Mango 12-String

Starting a new build, this round its an attempt at a 12-Stringer. Decided to pair Monkeypod back and sides with a Mango top. Mango is known for its sweeter, mellower tone, yet still having a spark of brightness that really brings out its clarity.

I have started building the rims and back a week ago, and started working on the top this week.

Monkeypod Back and Mango Top
Gluing the Neck and End Blocks
Routed the cavity for the Rosette and added the purflings

Really happy with how this one turned out. Used a small piece of Rengas (a local Cocobolo variant) for the Rosette. I love the red accent it gives, contrasting with the lighter, yellowish Mango top.

Rosette I
Rosette II – Air tight fit!
Rosette III

I’ve since cut the sound hole out, and binded it, glued on the X-brace, all the others braces, and the Soundport reinforcement. All left to dry overnight, and tomorrow we voice it, and glue the top on!

Soundhole
Gluing the braces on the Go Bar Deck
Soundport reinforcement being glued and clamped in

Supernatural Demonstration

The following is a short recording I have done to demonstrate the sound of the Supernatural Superclear Pickup System by Bradley Clark.
I used the ‘Strum I’ setting on this, with both piezo and faceboard sensors turned on, with what sounds to me like a slightly mid-scooped EQ from the preamp.

This was recorded with the guitar being plugged directly into a Zoom H1 line-in, and recorded into my iPad via GarageBand. On board EQ settings remain flat.

Do let me know what you think! And if you would like this system installed on your guitar (Only available in KL, Malaysia at the moment).

Mahogany OM-Cutaway

Apologies again for the lack of updates, but here is what I have been working on. We acquired a nice block of quarter sawn mahogany and I decided to turn it into another OM-Cutaway.

However I wanted to be experimental with this piece. I wanted to try something out of the usual X-Brace, and so opted for a classic Lattice brace pattern on this, and also went with a 12th fret neck joint. With this design, I would also have to use a pinless-style bridge design. The neck has been carbon fibre reinforced, along the length of the neck, and down into the heel, mostly inspired by a McPherson design.

While being experimental with this piece, I also decided to try and work with a matte finish this round. Wasn’t easy as dust was a huge problem. This particular build is riddled with mistakes, due to the new designs, which required modifications and adaptations of my existing jigs. It was, however, a very enjoyable build with lots of new methods to learn and use.

Despite the mistakes, it still turned out to be a fine instrument if you ignored the cosmetic defects; playability and response is top notch, and strangely, quickly finding its way to being my (and all my mates) favourite guitar to use. Volume and projection also, being far more impressive than any of my previous builds.

While this remains an experimental piece, I think with the things I like about this guitar, they will be incorporated into my future builds.

As usual, enjoy the pictures!:

Rosette with a more modern design.
After sanding.
3-ply laminated back braces: Malaysian Blackwood sandwiched between Agathis.
Sealing off the insides before the top goes on.
Lattice braced.
Channels for binding.
Binding done and sanded.
Preparation for spraying.
First coat of lacquer on.
Masked up for brown tint.
Tint on.
Final matte coat on.
Pinless bridge glued on.
Ready for fretting.
Back
Finished product: Front I
Finished product: Rear I
Finished product: Front II
Finished product: Rear II
Finished product: Side

Thanks for reading, and feel free to drop me an email if you have any comments or questions, as I would be most happy to hear from you.

Supernatural Pickups & Preamps – Now Available!

I chanced upon Supernatural while on a business trip with Jeffrey to Guangzhou. We were brought to the home of Bradley Clark, where I first met him. Now at that point in time I still had no idea who he was, but I was familiar with artist such as Tommy Emmanuel, Jack Johnson, Keith Urban, and Lloyd Spiegel. Digging a little deeper I eventually found out that this man was behind the design, sound and development of Cole Clark Guitars, and had served as the CEO of Maton Guitars.

I became obsessed with pickups in the last year or so. Reason being is that I had always intended to build guitars that people would use- that would be the workhorse of gigging musicians. And that, without any question would require some sort of amplification system. Now I’ve had the privilege of testing out many pickup systems, having formerly owned a music store in Subang Jaya. I’ve tried many systems, Magnetic, Mic, Piezo, Blended Systems, Wireless, etc, and often never found myself quite satisfied with any of them. Usable, sounds pretty good, sure, but still one thing or another that annoys me quite a bit. And with that, I’ve concluded that no pickup system can really be a 100% true representation of your guitar, but they can come really close- Enter Supernatural.

