Broken Elm was a beautiful guitar. All my guitars are beautiful in their own way, but this was the first one that I would just admire for a while. Ever since I sold it in early 2020, my wife has said that she misses this one.

The top was made from a broken piece of Elm, hence the name. It wasn’t recycled, but it also wasn’t forested. A guy up in Masterton had the tree felled on his property and the timber was milled. My gain! Elm is such a beautiful wood. I filled in the gaps where it was broken with epoxy resin The back of the body was made from rimu that was part of an old wardrobe. The neck was made from tawa (I don’t actually know the origin of it, but I think it had been previously used for something) and rosewood. There was a story behind the rosewood. In an apparent effort to get around export or import restrictions on rosewood, many years ago some bright spark had used rosewood to build a shipping crate for other goods as a way of getting it into New Zealand.

There were 22 stainless steel frets on this, which a 25.5 inch scale and a part of Wilkinson P-90 pickups. I had never played a guitar with P-90s before, and I absolutely loved these. After playing just a couple of notes I stopped and thought “this is the best sounding guitar I’ve ever played!” I also discovered – and loved – using Wilkinson hardware, in the form of the short Tele bridge and locking tuners.

Want to see how I made it?