Simultaneously standard in specs and very exotic in composition; Tephra demonstrates the tonal balance that can be achieved, even while using unorthodox materials on an extended-range build. The idea was to have a perfectly balanced midrange, with both treble and bass clarity, but without the guitar sounding cold or muddy at any volume. We achieved this by picking exotics (Bubinga, Pale Moon Ebony and Black Walnut in this instance) that each had a frequency response that interleaved the others. Bubinga has a pronounced upper midrange growl, while Walnut tends to scoop in the upper mids but has a sweet lower midrange character. To add some extra glassiness and definition, we added an Ebony fretboard, but picked the Pale Moon variant because the grain worked so well with the Curly Bubinga.
When it came to the electronics, the only pickups in mind were our Nordstrand NDC8s. Their construction allowed for the full character of the guitar to shine through, and provided a touch sensitivity difficult to achieve in other pickups; even without the perfectly matched string and fan spacing of the NDCs. To further expand the capabilities of the guitar, we added a GraphTech Acousti-Phonic preamp with our Bypass mod; keeping the magnetic pickups uncolored by the acoustic preamp and impervious to battery sag when the acoustic pickup was not in use.