MODERN BUILDER VAULT
Logicaster Fretboard, Neck, and Headstock
TL-T models generally come with jatobá fretboards,
because Dougherty believes jatobá has many of the
same tonal characteristics of rosewood and maple,
but is easier to get and “sturdy as hell. ” This particular
model has a bubinga fretboard. Most TL-T models come
with hard rock maple necks. He devised an angled,
under-side mount headstock that has a beefy volute to
provide greater strength to this vulnerable area.
Black Mesa’s TorsionLogic neck joint.
On standard TL-T models, Dougherty uses various
handwound Sheptone pickups. Because of the
extended 24-fret neck and deep cutaways, he had to
adjust the usual pickup placement on both models.
In a short essay on Black Mesa’s website, Dougherty
describes his theory behind pickup location as “If you
envision a vibrating string as a sine wave, it is easy
to see that while a node, that is, a place where there
is little or no string excursion, is indeed a precise
point, an anti-node can be seen as more of a zone.
A pickup located almost anywhere in that anti-nodal
zone will be sufficiently excited to produce a usable
signal. Naturally, the output will diminish proportion-
ally to the pickup’s distance from the node, but you
really have quite a large area in which to locate a
pickup, especially at the neck position.”
Of course it all boils down to a very simple ques-
tion—does it sound good? And Dougherty stands
firmly behind the tone of the Logicasters and their
alternative pickup positions.
Black Mesa’s Logicaster base models start at around
$1400, which includes a setup of the sapele body,
jatobá fretboard, and pickups. You can customize some
options on the Logicasters, but Dougherty prefers
keeping the models somewhat standard to keep them
affordable. For more hands-on buyers, Black Mesa
Signature models are completely custom—down to
placement of controls. Dougherty currently has a very
limited amount of semi-finished and ready-to-play models, but mostly works on a build-to-order format.
PREMIER GUITAR JUNE 2010 187