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Doc C's "The Vertebrator"

Doc wanted a very particular kind of guitar, one that was not already in production. What he wanted was a Gibson SG "shred guitar", neck-thru with 24 frets. He also wanted a quilted maple top, Stetsbar tremolo and Jimmy Page wiring. Here's the clincher: he wanted it to be as heavy as possible. He wanted the guitar to play like an SG, but sustain like a Les Paul. There were many other specific requests, but these were the most challenging to fulfill. Making an SG into a shred guitar is not the hard part. How do you make an SG heavy? Heavy woods, and thickness. He specifically required that the body be 2 inches thick.

I started with a maple thru-neck with ebony fretboard, 25-inch scale, 24 jumbo frets, no inlays, 2-way truss rod and carbon fiber support rods. The neck has black anigre contrast stripes on three sides in the body, and also incorporates a walnut layer between the neck and the body. Doc then decided he wanted pearl dots for inlays. Once the neck was completed, we jointly chose to make the guitar a set-thru: this means that the neck goes all the way to the bridge and slightly beyond, while not being visible from the tail of the guitar. This gives the advantages of a neck-thru, without the neck block cluttering the appearance of the guitar at the tail. The neck joint is very smooth yet strong, allowing fretting-hand reach beyond the 24th fret.

The body shape is similar to an SG, but with deeper cutaways and sharper horns. The body is 2-piece mahogany with a black anigre contrast stripe down the center, which complements the bookmatched top and back. The top is AAAAA quilted maple, and the back is walnut. The electronics cavity cover is what is called a "continuous cover", which means it is cut from the wood and used as the cover, rather than routing it away and using a plastic cover. I then mounted the cover using neodymium magnets instead of screws, which means no tools are required. I did this in case he wanted to install an active pickup system in the future (tool-less battery changes without cluttering the back with a battery compartment), and to keep the guitar looking clean. The Stetsbar tremolo is an OEM mount, which is routed 3/16" into the body.

The headstock has burled elm veneer front and back, and the Gemini Guitars logo inlaid in abalone. Doc wanted something special for his truss rod cover: LC/DC, meaning LC (his initials) Doctor of Chiropractic, all in the AC/DC font. This was inlaid in pearl into an ebony truss rod cover. The cover was then installed and held in place by neodymium magnets.

The guitar was finished in honey amber dye, then smoothed and tung-oiled. The resulting finish is wonderfully smooth and the neck is very fast, and it will not get sticky from sweaty hands.

The electronics are fairly complicated, despite the appearance of standard Les Paul/SG knobs. All four pots are push-pulls to give a variety of voices to the DiMarzio Tone Zone bridge and DiMarzio Air Norton neck pickups. Besides the regular 3 sounds from the 3-way switch, the pots also control coil taps, phase, and series/parallel functions. This wiring gives Doc 21 different sounds to play with.

Additional features include:

- Planet Waves Auto-Trim locking tuners with 18:1 ratio

- Earvana nut

- Custom-positioned strap locations

- Fully shielded electronics compartment

- Total access cutaways

The guitar has super low action (3/64" at the 12th fret) with no buzz, and with the tung oiled neck it plays lightning fast. The finished guitar weighs exactly 10 pounds; this, combined with Doc's profession, led to the name "The Vertebrator". I hope he knows a good chiropractor.



Nearly finished...









 

 

....and the finished guitar














 

 

 

 

 



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