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Prince Gold Symbol Guitar
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I remember the first time when I saw this amazing guitar….I just came home and turned the television on to Mtv, when I saw the new Prince Video “Dolphin”, where he was playing this Symbol shaped guitar, So when I started to build my own guitars, I started with this guitar in a Purple metallic version. I sold this one to a guy who lives in Belgium’s Brussels, and he owned a “Hard Rock” type of Cafe, where he was displaying all kinds of celebrity/rock star Items and guitars.

I was happy that I could help him, and good to know that my guitar is shown there, but I really missed the guitar, so in July 2012 I started to rebuild the Prince Symbol guitar, since I found some great parts that I could use for this….
I wanted to make it an even better version that the one I had before since I

know now some different techniques to build them, so this would be a great challenge to see if I can make this beautiful guitar even an closer replica as the original Prince Symbol Guitar.
It all started when I was doing a search on eBay, and by accident I came across a seller how had the golden heart-shaped 3x3 tuners, so from there I started to collect the rest of all the parts needed.

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Neck:
Inlay:
Body:
Fret
Neck:
Middle:
Bridge:
Switch:
Bridge:
Nut:

Custom build neck,
Black symbol and heart inlay
4 piece Ash in a Gold Metallic finish
21 Medium frets
Dimarzio Area T Dp417 Gold Cap
None
Humbucker form hell Black Metal Cover
Standard Les Paul Toggle switch
Gotoh fixed black with Gold saddles
White Plastic

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For me this was the easy part, since I still had the Photoshop templates from the purple version of the symbol guitar, I only had to adjust some of the size and spacing's.
The front and back plate, control cavity plate, bridge and pickup cover are made for a 2 layer black pickguard material.

A Gold acryl mirror pickguard is used for the single coil cover and the truss rod cover, this is the same material that I have used in the other version of the Prince Symbol Guitar.

The edges from each plate was sanded down with a 2000 grid sandpaper, and polished with the Silvo-polisher, all done by hand.
The Bridge shape is routed out from the pickguard bridge ring, so I would had a stable fit on the guitar, by doing this I was sure everything was leveled at the same height and there wound not be any fret buzz later.

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The body is a little bit different that my previous version, there I only used 4 pieces of woof glued together and I routed the lower levels.
At first I wanted to glue another top on it, so I didn’t had to route much from the body, but once I started with the horn of the guitar, I found a new technique to make the horn in a really nice rounded shape, and since this was really looking perfect, I didn’t want to add more wood that that was needed.
Most of the horn shaping was done with a rasp tool and was later sanded to its perfect shape.

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I wanted to have a little radius at the back of the guitar, so once the neck was attached to the body, and I would play this guitar, my hand would not get stuck at the body side.
Once I had the basic shape of the guitar, I started to route the neck pocked so I would have an idea where the radius would start and end.

The neck pocket was routed deep enough so that the fret board would be at the same level as the horn would be, so it looked like there was some sort of extension at the fret board and this would give the guitar a more complete look, like it was made from just one piece.

The heal needed to be screwed since I was using a bold on neck, for this I drilled the holes tied enough so there would be still some space to give the neck heal a more contoured look and feel.

For both front and back pickguard plates I routed a circle on each side, so that later I could fit in the black plates, plus the hole for the electronics.
In Photoshop I designed the heart shape which would be routed behind the bridge and around the guitar like some sort of an reversed binding.

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For this Gold version of the Prince Symbol guitar I had to face a different challenge "the pickups".
For what I know, Prince is using a set of an EMG 81 Humbucker and SA single coil of 90% of his guitars.

So far nothing special about this set, it's available in almost any music store.
Only his SA Single coil had a custom finished cap in Gold and I had no idea where to get one of those.
So I had to come up with a different set, which would look and sound the same as his EMG set.

After doing some research I found a little bit of a strange combination on a website.
The bridge was a Dimarzio Dp156 Humbucker from hell and the single coil was a Dimarzio Area T Dp417 Gold Cap.

