Grateful Dead Tribute Guitar
I have always wanted to do this piece. Ever since I was a kid and had the poster in my room, I have wanted to make the Blues for Allah design as an inlay. Well, I finally got my chance when Alan Hamm of Kensington, MD wanted to make a Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia tribute guitar. He found a very talented man to build the guitar and then needed inlay for the headstock, fretboard, and a special medallion piece for under the bridge like Jerry Garcia use to use on his custom guitars. However we decided not to copy one of Jerry's designs and come up with something a little more special. This piece combines three different methods of inlay; traditional (shell into wood), etching (scratch and ink the pearl), and shell painting (paint applied to the shell for effect).
As a change of pace, I decided to show lots of pictures as the pieces are cut and fitted, so you can get the same pleasure I get in watching a piece like this come to life. It always start with the artwork.
This piece needed two wood bases; one for the violinist and one to anchor the frame. Here the ebony has already been routed to hole the shell and stone.
This is how the frame will hold the main art work.
Early pieces of the rob are being fitted. The rod is made of bloody jasper, black red agate, on onxy. The frame is made of black grey granit and white marble.
All the pieces of the rob are cut and fitted.
The bones and hair are now complete.
The sun glasses in this design are a major part of the art and have to be right. I'm using an acrylic for the lens. I usually don't use fake materials, but I needed something bright red and shiny and I didn't have any real material that fit the bill. Sometime you have to bend the rules to make things right.
Now I add in the violin. It's really starting to look like something now.
Some gold MOP trim and it is was time to glue it all up and polish it out.
Next step was to etch the piece. Look at the hands and the teeth and you'll see how much this helps the detail.
It's done. I shell painted the hair in order to give it an errie look. This was done by using a technique called dry brushing. The shine spot on the glasses and the shimmer detail in the violin where also painted. I'm thrill how this came out.
I have been promised photos of this piece when it is embedded in the guitar. I will add those photos here when they are available.
Here are some of the other inlays that will go on the guitar.
Here are pictures of the finished guitar.