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HNGD: Prototype from New Dawn Guitars (absurdly long post w/highly redundant photos)


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You may remember this axe, we witnessed its birth (http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=2510799).



I was smitten then, and when it popped up on CL I had to check it out.



Got to meet Ken Currie (aka Rose Pickups) for the first time, which was great; had been looking forward to that for a while. Cool to get his perspective on building a business in the world of gear; really impressed with the path he's forging. Got to see his pup winding set-up, too - very nice!



Anyway, Ken was selling off the first of the New Dawn prototypes; we'll call them Greenie, Creamie, and Woodie (see birth thread for more info and photos). Somebody had picked up Creamie earlier, the remaining two beckoned. Truth be told, I had eyes only for Greenie. The look totally slays me, I'm helpless before it.



Ken sensed that I was in trouble, and to his credit he pointed out the many (many) imperfections of Greenie. The factory made loads of mistakes, mostly in the domain of fit and finish, and most of them are immediately obvious to the experienced eye. They'd piss off many guitarists, I'm sure, not just perfectionists. But for me this stuff is in the noise. I love the overall look. The fundamentals are rock solid (with one exception...). The neck feels great; thinner than my ideal but pretty close, and very fast (they got that part of the finish exactly right). The pups are complex yet articulate. Warts and all, that axe had to come home with me.



OK, enough blather - you're here for the pron, let's bring it on!



Here are some images from Ken, as posted to the birth thread:












24.75" scale, 2 piece mahogany body.



By the time the guitar hit CL several mods had been made: "Korean pickups" were replaced with Rose Hybrid Tea pickups (43 AWG heavy formvar coated wire hand-wound with Alcino V longbar magnet); lower knobs were replaced with switches for coil-tapping; upper knobs (master vol, master tone) were replaced with speed knobs; and mini-pots had been installed.



Here's the guitar I brought home:
















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As you may have guessed from that last photo, I had plans for Greenie...



The pups are very bright, and that made it tricky to dial in balanced sounds, take advantage of the coil tapping, and prevent dirt from becoming spikey or fizzy. So I wanted to tame them a bit, without muzzling them.



A big part of the solution was to establish separate controls for each of the pups. Each switch was replaced with a push/pull pot (full-sized, 500K, 0.047 ceramic caps) for tone control and coil-tapping of a pup; and each knob was re-wired (full-sized pots, 300K bridge and 500K neck) for volume control of a pup.



On Ken's advice, I also installed a bridge with greater mass.



Pup height adjustments helped a bit, too. Tried heavier strings (came with 10s, tried 11s), but in the end actually went with 9s.



I'm super happy with the final outcome. The overall sound remains bright, but it can be shaped with a lot of precision now, and the variety of usable tones is truly amazing. Bridge HB thickened with neck SC: a little slice of heaven!



Alright, back to the pix. Here's Greenie today:






















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As you can probably tell, I'm still very much in the honeymoon stage with this axe!



I've got it looking and sounding the way I like it, and the feel is there too. I've cleaned up some of the fit and finish flaws, and could clean up some more, but most are beyond my abilities, and they're actually growing on me anyway - they're becoming essential features of Greenie's character.



The one thing that stands out as a potential problem is lack of neck stability. The neck wasn't sunk into the body deep enough, and as a result the joint is as flexible as any I've ever seen. But even that is growing on me; who needs a trem when a little shake or bend of the neck will do?!



We'll see what happens after the honeymoon, but in the meantime I'm enjoying the ride!



Thanks for celebrating with me! :wave:

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Thanks to all, and especially to Ken - we're rooting hard for New Dawn, man, your talents and vision have an eager audience, here's hoping the manufacturing piece falls into place and New Dawn takes the gear world by storm! :thu:

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Thanks to all, and especially to Ken - we're rooting hard for New Dawn, man, your talents and vision have an eager audience, here's hoping the manufacturing piece falls into place and New Dawn takes the gear world by storm!




Ken is a great dude and deserves to be noticed for what he does...

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Yeah, poor neck stability is the one thing I'd fix now, but that's beyond my abilities. But I can live with it.


In fact, it's already helping me improve my playing technique. Turns out that I put my whole body into power chords, which isn't good for speed and posture; I go that route with Greenie and it warbles like a duckling in oil. So now I'm working on that (mostly a hand- and arm-strength issue) and the benefits will be long-term and transferable to other axes.


And as I said, warbling can be fun, too, just depends on the context. I'd prefer more stability for easier control, but I'll just learn better control and also pick up a different axe as context demands. No shortage of axes here. :facepalm:


So it's an issue, but not a biggie for my purposes.


I should note that Ken recognized the problem right away, and subsequent prototypes don't have neck stability issues. He also pointed it out for me in running down the flaws of Greenie, so I was well aware of it when I made the purchase. Definitely a class act! :thu:

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A beauty!


I did like the silver knobs on one of the stock pics, and that set neck thing sounds like it will only get worse. Might be better to get that fixed now before it turns into a bigger problem that is even harder to fix.


Still though, a great looking guitar!

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