C Dave Dickens

Making Guitars & Music


I've been building guitars in my spare time for the last 15+ years and learning all the way. Not everything goes to plan, many necks have seen the offcut bin. Every mistake a stepping stone to the next, hopefully improved, instrument. I try to encourage others to try this interesting and challenging hobby/career. During this challenge I will be producing regular videos of my progress on my guitar guitar as well as featuring guitars built by other amateur builders. In 2021 I teamed up with my wife Carolyn who is a fantastic artist to create the Kingfisher guitar. This year, who knows?

The Fire Flower guitar, video and album — Figure 1

This is my third year in this wonderful event. I wanted the full build video to be something a bit special and decided to write a sort of concept album to go along with the video. I think it worked but please go and have a look to see for yourselves. The album is available on Bandcamp (https://thedavemoment.bandcamp.com/album/the-fire-flower>) and 50% of the profits will go to charity.

The Guitar

The project was a collaboration with my wife Carolyn who designed the body shape, tailstop, bridge and headstock and painted flower. It plays beautifully, much better than I expected, both as an acoustic guitar and electric. The single pickup is switched between series and parrallel using the push/pull volume knob. I'm not a big fan of tone controls (never use it) so I didn't fit one.

The decoration

Initially we were going for a Spring theme and so we choose a Magnolia flower as the basis for the artwork. I wanted to have a very bold decoration, its an electric guitar - it had to be LOUD 😎. The idea of the yellows and oranges came about when Carolyn started experimenting painting on the Cherry, the white of a Magnolia petal just didn't cut it. The painting took abut two weeks, the wood was difficult to paint on and Carolyn had to leave the layers to dry before continuing. I was absolutely thrilled with the final result, the colours made the petals look like flames hence the name "The Fire Flower". It sounded cool and gave me inspiration for the music.


I built the guitar using Cherry for the body top, back and ribs. The tailstop, bridge and pickup cover are made from Ovangkol. The fretboard and binding on the neck, body and headstock are Santos Rosewood. The central section of the bridge consists of an Ovangkol centre with aluminium sides holding adjustable string guides that I reclaimed from an old fixed tail bridge. There is a steel plate attached to the underside with two threaded holes for worm screws to adjust the bridge height. The tailstop has an aluminium plate embedded in the underside to give it strength. It is attached to the body using two screws one of which is hidden.

The Fire Flower guitar, video and album — Figure 2

The laminated neck consists of Cherry sides with a Sycamore centre lined with strips of Ovangkol. The petal decoration on the back of the headstock includes Zebrano, Walnut, Cherry and Ovangkol. The truss rod cover is Santos Rosewood with a shell inlay. All the inlays were made from a jar of broken shells I bought from a craft shop. I used miniature unbranded tuners which work really well.

The neck is attached to the body with a single roofing bolt which is recessed into the back.

The Fire Flower guitar, video and album — Figure 3

I love the grain of this Cherry, I purchased it from SL Hardwoods about 6 years ago. The guy in the shop said when you make the guitar send us a photo - I don't think he'll remember but I will email a photo 😊.

Many thanks to Ben and all the team at Crimson and to everyone who took part and all those who took the time to watched our videos. See you next year 👍Cheers Dave