All of our AXN™ Guitars are packed full of small details that when you add them up define our guitars as simply the best guitars you can buy today

Unlike the name brands our AXN™ Guitars are hand made from the finest tone-woods purchased from local suppliers. We choose the best cuts of these materials and utilize excellent metal hardware. In this way every AXN™ Guitar is disproportionately unique and very different from production line instruments. 

Nearly all new guitars sold today are made of very poor quality woods sandwiched in between a nice looking paint job. Buying a name brand guitar today is sort of like buying a creme puff filled with horse manure.

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That said, the BIG TWO guitar brands are very aware of the secrets to making great guitars. They set the standard for great instruments many decades ago. Its all very sad when you recall that vintage 1950s and 1960s instruments from these once innovative brands hold legendary status with guitars players and luthiers. Ironically the 1950s and 1960s Strats and Les Pauls contain within them all the secrets to a great guitar tone. Yet either out of corporate profiteering, ill-disposed intentions or bad management, the Big Two brands today offer mostly sub-par instruments made in third world countries.

Discussed in this article are 10 tone secrets. We have discovered some of these by trial and error. Some are details well known. Many of these secrets have been talked about more recently in the last decade or more. Therefore we have found that the superior tone associated with superior instruments is NOT such a secret at all.

Ten Tone Secrets | AXN™ Guitars Manufactured by Hand in The United States Of America

The best guitar tone has to do with a certain direction the lumber is cut from logs. Equally important is the dryness of the timber. How the guitars finish, or lack thereof, interacts with the specific wood type after manufacturing can suppress or enhance tone.

We manufacture guitars used for hard rock, metal and alternative music. We have found that holes in the guitar body and any instance where the wood has less mass in specific areas will change the "sound wave" distinctively. This leads us to the single pickup guitar body. We arrive at the single humbucking pickup guitar body as one of the details that cannot be ignored.

Tone is vastly improved by the type of metals and hardness factor of the alloys used in certain parts of the hardware. This defines clarity improving the "snappy-ness" of the string. Another influence is the placement of the pickup into its compatible tone-wood and the makeup of the pickup itself as well as the pickup distance from the bridge. All define a certain tone-flavor.

AXN Disruptor sustain blocks

Also, for those of us that utilize a very heavy guitar sound, specifically a modern distortion, the goal is to surround the electronic components with what amounts to a grounded, conductive enclosure... technically, a Faraday Cage. As applied to electric guitar this noise reduction technique has proven to be highly successful dating back to the 1950s.

Of course many guitar advances were discovered by the well known guitar player and inventor Mr. Les Paul the father of the solid body guitar.  In regards to guitar innovator ( Lester William Polsfuss (June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009)  - Les Paul - we will cite some references about guitar tone from the published book "The Beauty Of The Burst" at the end of this article - don't miss that!

Again, after many years we at  AXN™ Guitars found that the tone associated with superior sounding instruments is NOT such a secret at all. Long before the launch of our AXN™ line we obsessed in the details present in those famous guitars from the 1950s, 1960s through to the 1980s. After much study, experience and application we discovered certain things are always present in a very toneful guitar.

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Here is a list of secrets that we will disclose about our AXN™ guitars.

#1 - Quarter-sawn and hand picked woods used in our Hand Crafted bodies

AXN™ guitars utilize quarter-sawn and center-joined wood in our bodies. In addition we hand pick aged woods from local suppliers here in California USA and use the perfect tone-wood to start the process of manufacturing our AXN™ guitars.

#2 - QUARTER-SAWN AND HAND CHOSEN WOODS USED IN OUR Hand Made NECKS

AXN™ guitars utilize quarter-sawn woods in our hand crafted necks. Again, we hand pick aged premium woods from local suppliers. We don't use CNC machines which create sterile guitars.

Using quarter-sawn quality woods selected by hand is one important detail. Virtually NO production line guitar or known guitar brands start with this crucial detail in check. We start by personally shopping for the best woods available and use those in our first step of production. Its just one detail that we include in the overall formula for making an AXN™ Guitar.

#3 - Electric Guitars Benefit From Less Paint And Less Clear Coat

The finish effects the sound. Both the neck and the body finish play a role. The amount of paint and clear coat effect the way a guitar will sound when amplified.

We sell guitars with very little finish. We were able to achieve a certain tone-flavor that is the perfect match for hard rock players. It becomes the difference between bass and treble, frequency response, and what part is effected by the absence of paint.

