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Cragar 50th Anniversary Guitar

The Crager guitar was a really good idea from a friend of ours, Lauren Horman, who we attended Furman University with. Lauren works for the company that owns Cragar Wheels, based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Lauren had called me and asked if I could create a commemorative, 50th-anniversary guitar based on the Cragar SS Hot Rod wheel. Naturally, I said yes, not knowing how I was going to be able to accomplish this. Lauren sent me an actual Cragar car wheel along with some of the other little pieces like valve stems, lug nuts, and the rim cap that had the 50th-anniversary logo on it. I put the guitar body template right beside the Cragar rim in my shop, and walked by it every two weeks or so to get my subconscious going and try to come up with a design that would work. One day it just came to me -- I figured out that the larger body size we have, the SM2, was roughly the same width as most of the wheels. The theme for the 50th anniversary of the Cragar SS wheel was “real American muscle”. To begin the process, I laid the template on top of the actual Cragar wheel and fit in most of the wheel on the backside of the guitar body. Where the edge of the wheel was, I made it look like a waving American flag. I carved all of it out of wood, by hand, and then sanded it to make it look really smooth. I clear coated the guitar with polyurethane clear paint, and then sent this piece down to my buddy in California, where he chrome plated and rhodium plated it. I believe Tiffany’s jewelry uses the same technique with rhodium with many of their pieces because it is very corrosion resistant and looks absolutely beautiful once it’s polished. After having the guitar shipped back, I put it all together and using Aluminum in the Ebony fretboard, I inlaid the Cragar logo with “50th Anniversary”. I used real lug nuts and a real rem cap with the Cragar logo and 50th Anniversary on it. I made the volume knob the actual valve stem of the Cragar SS wheel, which I thought was kind of a cool touch. The waving flag on the side was part of the flag’s stripes with a few stars on it. The whole idea of this project was to have people sign up to win this guitar online because they planned to give it away in a raffle. They had about 26,000 email entries. The crazy thing is they ended up flying me out to the SEMA auto show in October of that year. I played guitar there, and was able to talk to anybody that came up and would give me five minutes to listen. Afterwards, they were able to auction it off online and pick an email for the winner of the guitar. All together, it was just a very fun piece to build.

Cragar Guitar
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