I'm a steampunk at heart and value highly the philosophies of ornamentation from previous eras such as the Art Nouveau and Victorian periods. Even the over-the-top Rococo and Baroque ornamental styles have an appeal to me in tasteful doses. It's my delight to merge the classic styles - or rather, my own transmutation of the classic styles - with the contemporary electric instrument.
Carved by hand from an original scroll design I created specifically for this instrument, each scroll, each curve was painstakingly placed for a pleasing aesthetic relationship with the original body shape. You may recognize this instrument shape from the carved Dragonwing guitar. It's one of my favorites, which I've informally titled "Io" or "iO" for the sake of referencing my design. Io (eye-oh) is the innermost moon of Jupiter, about the size of Earth's moon. In mythology, Io was one of Zeus' lovers and a priestess of his wife, Hera. The jealous Hera turned her into a beautiful heifer and sentenced her to roam the earth as such. Io referred to herself as "the horned virgin" in Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound, an ancient Greek tragedy.
A nocturne is commonly a piece of music that evokes, is inspired by, or pays homage to the night. Particularly popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, the nocturne as we know it best was cultivated largely in the Victorian era. The title "Nocturne for iO" was the working title for this guitar that stuck, considering the associations mentioned so far and the fact that I carved 99% of this guitar late at night.
The top, neck, knob, pickup cover, and tailpiece are big leaf maple, while the back is aged and air-dried walnut, rescued from the Missouri River. Although the back is joined of two pieces, they are both from the exact same board, arranged for a pleasing aesthetic, as well as grain direction. The control cover - from a completely different board - was carefully matched to the grain of the back.
The neck contains twin solid carbon rods flanking the dual-action truss rod for the best of all worlds: stability, adjustability, sustain, and tone transfer. The neck profile is carved with a soft V like so many of my necks.
Electronically speaking, the top-matching pickup cover houses a mini-humbucker wired to the single volume control and a separate output jack than the L.R. Baggs piezo T-Bridge, which will require an offboard preamp. This setup, while simple, allows the user a good variety of performance options with both the magnetic pickup and the piezo bridge. The strings are grounded via a brass ground plate that holds the ball ends of the strings, hidden under the drilled walnut cover on the back of the instrument.
I have a decades-old reputation for clean, intricate detail. The handcarved details on this masterclass instrument such as the headstock logo, the trussrod cover, and the fretboard finial are as finely designed and executed as anything I've ever sculpted.
I currently complete around 12 guitars a year and while they all represent unique aspects of my work, there are a handful of special instruments like this that I put such a large amount of effort and dedication into, both in design and execution. It takes hours of development and revision just to arrive at a design that is worthy enough to devote this amount of time and effort to. I truly hope I'm producing a lasting legacy that exemplifies what I stand for and the level of craftsmanship I continuously strive toward.
Allow me to introduce one of my most important works to date:
"Nocturne for iO."
semi-hollow, aged, air-dried walnut back/carved big leaf maple front
Neck: Big leaf maple w/bocote and carbon fiber reinforcement, angled 3x3 headstock, ebony faceplate, dual-action trussrod
Fretboard: Madagascar ebony, 24 frets, 12" radius, Mother of Pearl sidemarkers
Nut: graphite, 1.70" width
Pickup: Kent Armstrong mini-humbucker w/ maple cover
Switching: volume control only
L.R.Baggs T-bridge - piezo tune-o-matic
Tuners: chrome Gotoh 510 minis
Finish: Danish Oil and Tru-oil