Guitar Retrospective #3: “Red Fog”

Not long after finishing the “Black Floral” guitar I set my sites on the next one. I needed a new guitar. So sometime between late 2005 and early 2006 I found myself on eBay and snagged an Ibanez RG250DX. I think it was just white when I got it, I really can’t recall anymore to be honest. Not that it mattered, it was getting stripped immediately. It was right handed, so this was not for me, this was considered “practice” and an “experiment” from the get go. I had some new ideas I wanted to try out on this one.

"Red Fog" - fabric finish featuring matching pick guard.

It started with the print, a black and white oriental print, with a couple red lettered accents. It was earthy, with bamboo, a big tree, some shrubbery and mountains in the background. I had found it at the local fabric store. I positioned it, and laid it down, front and back of the guitar this time. I had boughten enough fabric to do some extras. Since this guitar had a pick guard, I didn’t wanna kill the flow of the fabric across the whole body by using just the solid white pick guard that came with it, so I decided to refinish the pick guard to match the guitar.

Custom fabric finished pick guard for "Red Fog"

I made a template of the pick guard and lined it up over the fabric, eye-balling with the greatest of scrutiny to make it as precise of a match as possible. When it came time to glue down the fabric, it was another long round of eye-balling, a heavy sigh, and a “well, here we go.” When I got to the point where I could test out the placement I was very pleased to find that the alignment was pretty much dead on. The effect of not having to look at, or maybe just not notice as much what I believe to be the most unattractive part of a guitar, the pick guard, I found very satisfying.

"Red Fog" Matching headstock

The other new element to this guitar, albeit not nearly as exciting as matching the pattern of the body to the pick guard, was to create a matching headstock. This was simple, just apply the same process of the body to the headstock, only smaller. One thing I was learning to do with this guitar that I consider crucial to my artistic credit was to choose the placement of the pattern carefully. Since I wasn’t drawing these images, I had to do something to call myself “creative”. 🙂 But you can really change the overall look by the placement of the print and I take pride in my arrangements.

I had said in the beginning that fabric was glued to the front and back. Well, in the process of painting a burst I had gotten a bit too much overspray, but I liked it! That’s when the guitar got its name. There was a red haze over the landscape print that resembled a bloody fog. I liked it so much I shot a little more red, and then a little more, and sure enough, lost the affect and it was almost completely opaque.

"Red Fog" Solid red back and sides.

That’s what happens when you get too close to something, you don’t notice the subtle changes until all of a sudden you’re staring at something completely different. So I didn’t care to sand it off and go backwards, I was ok with the look of a solid color back. After all, it gave me an excuse to do another one. 😉

I consider this guitar my first big success not only because of the features I implemented for the first time but because I found a resource that gave me essential knowledge in properly finishing an instrument to achieve that smooth, glass-like finish. The Guitar Reranch forum is a wonderful online resource with extremely knowledgeable and helpful individuals who are genuinely super nice people. I owe most of my guitar refinishing and general guitar knowledge to those folks over there and try to pay a little forward by remaining a regular contributing member and try to help others with their projects, usually fabric or material finishes. 🙂

Regrettably I ended up putting this one back on eBay, catch and release in the guitar world. Somebody in the UK purchased it so I packed it up and shipped it off overseas, haven’t seen it since. I knew I couldn’t keep em all but still don’t like letting them go. Just part of creating. The time you spend with your creations is always quality time, and when you put your energy into something that’s YOU, and it’s hard letting go of ourselves sometimes. But it’s an essential part of life, sharing yourself with the world.

j.

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