Geert's 7 string ASAD Custom with MIDI.
Geert and I go back many years to the time we met at a show in Rotterdam where I was on a stand with my Benelux distributors and he was demonstrating for Randall amps and a maker of pointy guitars! We became friends and I made him an ASAD Custom some time afterwards. Last year he asked me to make him a 7 string version and this is it.
So we have an ASAD body which we scaled up 20% to cope with the extra string and also to alter the proportions to suit his body size! Body core is mahogany with a bookmatched top of finest quilted maple, deeply hand carved. The neck is made from one piece of superbly flamed maple with a compound radius, ebony fingerboard featuring Geert designed custom inlays that took ages to cut and fit by hand - I don't have a computer controlled router! There is a truss rod and two pieces of carbon fibre to counteract the extra tension of the 7 strings. Schaller bottom locking M6 tuners are fitted. The trem is a Floyd Rose 7 strings that had to me machined by me to fit the 7 piezo saddles from Graphtech that provide the signal for the MIDI and 'acoustic' output.
The circuitry is complex! You have two sets of output - the magnetic from the Seymour Duncan SH-2 and SH-4 7 string humbuckers and the piezo from the Graphtech saddles. Internally there are two pcbs from the Ghost system by Graphtech, one to make the MIDI output and the other to create the 'acoustic'/magnetic mix. Also the pure magnetic signal has to come out. We end up with three
rotary controls, one of them stacked, and three mini switches. This gets complex! We have a mag volume and a 5 way rotary selector switch which would be normal on an ASAD. Then the stacked pot which is MIDI volume and acoustic volume. One three way mini switch gives acoustic/both/magnetic output. the next allows Geert to switch the program up or down on his MIDI controller and finally another three way that give MIDI/both/guitar outputs. Naturally this set up requires a battery on-board.
Still with me? So if you have a pilot's licence you are probably able to manage the controls. But how does it play? Actually rather nicely as you would expect from an ASAD with a quick neck and nice balance thanks to the larger body. Magnetically it is a great 7 string with the low B adding depth. The sounds are as expected from the Seymour Duncan pickups and it sustains away. The 'acoustic' sound is just that. It is almost impossible to get a convincing acoustic sound from a solid body instrument but the Ghost system does a fairly good job and would convince live audiences. Midi? Well it is up to you and your MIDI controller. The tracking is very good and if you are able to adjust your playing style to suit the MIDI instrument you select it works really well. You also have all the combination possibilities.
A word about the sockets. You have a 13pin DIN for the MIDI, a stereo output for magnetic and acoustic and a true magnetic bypass where the magnetic signal does not go through any of the active circuitry.
The finish is in high gloss AC lacquer and Geert himself did the Blackburst staining on a visit to the workshop.
One of the most complex and challenging guitars I have ever made and very satisfying when it all worked! I won't tell anybody about your trick with the amps at Rotterdam Geert!