The primary advantage of a headless design is weight reduction and overall balance. It has aesthetic value as well, but that's largely a matter of taste.
A headless configuration fits with my primary aim of doing something ergonomic and lightweight. And it’s comfortable to play for long periods. It's also small. The body is 1.5" thick as opposed to 1.75" and that makes a big difference.
The shape is meant to be comfortable to play sitting or standing. It’s carved to better fit the player's body (the guitar’s forearm and belly contours, for example, are concave rather than convex).
The intention is to make a really versatile instrument that’s easy to play, sounds great, and can fill lots of different roles.
Over the years, I’ve strived to fine-tune my process, making it as efficient as possible while maintaining quality.
A workshop teacher of mine once described guitar building as "woodworking for machinists" because of the precise measuring involved. With fret spacing it’s down to the 1000th of an inch.
Much of the production process is painstaking work. It can test your patience. There's a ton of problem solving, too. The magic is in hearing and seeing someone play a guitar I’ve built and making it sound great.
Every day, I’m driven to create an instrument someone can use to produce something deeply, emotionally moving: music. That’s as good as it gets.
Model 101 Standard Specs:
Neck construction style: bolt-on
Scale length: 25" (6-string); 25.5" (7-string)
Bridge: Hipshot headless
Frets: Jumbo (6100); nickel-silver or stainless steel
Downes Guitars headpiece (strings up to .062" in diameter)
Quartersawn roasted maple or laminations of maple, walnut, cherry, padauk, sapele, etc.
Nut width: 43mm/1.69" (6-string); 49.8mm/1.96" (7-string)
Thickness: ~22mm/.866" @ 1st fret; ~24mm/.944" @ 16th fret
Mounting: stainless steel threaded inserts & bolts with ferrules
Body woods: Alder; Poplar; African Mahogany
Tops: Book matched or single-piece Maple, Walnut, Black Korina, Cherry
Veneer tops: Burls/figured woods on Cherry substrate; Okoume or black-dyed white wood balance veneer
Bodies chambered when top is separate
Hipshot Headless bridge
Hipshot Headless tremolo bridge with Schaller SureClaw spring tension adjuster
Pickups: DiMarzio, Seymour Duncan, Lace, Bare Knuckle
Selector switch: Schaller
Jack: flush-mount side
Chris Buono Gadget Package: 5-way switch with out-of-phase and parallel coil options, volume fader, arcade-style kill switch
Poplar body and laminated neck with Bare Knuckle Black Hawk pickups (alnico neck, ceramic bridge) & Chris Buono Gadget Package. 5 lbs 6.5 oz
Alder body and roasted maple neck with DiMarzio PAF Pro & FRED pickups. 5 lbs 12 oz
Alder body and laminated neck with DiMarzio PAF Pro & FRED pickups. 5lbs 10oz