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Making a Mini Firebird

Inspired by a guitar forum challenge to modify a guitar I decided to make my Granddaughter a Firebird based around a Harley Benton mini strat from which I’d use just the neck. I chose a left-handed guitar as the donor so that my guitar would have a reverse headstock. I carved the headstock to have a Firebird style rebate and refretted in Jescar Evo gold fretwire.

Carved headstock

I made the body from meranti which is a very light wood with properties similar to mahogany and used a CNC Shopbot to make the body which comprised three parts butt jointed and glued.

Using the offcuts as cauls to clamp

I glued the neck in.

Once the meranti was grain filled, I primed and sprayed using a specially mixed colour close to Gibson’s Heather Mist Poly.

The pickguard was made on a laser-cutter which etched the Firebird logo and I assembled using gold plated hardware. I even strung it using Optima 24ct gold plated strings for extra bling.

Laser etched pickguard
The completed Firebird

8 Comments on “Making a Mini Firebird

  1. Love it!! Never heard of cnc shopbot? Are they expensive?

    • I imagine they are expensive, yes. I hired the one at the now defunct Trafford Fablab.

  2. Brilliant creativity, Steve. What a fortunate Granddaughter! Was it a surprise or did she follow along as you worked yer magic?

    I’m a Blues & Blues-Rock guitarist who’s done a bit of customizing woodwork & refinishing on just two guitars over the years. So I appreciate more the range of skills…and metrics!… a fine luthier must have to do what you’ve done here.

    BTW, I’m a former Mancunian, 1968 and 69 at University of Manchester. I lived on Oxford Road between the Moss Side and the Eye Hospital. I’ve stayed in touch with me mates and will return for a visit this July. They now live one in Oxford and the other in Ballycastle, County Mayo. But if I happen to get to Manchester, I’d love to drop by your shop.

    Doug Pratt

      • Oh the reaction! What was that like?

        And in what neighborhood is your shop?

        Doug

        • I think nonplussed is the right word. I bought her a keyboard too which she much prefers.

          My address is on my contacts page but I don’t have a shop in the British sense of the word.

          • Yes, I see you on the map. A bit SouthWest of my old neighborhood. I did volunteer work at Rusholme Junior Training Centre, closer to you and about as close as I ever came to your area of Manchester.

            Cheers,

            Doug

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