The Never Ending Pipeline: Part 4
by Mike Robinson
We’ve chosen a model to replicate; we’ve flushed out all the decisions necessary to give it a chance of success in the marketplace, now its time to bring it to life.
The first thing we need to formulate is a specification list. Included here are things like body and neck material, scale length, switching, pickups, tuner specs, etc. Also a complete set of detailed photographs of an original vintage model are included. I cases where we are making an exact replica of an original, we include the actual vintage guitar. These are sent to our engineering department and in a couple of weeks we get back a technical drawing. Here is a recent example:
Other details drawing are completed for wiring, neck angle, headstock details, etc. Once the drawings are reviewed and any changes are made, the factory produces two sample guitars for us. This can take another 2-4 weeks.
This is our first chance to get a really good feel for the guitar. How does the neck feel? How well is it balanced? Is the tone living up to our expectations? Perhaps we should try some alternate pickup choices just to be sure? Are there any other cosmetic things we should consider like body, neck and headstock binding?
This is our last chance to make any solid changes before production. We put together a detailed list of changes and checklist that are incorporated into the technical drawings and specifications. If the changes are not materially significant, the guitar is now ready to schedule for production.
Production schedules and quantities are committed to at this time along with colors, options – Bigbsy or not? Case or no case? – and the factory sets out the final timeline. This process can take from 2-6 months, depending where the prototype phase falls relative to the current production schedule.
Once complete, we have one of each new model sent ahead to our photographer, who prepares the hi-res images for the website. Then, as soon as their schedules permit, we enlist the help of some talented people like RJ Ronquillo and Wendell Ferguson to take the guitars for a test drive!
Here is RJ with the Airline ’59 3P:
..and here is Wendell with the Classic 12:
Well, thanks for reading. I hope this has given you some behind the scenes input as to what happens in the life of an Eastwood guitar. So keep those suggestions coming! We love to hear from you.