Similarly the presence of certain kinds of primers, clear coats and certain paint types skew tone. This is no "big tone secret". For decades guitar makers have understood tone-killing clear coat and paint are a suppressant.

All AXN™ guitar necks as well as AXN™ guitar bodies are nearly free of paint or clear coat. This results in enhanced resonance and sustain. Thus improving the guitars overall performance through an amplifier at higher volumes.

#4 - Wood Mass and the Single Pickup Guitar Body

We have bench tested the "wave" and delved deep into other fundamental tests which caused us to arrive at the single pickup guitar body. It is logical that this pickup configuration makes sense tonally. Pictured above is an AXN™ Model 2 guitar. This AXN™ guitar is made to do only one thing... ROCK. The single pickup configuration is a powerful option offering exceptional tone and versatility. A single pickup guitar body where wood mass is strategically focused is no new thing nor is it a big secret. Executed properly more wood adds up to a robust, aggressive and superior rock-n-roll tone in our AXN™ guitars. #5 - Control Cavity Shape and wood Mass We discovered after years of building guitars that the control cavity placement as well as pickup routing play a large role influencing the vibration of the guitar string and harmonic sustain.

We have bench tested the "wave" and delved deep into other fundamental tests which caused us to arrive at the single pickup guitar body. It is logical that this pickup configuration makes sense tonally.

Pictured above is an AXN™ Model 2 guitar. This AXN™ guitar is made to do only one thing... ROCK.

The single pickup configuration is a powerful option offering exceptional tone and versatility. A single pickup guitar body where wood mass is strategically focused is no new thing nor is it a big secret. Executed properly more wood adds up to a robust, aggressive and superior rock-n-roll tone in our AXN™ guitars.

#5 - Control Cavity Shape and wood Mass

We discovered after years of building guitars that the control cavity placement as well as pickup routing play a large role influencing the vibration of the guitar string and harmonic sustain.

 AXN™ Rear Control Cavity

 AXN™ Rear Control Cavity

The control cavity in the back of the guitar where the electronics is fed through the body is always in one of the most important areas of the guitars tone-wood. If you look under your guitars pickguard the wood removed there for pickup placement is equally as vital to a guitars sound. These both are undisputed tone-influencing areas of the guitar body.

When the electronics control cavity size and pickup routing size is decreased and wood mass in those areas is increased so is sustain. Therefore the influence of wood mass in these spots changes the sound wave. These are important details we use to shape the tone of our AXN™ guitars.

Effectively you could describe the removing of wood in these areas as "chambering". Strategically these two places are the worst spots to chamber a guitar... Big electronic control cavity and swimming pool pickup routing... terrible ideas for a rock-n-roll guitar!

#6 - NECK POCKET SHAPE AND TREMOLO ROUTING

The shape or girth of the guitar body where the heel of the neck attaches is yet another very important factor that influences tone. As well, the wood mass around the tremolo posts where a tremolo bridge is attached to the body is the worst place to remove wood.

Decreasing the amount of wood or routing-out wood under the guitars bridge is the quickest way to destroy sustain in an already tone robbing bridge type such as a Floyd Rose locking tremolo. Add a bridge made from a low quality metal alloy and what you've got is the recipe for a disastrous treble-ey tone. These tone robbing technics are even more apparent when a guitar is amplified in a live band environment and in higher volume conditions.

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In reality many good things such as neck shapes, humbucking as well as active and noiseless pickups, came out of the 1980s innovations to the classic guitar designs of the past. That said, a contoured or shaped neck pocket and recessed tremolo routing are two things that diminished tone and pushed players towards set neck guitars during the vintage guitar craze after the 1980s.

Our AXN™ Neck Joint where the body meets with the neck is designed to allow absolute access to the highest frets all the while preserving sustain. We've achieved the perfect combination of comfort and playability in every detail. Below is a photo of our AXN™ guitar featuring a Korina neck and a ultra-prime cut of Alder tone-wood for the attractive body.

AXN™ Neck Joint 

AXN™ Neck Joint 

#7 - METAL HARDWARE - POT METAL VERSUS MUSICAL GRADE ALLOYS

We plan to reveal some things that are well known amongst hobbyist guitar builders as well as major guitar makers. Nearly all guitarists can tell the difference between a bridge that has a sparklingly sound transfer ability and a poorly made pot-metal bridge that chokes.

