Jazz Guitar Beauty: Crazy Horse – Geert Peeters

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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.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Brand: GPG (Geert Peeters Guitars)
Model: Crazy Horse
Serial Number: 001

BODY:

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)

HARDWARE:

STRINGS:                                          Roto Orange (.009-.046 Gauges)

VIBRATO:                                          Bigsby B6G licensed by Gretsch

PICKUPS:                                          Roswell FLT-2

TUNERS:                                           Grover open back vintage style

NECK:

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

REFERENCES:

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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About Lyle Robinson 265 Articles
Lyle Robinson is the owner/creator/publisher and editor of Jazz Guitar Life, an online magazine dedicated to the Jazz Guitar and its community of fine players worldwide.

4 Comments

  1. This is one beautiful guitar. I love the fact that you built it yourself. As far as a Neil Young Tribute band if you ever have a chance to meet him you might think otherwise. Neil Young is a stiff fingered lead player with almost no jazz talent what so ever. Yes he writes good songs but can’t play an ounce of vibrato in his leads. He has played the same pathetic pentatonic licks all 3 of them for 50 years. So I’m sure it’s been no challenge to copy his lead work. He can be very antisocial and is not very appreciative of his fans. I say this from a personal experience. Now maybe he was having a bad day. But I’ve heard the same thing from others. Good luck and I’d continue to build guitars, but find another act to pay tribute to unless you like playing 3 licks & 4 chords.

    • Thanks for dropping by JD and for the kind words regarding the guitar. The second half of your comment is best put in the “To each their own” category. I’m not a Neil Young fan either but I do know plenty who are so he must be doing something right 🙂

      Thanks again and take care.

      All the best.

      Lyle – Jazz Guitar Life

    • I agree Neil Young is not a virtuoso in terms of complexity, speed or technicality. But he’s able to create a field of energy which is unique. When I started playing his music in our band, I wasn’t a big fan either. I use to listen to progressive and complex compositions. Neil sounded plain boring. But when I studied his signature style and digged into it, I got infected by this unique energy.
      In interviews he explains that they only can create the dynamics when the band is stepping in that field of energy on stage and in the studio.
      We as a tribute band, experience the same kind of energy when we’re gathering in a circle on stage, jamming on the classics.

      So it has been a challenge to understand his lead work, not because it is difficult in complexity, but because it’s damn difficult to grab that energy on the right spot.

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