back the finish on neck and body before buffing the hell out out it to get things nicely glossy.

In the meantime, there are a few smaller jobs like cutting the pickguard (a custom shape so no easy route of buying something off-the-peg).

What should be the final update in this series soon. Stay tuned.

Nova Guitar - Progress

Nova Bassmaster body progress

Nova Bassmaster body progress

Time for an update on the Nova Bassmaster. I say 'time' but what I actually mean is 'incredibly overdue'. Sorry about that but, when things get busy, sometimes blog posts and updates fall behind.

Rest assured though, that progress on the Bassmaster has been… well… progressing. The image on the left shows the body with the additional control cavities cut.

Also new since the last update is the neck pocket. In common with the Haze Blue Collar, this instrument also has the neck pocket cut at a slight angle (about 2°). It's not strictly necessary on this bass but doing so allows me to get a little more break angle from the strings over the bridge. This improves the tone and sustain and helps keep everything in place down there.

Most of the work since last time, however, has gone into the neck.

Nova Bassmaster Neck 01
Nova Bassmaster Neck 02

The first image above is mainly just the outline where the neck will be cut from this maple blank. You've probably spotted two channels already cut. These are actually going to hold carbon-fibre rods that will help to stiffen the neck and prevent the tension of those six, chunky strings from bowing it too much. The rods are epoxied in place and, as they're carbon-fibre, they don't add any weight to the neck. There will be an adjustable truss-rod too, of course but I thought you might find this interesting.

The image on the right shows the fingerboard being glued to a neck. Yep, those are rubber bands. Actually those are two very, very long rubber bands and they are great for jobs like this. They provide a firm, even pressure that's perfect here. Seriously.

Nova Bassmaster Neck 03
Nova Bassmaster Neck 04

On the left is what we end up with. A flat hunk of maple in a vague neck shape and a flat lump of ebony stuck on top. Incidentally, I've already slotted the fingerboard as it's easier to do that before it's glued in place.

What we need to do is to start shaping things. The overhang of the ebony fingerboard is removed. Then the recessed headstock face is cut. The fingerboard is radiused and I wonder—as I always do at this point—why on earth I would bother to work with a wood as bloody hard as ebony. The reason, of course, is that it's a beautiful looking and sounding wood but, damn, it's hard work.

Nova Bassmaster Neck 06
Nova Bassmaster Neck 07

Fretting time. On the left, you'll see some of the tools I'll use. When I started doing this racket, I hammered all my frets in (old skool). I began to press frets in more and more (mainly as good tools became available to me). Oddly, in the last while, I've been making the move back to hammering more often. Whatever way they go in though, I almost always now use glue too. Glue-in fretting has become pretty popular with repair-guys and smaller builders over the last ten or fifteen years. For good reason, I think. It's not always merited on repair work but I tend to glue frets on most of my own builds. It slows the job a little but I think it's worth it.

There are a number of different methods of glue-in fret jobs for a number of different jobs and builders' preferences. That's possibly a topic for another day though.

Speedy catch-up: Frets glued and clamped until dry. The fret-ends on the edges are brought flush with the sides of the fingerboard so a player won't have to rush to the Lacerated Hand Ward of the nearest hospital while the ends on top of the fingerboard are bevelled at an angle to feel more comfortable. Then, the curve at the back of the neck is roughed in before being more carefully carved. After that, a lot of sanding and it's ready for finishing.

And that's where it is right now. More soon.

Nova Bassmaster Neck 08