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Old 01-23-2010, 01:25 PM   #1
darren
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The Official Decibel Guitars Thread - builds in progress

Hi, all

You may remember me from such threads as The Official Agile Intrepid Thread and The Agile T-7 Texan Colour Poll. Well, after 20 years of designing and not having access to a shop to build, i've decided to change that. With HUGE thanks to Brian for giving me space in his shop and having great patience with me as i get my building chops back up to snuff (and being an all-around great guy to hang out and build with), i'm pleased to announce the birth of Decibel Guitars.

I started building the prototypes a couple of months ago, but i'm at the stage now where i'd like to show my progress and get some interest in what i'm doing. I'm posting here until a Luthier section is set up.

First off, i'm doing all original designs. If you don't see it on my site, i'm not building it.

Second, i'm not taking orders. At least not yet. My plan is to build some prototypes, then start easing into "small run" production batches of a few guitars at a time. This is a part-time venture for me, so i'm not going to get into the whole pre-order/deposit/wait/wait/wait game. I'm going to build instruments that i think are unique and interesting, based on the woods and components available at the time, and when they're finished, i'll offer them up for sale.

At any rate, here are the models i'm starting out with:

The Javelin:


The AMX:


The Aviator:


The Stealth:


I've made templates for 27" scale 7-strings only at this point. My plan is to build and play at least one of each of these, so i can tweak the designs if necessary, then start building them in the batch runs.

If the response is good, i may also offer:

The Cutlass:


The Stealth X:


My plan is to get the first prototypes done by the end of April/early May, (which will roughly coincide with Brian's launch) at which point i'll start building the first batch of "production" instruments.

I'm only over at Brian's once or twice a week, so progress is slow and methodical. But i'm keeping track of all the builds on my blog, so you can follow along with the buildstories there. I'll try and keep things updated here as well, but it's a lot of work to cross-post everything, so i'll likely just post updates here with links to my site.

I look forward to hearing your feedback! Input, suggestions and constructive criticism are most welcome.

And just to kick things off, here are some shots of Prototype 1:



... and Prototype 2:

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Old 01-23-2010, 02:00 PM   #2
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Check out the links in his sig for his blogs about the instruments. Great reading!
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:34 PM   #3
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I really dig the first body shape. The others... not so much.

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Old 01-23-2010, 02:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darren View Post
Hi, all

You may remember me from such threads as The Official Agile Intrepid Thread and The Agile T-7 Texan Colour Poll.


Cool, Darren! I know Brian avoids Floyds and Kahlers like the plague, but could I twist your arm into making an 8 string proto Javelin with a Kahler so I can buy it? Seriously, I'm excited to see your builds because I know that shop of Brian's oozes fancy wood combinations.
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:50 PM   #5
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I really like the cutlass body
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollowway View Post


Cool, Darren! I know Brian avoids Floyds and Kahlers like the plague, but could I twist your arm into making an 8 string proto Javelin with a Kahler so I can buy it? Seriously, I'm excited to see your builds because I know that shop of Brian's oozes fancy wood combinations.
I won't completely rule out any possibility of an 8-string or a Kahler... it's probably the only trem that will work on my bodies, which will be very thin once i'm done carving them. But that will likely be a way off yet.
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xtrustisyoursx View Post
I really like the cutlass body
Cool, thanks! I tried to make something a little different. You can see a lot of influences in the shape... a little Firebird, a little Iceman, a little Parker...
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Old 01-23-2010, 03:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darren View Post
Cool, thanks! I tried to make something a little different. You can see a lot of influences in the shape... a little Firebird, a little Iceman, a little Parker...
I can definitely see the parker influence
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Old 01-23-2010, 03:16 PM   #9
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The Javelin and AMX are looking really good. That AMX shape in a fanned 8, would be absolutely killer!

Good luck!!!

*waits for updates*
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Old 01-23-2010, 03:36 PM   #10
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Really cool designs, I like modded V's the most
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxOfMetal View Post
The Javelin and AMX are looking really good. That AMX shape in a fanned 8, would be absolutely killer!

Good luck!!!

*waits for updates*
If you want updates, check out DecibelGuitars.com and/or subscribe to the decibelguitars Twitter feed if you're into that sort of thing... i've got the site set up as a blog, and every guitar will have its own page under the "Builds" section. I'll be using Twitter to broadcast updates on builds, when instruments become available for sale, etc.

My intent is to document the build process of every guitar, and they will be accessible by serial number. For example, http://decibelguitars.com/proto1 will take you to the build page for Prototype 1. Serial numbers of the "production" instruments will start with "dB" and then a number, which will be their sequential number in the build queue, which i'll assign to the instrument when it's started. e.g. dB1, dB2, etc. This will hopefully become a permanent record of the guitar's history, including the buildstory, ownership history, etc.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:16 AM   #12
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I actually tried to buy the original javelin design from Darren. It kicks a lot of ass.

I've already asked Darren if I could do one up for myself using this shape too.

Guys, Darren's put a LOT of work, research and blood (i've witnessed!) into this project. It's going to be amazing. We use the same shop, but our styles in builds couldn't be any more different from each other. It's pretty neat to literally just look over to the other side of the room and see another set of custom guitars being built.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:19 AM   #13
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Darren these look killer! The Javelin looks so original but still familiar, if that makes sense. I can't wait to see this all up and running!

