It started with a dumpster dive
Well over a year ago, a piece of a dining room table was found in a dumpster... Fast forward to now, 3 chillies have emerged; ripe for harvest. These guitars have a very special space in our hearts.
The original red chilli actually marked the beginning of my employment here. I arrived an anxious customer looking for something weird to play and Vince showed me the first body. At the time it was but a chilli shaped piece of wood. I told him I had claimed it, and he asked me to come by and talk design ideas. I didn't end up buying the chilli, but I did ask for a job.
Callum and Gerard from Semantics came by one day and we showed them the first chilli. At this point we still hadn't made any progress on the build. They told us that they were playing Fireball Fest at Greaser here in Brisbane. After the usual segways of ridiculous banter, we all saw it as the perfect opportunity for a chilli guitar to be played.
Vince then decided that we needed a full band set of three spicy guitars for their gig. In the greatest of origin stories, the green chilli is made from a step from the old store, the orange is from a shipping pallet pulled from underneath a studio, and the red is a carved up dining room table Vince found dumpster diving.
Did we have the time? Absolutely not, but it has been the best kind of ratbag fun. Our days off for the past two months have been spent building ridiculous chillies, and it was 100% worth it.
We're grateful that we had such wonderful custodians of these guitars, thanks to the lovely humans of Semantics for supporting our unhinged ideas and for rocking so hard!
Carving the bodies, bevelling the edges, routing neck pockets and pick-up cavities, and a whole lot of sanding.
Also there a slightly overenthusiastic decision to cut the Jalapen-low bass (a.k.a J-Lo) neck pocket on an angle late one night- the next morning we decided to fill it and re-cut it.
Routing the control cavities, creating wiring pathways, and planning for electronics.
Painting and sanding (the red is left-over from the original Moorooka store front), and attaching selected necks.
Pick-up and hardware installation.
The red chilli received 3 mystery eBay P90's with a 6 way rotary switch wired 1. Neck + Bridge, 2. Neck, 3. Neck + Middle, 4. Middle, 5, Middle + Bridge, 6. Bridge. and was fitted with 500k Bourns pots for a master volume + tone.
The orange chilli was fitted with 2 pre-loved Epiphone 57' classic humbuckers and 500k Bourns pots for master volume and tone and a 3 way toggle switch.
The Jalapen-low was fitted with a set of Tonerider precision plus pick-ups and Bourns 250k volume and tone pots. Also a spicy little tone kill switch, which used a 100uf capacitor for a momentary kill of anything above 100hz instead of the usual signal kill; just because.
Both guitars were fitted with Gotoh machine heads and Schaller strap locks, and were set up with Rotosound 10-52 gauge strings. The bass was fitted with All Parts Fender style machine heads and Rotosound 45-105 strings.
Final setup was done for Eb tuning. We raced out and bought a vinyl plot cutter to complete the Southside Guitars headstock decals.
Semantics then picked up our children- we missed them dearly but knew they were going to a good home.
I was able to go take some photos during their set and had way too much fun. Vince also made a brief appearance in the wild, proving he isn't just a shop simulation.
Chilli Debut: Semantics @Fireball Fest
(they absolutely killed it)