A one-man operation building approximately 10 guitars per year and winding his own pickups.
Knowing that her father dug artwork and crafts, making furniture, playing guitar, and had a keen interest in electronics, Michael De Luca’s eldest daughter thought a book on building electric guitars would make a great gift for his 50th birthday. A great gift indeed—De Luca read the book from front to back several times that same week. “Each time I read it, I understood more and more, and I remember being totally magnetized by the prospect of actually making a guitar from scratch,” says De Luca.
Hooked and “totally possessed” by the idea of building a guitar, De Luca further researched the craft through various internet sites and many other books. “I spent at least eight to nine hours per day from the moment I was home from work until the early hours of the morning, seven days a week, over a period of about six months researching and honing my skills,” he says. In this ramp-up time, he made guitar bodies and necks from scrap wood until he felt he was ready to take on building a guitar from “proper wood.”
Today, six years later, De Luca builds both custom and standard-model guitars as a one-man operation under the moniker DELM Guitars. The company name was derived from the first letter of the first name of his two daughters, his wife, and himself. In fact, all his model names have reference to someone of great meaning in his life. “If it weren’t for my eldest daughter giving me a book on guitar making and my youngest daughter later enrolling me in the Guild of American Luthiers, I would never have discovered the immense passion and satisfaction that creating musical instruments would bring into my life,” shares the now-established builder.
When it comes to wood choices for his instruments, De Luca chooses what’s appropriate case by case, but it must be stable, fit for the purpose, properly seasoned, and free of any structural defects. He usually goes with mahogany for the bodies, but has utilized Huon pine, Tasmanian and Australian blackwoods, and New Zealand rimu with “great results,” as well some of the other traditional body woods. For fretboards, De Luca favors ebony by far over most rosewoods because of ebony’s durability, density, and the rigidity it can add to the neck.
Certainly not a defining trait of most luthiers, De Luca winds his own pickups. “When I built the first guitar for my eldest daughter, I purchased a set of humbuckers for the guitar, and after a few weeks, I couldn’t resist the temptation of taking one of them out of the guitar and dissembling it to see how it was made, and how it works,” De Luca recalls. Again coupling his curiosity with research (and his background in electrical engineering), he built his own coil-winding machine. Though the first few months of tweaks and experimenting were difficult, De Luca eventually ended up with a machine he was happy with. He then started documenting his tone tests with a guitar he says has now been re-wired hundreds of times. “I am fortunate to have had many musicians test and critique my pickups, and with their suggestions, I’ve been able to finally produce pickups and wiring configurations for a diverse range of tone options,” he says. “Tone is a subjective topic, because what sounds great to one person may not be quite the same for another.”
De Luca doesn’t have a model that he considers his signature, but notes that his chambered-body PCP model was the very first guitar he designed from scratch. It’s the guitar that gained popularity almost immediately amongst players—becoming the workhorse for the development of proceeding designs. As for what continually drives his work, De Luca conveys that it’s actually the process itself. “Boutique builders put their heart and soul in each instrument they build. For me to create a guitar that inspires people to strive for perfection in expressing their passion and soul through music is my inspiration.”
De Luca’s standard 17.5" LD-56 archtop with a venetian cutaway features AAA-rated European curly maple for the back and sides, and AAA-rated European spruce for its top. De Luca also uses European curly maple for the set neck, which is capped with a Madagascar ebony fretboard and a bone nut. This 25"-scale jazz box is outfitted with a Benedetto mini humbucker in the neck position, and other appointments include a handcarved ebony tailpiece and mother-of-pearl and abalone inlay.
The ED-87 is a 16.5" double-cutaway hollowbody that gives a nod to Gibson’s ES-335. Mahogany is the predominant wood on the ED-87, used for the neck, top, body core, and full-length center block. Lacquer finished in a gorgeously deep black, other appointments of the ED-87 include a Bigsby B70, Grover Super Rotomatic tuners, and mother-of-pearl and abalone inlay work. For electronics, this black beauty is loaded up with a pair of De Luca’s DELM D50J humbuckers.
The double-cutaway, chambered-body PCP-R has a body core and set neck constructed of mahogany, with New Zealand rimu serving as the topwood and Madagascar rosewood for the fretboard. The 24.75"-scale PCP is the first guitar design/style De Luca conceived and built from scratch. This particular version is outfitted with Gotoh keystone tuners, a Gotoh aluminum stop tailpiece, and a set of De Luca’s DELM D50B humbuckers.
Highly figured, flame maple finished in Atlantis-blend tops the chambered, mahogany body of this 24.75"-scale double-cutaway. It’s outfitted with a solid-walnut set neck that’s crowned with a headstock dressed in blackwood, and the fretboard is carved from Madagascar rosewood and has a bone nut. The gold hardware appointments include a Bigsby B50 and Gotoh keystone tuners, and to deliver its sound, the NC-11A is loaded with a pair of DELM D90 single-coils that are topped with curly maple covers.
The DD-89 is De Luca’s take on a Les Paul-style axe, with its body, top, and set neck all fashioned from mahogany. Going with rosewood for the fretboard, this classic-looking guitar’s chrome hardware appointments include a Schaller bridge and tailpiece, and Gotoh keystone tuners. And for pickups, the DD-89 rocks a pair of De Luca’s D50B humbuckers.
