Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Photos and Another "Lit-up" Video...

Probably should have waited to post all this stuff at once. Oh well. Enjoy...
Here's the second video, too. G'day, Ty!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

JazzBlaster Video

Don and I put the finishing touches on the last JazzBlaster Monday night and boy, is it a beauty. I love the white and chrome. The lights look really sweet on it, too. But as usual, the tone is just so nice. See and hear for yourself...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A landmark event has occurred...

Sort of. Don is finishing up the last JazzBlaster of the first batch. This is number 12, I believe, and is going to a customer in Australia. It'll be the first white one with chrome appointments. The previous white ones have all been fitted with gold hardware. I think the chrome will be nice because the white is showing a nice gray wood grain through the translucent finish. I'll get better pics when it's done, but here are some phone pics for now.

Also Don is finishing up a red CTS V for Collective Soul front man Ed Roland. This will be his second Bell!

The work keeps piling up for D, so it looks like Christmas break will consist of one day. Christmas. Then it's right back to it for Bell Custom Shop workers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jamie Ice Video Interview, Take 2...

OK, so after some constructive criticism from a potential client of ours, I have re-edited the Jamie Ice interview we did last summer. I've separated it into three parts, each part about two minutes or so. I think this is a great representation of our product, so watch them!

part one - The JazzBlaster

part two - The Tone

part three - The Studio

Now, I hope you enjoy them, but no critiquing!


Friday, December 11, 2009

JazzBlaster in GRO's "Come On" Video...

Congratulations to Jamey Ice and Green River Ordinance on the completion of their video for "Come On", which is off of their Billboard Charting debut "Out Of My Hands".

We are very proud to be a part of Jamey's success (albeit a very small part) and I don't think we could find a more deserving guitarist to wield our axe.

The boys are charting #20 currently on the Billboard charts for Adult Pop Song, and are charting elsewhere throughout additional Billboard groupings.

Check out the video here. The JazzBlaster is in all it's glory at about 1:45 or so.

Thank you, Jamey.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Marc Daigle of LIVE 80...

has some pretty strong feelings about his Bell Custom Guitar. See...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Last nights work...

Did some Cloud Clone work on the CAD machine. Cut the body profiles out, cut the neck join, drilled the knob holes, and cut out the control pocket. On the tele models we did some top secret fine tuning for the joining process. I was only there for a few hours, but I think we made some good progress.
Don's still plugging away at repairs. A couple of refinishing jobs and some build-ups, too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back in the saddle.

Had a good vacation weekend away from the shop, but now I need to wedge my way back in there to see what's happening. You all know the drill by now. I'm going to call Don and see if I can make him work on the Tele. I'll let you know how that goes.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Them there repairs...

just keep on coming in. We are blessed to have 'em! However, I'm going to go over to the shop tomorrow night and try to convince Don to work on the Tele model.

Right now he's putting necks on Cloud Clones.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blessings from across the pond...

Check out this testimonial.

Ooh, that smell

Not THAT smell, the smell of old guitars. Check out this '63 custom recently purchased for $15,000. All original. Don's doing a little work on it. The neck is whacky, so the thing won't stay in tune so I didn't play it. I pretended, though.

We also did some work on the Tele. We installed the light posts for all of the bodies last night. Next step is to fuse the bodies.

Damn Yankees won again.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Last night, tonight.

Yeah, Don's a sci-fi buff so I didn't get over to the shop last night. He was checking out the premier of V on ABC. I don't think any dramas are worth watching if they are on network tv. Plus I saw the original in '83. I remember wishing I was watching Night Rider instead.

I did, however, watch Dirk go off for 29 points in the fourth quarter against the Jazz.

So yesterday evenings plans are now tonights', and we will be working on TELE!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Going to the shop tonight to coax Don into working on the Tele shape. He's really busy with repairs, which is great, but I feel like I've got to nag him about staying on top of the Bell product line.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New All Original Shape...

is shaping up. The spec phase is done and the CAD drawing work is underway. We're very exited about the "Tonar" and can't wait for its' debut. The style is sort of retro-modern. That term is coined from descriptions of recent cars that hearken back to the good old days of muscle cars, but offer modern conveniences, too. Like the latest Mustangs, Camaros, Challengers, and my ride, the FJ Cruiser. Check out a spec drawing. A few details are already different in the CAD files we've created so far, but basically the shape will remain the same. It'll be a wood/plexi fusion and I would like to see how it looks with the plexi polished on the front and sides, but left frosted on the back. I tried to emulate that effect on the illustration.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Jamey Ice's Touring Rig

Check out Jamey's rig featuring the Bell Jazzblaster...
Play the movie on the right side of the bell guitar page. Here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New SS models are now available!