I personally liked this system for a few reasons- First, being the original system (in Matons and Cole Clarks) are a tried and tested system by many reputable artists around the globe, and many whom are my personal favourites as well. Second- it solves my pet peeve of having a soft coaxial wire/piezo that sits under the saddle, robbing the instrument of some tonal transfer from strings/saddle to the guitar’s top. Third- I thought the design was brilliant, no need to route any additional holes in the guitar’s side, no magnetic pickup sitting across the sound hole, easy access to the battery via a tool (not needed in my designs though), and of course, the 9 presets that come with it.

This comes across to me as a pickup system designed for the gigging musician. There are times where a musician steps into a venue, not knowing what kind of sound systems are available, whether great or plain crappy speakers. Having these 9 presets to choose from allows the player to pick a starting point that would work with the system, and having all the EQ sliders to fine tune it quickly. I will not run through the specs here, you can read about it on the Supernatural Page.

My initial worry was that since the piezo itself looked big and heavy, it looked like it would rob the instrument of some tone, but after installing it on a few guitars now, I am assured that it does not affect the guitar’s natural sound, as it really is quite light. I think I’ve figured out the most optimum way of setting it up, after having *almost* destroyed the first two I installed in my personal guitars (I did not!)- I count those as my tuition fees. I am very happy with this system this far, and would happily feature it as the pickup system on all my future builds.

Installation on other existing guitars are available, and if you are anywhere near me (Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia), you are more than welcome to try the system out on my guitars. Do contact me here for any questions. Have a great day!

Jeffrey Yong Guitar for Food Project

In the midst of this pandemic, we have been working on something we can help, and also give back to the community. So Jeff came up with this initiative to do so, hence this project. This guitar will be up for a lucky draw on the 29th of November 2020, which will be on Facebook. Entries are via a minimum donation of USD$10, which gets you a ticket for a chance to win this guitar. The more a person donates increases their chance of taking this beauty home.

I found this piece of wood at a local timber shop. Chanced upon it as we were looking for wood to construct necks. There was only a single piece, and even after getting the workers to look through, there was just nothing like it. This guitar is a one off build, never to be replicated again.

100% of the funds will be channeled to those who are most affected by the Movement Control Order here in Malaysia, who have lost their incomes and jobs in the midst of this pandemic. We have identified the possible beneficiaries and the outcome will be shared to all. For now, have a look at this beaut:

This guitar is a Jeffrey Yong OM model, body constructed entirely of Meranti (a local Mahogany variant), Flamed Maple Bindings, Abalone Rosette and Purflings, a bolt-on 7-piece Laminated Nyatoh Neck, with Malaysian Blackwood for the Fingerboard and Bridge. Hardwares are Schertler Gold Machine Heads with Ebony knobs, Bone Nut and Saddles, Jescar Evo Gold Fretwires and Solid Brass Pins.

For more information on this lucky draw, do not hesitate to contact me here, or you can e-mail Jeffrey at jeffreyyong2009@yahoo.com directly as well for more information or to make your donations.

Supernatural Preamps by Bradley Clark

I will be bringing in these pickup and preamp sets, both to be sold and installed, as well as to be built into my future guitar builds. There are currently two options; the SuperDiscreetPower (SDP) and the SuperClear (SC) systems, both available with the options of a Gooseneck Microphone, or a Face Sensor. The piezo pickups are installed right under the saddle of the guitar. Both these sensors will contribute to a very natural, highly accurate representation tone of the guitar to be amplified.

Piezo Unit that sits under the bridge plate


The system has been designed to fit into most guitars, without the need for excessive modifications or removal of wood from the guitar sides. A control panel sits right at the lip of the guitars’ sound hole, making available these controls- a switch that scrolls through 4 preset EQ settings calibrated by professional musicians, Bass, Mids and Treble sliders for fine tuning a selected EQ preset, and of course, a volume slider. An LED bulb acts as an indicator for selected preset through a series of blinks, and also doubles as a low battery indicator. The main preamp sits hidden inside the guitar, mounted inside or on the heel.