For the Humbucker I used a closed black metal cap, and now not only it looks the same, but I also get pretty close to the "Prince - Gold Experience"  guitar sounds, and that is what I was looking for.
The Black cap was added to the Humbucker to cover up the magnetic poll's from the pickup and give it the similar look as the EMG humbucker.

The pickups are controlled by one volume and tone pot and can be selected by a 3-way toggle switch.
Both the volume and tone pot's have a gold knob to finish it up in the same Gold look.
The jack is finished in the same gold finish like any other hardware on the guitar.

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For this guitar I used a peddle headstock neck, so I could shape the headstock in the arrow shape that I needed.
For this I shaped a 8mm thick wood plate and glued it on top of the peddle head, this was needed to shape the contour on the top of the arrow head like the original.
Once I was attached to the peddle head, I started to line up the holes for the heart shaped tuning machines.
To do this, I needed to keep the rasp tool in an one angle up until it had the right shape so that later one I could sand it down to it’s final shape.

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To place the truss rod cover, I needed to route some wood from the added top, so that later when the cover would be added, I would be leveled with the rest of the headstock.
By doing this, I prevent the strings run into the cover plate if it would be to high.
This took me a few good days of work to get me the final shape that I needed, so now I could focus on the remaining wood which needed to be taken away so that the nut would fit in its place.

When I took everything to my painter, I told him what I wanted to do with this project.
A high gloss Gold Sparkle finish with the vinyl markers that I had for him.
The vinyl markers inlay are done with some sticker router on the smallest size possible, and as you can see....they all fit really well within the fret positions.

All he needed to do was taping the frets so that when I would spray paint the neck my frets would remain in there own natural color.
And that I wanted the inlay to be done with these vinyl black markers on both the 12th and 19th fret positions.
Plus I wanted the old style prince symbols at the fret markers position at the side of the fret board.

Everything needed to be clear coated when the stickers where attached, so that later on the won't come of when I would play this guitar.
When he was done, all I had to do was removing the tape which was covering the frets.
And I could start to add the heart shaped tuning machines, cover and nut.

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When I started this guitar project I had no idea in which color I would finish the guitar.
I didn't really want to make another Purple symbol guitar version but more the White or Gold version.

While I was working on some of my 3D models, I also made this guitar in the "sign of the times" Peach finish and that looked really good.
This is a really hard color to paint and over the years there is a chance of discoloration by the sun and that could tune the peach in to pink.

Therefore I told my painter to finish this guitar in the Gold Sparkle high gloss finish.
Since this is for me still the original Symbol guitar color, and it really looks amazing now.
Thanks to Danny from Meubelspuiterij Halfweg.

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One of the things what I really like about this Prince symbol guitar project are the 3x3 heart-shaped tuning machines.
This makes the overall look really complete and a real Prince guitar, and I was really lucky to find those on eBay, really by accident.
There are still a few Prince guitar on my "to-do wish list" like the Cloud guitar, then these will also be added to the headstock.
To keep in mind, if you want to build a symbol guitar and you want to add the same tuners, the staff is somewhat shorter that any standard tuning system, and when you have the contour on the head stock you could face the issue that you don't have the space needed to wind your strings around them, so make sure you have mount them in the correct height and you'll be just fine.

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Every-time when I post the video to my channel, It got removed by the people of YouTube on a claim from Warner Music.
I don't use an music that has any rights to it, but still it got removed.

So sorry that I can't show you the guitar in a video in this section.
I will try to figure out what and where it goes wrong.
 

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The Gold really stands out on this guitar, and I really love the way how it turned out to be.
The strap is an custom hand made gold fabric and black leather ends and looks really cool.
For the strings I use the Elixer 0.09 set, since I wanted a good grip and tone on this because the neck is somewhat thicker to play, still I could get the same playing feel now.
The guitar was build over an little more the 2 years, but it was worth building it.
It’s nice to have this guitar again in my collection, and I don’t think I will sell this one any time soon.

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