This solidbody finished in rapid yellow would look fast even without the pinstripes. The 25.5"-scale NC11-TD has a 3-piece, laminated-maple set neck that’s topped with an ebony fretboard and black-horn nut, and the mahogany, double-cutaway body houses a trio of De Luca’s DELM 100S single-coils. Other appointments for this Strat-style include the Gotoh traditional tremolo, Gotoh mini tuning machines, and pearloid pickguard.
Pricing and Availability
DELM is currently a one-man operation that builds approximately 10 guitars per year; however, De Luca says demand is increasing so he may expand his workshop. The wait time for standard models is approximately three months, while the wait for a custom build falls between four and six months. De Luca’s guitars range from $3,300 to $8,100 (U.S.), depending on model, custom design, materials, and inlay work. De Luca accepts direct orders for both custom and standard models, but encourages players outside Australia and New Zealand to make initial contact through his dealer, destroyallguitars. com. Players in Australia or New Zealand can place orders through his dealer in Melbourne at ghmusic.com.au.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Looking for a compact, “noiseless” way to plug in and play guitar? Check out the brand-new Gibson Digital Amp, available only in the Gibson App.
The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
Use the Gibson Digital Amp’s jamming guide to get started and transform your sound with built-in effects and pedals, jam to backing tracks, or use it in lessons and songs. The Gibson Digital Amp only requires your phone, and wired headphones for the best playing experience, no cables are needed. The amp features 3 acoustic mic presets, 4 electric amp presets, and 6 effects pedals.
The Gibson Digital Amp is the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediates and pros.
The Gibson App uses a unique two-way, interactive platform to teach guitar students how to do everything from playing their first note to shredding loads of songs. The Gibson App features interactive lessons with thousands of lessons and songs. Learn the songs step-by-step with video tutorials from superstar artists and pro guitarists in the “Gibson App Guide.” The Gibson App also includes the new Digital Amp, a built-in tuner, a metronome, Gibson TV, and new songs are added every week. New Gibson App Guides are added regularly and include Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer’s favorite iconic KISS guitar solos, Richie Faulkner’s (Judas Priest) “Guide to Metal,” Jared James Nichols’ “Guide to Blues,” CELISSE’s “Guide to Songwriting,” and more.
The Gibson App uses “audio augmented reality” to provide dynamic feedback to students as they learn and play. As you pluck a note or strum a chord, the Gibson App listens to your guitar and gives you real-time feedback on your playing. It also gives students a more contextual learning experience: Instead of learning chords and scales in a vacuum, you’re able to practice on a scrolling tablature that lets you hear how you sound with the backing of a virtual band. That means you can load up “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “American Girl" by Tom Petty, “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, “Where is My Mind" by Pixies, “Country Roads” by John Denver, “I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, “Heaven” by Kane Brown, “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran, “Killer Queen” by Queen,“ Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, and “Don't Look Back In Anger” by Oasis and hundreds more songs in a wide range of genres, to see how your play matches up with such seminal tracks.
As you’re playing, the Gibson App gives you feedback on timing and tone, ensuring that students are getting active input on how their play is developing. The Gibson App appeals to players of all levels, it’s not just for beginners looking to learn a few chords; the app can assist seasoned guitarists who are working their way through difficult riffs, want to learn their favorite songs, or polish their advanced techniques.
Players can also challenge themselves by speeding up or slowing the tabs. Like having a full-time guitar teacher, the Gibson App keeps track of all your progress and adjusts lesson plans accordingly. The Gibson App released a “backing track mode” which supports both lesson and song playback without headphones, so users can self-select what works best for their current environment. And that’s not all: the Gibson App also packs in a fully-featured digital tuner for guitar first-timers, there’s even a detailed lesson on how to tune your instrument, a multi-function metronome, players can connect to free one-on-one consultations with Gibson’s Virtual Guitar Tech team, and to direct links to the Gibson, Epiphone, and Kramer online stores for easy shopping for guitars, gear, apparel, and accessories.
Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
Belltone Guitars, as part of their Custom-Select System curated offering of pickups, has partnered McNelly pickups to create a one-of-a-kind retro-vibe P-90 pickup in the standard Filtertron size format. This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl, and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
The McNelly P-90 Foil-Coil comes housed in a ‘raw’ nickel outer casing with a dull nickel foil face with metal mount screw gromets to complete the ‘new-vintage’ aesthetic, making it a perfect choice for your signature Belltone custom build. Available exclusively through Belltone Guitars.
Check out the Custom-Select System belltoneguitars.com to preview the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons and all our standard and selectable components available to create your own signature Belltone. Then visit the Dream Lab on our website and select either model B-Classic ONE with its top binding or B-Classic TWO with its arm and body contours select your body color from our wide range of offerings, select your neck profile of either standard ‘C’ or thicker ’59 Round Back and either Maple or Rosewood fingerboard followed by your tuners, pickguard, and strings. Finally, review our curated custom-designed, and unique pickup selection to locate the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons to complete your signature build.
Builds start at just over $2,300.00 with a custom case and shipping included.
For more information, please visit belltoneguitars.com.
McNelly P 90 Foil Tron video Sep27
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.