And they are nice, too. These feature the wood/plexi fusion, but there are no contours. This cuts down considerably on labor so we can afford to sell them for less than the CTS models. As of now there are the SS-E and SS-V shapes. Check them out on the site right now!

Coming soon we will have SS-T (Tele-shaped) and an original Bell Custom Guitar shape. (Name yet to be determined)

We also plan to make good on that plexi bass promise. The same shape as the Ahu bass, but a full 34" scale length instead of the 32" the Ahu sports. It will be deemed the Moai.

If Murphy and his law stay out of our way, we'll have these protos by spring.

Tell a friend about Bell Guitars, OK? OK!

Monday, October 19, 2009

We Made It!

Man, talk about cutting it close. Don was working on the SS V guitar during the show! My hat's off to D for making it happen. We were able to show three new SS models. Two "E" shapes and one "V". The left handed "V" didn't make it as we were waiting on the left-handed tuners to show and they did not.

Reaction to the new line was good, but we noticed something about the folks who glance at the guitar. They don't see the wood. It seems that unless they had the guitar in their hands inspecting it, they didn't notice the wood. As if the acrylic were painted or something. The beauty of these guitars is that the tone comes from the wood and the low end flub and high end harshness are filtered out by the density of the acrylic. The difference is not just in the materials, but also in the tone. My buddy and key man Maui and I were talking and had the thought that the Bells had piano-like qualities in that regard. Just ask Rocky Athas, Ed Roland or Jamey Ice.

Thanks to everyone who came by and chatted with us and thanks for blowing up our Facebook friend requests!

Now back at the shop it's time to clean, clean, clean, do some repairs, get busy on our first truly original shape, finish my eb0 re-furb, build some cloud clones, and get that Tele model into Brett's hands before Christmas!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday' progress and set backs

Don was working extra hard at the shop last night preparing the SSe and SSv guitars for the show. It seemed that every time he went to use a tool (sander, CNC machine, you name it), there was an issue. So instead of just diligently working on creating guitars, he was adapting tools, cleaning screw threads and overcoming machining roadblocks for the entire 4 hours I was present. I mostly stayed out of the way and cleaned.

So, if all goes well, we'll be painting tomorrow and building on Thursday. Fingers are not crossed, they are working.

Also, don't eat the shop yogurt.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cutting it Close...

The Arlington Guitar Show is this weekend and it looks like the original thought of having five new models to show would be too much to ask. Time, repairs and custom builds tend to suck up a lot of Don's time. But we should at least have two new models ready for viewing at the show. The "SS-V" and the "SS-E".

Above: The CNC machine does Don's bidding and routs out the control panel section for the SS-V.

Ed Roland Jazz Blaster is Complete...

Front-man Ed Roland of Collective Soul will soon be the proud owner of this Bell Custom Guitars JazzBlaster. Notice the stripe that surrounds the body. This was Ed's idea. It provides a more traditional cue without being traditional at all. Hopefully we will see the Bell on stage with Collective Soul soon!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Working Away...

Don's hard at work getting 5 or 6 of the new stock of Bell guitars ready for the Arlington Show in October. We are hoping to have two Vs, two Explorer shapes, and a Jazzblaster. If we have time, the Tele will make it into the mix. All of the parts for 40 guitars are just a few more steps away from being ready for assembly.

The new apparatus for connecting the plexi and wood. With Don's advent of the new body/plex joint, this method is necessary and should provide a seamless joint that's unseen from the outside.

Here's my tiny contribution to all 40 guitars. Machining the light poles that house the LEDs...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Funny GRO video...

Here's a pretty funny look at GRO opening for David Cook in West Virginia. You almost don't notice the Double Bell guitars! Enjoy...

Guitar Show and Collective Soul Collecting...

The big Arlington guitar show is coming up in October and we've got parts sitting around that will make up like 40 guitars, but none complete. So, the focus shifts from refurbs and repairs to the new batch of guitars. As I mentioned before, there will be JazzBlasters, Teles, Explorers and Vs. Each of them sporting some design improvements over the previous batch.

Brett, this means your tele will be in your hands sooner than later! Maybe before Christmas!

About 5 of these are already spoken for, two of which are going to Ed Rolan, the front man of Collective Soul. Ed had his people call Don's people (Don) and arrange a meeting so he could play some Bells and talk to Don about what he wants in a guitar. By the end of the night, Ed chose a JazzBlaster like Jamie Ice's (Green River Ordinance) and a flying V, too.

