Stuff you learn doing custom guitars 3.

Well there she is, Captain America, nearly ready to be wired and strung.


12 months down the track after having the idea, it is awesome to see it starting to come to fruition. Here’s some things I learned doing this one:

  1. Practice makes perfect, but also raises standards.

This is my third foray into messing around with guitars of the electric ilk and I’m starting to figure a few things out. I’ve learned from the mistakes make with some of the past projects and my eye for good design is improving.

That’s all well and good but the better you get at something, especially when it’s something you never dreamed of doing, the more hard on yourself you get. I have been thinking about this and I believe it resonates with a lot of conversations I have had with people about life in general and spiritual matters.

For example, a recent conversation with a young guy studying theology was all about how he had come to the alarming realisation that he wasn’t as far along the line of maturity and maybe less naturally suited for ministry than he might have once thought. I admit to an internal smile as I resonated with the feeling.

I’ve noticed that so many Christians are disappointing with where they are at on the ‘personal spiritual development continuum’ that we have somehow set up in our minds. It’s like we’ve been doing this church/Christianity thing for a while now and we should have it ‘down pat’ by now.

I believe that real growth comes only from knowing and trusting that God is working within us by his Spirit, slowly transforming us into the likeness of his Son. Faith, is being ‘OK’ with the ‘slowly’ part. Practising our faith indeed propels us towards perfection (though we’ll never achieve it in this life) but be wary of unrealistic expectations.

2. Nothing happens without decisions.

cap america back

This one was the most work principally because rather than being painted, it was, as you can see, a collage of actual comic book pictures. Right back at the beginning I had a pile of comic books, jars of glue, scissors and a stanley knife ready to go. I had in other words, the opportunity and potential to create something really cool. But all the opportunity and potential in the world is useless without making decisions.

I decided on the palcement and positioning of every one of the 400-ish pictures that got used, front and back. Yes, even the ones underneath the pick-guard and control/bridge plates. That may seem dumb, but I wanted the detail to be deeper that simply what you would normally see. There are pictures that only someone who is servicing or re-wiring it will see. Even 25 little jokes are included in the bodywork by putting random speech bubbles ‘captioning’ otherwise boring pics. I decided on the much rarer ‘purpleheart’ timber for the fret board to blend the shades of blue and red in the Captain America motif.

So yeah, lot’s and lots and lots of little decisions over a long period of time and the product is, I think pretty cool.

It’s like life really. You don’t simply make one decision. you have to make millions.

Millions of decisions, little, unimpressive, unseen decisions everyday and you only get to see the results at the end.

That reminds me of the life of faith. Yes you decide to embark on the journey but you only keep going with lots of ongoing decisions, staying true to the vision that God has placed in your heart. So if you are wondering if you are ever going to see the finished product, if you a wondering if you’ll ever experience yourself ‘ complete and needing nothing’ (James 1:4) Just keep going, keep deciding for Jesus.

Bless ya:)

P.S. Captain America specs for those interested:

  • Model/style 65′ Fender Mustang; 24″ scale length.
  • Body: 1-piece lightweight Alder body.
  • Neck: Flame Maple neck, Purpleheart fret-board w/pearloid star inlays. Bone nut.
  • Pickups: Bridge: Seymour Duncan hot stack bridge Neck:Golden Age Alnico 5 hot humbucker chrome covered.
  • Electronics: CTS switches, pots. 500K volume and tone. Series and parallel switching. CTS input jack.
  • Tuners: Gotoh Stainless steel micro-locking tuners.
  • Hardware: Gotoh Stainless steel Mustang plus bridge, stainless steel tailpiece control plate and strap buttons.
  • Design elements: custom comic book collage and lacquer, pick-guard decal, lacquer and ageing, custom head-stock decal

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