With the full range of tone that this guitar has to offer, it is suited for a variety of musical styles. The traditional archtop voice is very present, and as usable as the voice from a larger jazz box. The clean tones are lush and beautiful and compliment the sustained chord work found in many pop and rock styles. The bridge pickup adds a certain crystalline edge to the sound is perfect for quick chord chops and fast lead runs.
Played through a clean amplifier, the guitar functions as a versatile rhythm instrument or stands on its own as a lead guitar. Play through a high gain overdrive unit and you have the makings of a fusion machine. Once the sweet spot is found, the volume control can act as a feedback valve. A sustained chord or note can easily be coaxed into a very musical feedback blossom. This instrument delivers a clear voice whether clean or overdriven--accompanied or solo.
The Dragonfly design evolved from my standard electric guitar design that was extended to have more of an acoustic tone. There is a significant neck block for the set neck to glue into which also surrounds the neck pickup. The rest of the body is hollow. The top on the Dragonfly is carved to a rather high arch for its smaller body size. It is graduated slightly thicker than a standard acoustic archtop to add strength and minimize feedback.
The necks are constructed using a two-way adjustable truss with 1/4" graphite tubes flanking the truss rod on either side. I find that the graphite adds stability and stiffness to the neck while minimizing dead spots on the fingerboard. The graphite accomplishes this due to its high velocity of sound as compared to wood, allowing for string vibrations to travel quickly and evenly through the neck. I apply the same acoustic principles to all of my instruments and employ a tap tuning approach to determine the final thickness of the top and back. I also do this to find the perfect match for the fingerboard and neck woods. The carved neck is comparable to a standard round profile archtop neck, making for a comfortable guitar neck that fills your hand and facilitates playing more complex chord shapes.
A bone saddle was inlaid into the bridge to give the guitar the brilliance of an electric guitar coupled with the smoothness of the archtop voice. The bridge design is pivotal to the guitar's function and provides an amazing array of tones not possible with a wooden bridge. With this bridge feature the archtop concept can be realized within the framework of a traditional electric guitar. To compensate for the brighter, punchier bridge tone, the tone control has a lower value capacitor, providing a greater treble cut. With the tone rolled back about 1/3 of the way you are in archtop territory. Now you can push the tone further into the darker, smoky regions.
The electronics for the Dragonfly Supreme consist of a master volume, a master tone, a series parallel blend pot for each pickup, and a pickup selector switch. I chose the Bartolini PBF series pickups for their incredible clarity and high fidelity. These pickups are potted in epoxy which reduces the distortion introduced by minute coil movements and produce a very clean and accurate representation of the guitar's acoustic voice with all of the subtleties and nuances present. The K&K Pure Western system provides a rich acoustic output that works well with or without a preamp.
The materials used for this guitar include Australian Lacewood for the back and sides, Claro Walnut for the top and neck, Brazilian rosewood for the fingerboard, and ebony for the knobs, pickup rings, bridge, and tailpiece. The head plate and tailpiece veneer are Amboyna burl. Bone is used for the saddle and nut. The side dot markers on the top edge of the fingerboard are Pearl shell. The logo is mother of pearl. The tuning keys are the top model Waverly open backed tuners with ebony buttons and veneered with Amboyna burl. The frets are small jumbo size facilitating effortless string bending and easy chord work.
The finish is nitrocellulose lacquer and it is applied very thin and without grain filler for the least effect on the tone of the guitar.