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Coffee Bean Guitar

This unusual guitar came about through an inquiry for a custom-made guitar, from a client who wanted a coffee-themed guitar. He owns a lot of coffee shops, and loves coffee and everything about it.

Now, everything about coffee (beans, cups, saucers, etc.) is round, and most guitar ornamentation that's not drop-dead simple, like dots inlaid into round holes. or the plastic rings laid around the soundhole, is made of largely angular and linear elements. So it required some thought to figure out something that would really be good without looking cheap.

I came up with a rosette made up of different sized rosewood circles, bordered in green veneer, that represent coffee beans. And to make it not look boringly round I allowed the coffee beans to 'spill' out of the bag.

The fingerboard inlays were quite a challenge. They represent steam coming off a coffee cup, such as one might see when sitting in front of one's first cup of Java on a chilly morning. The steam is made up of some two dozen carefully carved and shaped pieces of wood. Each one is bordered in Sterling silver.

My idea was to suggest the smoky grayness of the steam with grainy and 'uneven' materials. I picked out special pressure-treated burl woods and shaped the pieces to fit into and each other. The position markers that one normally finds on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 17th, and 19th frets of a steel string guitar fingerboard are proxied by curlicues in the steam/smoke.


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