Bartlett 'RetroSpec'

alk-3

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Hey Everyone!
So I guess we have been 'outed' on a couple of threads recently :laugh2:, mainly this one: http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/luthiers-corner/207132-hey-tom-alk-3-a.html
so we all thought maybe it's time to come clean…

This is basically the story of how this guitar came to be:

in january of 2011 I got an email from a good friend of mine, Kim LaFleur of Historic Makeovers, and RetroSpec. He had an idea to build a custom one-off designed guitar for his friend, and customer Joe Bonamassa. this was to be a gift, but would essentially embody all that joe really liked about his favourite guitars. Kim had a good idea of the way joe likes his guitars to feel, so we had a good target to aim for in that regard.
The image that accompanied that first email was crude to say the least, but it sure got the ball rolling

457972cd.jpg


After I got this email, and before I even replied to kim, I emailed my very good friend Magnus, who we all know as the 3d model master :thumb:
He has an eye for design unlike anything I've ever seen, and has worked with some of the worlds best luthiers in design, as well as designing everything from conference call telephones to horse trailers, and everything in between.

We wanted this guitar to have a real retro feel to it, and we thought the early 60's would be a cool era to focus on.

the first thing we wanted to tackle was the body shape. Our main focus was to keep this guitar familiar. we wanted people to be able to pick this up, and have the balance, weight, and position of all the hardware to be intuitive.
first we looked for some inspiration, and who doesn't love those retro guitars from the 50 and 60's..

b60fb7a8.png


We bounced some ideas back and forth, and before long had some rough sketches. of those, we went back and forth between Magnus Kim and I and all agreed on this body shape:

aeadb7d1.png

Keep in mind, all of this has elapsed over a period of weeks, and we were going through a lot of ideas, making very small changes as we got to the final design.

That's it for today! I will try to keep this thread moving along as time permits, but I hope everyone enjoys it!
 

GooCart

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Hey guys,
I think I take this opportunity to give you a brief summary of my contribution to this project.

As Tom wrote, I'm a professional industrial designer and I have indeed worked with just about everything you can imagine, both consumer products and parts for the heavy industry. It's always fun to see the outcome of my design, to see the produced result in real life.

But this project is one of the most rewarding projects I've been involved with. I have designed guitars for both small luthier owned companies and huge international corporations but this time I had the chance to do something really special, a chance to try to design a classic from scratch. With classic I mean something that feel obvious, a instant recognition factor without copying an existing design, but still attract us rather retrograde guitarists. Sometime I like to play with the though; "how could Gibson's premium solid guitar have looked in the 60's if Gibson had developed the guitar instead of replacing it with the SG?" Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the SG but it isn't premium, at least no to me.

Since this was meant to be a guitar for Joe Bonamassa I tried to visualize what would look cool on him, not just a "generic cool design". He was the target group, a pretty small and exclusive target group I'd say:)

At first we, Kim, Tom and I, talked about some kind of Les Paul/ Telecaster hybrid and I did a couple of rough sketches that I liked at first but after a while I felt that they all looked like my friend Johan Gustavsson's Bluesmaster so that was a dead-end. At that point we started to look at other possibilities such as all those cool 60's guitar in Tom's first post and finally came up with the embryo of the guitar.

The design of the body was pretty forward, a number of quick sketches and 3d renderings that Tom and Kim evaluated which led to the final design. The parts, such as the pick guard, inlays and logos was a major design effort with lots and lots of sketches and 3d renderings but I'm very pleased with the result, all parts are working really well within the design theme.

It's quite unavoidable that some will see this or that in the design, I've heard that it looks like some kind of Gretsch and Guild, some say that they think they've seen some 60's German and Italian guitars that looked something like this. I don't have any problems with that, this design aesthetic have been around for like 60 years or so, the opportunities to do something unique but still classic and appealing for us guitar nerds are limited, to say the least.

I'm really grateful that I was asked to be involved from start in this project and I couldn't been more happy with the result.
 

Ole'Lefty

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My role inn the project is/was to chek speling. Magnus forgot a "t" in the last sentence of the "third" paragraph. Grammarians would dispute whether the Salutation is to be counted as a paragraph. Ahem!
 

emoney

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And my contribution is solely to point out that Ole Lefty himself mispelled both
"chek" and "speling". (snicker)

This is awesome and I'm glad I get to see it up close and personal. Thanks for sharing
both of you (all three I suppose I should say!)
 

