How We Build Guitars
A classic look with a modern touch – named after American muscle cars
From a time when the popular culture was born, where music, fashion and cars were a way of life, our models get their shapes and names. When we look back to how the design and manufacturing looked in the 1950’s and 1960’s, we can see many similarities between cars and guitars, both in shapes and colors. This is a lifestyle that we at SGT DOOM also live by, which reflects onto our instruments.
Strings and string height
A guitar building process always starts with:
- Choice of string gauge
- String height
On a down tuned guitar with thick strings, strings need more space to vibrate freely, unlike a standard tuning guitar and standard string gauges.With this in mind we can influence the neck break angle and customize the guitar based on the customer’s requirements.
Our standard guitar necks are built with one-piece quatersawn C-shaped european maple. Single piece necks generally have better resonance than a laminated wood. A laminated neck becomes very stiff, but we want to maintain a certain amount of flexibility to it. The string tension causes the neck to bend slightly forward, which means that the truss rod must be activated to get the right balance. The neck-through construction provides superior sustain and is the most ergonomic design for the neck joint. European maple differs from American maple in both density and color. European maple is lighter and was used in SGT DOOM guitars with very satisfying results.
When it comes to a high end instrument, the choice of hardware has a huge impact on the overall feeling. Guitars by Sgt Doom are equipped with GOTOH’s 510 Series tuners (and tune-o matic’s), which is as far as we belive, the best series in the market. The 510 Series has a lower gear ratio and this result in a more accurate tuning.
Read more about Gotoh here
Fretboard and 10″-16″ compound radius
A compound radius is a blend of both comfort and playability. A more rounded 10″ radius at the nut contributes comfortable chord playing. Having a more “flat” 16″ radius at the end of the fretboard prevents the strings from touching the higher frets while bending.
Inlay in mother of pearl
Genuine mother of pearl, purchased from FSC certified exotic crafts is our choice for decoration. From rough cut blanks, to block- and diamond-shaped patterns, mother of pearl is a classy way to decorate fretboards and head plates.
As a standard, we use stainless steel jumbo frets from Wagner (9685). Stainless steel is a harder material than nickel/silver which leaves us with a longer lasting fret. Harder material also means less friction.We polish our stainless steel frets to a mirror-like finish.
Scale length is what the strings measure. A longer scale length requires that the strings need to be tensioned more than on a shorter scale length, to achieve the same tuned pitch. A longer scale length intonates better and also it activates the truss rod to work more. We recommend 25.5”, and offer 24,75” as an option.
LMII truss rod
The truss rod is installed in the neck and sits right beneath the fretboard. We at SGT DOOM Guitars went back and forth trying different truss rods to finally stick to the LMII. This 2-way truss rod is simply the best you can get.
Headstock angle and reinforcements
The weakest point of a guitar is where neck and headstock meet. To get the sturdiest construction possible, we glue the headstock on the backside of the actual neck-plank at an angled joint that corresponds to the final 13° angle of the headstock. The headstock is also reinforced with two 1/4″ wooden rods placed beneath the headplate, starting from under the fretboard, passing the nut, through the headstock. This method provides a more distinct tone, tight response and minimizes the risk of breaking. The headstock angle also influences how „stiff“ the guitar feels.
Neck break angle
The Neck break angle is a very important parameter in terms of playability. If the neck angle is too flat, the guitar might not get the desired super low string action. On the other side, if the angle is too large, pickups and bridge need to be mounted in a position high above the body. We’ve spend a lot of time to get the perfect angle to get both super low action and a compact designed guitar.
Honduras mahogany, also called genuine mahogany, is a nice complement for maple necks. It is a well-resonant wood and due to its reasonable weight, it’s the ideal material for body wings. Honduras mahogany has an excellent tone and is easy to work with. The combination maple and mahogany is a winner!
Johan Lundgren produces quality pickups since the 1990s. We want to make sure to have the best pickups available in terms of punch, clarity and string separation. Every SGT DOOM guitar comes with a selected set of Lundgren Pickups, made in Sweden.
Unbleached Bone Nut
Unlike bleached bone nuts this type has a slightly yellowish color.
The bleaching process makes the material fragile while unbleached bones have a natural toughness and an oily feel, which helps the strings to run better through their slot. The material can be polished up to a high gloss surface, which also results in a nice visual experience.
Most manufacturers today are using polyurethane lacquer because it hardens fast. Our instruments are coated with a thin layer of nitro cellulose clear lacquer which makes our instruments feel like made from honest and solid craftsmanship. In addition to that, the cellulose gives a nice feel when played, the lacquer is durable and your instrument will age with dignity.