Monday, 5 July 2010

John McGee's Mockingbird
We've seen a couple of John McGee's self-built guitars before. Today we see what happened when he turned his attention to one of BC Rich's most iconic designs. I'll let John talk you through it:
Here's a Mockingbird I finished up earlier this year. I'm a fan of the more unusual body shapes, and the Mockingbird has long been one of my favorites.

This one has a mahogany body. I don't know what strain of mahogany it is, but it's dang heavy. In hindsight, I really should have thinned it down a lot more than it is, but oh well. If it bugs me too much down the road I can always just make another body for it. :)

The flat top of the BC Rich version never looked right to me, so I gave all of the edges a soft bevel. Except for the "axe" - it had to stay sharp. You rarely see a guitar painted a really in-your-face yellow, so that was the way to go for this one.

The neck was a bit of an experiment. I glued up purpleheart and lightly flamed maple with the intention of dropping the truss rod in from the back, like on some Fenders. After wrestling with how to fill in the trench in the back, it was suggested to just slice off a piece of the neck blank, use it for the fretboard, and drop the truss rod in the front. As it was from not only the same piece of wood but the same place IN the board, the purpleheart glued back almost seamlessly.

For anyone who might be concerned about the strength of a pinstriped fretboard, you shouldn't be. 99.99% of the time, a properly glued joint will be stronger than the surrounding wood. Fender has been putting a walnut skunk stripe in the back of their necks for decades without issue.

The pickups are a story unto themselves. A friend of mine winds pickups for me in exchange for bodies. He made these with purpleheart bobbins to match the neck. Using wood bobbins isn't too uncommon in the high-end custom shops that wind their own pickups, but they don't come cheap. I'm extremely fortunate to have this friend. These are wound pretty close to PAFs, but a touch brighter.

Chrome hardware and a Kahler finish off the guitar. The electronics are as simple as I get: a 3-way switch, 1 volume, and 1 tone.

Thanks for showing us this fine looking guitar, John. I particularly like the multi-lam neck, and the sculpted contours of the body (it's very yellow isn't it?).

G L Wilson

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