1. Why are your guitars so ugly?
- They're not for everyone. Neither is Pantera, Hawaiian pizza, or gardening. I only like 2 of those 3 things, BTW. I'm always open to constructive feedback and alternative guitar designs. Tell me about it if you want to.
2. Who produces your parts?
- 100% of what you see on this website is conceived of, designed, developed and produced by yours truly, cases included. It's pretty amazing what you can do with a CNC machine and an unhealthy obsession.
3. What's with all the 3D models? Why don't you have photos of actual guitars?
- I just launched the brand. In fact, I haven't even done that yet at the time of this writing.
- My runway is getting perilously short (I'm running out of money) and I have no choice but to launch the products, even if I've only produced a handful of production models to date. Certainly not my preferred approach.
- I have 5 body models, 3 contour options per model, a component shelf option for each series, 3 different pickup configurations, 4 different neck scale lengths, 4 different bridges, 3 different headstocks, and on and on and on. I'm no statistician, but I think the available permutations just for physical options probably exceeds 10,000. Add wood selection and finish colors to that and it probably breaks 100,000. But here's the cool part - despite the fact that it took far longer to reach that point than I wanted, I have G-Code (see below) and production processes nailed for 100% of those permutations. I can produce ANY of them at any time. This is the benefit of modular guitar parts and using a software development methodology to produce them. So rather than spending my time building complete guitars and having many more to show for my efforts at this point, I've instead spent my time developing a production system that would make me infinitely more prolific in the future.
4. If you've only primarily produced prototypes, why should I have any faith that you know what you're doing?
- Prototypes are guitars too, guys. They're just not always fully finished because that's not the goal. Unless this post is your first exposure to my brand, you know I had a whole pile of tricky things to figure out. That requires a lot of failure and therefore a lot of prototypes.
- In addition, all TEN32 parts are universally modular. This means every neck I make is compatible with every body I make, and every headstock I make is compatible with every neck I make. Think about how much easier that makes my production processes. Other builders typically have a neck design dedicated to a body design across their entire product line. I have much less to maintain, even though I can offer far more.
- Not only are my guitars modular, but so are the underlying digital and procedural assets I use to produce them. My entire process from initial design to production is 100% standardized. Front to back process standardization means any surprises I run into and solve for one part are also solved for subsequent parts because I'm fixing the process used to produce the part, not just the part itself. Using a non-standardized process would result in different issues for each different product variant, which is exponentially more time consuming.
- I mentioned "procedural assets" above...what's that? It means the general processes I use to produce a guitar neck/body/headstock/case are essentially the same processes I use to produce every other neck/body/headstock/case. This means lessons I learn from producing say, a case, also apply to necks, bodies, and headstocks. The entire process is constantly feeding back into itself, improving ALL parts across the board, even when I'm only working on ONE specific type of part.
- Add all this up, what do you get? Given enough time to let the process work it's magic, it becomes possible for a single individual (that'd be me) to produce a large volume of high quality parts. Production has to be mind-numbingly logical - optimized right down to its foundations, or my entire business model falls apart, so I had no choice but to take the time it required to make that a reality.
5. What's a component shelf?
- Strat-style Blade switches are quite tall and require full body thickness and a rather large flat mounting surface. This eliminates most contour options. on the top of the body. Les Paul style toggle switches are much shorter , have a much smaller footprint, and are therefore compatible with nearly all contour options. The only example I know of where a 5 way switch works on a carved top is the Ibanez S series, but that requires a rather unattractive chunk of plastic attached to the top of the body, and since a blade switch can only mount on a flat surface, they have to machine the electronics cavity with a contour that matches the one on the front. As stated above, my business model relies heavily on standardization, so stuff like this becomes burdensome to maintain across 5 models rather quickly.
6. What's G-Code?
- G-Code is a series of coordinates in 3 or more dimensions, and in sequence (and a bunch of other stuff) that tells a CNC machine exactly how to move to remove material and ultimately produce parts. Think of it this way - if you digitized the brain of the guy who did hand-carved tops for Gibson before CNC was invented and then imported his digitized brain into another person, that person could then produce beautiful carved tops just like the original guy did. G-Code is the digitized brain, the only difference is, I use computers and robots to achieve this.
7. What's a multi-color finish?
- Depending on whether you select a 1, 2, or 3 series model, you have a variety of different contours in play. For example, an EN1 is a flat top but does still have a forearm contour, so the flattop could be one color, while the forearm contour is another. The most extreme example is the 3 series, which has a flat top section, lateral contours, main contours, and a border contour. A multicolor finish means each of these contour sections can be a different color. You can also have a different sheen or texture on each section, so if you order an EN1 you could make the forearm contour textured to avoid the part of the body your skin comes into contact with getting sticky when you sweat, but still have a smooth finish on the rest of the top for a more familiar look & feel. Here are some example renderings:
8. I don't see any photos of cases for the HT, HSV, or LT series...where are those?
They're on the way. I tend to try to make the first version of whatever part I'm working on 100% perfect before I split it off into other variations, so I can take everything I learned from the first part and apply it to the subsequent part(s). This speeds up development considerably. As mentioned in a couple of other places, LT and HSV bodies are too large to meet TSA carryon requirements, so their cases aren't quite as useful as EN, HT, and CG series cases.
