Electric guitar

The Akselerator electric guitar, based on Gibson Epiphone SG

Last name: Scott and Aksel McDermott
Location: New York, New York
Guitar: The Akselator

Back when things were in lockdown for Covid in 2020, my then 7-year-old son Aksel found an old Epiphone SG in the back of a cupboard I had bought 25 years ago but couldn’t find. never learned to play. He got into it immediately. A weekly lesson soon began at the Williamsburg School of Music when things opened up a bit and he was hooked. However, after sitting for so long, the SG eventually had to come up with a tune-up. With nothing to play for a few days, we started talking about building a simple string between two nails on a board stretched over a coke bottle contraption, as a fun little project. But it’s only rock ‘n’ roll if it’s electric. Suddenly we were researching pickup wiring diagrams and the difference between a single coil and a humbucker, etc. It soon became clear: why don’t we just build a real guitar?


And so it began. I guess a bit like the Suzuki method, but with a few more RPMs. We set out to build his dream guitar with as many design elements as a 7 year old would want while trying to avoid anything laudable later in life.

The construction of Akselator

The design is based on an Explorer but with an additional lightning bolt notch at the base. Besides being badass, the Explorer shape is a great option for kids as they can easily reach the smaller body shape above the pickups. It can be difficult for him to get to grips with larger guitars or acoustics. We started with two blocks of black limba for the BYOGuitar body and neck. We decided to etch a basswood top sheet using the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique, which we had seen at an architecture show. It worked well, and we found a great clear coat solution that soaked in just enough to make the charcoal stable and not come off on your hands, but also didn’t make it look like apples. shining love.

Here is an overview of the character created by the Japanese technique Shou Sugi Ban.

I have some woodworking experience, but have never built a guitar before. A friend who has a full carpentry shop in his basement let us come in occasionally for six months to work on the project. With the help of many YouTube videos and countless specialized StewMac tools, we were able to create the “Akselerator”. We put the same burnt finish on the headstock and inlaid Aksel’s personal logo in brass. This also matches the brass wire lightning inlays in the ebony fingerboard. The pickups are a Gibson ’57 Classic Plus in the neck and a Gibson Burstbucker in the bridge. It has glow-in-the-dark side dots, a magnetically attached backplate, Hipshot locking tuners and knobs that go to 11. For when you’re on 10, but just need a little more!

Scott and Aksel McDermott pose with their 6 string creation.

The Akselerator put together well and sounds fantastic. Aksel plays it every day at home and uses it as a show guitar whenever he plays a gig. (He’s now in a band with a 3rd grade drummer friend.) I’m his roadie/safety for the Akselerator, so he gets home undamaged by sticky little fingers. The project has been an extraordinarily positive experience for both of us on many levels. Aksel has learned all about guitars, inside and out, how to use all sorts of tools and techniques, spent a lot of time in the shop, and now has a one-of-a-kind custom ax for chipping and making melt faces for years to come. !

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