For the Lingon-project I wanted to try out some design solutions I normally wouldn’t choose for myself. I often begin a project thinking that I’m the one who is going to play it on recordings or in concerts, but this time I made up my own “dream client”.
My client was someone who preferred the feel of vintage guitars but with a simple yet modern look. With vintage I mean, in this case, a sturdy one piece neck with a V-profile, P-90 single coil pickups and a wrap-around bridge.
I got lucky with the materials, I found a really nice piece of mahogany with straight grain, big enough to make both the neck and the body without having to join any pieces together (except for the neck joint and headstock). On top of everything it was so light I didn’t have to make it lighter by drilling holes in it.
For the top I picked a fairly plain looking piece of maple as I didn’t want any flames or curls in it, I preferred the paint job to stand out instead. Wine red was the starting point (red dye mixed with blue and black) but I thought an even colour would’ve been a bit boring, so I chose to do a sun burst. In fact, the colour resembled a lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) so much that I named it Lingon because of that.
To continue with the vintage theme, I tried to stay away from using parts normally found in a guitar of this type i.e. supercharged humbuckers and made a pair of P-90s. Instead of the normal wiring I installed a passive treble/bass circuit which lets you cut, not only treble, but also bass frequencies. I’ve found it solves the problem of a sometimes muddy sounding neck pickup and gives more options for both studio and live situations.
Sometimes designing an instrument for someone else (although in this case an imaginary character) opens up your mind to options you otherwise wouldn’t consider. In this case I wasn’t even sure I would enjoy playing the guitar once finished, but it didn’t take long at all to realise that the chunky neck and the sustain it provides was quickly becoming difficult to be without.
Taking my time working the wood without rushing it and letting the guitar be what it wanted to be was a risk worth taking in the end. I added several subtle details like the magpie logo carved out of moose bone but not too many as this is a guitar, first and foremost, meant to be played and enjoyed.
Well, like so many stories, this one has a happy ending too. It didn’t take long for Lingon to find it’s “dream client” and as I am writing this it is enjoying the summer in Spain.