9. What are the drawbacks of universally modular guitar parts?
Fewer than you'd expect, and certainly fewer than I expected when I decided to try it. To me this is about putting in the time during the design phase. These problems can be solved if you throw enough hours at them.
The worst offender - the placement of the output jack can be problematic from model to model, which has resulted in the current situation where you have to use a 90 degree cable, unless you've also got the the optional wireless transmitter cavity. It enables the use of a standard cable, but its still a bit of a pain to remove the cable in that setup. This is one I need to throw more hours at.
So far I've stubbornly stuck to modular cavity covers, which limits component placement but I'm pretty sure I would be the only person on Earth that would care if my freakin' cavity covers aren't modular, so technically this is a limitation but its not one in reality. The real issue is the fact that top contours limit component placement and complicate rear cavity design for certain components, but that's not caused by modularity.
Neck heel shapes can be a problem, since the perimeter of the body where it meets the neck has to be the same from model to model to make a modular neck work, but so far this only applies to the HSV. Due to its linear perimeter design, the HSV uses a different shaped neck heel than the other models, so technically HSV necks aren't compatible with other models and vice versa, but they're still 100% functional no matter what model you bolt up to.
Nut height can be an issue when switching from standard to locking. Some locking nuts have taller floors than others, but they can be sanded down relatively easily if necessary, or just stick to Gotoh locking nuts which are what I use. Nuts that are too short are easily remedied with brass shims. The ones that come with most locking nuts will also work with TEN32 standard nuts.
When I start building 7 and 8 string models, obviously 7/8 parts wont be compatible with 6 string parts.
A single neck pocket depth that works with multiple bridge types is a bit of a tricky subject but this is another thing I took care of in the design process via varying bridge cavity depths depending on the bridge type, so not a limitation for the purchaser.
10. What's a "T-rod equipped truss rod"?
A T-rod is a small addition to the headstock end of the truss rod that places the tension in the rod to a stronger part of the neck than a typical truss rod would. It makes the truss rod look like a "T". This enables me to machine thinner necks without risking the rod popping out the neck profile when pulling up-bow out of a neck with heavier strings. Here's a link to some video where you can see what I'm talking about.
11. How much weight does all this bolt on-headstock hardware add?
Here's the breakdown:
Brass washer - 6.1g
Primary Headstock Bolt - 5.8g
3x Headstock Plate Bolts - 5.0g
Aluminum Headstock Plate - 8.9g
Internal Pieces in the end of the neck and headstock - 5.2g
TOTAL = 31g or 1.09 oz
Other things that weight about an ounce include a pencil, 6 sheets of paper, a CD, 1x AA battery.
If you wouldn't be concerned about how attaching a CD to your headstock affects your guitar's balance or overall weight, then I suppose there's no reason to be concerned about the added weight of the bolt-on headstock hardware either.
12. How much does each model weigh?
Obviously this is dependent on lumber and hardware selections, but in general TEN32 guitars weigh under 8 lbs. More specifically:
Black HSV - Alder Body, Wenge Neck, Maple fingerboard - 8 lbs even
This is a large body, and wenge's average dried weight is 54.2 lbs/ft cubed vs 44 for maple.
Blue HT3 - Alder Body, Paduak Neck, Maple Fingerboard - 7.76 lbs
Paduak is a similar weight to Maple (47 vs 44)
13. What standard cases work with each model?
This is a great question, and the underlying issue is as follows - after arriving at your destination then assembling and stringing up a TEN32 Guitar, if you're travelling for business or on vacation, you simply leave the guitar assembled and in your hotel room, but if you're leaving the hotel and wish to bring the guitar along with you, obviously you wont want to disassemble it again! This means you'll need a secondary case.
This problem bugs the sh*t out of me because I don't believe there's an engineering solution. The best solution IMO is to bring along a gig bag, one that's light enough to be rolled up and stuffed into some other piece of luggage you'll be travelling with. Remove the tools you'll need from the TEN32 case, throw them in the gig bag along with your guitar and you're ready to travel locally.
Since the TEN32 case is primarily designed to make air travel easier, you may be interested in a hard shell case for transport around your local area. Here's how each model breaks down:
- The EN and CG series are the most problematic. The horns are offset more than a typical doublecut so most standard cases unfortunately don't work. I'm working on an buying "empty" cases and filling them with my own foam inserts, but for now gig bags are the best option for the EN and CG series.
- The HT series is least problematic. The width and height of the body are nearly identical to a Les Paul, so any LP case should work just fine.
- The LT series body is actually smaller than a typical explorer, so any case designed for an explorer should work fine.
- The HSV series is also slightly smaller than a typical Vee, so you should be good to go with an case designed for a Vee.