I have been following the work of Bradley Clark since I became a Tommy Emmanuel fan. No stranger to the industry, Brad is an Australian Luthier, former CEO of Maton Guitars, and also co-founder of Cole Clark Guitars. Both these big brands have a reputation of amazing amplified sounds, and Brad is the brains and engineer behind this. I had the privilege of meeting Brad sometime spring of 2019 in Guangzhou during a business trip and factory visit.

I aim to make this product available to musicians here in Malaysia, and for any inquiries or bookings, please do not hesitate to contact me here. Retail prices are approximately RM895.00 for the SuperDiscreetPower system, and RM1095.00 for the SuperClear System. Differences in the systems are entirely based on preference. I will post more details and sound samples when the pickups arrive, and update accordingly. For more information on the pickups, visit: Supernatural Guitar Preamps.

Sound

If you’ve been wondering, yes these guitars were made out of a local Durian tree that was felled. Curiosity lead to another and here we have a guitar built out of that. Top, Back & Sides are Durian, neck remains the usual 7-piece Laminated Nyatoh piece with Malaysian Blackwood for the Fingerboards and Bridge pieces. The rosette and bindings are all Flamed Maple.

Enjoy these following videos:

Sound demonstration by Jeffrey Yong:

Featuring Mark Renesh:

The Durian Guitar Completed

Strung and setup with Elixir 12s, I am happy to report it sounds amazing. Rich tone, with lots of body and sustain. The following pictures are of the end product, and further down this post you will find pictures of the Jumbo version as well (in brown burst).

*In case anyone is wondering why I keep calling it the Durian Guitar, it is because the body is made entirely out of a Durian tree (Top, Back and Sides).

Jeffrey Yong Jumbo (JJ) and Jon Woo OM-Cutaway
Jeffrey

I will attach a sound clip/video at another time. For now, hope you enjoyed the pictures and I hope you have a great day.

The Making of a Durian Guitar

This was a project I’ve been wanting to work on for a long time, and to my knowledge, I haven’t yet found anyone who has built an acoustic guitar using Durian wood before. We acquired an old tree from a Durian plantation in a small town called Raub through the help of a friend. Transported it back in my truck to be cut, dried, and be made into guitars.

The wood was surprisingly easy to work with, bends easily and has a nice, bright ring to it when tapped. It was left out to dry for months before taking it to the saw mill to be cut into thinner, 7mm thick pieces. Below are a series of pictures from log to guitar, enjoy!

Now that’s what trucks are for
Yours truly cutting the log into smaller blocks
Top & Backs Glued together before sanding
Back braces added. Yes they are laminated Agathis and Malaysian Blackwood, drilled out to be lightened whilst maintaining its stiffness.
Rosette and Back Strip
Internals before closing the top
Braced and pore-filled
Cutting out the binding routes on the cutaway
Not too shabby I suppose
Tailpiece
Preparing the bindings
Preparing the neck and fretboard
Shaping the neck
Looks to be a good fit
First coat of lacquer on
Eventually decided to go with a Green Burst, for two reasons- I wanted something that would scream Durian, and secondly I didn’t quite like its natural colour.
Polishing to shine
Fretted and ready for strings!

The next post will be pictures of the final product.

Bigfoot Guitars India

I had the privilege of spending a few days in the Bigfoot Guitars workshop based in New Delhi, India. My intention was to see how other luthiers work on their instruments, just to get some fresh inspiration and ideas.

I first met Karan in Music China 2018, the first year I ever attended the expo.

Bigfoot Guitars based in New Delhi, India.
Karan inserting the kerfings.
Setting up the OM-C I
Setting up the OM-C II
Mod-D in the making.
Had a hand in helping radius sand a couple of guitars for Karan. This Tamarind OM-C goes out to Grammy Award fingerstyle winner Amrit Sond.
Karan very generously walked me through his voicing process, it was a great time of learning and sharing.
This completed Mod-D is going out to Eddie’s Guitars.
My days were full of Masala Chai and Coffee.
Bacon & Eggs, India style!
Curry Chicken and Salad.
We had an amazing Barbecue on my last night.
Homebound
40,000 feet, somewhere.
Daybreak greeting my arrival back to Malaysia.