Jazz Guitar Life would like to thank Guitarist/Luthier Geert Peeters for sharing this beautiful arch-top with us all! Enjoy 🙂
My name is Geert Peeters, and I live in Duffel, a small town in Flanders, Belgium. I started playing the guitar since my 17th.
In the beginning of the Corona pandemic, my uncle and guitar teacher sadly died. When I was going through his collection of Strats, I found some unfinished building projects. This triggered the idea to build a guitar myself. The build process happened at “Stringstruments”, a DIY luthier workshop with guidedance of the luthier himself.
THE DESIGN : I’m the lead guitarist of a local Neil Young tribute band, called “Yellow Moon Rising”. As I obviously couldn’t afford a Gretsch White Falcon. This was the ideal occasion to build a Gretsch inspired archtop.
As I chose for the Gretsh Falcon as an inspiration, most of the features were already clear. A 17” body, spruce top, maple sides and back, maple neck, ebony fretboard, trestle bracing to limit feedback. Bigsby vibrato, the classic circuit with mud switch and separate master volume, open back vintage tuners. 25,5” scale length.
I gathered some ideas from the internet and made my own design in inkscape which I pretty much sticked to as much as possible.
As Neil Young has a long time relationship with his accompanying band “Crazy Horse”, the name for the guitar was obvious. The body inlay and Native American head inlay refer to the Oglala Lakota chief. All inlays were laser cut.
The build took roughly between 600 and 800 hours. I have some background of model aviation woodworking which helped me a lot in the process. The spruce top was coated with India ink to have a matte finish. For the bindings, taxus was selected for its orange color. Sides and back were stained with charcoal black stain. The whole guitar got a matte 2K PU finish.
As I like to play flat fretboards with large frets, I chose for a 15”+ radius and stainless steel jumbo frets. As audio circuit I sticked pretty close to the classic Gretsch tone switch circuit with “mud switch”. I used 3,9 and 10 nF for the low pass filters. The master volume has a Kinman treble bleed with 1nF capacitor and 150k resistor.
As a finishing touch I made a custom strap from seat belt. The Native American head, name and linings were applied with orange yarn.
The guitar has a nice sustain and the playability is really good with low action. Notes are articulate and sound bright. Open chords ring nicely. The neck pickup provides a nice warm smooth tone. The Filtertron pickups cut nicely through the band mix. The Kinman treble bleed allow master volume roll off without too much highs cut off. The mud switch provides two tone settings that are quite useable.
Overall I’m quite impressed about the result I managed to get. As it was my very first guitar build, and being it an archtop, I’m really satisfied. It has quite some small imperfections, but those add to the character of the guitar.
In the band I use the instrument for earlier Neil Young work such as Alabama, Words and Don’t Be Denied.
Brand: GPG (Geert Peeters Guitars)
Model: Crazy Horse
Serial Number: 001
BUILD: Hollow Body with trestle bracing
CUTAWAY: Single Cutaway
BODY BINDING: Taxus
BODY SIDES: Maple
BODY SIDES FINISH: Charcoal Stain, Matt 2K PU finish
BODY BACK: Arched Flamed Maple
BODY BACK FINISH: Charcoal Stain, Matt 2K PU finish
BODY TOP: Arched Spruce
BODY TOP FINISH: India Ink, Matt 2K PU finish
BODY DEPTH: 2.75″ (7 cm)
STRINGS: Roto Orange (.009-.046 Gauges)
VIBRATO: Bigsby B6G licensed by Gretsch
PICKUPS: Roswell FLT-2
TUNERS: Grover open back vintage style
NECK MATERIAL: Maple
NECK FINISH: Charcoal Stain, Matt 2K PU finish
SCALE LENGTH: 25.5″
FINGERBOARD RADIUS 17″
FINGERBOARD MATERIAL: Ebony
FRETS: 19 Stainless Steel Jumbo
NUT MATERIAL: Bone
Stringstruments : https://www.facebook.com/Stringstruments-Worxhop-348389635261249/
Yellow Moon Rising: http://www.yellowmoonrising.be/
Youtube recording : https://youtu.be/etxwQDR69So
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