guitar strewn with paint, the paint splatters
are actually pieces of inlay. Dudley literally
threw paint around on paper until he had
splatters he liked, then cutthe pieces from
ebony. With a curly maple top, fretboard,
and headstock, Paint Spatters is outfitted
with Peter Florance Voodoo ’60s.
This European spruce-topped guitar has
232 pieces of inlay that make up the
intricate pattern of butterflies and flowers
on the fretboard and headstock. Dudley
utilized Gaboon ebony for the fretboard
and English yew for the headstock, along
with mahogany for the neck and back. This
honeyburst-finished instrument is loaded
up with Peter Florance Voodoo ’59s.
While floral themes are certainly common in
traditional inlay, Dudley took ideas from old
kimono silks for Peonies, and laid “
embroidered” peonies in pearl on a bloodwood
fretboard, with the flowers running off the
edge of the board. This particular guitar was
purchased by the Eastman School of Music
for their instrument collection, and is played
by jazz students and faculty for special events
and concerts. For electronics, Peonies has a
WCR Crossroads for the bridge and a WCR
Darkburst for the neck.
The inspiration for Longhorns started with
the cow and cactus inlays from old Gretsch
fretboards and a deceased piano that came
with Dudley’s barn/studio. Since the piano
was too damaged to repair, Dudley “
harvested” the old ivory keys and used the material
for the inlay work. The Longhorn features a
whitewashed, curly maple top, a Bigsby B7,
and WCR pickups with a Crossroads for the
bridge position and a Darkburst for the neck.
Dudley calls the X his “born to be bad”
guitar, and unlike his other instruments,
MODERN BUILDER VAULT
the X is free of extraneous ornaments.
With ebony binding atop an ebony fretboard and ebony headstock, the top, back,
and neck are all mahogany, giving it a
crisp and woody tone. For electronics, this
sleek guitar features American Steele pickups made by WCR in both the neck and
Pricing and availability
Dudley works alone in a 100-year-old
barn/studio on the Eastern Shore of
Maryland, with the occasional student
intern or apprentice, and makes about a
dozen guitars a year, all without CNC.
Though he will consider custom inlay
work, Dudley is more interested in designing something new and around a given
theme, rather than replicating a picture.
Turnaround time for an instrument is currently about 8–12 weeks with prices starting around $3,800, going to $6,500 and
up for the most elaborate designs.
PREMIER GUITAR FEBRUARY 2012 169