About the project
This is the very first signature instrument that I have made.
I have a childhood friend – Sergei Trukhanovich – one of the best blues-rock guitarists of the country, teacher, guitarist for the bands “Krama”, “Palats”, and so on and so forth.
In the distant 90-ies, when I was just starting my career, Sergei assembled his first band and called it “Sam Gray”. I once mentioned that I must make him a guitar. Soon it happened.
Once I went with friends to buy an amplifier, which was being sold for almost nothing. When we stepped into the apartment, it became clear why it was so cheap. The sellers urgently needed to get drunk, and they were selling everything they could. They also offered to sell a guitar, which was stored on an open-roof balcony without a case…
Of course, it looked horrible, but the price of $5 obviously beat any doubt 🙂 I immediately went to see Sergei to show him this “miracle”. After close examination, we noticed that the patch on the first fret started to rot, as well as other parts. There was also a gaping hole, scraped out chaotically with a penknife – supposedly to enlarge the hole for the humbucker. Instead of the top peg, there was a pencil stub, and the whopping four strings were stretched. The only pleasant part of the guitar was the inscription – “Made in Japan” and generally, okay preserved wood with the magic name “mahogany”.
Sergei hesitated and gave the go-ahead for its restoration. His musician’s intuition did not deceive him – the piece of wood had great potential 🙂
A little later I was able to even learn the history of this guitar. As it turned out, it was bought by my teacher back in the 1980s. Moreover, it was brought to him new from Japan at the price of a Zhiguli (Soviet car). Everything about it was good – both the sound and the look – there was just one problem: the neck was bolted and attached very tightly. During playing, the fretboard made extremely unpleasant creaks in the place of attachment. For this reason, the guitar was sold. Further details of its fate are unknown.
The whole central part had to be cut out. I inserted a tone block, which led to the installation of a large pickguard. I also replaced the fretboard surface, installed a new hard bridge, and some cool boutique Tom Anderson pickups.
This is how the instrument with the Sam Gray logo appeared.
About four years later, Sergei contacted me about this guitar again. After thoroughly testing it, experimenting with the pickups, I came to the conclusion that the instrument’s sound was very blurry at the bottom notes. I wanted to add some brightness and readability.
That’s how a maple top appeared on the guitar. Since such a serious intervention went on, we decided to squeeze in maximum changes – we again replaced the surface on the fretboard and increased the scale. For pickups we chose the Lace HEMI set. Over time, the bridge pickup was moved slightly closer to the barvso I had to make beautiful wooden frames to cover the widened hole.
That’s how methodically and purposefully we transformed Cinderella into a princess:)
I hope this version will be final …
Although I doubt it – Sergei loves experimenting!