Ron Jarzombek Custom Guitars

I am rather selective when it comes to guitars. For me, it's easier to build
a guitar totally from scratch than to buy something off the shelf
and customize it.

These are the 3 guitars that I am currently playing live and on recordings...

Click on guitars

These old guitars (several of them retired) have bodies that are made from
poplar and maple woods. A few of them were built when my left hand was
wasted. I guess you could say that during that time instead of practicing
guitar, I was building them. The necks were taken off of guitars that I came
across at local music stores. I sand the fingerboards off of the necks and
slap on a piece of 1/4" hard maple. Shape it, cut 24 fret slots and hammer
in Jim Dunlop jumbo frets. All guitars have one Seymour Duncan SH6 pickup,
and a Floyd Rose tremolo. The swirl paint jobs were done by laying the
guitar down flat and pouring on different colored paints, then smearing
them around.

This guitar took me about 10 months to build. I built it mainly to be able to
play songs off of "Ink Compatible" live. That never happened.

As you can see the bridges and necks are offset. The reason for this is to
have the whammy bar on the top neck for lead playing (which helps having
the strings closer). If the necks were even, whenever the bottom neck is
played, the wrist would hit the whammy bar, and severely interfere with
playing. So when I play the bottom neck, the whammy bar from the Floyd
Rose is in front of my hand. Notice that the top neck has about 1 1/2'
of wood after the 24th fret which allows for TOTAL access to all frets.

The main holdup building the guitar was figuring out how I was going to get
the thin lines on the circuit board. I tried painting them on with fine brushes,
and it looked awful. I finally thought of using the racing striping tape that
they use on cars. It was very difficult getting the curves cut just right, but
the persistence paid off. I also wasn't sure what colors to paint it, but I
decided on an off-red, to match the gold "Ink Compatible" cover PC board
tape. I also laid out some paste on letters and numbers for the (R) resistors
and (C) capacitors. And the pickups are integrated circuits!

There's not much to say about this guitar, actually. I needed another guitar
for gigging so I put this together and painted it green and white. After I did the
swirl paint job, it was too green so I put a bunch of white dots everywhere.
I should have painted this guitar red, because after I put this guitar together
I then built the doubleneck which should have been the same green
background color as the printed circuit board on the Spastic Ink
"Ink Compatible" CD cover. I ended up painting the doubleneck red so I wouldn't
have two green guitars.


This was my main guitar for about 4 years. It is not the same red, white and
black swirl body that I used during WatchTower's Control And Resistance
days. That one is on the right. Actually, this is the same body that is now
painted to match the 'Ink Complete' CD cover.

This body was traced off of a Jackson/Charvel Strat. I used mostly poplar
wood (versus maple on the old one), so it is a much lighter guitar.

The headstock was signed by Yngwie Malmsteen.

I was sitting in the office of hand specialists Dr. Paul Pace and Dr. Woodward
Coleman at Hand Associates of South Texas (probably my 40th visit or so),
and picked up one of their business cards. I was looking at the drawing of
the hand, turned it upside down and thought "Oooh, that would be cool!"

This guitar is a mirror image of Zeek, the dog on the cover of WatchTower's
"Control And Resistance" album. I could have designed it as is, with the
neck coming out of his ear, but I wanted it to look like he was biting the
neck. So if you play too high, he might just chomp off your fingers. The only
drawback with this guitar is that playing above the 19th fret is very difficult,
because the nose and teeth get in the way. Zeek's tongue was edited out of the design.

I used this purple and yellow swirl guitar for upper fretboard work, when I
need to do some high harmonies or just have better access to higher frets
(namely "Squeakie", "To Counter" and "Mosquito"). I took the neck off of a
short scale bass, threw on a new fingerboard, and cut enough slots for
29 frets. I also had to fill in the 4 holes at the headstock, and redrill
6 smaller holes for the machine heads.

I took the CD cover of "Ink Complete" and cut the graphic in two. I wanted
to get the big ink blot right between the neck and pickup, but then the rest
of the splatters were off the guitar. Where the "Spastic Ink" logo is on the
cover, I cut the sheet and moved the dots to the back of the guitar behind
the bridge. This is the same guitar body that usedto be painted red, white
and black swirl.

WatchTower found out that we would be touring Europe about two months
after we got back from the Control And Resistance recording. We were
informed that we could only take two cases on the flight to Europe.
I needed to take two guitars and some clothes, so I was faced with
3 choices:

1. Take my main guitar (red strat) in one case, clothes in another case,
but have no backup guitar.

2. Take two guitars in two cases and play onstage naked.

3. Come up with something else.

I decided that I didn't like the first two choices. After thinking about
it for a while, I came up with a plan.

I would build a guitar that was so small that it would fit inside the
case of another guitar while the other guitar was still in the case, and
this is what I came up with.

And so I built the thing, made sure it worked, then took it apart.
The body was then fitted into the other guitar case, the neck went
into a giant suitcase along with the whammy bar, pickup, knob, shirts,
stretch pants, socks and underwear. When we arrived in France I put
the guitar together in the hotel, put on my socks and underwear and
was ready to go. The guitar appeared on the front cover of a Dutch
magazine called StageTime. I think the photo was taken from the last
show of the tour in Rotterdam.

P. S. I am wearing underwear in this shot, you just can't see them.

I was just a kid when I saw the picture of Alex Lifeson with his doubleneck
axe on the inside poster from Rush's "Hemispheres" album. He had this cool
expression on his face like "Hey, this is me with my bad axe, check me out".
He knew he was bad, and I knew he was bad. And so there I would be in
history class at school with my teacher talking about the Coachuiltecan
Indians coming to Texas or something, and I was in my desk making
drawings of doublenecks. Little did I know that several years down the road
I would be firing up one of these monsters. I didn't really have a specific
need for two necks on one guitar, be it a 12 string/6 string combination,
different tunings, or whatever. I just wanted a double neck, damnit!

I carefully designed and built this guitar, painting it purple, yellow,
blue, and white swirl. I think I did only one gig with this thing. When I
played it, it nearly killed my shoulder. It was too damn heavy. Plus, when
I played on the bottom neck, my hand kept hitting the whammy bar of the
top neck. The necks were swinging all over the place, hitting everything.
I sadly took it apart and am using the parts on other guitars. The top
neck, which has 29 frets, is on the purple and yellow swirl strat.
he bottom neck is now on the small travel guitar.

P. S. My room was a little messy when I took this picture, sorry about that.

This was a bad idea from the start. WatchTower came up with the title
"Mathematics" for the third record, and I wanted to have a guitar to go
with it. I designed a guitar with numbers all over the place, and built it.
After playing it for a while, I didn't like it. The guitar was supposed
to look like it was made of numbers, but it just looked like I painted
them on. It also looked too tuity fruity.

Appropriately enough, "Mathematics" never happened, and so I took it
apart. The parts from the guitar are either on other guitars or are
floating around somewhere, kind of like the "Mathematics" 4 track tapes
with the new Tower songs!