My Ebo has a thin layer of shop dust on it.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Back to the shop

OK, I'm back from a 2 week vacation and what do I do when I return to the shop?
SAND! This time with water, though. The eb0 is now prepped and ready for paint. Hopefully I will be posting painting process pics next week. It's hard to finish this with just 3 hours at the shop a week, but I have to take what I can get.

While I was gone Don worked on getting his shop's electricity finished up in the spray booth as well as a bunch of acoustic repairs. Now that I'm back , I can urge him to get crackin' on the new Bells and the Tele proto for Brett.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

eb0 headstock and prep / back to the Bells!

Did some painting last night. Sprayed the headstock and then had to scrape away to the inlays underneath. I was quite a calming bit of work. There's something about scraping that lets you tune out the rest of the world as you focus on the job in front of you.

Also did the final 2 coats of clear before the black goes on. Oh, of course there's some sanding to do before we paint it, but that will have to wait until I'm back from vacation.

We have developed a new method for fusing the wood to the acrylic which will create a stronger bond and a much cleaner look. This took developing a vice-like tool for the CNC machine to simulate 3d cutting. Don's a visionary, for sure. So this means we are back to the Bells after a long stint of repair work. There's really no telling when the guitars will be ready, but it'll definately be before the next guitar show. We should be rolling out 4 models. A V, JazzBlaster, Tele, and Explorer. Then development begins on some original shapes of mine in the fall.

Here's the tool created to cut the new fusing system.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Prince Oz Guitar is complete and gone!

Oz came by and picked up the guitar on Tuesday evening. "Wow" was his first word, just as I told Don it would be. He arrived with bandmates Paul D. and Jon, and they were taken aback as well. Everyone played it and talked about the strange size of it (Prince size). Oz could not have been happier and we can't wait to see it live. Prince, come get you one...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Prince, eb0 and the future...

OK. Last night was fun. The Prince Cloud guitar is almost done and it's looking sharp! Waiting on the white 'bucker to arrive. Tick... Tock... Also need to put the truss rod cover on with the Bell logo. The neck pup is cool cause it's installed from below. No need for a mounting plate.

Well, exciting times for the oh, so slow eb0 transformation. Another sanding and coating. This is the second time and it'll require one more round of spraying and sanding before it's ready for paint. This finish should be smooth as glass...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back in the saddle

Alright! I'm going back out to the shop tomorrow to resume a somewhat normal schedule of building the Bells!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thems lots of repairs, there.

The new stock of Bell's (2nd generation Jazzblasters, Vs, and 1st generation Explorers and Teles) are being forced onto the shelf for a little while while Don gets a ton of repairs done. Just look at the pile! Wish I could help out more, but these guitars are generally old, acoustic, and or valuable and I'm impatient and shaky! That one on the ground is one of two shipped over from Austria. It's valued at about $40,000. There's a sticker on the back of the pups that reads "patent applied for". Obviously it needs a neck!

The Cloud Clone is coming along as is the Gibson eb0 refurbishing. Both were sprayed with clear last night in prep for more sanding (of course) and color.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Back to work!

I did some sanding and masking so that after we spray some paint on it I can sand and mask again. Did I mention there's a whole lot of sanding that goes on at the shop? The neck is taped off because I'm not painting it. I don't really like the feel af the painted neck.

Don was working on the Prince Cloud Clone. Getting close!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Man work.

Well, no guitar tales this time. In anticipation of the weather getting super hot, Don and I have completed some overdue tasks. Insulate the attic like a biotch. Finish building out the walls and ceiling in the CAD room. And create new storage spaces above the garage. This has already had a profound effect on the A/C's effectiveness. All of this was done in 3 days and I helped for just one. Now the shop is closer to it's ideal state and the working areas are clear of clutter. Maybe Don will misplace his tools a little less often? Yeah.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tele work and eb 0 progress, too.

Cutting the acrylic out for teles and jazzblasters.

The cloud clone's ebony inlay.

Lightbar holes and pockets for the tele.
Jazzblasters on the left, teles on the right.

I got to use lots of dangerous equipment this weekend and didn't lose a digit or scrap a thing. That's a good day!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

eb 0 report 060309

It's not exciting, but I spent 2 hours hand sanding the eb 0 getting it ready for the sealer. So much sanding. Then I sealed fo the first time. Easy work compared to sanding. Next step is to repair some of the deep wounds with wood filler (there's only 2 tiny parts) then we put the base down for the paint. Oh snap!