PHOTOS: Falcon 6-string guitar. Ambrosia maple, carbon fiber, precision machined TOONE & TOWNSEND guitar components. The Ultimate Shred Machine™.
Early evening, and the shop is unusually quiet, both work shifts dismissed for an extended weekend. Only Bart, Deb, and I still in the building. Ownership sits differently on the shoulders.
Normally the entire structure of the machine shop hums and pulses with vibration as semi-trailer sized CNC machines bite into stainless steel, titanium, aircraft aluminum, delicious alloys of human progress. Thousands of watts of electricity focused on achieving three or four decimal places to consistent precision. Air compressors hissing. Industrial music (and occasionally Country) a sonic tapestry reflecting between the Makinos and Mori-Seikis.
I've become conditioned to the sound. It's not unlike being aboard a ship...and as opposite my previous shop environment as I suppose is possible.
But this moment, near silence.
Bart and I are having a quiet conversation in the lobby, both of us emerged from our opposite wings of the building. I'm showing him some recent design advances as we discuss potential ways of integrating them into the production guitars.
A low rumble from outside. The earth, the air, moving in waves. Glass rattling in the doors and windows. Keys softly jittering across a desk. Massive sound — massive yet muted — rising to sustained crescendo, then tapering. Maybe 20 seconds, maybe two minutes: intent and listening.
"Freight train?" I asked.
"SpaceX," he said. "Testing rocket engines."
We do a significant amount of machining for SpaceX, as well as for other aerospace companies (with lower flight ceilings). I feel a secret thrill seeing their rocket components lining racks alongside our guitar components. It feels like the wild West, here in Texas, only the frontier is interstellar...and also musical.
So who is this guitar for?
You, if you want it. More specifically, this guitar is designed for fluid lead lines played with a thumb-over, relatively horizontal neck position. It absolutely excels for fusion or jam-band lead guitar playing. Light weight, perfectly balanced, and exactly the tool you need to step into the lights, center stage.
I was inspired to design and build this instrument as I thought about SpaceX and their Falcon series of launch vehicles. Tribute to inventive spirit, and private entrepreneurship focused on peaceful exploration. A reminder that the best of human intelligence is represented and achievable beyond the bounds of government.
PHOTO: Custom OEM DiMarzio pickups specifically voiced for jazz/progressive/metal. Aside from the set on Brad Macchioni's black S2, this is the second pair. You will be seeing (and hearing) their gorgeous voice on pending subsequent builds. Carbon fiber control mount plate (below).
PHOTOS: Polished precision stainless steel, bearing bronze, brass, and anodized aircraft aluminum inner workings of the patented TOONE & TOWNSEND headless system (above). Details of the proprietary Element™ machined guitar neck and mounting system. Solid, stable, repeatable. Super easy disassembly and reassembly (below).