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Old 01-24-2010, 12:32 AM   #14
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Great to see you building your own designs Darren

The Javelin is my favourite but they're all very tasteful, which is no surprise
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:48 AM   #15
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I want the stealth and Javelin

Good luck getting this running!
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Old 01-24-2010, 01:50 AM   #16
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Javelin and AMX models are my faves, but I'm not feeling that headstock. Maybe it's that sharp point or something. Other than that they look killer.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:21 AM   #17
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The idea of recording each guitar's history is very cool.

Overall, I must say you approach this whole deal in a very professional way, and I hope that it works out. All the best!
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:06 AM   #18
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I've posted the beginnings of Prototype 3 on the site:

Prototype 3 | Decibel Guitars

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Old 01-25-2010, 12:08 PM   #19
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That javelin looks great, I am sure when they are all carved up and done we will all be drooling.

You guys are located in Toronto, when do I get to swing by for a tour of the builds.

: D
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:44 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darren View Post
The Cutlass:
Hmmmm..... looks a lot like the Fernandez Ravelle with distorted cutaways....


Guitars: PRS, Suhr, Parker, Jackson, Carvin, .strandberg*
Rigs: Suhr PT100, Mesa Boogie JP-2C, Fractal AX8, Mojo 4x12 cab, Port City OS 1x12 cab, Atomic CLR

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Old 01-25-2010, 09:41 PM   #21
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Thanks for all the feedback, guys! I really appreciate it, and i take it all very constructively.

The Javelin is the design i've been working on the longest. It is, in many ways, the spiritual successor to my Number One, which i built a little over 20 years ago. I've been constantly sketching, refining, tweaking and revising that design since i first built it, knowing one day i'd be building again. It's undergone countless design revisions over the years, and has been in its current form since late 2008. It has has only received very minor updates since then, so suffice it to say that i'm very pleased with where it has ended up. When Brian offered me the piece of figured walnut (Number One also has a walnut body), i knew that the stars had aligned and it was time to finally bring it to life.

The Cutlass i've been working on the next longest, and was originally the model i was going to call the AMX. Right now, the Cutlass is the one design i'm not entirely happy with, which is how i ended up going back to the drawing board and created the AMX from the Javelin. It started as an extension of an idea i had for a Parker Fly singlecut, and as i have tweaked and refined and stretched and tweaked it some more, i've started seeing too much Ravelle and Iceman in it, so i'm taking a bit of a break from it and might approach it with fresh eyes in a couple of months.

The AMX came together really quickly, pretty much over the course of an evening. It's the result of some feedback i got from various people to whom i showed the initial designs to. I'm quite happy with it, and it seems to be getting a lot of very positive response from people.

The Aviator and Stealth were an interesting exercise. I initially drew a design similar to the Stealth a couple of years ago. I had always liked KK Downing's Hamer mini-V, the Carvin V220 and Ultra V and Jackson King Vs, but never felt comfortable playing a V. I never liked the way they hung on a strap, where my picking arm and wrist rested in relation to the strings... they just never worked well for me ergonomically. I thought i'd try offsetting the body to get the upper horn extension in order to shift the balance point to where i'm more accustomed to it being. After a lot of experimentation and design work to get the proportions right, i was pretty happy. The Stealth came first, and then i rounded it off and made adjustments to get the Aviator. The Stealth X was added in order to add a leg rest to a V... the upper horn was added to balance it out.

The Prototype 2 Aviator is a true prototype... i've made some assumptions based on my experience and designed something which i think will work, but until i get that neck and body bolted together, i won't know for sure. It's a pretty exciting process, and i can't wait to see how it turns out!
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Old 01-26-2010, 01:37 AM   #22
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the two first ones are my favourites, and the rest is pretty nice and very interesting as well. i like the fact that you´re not doing anything traditional

for the cutlass, i would make it slimmer, and make it seem less "fat". it´s also very ravelle/iceman indeed.

so congrats on actually doing it!

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Old 01-26-2010, 10:57 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darren View Post
It started as an extension of an idea i had for a Parker Fly singlecut, and as i have tweaked and refined and stretched and tweaked it some more, i've started seeing too much Ravelle and Iceman in it, so i'm taking a bit of a break from it and might approach it with fresh eyes in a couple of months.
Cool, that's the best way to do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by darren View Post
Thanks for all the feedback, guys! I really appreciate it, and i take it all very constructively.

Guitars: PRS, Suhr, Parker, Jackson, Carvin, .strandberg*
Rigs: Suhr PT100, Mesa Boogie JP-2C, Fractal AX8, Mojo 4x12 cab, Port City OS 1x12 cab, Atomic CLR

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Old 01-26-2010, 12:46 PM   #24
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i'm not a Tele guy at all, but i'm really digging the AMX. i think it's my favorite design you have actually .

while i like the design, your Stealth looks a little similar to the Gary Kramer Kramertorium.

The Stealth:
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:55 PM   #25
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I like how people are finding other guitars that have one or two tiny similarities and saying, i like your guitar, but it looks like this. I think you have some cool designs man, and not to boost myself (but i'm going to anyways) if you need some mockups, i'd be glad to do them

Here are some i've done for others (just friends mostly tho haha)
http://www.sevenstring.org/forum/ext...ups-2-0-a.html
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