Model 101

A walnut/mahogany Model 101H 7-string with Bare Knuckle Black Hawk pickups.

A walnut/mahogany Model 101H 7-string with Bare Knuckle Black Hawk pickups.

The base model instrument currently available from DOWNES GUITARS is the Model 101, an ergonomically shaped, lightweight headless guitar.  The shape of the Model 101 is designed to be comfortable seated or standing, and be well-balanced in any position.  The lower horn is swept back and contoured for easy access to the upper frets, while the concave shape of the forearm and belly carves enable hours of comfortable playing.

The basic features of the Model 101 include:

  • a DOWNES GUITARS custom headpiece
  • a Stellartone ToneStyler passive tone control
  • a standard volume pot
  • a Hipshot headless bridge
  • 3 single-coil or 2 humbucking pickups
  • a Schaller 3-way or 5-way pickup selector, depending on pickup configuration

Variations on these basic features include:

  • 7-string configuration
  • 6-string baritone configuration
  • the Chris Buono Gadget Package: Schaller Megaswitch M 5-way pickup selector (on humbucking models), push-button pickup selectors (on single-coil models), arcade-style kill switch, and volume fader
  • a JCustom XS II headless tremolo system (for 6-string configurations)

Pickup and tremolo options are indicated in the model number – a standard hard-tail with single coils is called Model 101S, and with humbuckers is Model 101H.  A tremolo model with single coils is called Model 101ST.


A Model 101H with a 7-piece laminated neck

A Model 101H with a 7-piece laminated neck

The neck on the Model 101 includes a top-adjustable two-way truss rod, and carbon fiber reinforcement rods.  Some necks are laminated, while others are made with a single piece of quarter-sawn wood for excellent strength and stability.  Fingerboards also come in a variety of woods, including Indian and Bolivian Rosewood, Bubinga, Grandillo, and Katalox.  Wood fret markers are inlayed in the fingerboard and on the side of the neck.  Jumbo (6100) frets are standard, and currently available in nickel-silver only.

The neck shape is a standard C-shape, and various thicknesses are available (see individual instrument descriptions for details).  Necks are mounted with stainless steel threaded inserts and machine screws, enabling a secure connection that will not wear over time like standard wood screws.

Necks are finished with Danish oil, leaving a smooth, close-to-the-wood feel that is fast and comfortable.


A DOWNES GUITARS 6-string headpiece/string lock

The Model 101 uses the DOWNES GUITARS custom headpiece/string lock.  Manufactured locally, the headpiece is milled from aircraft aluminum, hard anodized in black, and laser etched with the DOWNES GUITARS logo.  Each string is independently locked down with a stainless steel set screw, securing it in place even under heavy tremolo use, and making it easy to swap in a new string in the event of a break.

Coupled with a zero fret, the headpiece offers low action and comfortable string spacing, and can accommodate string thicknesses up to .062 inches in diameter.  The string spacing is equivalent to a Floyd Rose-style R4-sized locking nut (about 6.7mm).  The headpiece is mounted to the neck with machine screws and threaded inserts.  The width of the headpiece, equivalent to nut width, is 43mm (~1 11/16 inches) for the 6-string version, and 49.8mm (~ 1 15/16 inches) for the 7-string version.

Body Finishes

DOWNES GUITARS come with a either a clear glossy finish, or a painted finish, by Patrick Wilkins of Wilkins Guitars.  Patrick does phenomenal work, and we are proud to be working with him.  Clear finishes are a durable two-part polyurethane, which bring out the beauty of both the top and body woods.  Sunburst finishes are also available.