#8 - Body SHIELDING AND GROUNDING WITH A FARADAY CAGE

A Faraday cage or Faraday shield is an enclosure used to block electromagnetic fields. It is formed by conductive material or by a mix of such materials. The Faraday cage is named after the English scientist Michael Faraday who invented this in 1836.  A Faraday Cage in our application works to effectively isolate the inner areas from outside noise.

In our AXN™ guitars the cavities around the electronics and the pickup route are converted to be a caged-in box with metal shielding materials. These areas of the guitars body are then successfully grounded, further shielded, and incorporated into the guitars overall grounding circuit. We then achieve a perfectly robust sound signal for processing through an amplifier and guitar effects. This leads to the silky smooth distortion and sparkling clean tones of our AXN™ guitars.

This shielding/grounding technique and all our other methods help contribute to a very targeted heavy rock-n-roll tone at all amplified volumes. Quite simply its one of our proprietary tone secrets. The proper execution of this shielding measure in the production of electric guitars is much too labor intensive and costly for large guitar manufacturers to utilize in their product offerings. Its a standard detail in every AXN™ guitar. We call it the AXN™ Electronics Grounding System.

#9 - MAGNETIC PULL - PICKUP MAGNETS KILL STRING VIBRATION

We will add our knowledge on this soon.

#10 - PICKUP POLE DISTANCE FROM THE BRIDGE AND TONEWOODS

Its common knowledge that Mahogany produces a warmer tone which would be even warmer than Korina. These two woods would enhance areas of the sound spectrum opposite to Hard Maple and Walnut which both produce a bright tone. Hence, a Les Paul would have a brighter tone if the maple top was thicker than the mahogany back.

Another factor that all guitarists understand is that your neck position pickup produces a warmer tone than your bridge pickup. In addition if you play lead guitar you easily can tell the difference when playing on either the neck pickup or the bridge pickup. With this in mind it makes sense that the pickup distance ( or the distance of the pickups pole pieces ) when moved away from the bridge, or tremolo, create a different sound.

In the same way when every guitarist chooses a new pickup we listen for the articulation of the bass strings versus the treble strings and decide what pickup we prefer for each of our favorite guitars. After a number of years all guys that play guitar start to understand which magnet type or brand of pickup mate to the corresponding wood types.

In general we guitarists are use to a certain sound from a distorted humbucker pickup based on where the pickup is on a guitar (specifically, its proximity to the bridge). When chugging around on our bridge pickup we expect to hear a certain response from each string as it related to bass and treble response.

The basic rule is this: the closer a pickup is installed in relation to the bridge, the brighter its tone will be... and the further away a pickup is installed in relation to the bridge, the less bright its tone will be.

In theory lets take the following example. If a standard Stratocaster with single coils had its single coil bridge pickup oriented perpendicular to the strings ( straight across ) like the middle and neck Strat pickups, the tonal quality of the bridge pickup would be terribly thin on the E, A, and D strings. The further from the bridge you move the Stratocaster bridge pickup the warmer the tone becomes. Take a look, all Stratocasters have a slanted bridge single coil pickup.

A slanted bridge humbucker pickup would put the poles that line up with bass strings further forward and the treble strings just a hair back. This orientation would, if it was needed, change the tone ever so slightly. The E, A, and D strings would achieve a distinctive bass harmonic change and the G, B, and high E strings would be closer to the bridge to supply treble harmonics that subjectively cut through and offer a more compressed high end.

As guitar luthiers, this slant pickup orientation is available to use as a tool. If you so desire a slanted humbucker can be used to change the sound. This in combination with other factors such as the wood type of the guitar body and neck, the wood type of the fretboard, the metal alloys used in the hardware and bridge, the type of magnets in your pickups and numerous other factors in the makeup of said guitar are an influence. Our test show that a slant humbucker can produce a wider spectrum of sound with certain tone-woods that can benefit from the push. Also our test results show that the results of a slant humbucker can also be null with some wood types and pickup combinations.

Another thing to understand is the effect of slanted pickups as they relate to the scale length of the guitar and issues that arise with longer scale length and guitars that use large amounts of gain or distortion. Take a look at the 7 and 8 string guitar makers of today. They are using slanted pickups for a reason. That reason further substantiates our findings.

In closing, a humbucker and the placement of your humbuckers 6 pickup pole pieces do effect the tone when distance from the bridge is varied. The understanding of this is just another method used as a tool to refine the strings audible response when amplified. Therefore its just another tone secret that can be used to compliment your sound for whatever style of playing you desire.