SiriusAbbott

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very nice....in some ways a similar shape to an Electra SLM model,I Like :naughty:
 

alk-3

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Thanks for the interest guys! Lefty, you need to work on your spelling my friend :laugh2:


So the next step after deciding on the body shape, was developing the top carve. Magnus provided some pictures illustrating the basic steps behind the top carve formation. This is done in Rhino, and basically generates a 3d file that can be used to carve the top with a cnc machine.
First the pickup, and neck plane, at the same angles as a les paul.
f21b3d1f.png


then a basic perimeter:
b6ab9238.png


and then the top is formed from these two planes. the carve is based on a top that magnus mapped out from a les paul, but obviously slightly modified.

Here are the neck plane details.

0b079ae4.png


5ff2e3eb.png


After all that is complete, we are left with a top that can be seen a bit better with some reflection added.

c45b595d.png


b08fa184.png


And finally, he added the body to the top, and rounded over the edges forming the basic body.

fa30aa07.png


55b45e87.png
 

free2rock

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Mind if I join the ride? This is gonna be so cooool!
 

RAG7890

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:wow: :wow: :wow: :wow: :wow:

:hmm:..................I'd love one of these Bartlett Bursts! :thumb: :applause:

Maybe one day...................:fingersx:

Awesome work Tom. :D

Cheers, Rudi
 

RAG7890

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Hey guys,
I think I take this opportunity to give you a brief summary of my contribution to this project.

As Tom wrote, I'm a professional industrial designer and I have indeed worked with just about everything you can imagine, both consumer products and parts for the heavy industry. It's always fun to see the outcome of my design, to see the produced result in real life.

But this project is one of the most rewarding projects I've been involved with. I have designed guitars for both small luthier owned companies and huge international corporations but this time I had the chance to do something really special, a chance to try to design a classic from scratch. With classic I mean something that feel obvious, a instant recognition factor without copying an existing design, but still attract us rather retrograde guitarists. Sometime I like to play with the though; "how could Gibson's premium solid guitar have looked in the 60's if Gibson had developed the guitar instead of replacing it with the SG?" Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the SG but it isn't premium, at least no to me.

Since this was meant to be a guitar for Joe Bonamassa I tried to visualize what would look cool on him, not just a "generic cool design". He was the target group, a pretty small and exclusive target group I'd say:)

At first we, Kim, Tom and I, talked about some kind of Les Paul/ Telecaster hybrid and I did a couple of rough sketches that I liked at first but after a while I felt that they all looked like my friend Johan Gustavsson's Bluesmaster so that was a dead-end. At that point we started to look at other possibilities such as all those cool 60's guitar in Tom's first post and finally came up with the embryo of the guitar.

The design of the body was pretty forward, a number of quick sketches and 3d renderings that Tom and Kim evaluated which led to the final design. The parts, such as the pick guard, inlays and logos was a major design effort with lots and lots of sketches and 3d renderings but I'm very pleased with the result, all parts are working really well within the design theme.

It's quite unavoidable that some will see this or that in the design, I've heard that it looks like some kind of Gretsch and Guild, some say that they think they've seen some 60's German and Italian guitars that looked something like this. I don't have any problems with that, this design aesthetic have been around for like 60 years or so, the opportunities to do something unique but still classic and appealing for us guitar nerds are limited, to say the least.

I'm really grateful that I was asked to be involved from start in this project and I couldn't been more happy with the result.

Magnus, thank you for all your contributions & effort. I for one appreciate it. :thumb: :applause: :)

Cheers, Rudi
 

jamman

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Very Cool , I'll be watching this one . thanks for posting .
 

dougk

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Yep this is just fantastic!!!!
 

alk-3

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Thanks to everyone for the great response to this project! I have to say, I'm really proud of it, and to hear so many of you guys showing support means a lot! Thank you!

So, on to the rest of the planning, and design!
As magnus mentioned, the design of the pick guard, truss rod cover and inlays were a lot more work than the body for whatever reason. Here are some of the ideas we deemed at least good enough to make some sketches of:
First the inlays:
Initially we really liked the second ones, but in the end we went a different direction, which we all agreed looked the best.

1e4a9625.png


c740dbf9.png


1d4e7c29.png


c8e1c004.png


67774320.png


Here is what we finally settled on:

765df5d0.jpg
 

BrazenPicker

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I agree those inlays look head and shoulder the best. Some of the others look too jazzy. The headstock is where I often stumble with boutique guitars but this one looks really good too. I think it's rare for luthiers to get the help of professional designers, but I wish more would. It's a skill and a talent just the same and it's not because you're good at building guitars that you're also good at design. Not to take away from Tom's input, but surely a talented designer can only help.
 

dougk

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Tom good thing you didn't go with option #2- thats basically exactly our Keystone inlays ;)
 

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