Back in the dark ages of Tym guitars I used to make guitars using materials that were, generally speaking, not used for guitar making. People had used most of them before to varying degrees of success, and these were always the guitars I was drawn to. I guess part of me wanted to know why these ideas and materials hadn't been accepted as alternatives to timber. It seemed to make sense to me that just because the Tele was built like a piece of cheap furniture, surely we had come somewhere in the intervening 50 or 60 years when it came to materials for making things like guitars out of ?
I'd made guitars out of Masonite and pine, I'd made them out of cheap carpentry timbers, I'd made them with alumiunium necks, and a few other materials that I figured would ........ work. I decided it was time to make one out of Perspex (acrylic) as I'd always been a fan of the Dan Armstrong Ampeg guitars from the late 60's. Being that I was Mosrite obsessed, it meant of course I had to make it ........ like a Mosrite. My serial number book says I finished this one Sep, 2001. It's serial number 0047.
Not knowing much about acrylic and working with it I just rang the nearest plastics distributor and ordered a piece big enough to make two guitar bodies out of. How hard could it be, right ?
Well, I didn't (still don't) have anything like CNC machines and I did everything by hand. All of my guitars were made with cheap woodworking tools completely by hand. I wasn't apposed to modern technology and machines, I just couldn't afford it and figured if I was going to hand make guitars, I should probably make them by hand. I got the big, heavy piece of Perspex home and looked at it and thought, OK, just imagine it has grain and is brown.
Well, I quickly learned that woodworking tools weren't the best thing for working with acrylic. The routers spun too quickly and melted the edges. The bandsaw worked well but left very big cutting marks that would need a lot of hand sanding to get out before I could even start polishing.
The shape was cut and then I had to smooth off all the edges perfectly so I could run the router around it to form the top carve and the back round over. After a day of routing I looked around the workshop and it looked like someone had thrown massive bags of desiccated coconut around and it was stuck to the walls, the ceiling, me ......... everything in the workshop was white, and it stuck like glue to all/any surfaces. I spent ages cleaning up as much as I could before I went onto sanding and polishing all the cut/routed edges. I found out later that the acrylic chips were VERY flammable and has been known to spontaneously combust with very little help. Still, all of this didn't stop me making another one about a year later to go with an aluminium neck I'd made.
The edges took a lot to finish and polish but I was pretty happy with the overall look of the body. It was however, very heavy. I hadn't played a Dan Armstrong at this stage and didn't know how thick or how heavy they were ? The Mosrite body is also much bigger than the Dan Armstrong and all that mass quickly added up.
I made one of my typical Wosrite necks out of Queensland maple with a Jarrah fretboard and fitted everything up as per a "normal" timber bodied guitar. Of course the other thing you need to understand about acrylic is, it has no give when putting screws in. You need to drill the holes EXACTLY the right size for the screw or you end up just breaking the screw right off, which I did a couple of times by not measuring properly.
I went with humbuckers as most of my Wosrites used my hand made Mosrite style single coils and I was keen to see what a humbucker mounted version would sound like with the acrylic body.
I made all my own vibratos out of aluminium and my bridges out of stainless steel. Both were VERY time intensive and expensive but I loved it when I started as it really made my Wosrites closer to the real thing.
This guitar is HEAVY. In hindsight I would have made the body thinner than the standard thickness and maybe even slightly smaller ? The next one I made was and the body weight on it is great, although the aluminium neck is quite heavy.
Being the obsessive fool I am I have since bought myself quite a few "alternative material" guitars and sold a few. I still own a Travis Bean, a Kramer and a Dan Armstrong Ampeg among others but I have always regretted selling my Wandre which was a plastic body and aluminium neck.
I also have since bought a Mosrite from Japan that is made exactly like this Wosrite. Rumour was that a handful were made (maybe 6) in the 90's for promo and all have disappeared from the market since. It's an amazing guitar with all Mosrite hardware with full German carve and a beautiful bound Mosrite neck. It's also lighter than mine, but only just. I'll blog that one if anyone is interested ?