Orley Guitars
Home Guitars Bio Blog Contact

Welcome
This website is set up to display photos and provide information about Orley Guitars.

Thanks for stopping by the website. If you have visited the site before, welcome back. If this is your first visit, then welcome.

If you are a return vistor and it has been a while, you might notice a modest redesign of the the website. I've worked on improving the functionality and ease of navigation through the site. One important improvement is a popup window that displays details about each of the guitars. You can access this from both the "home" page and the "guitars" page. I have also added a "Featured Guitar" presentation on the home page. I plan to use this to highlight the guitar that I have most recently completed and added to the website. You might also want to check our the "Archive" page, which displays guitars that have found homes around the country.

Let me know what you think about the new website.

Please browse around the website and if you have any questions, contact me by email. More guitars and photos will be uploaded as they become available.

While you're online, please stop by the Orley Guitars facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/OrleyGuitars


Featured Guitar
Magnus Aries

Magnus Aries is the fourth in the Orley Six (O6) semi-hollow body style of guitars. The Magnus name arises as the largest bodied electric I've built. The Aries name reflects the red padauk top in combination with the white/cream maple back and sides. The building materials used in the Aries are an homage to the very first semi-hollow body guitar I built. This earlier version was constructed of maple body, padauk top, mahogany neck, and rosewood fretboard. Once I developed the O6 style, I was eager to build one using this same combination with improved techniques and design. As a tone wood, padauk is similar to maple, with both providing bright tones. I completed the Magnus Aries in November 2018.

The Magnus O6 is my version of the classic 335 body style, with a few key twists. The most obvious is the horns. Rather than the standard rounded horns, the Magnus horns emulate the headstock "axe blade" shape. Like the Ambrose, I reduced the size of the horns (compared to Alpha and Arizona) and softened the side curvature to enhance comfort when resting on your leg. Another twist is the combined pickguard/pick up bracket assembly. I developed this assembly with Lil Marge and it seems ideally suited for the Magnus style. A third twist is the access panel on the back of the guitar, which makes repairs and maintenance of the electronics substantially easier than traditional semi-hollow bodies.

My very first attempt at building a semi-hollow body guitar, as noted above, was padauk top on a maple body, with mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard. This build used the O2 style (similar to Golden Boy) and was so early in the process that I never even bothered to give it a quirky, catchy name. It was experimental, the first time I attempted a build with padauk wood, and admittedly had a few flaws. The neck was a bit askew, the unamped sound was not particularly robust, and while it had only a single pickup, it played well and was always a favorite among family and friends. So, with the new Magnus O6 design, I thought, "why not give this unnamed semi-hollow body another shot?" Same materials, new design, better techniques. Aries is the result.

The Magnus Aries has an arched, contoured red padauk top (the primary motivation for the name "Aries") and an arched, contoured maple back. Each is highlighted with a contrasting center strip -- maple for the padauk top and padauk for the maple back. Maple is also used for the pickguard/pickup bracket assembly, further providing a nice contrast with the red padauk top. The maple motif is finalized with maple sides. Mahogany then makes an appearance with the neck, with a traditional rosewood fretboard. Padauk is also used to accent the neck/body joint and on the tail of the body.

The hardware is primarily nickel, including the Gotoh Tune-o-matic bridge, Grover Original Rotomatics tuners, and strap buttons; complemented by a chrome trapeze style tailpiece. I also used a multi-contract output jack designed to keep the flow of notes from guitar to amp uninterrupted. The black volume/tone speed knobs work well with the Golden Age black, open coil, uncovered humbuckers.

Although the Aries is designated a semi-hollow body guitar, I used a relatively small support brace just beneath the bridge. This results in a relatively larger body cavity for the Aries than found in most semi-hollow body guitars that employ a block running the length of the body. With the paduak and maple, the result is a nice, bright, unamped sound. Certainly not acoustic, but pleasant nontheless.

The technical details about Magnus Aries include a rosewood fretboard radius of 9 1/2 inches, with 22 frets and a standard scale of 25 1/2 inches. The mahogany neck is glued to the body at the 17th fret. The body length is 19 1/2 inches, with an upper bout of 13 1/2 inches, a lower bout of 16 1/2, and a thickness of 2 7/8 inches. The pickups are wired in a standard Les Paul two humbucker, two volume, two tone configuration, controlled with a 3-way switch.

After progressively sanding to 2000 grit, I applied 12 thin coats of high gloss hand-rubbed polyurethane.

More Info


Current Guitar Inventory

Magnus Aries

Magnus Aries

More Info

Magnus Ambrose

Magnus Ambrose

More Info

Magnus Arizona

Magnus Arizona

More Info

Magnus Alpha

Magnus Alpha

More Info

Lil Marge

Lil Marge

More Info

Mystic Autumn

Mystic Autumn

More Info

Mystic Yerple

Mystic Yerple

More Info

Mystic Mellow

Mystic Mellow

More Info

Mystic Plum

Mystic Plum

More Info

Mystic Cinder

Mystic Cinder

More Info

Barbie

Barbie

More Info

Margie

Margie

More Info

Visit The Archive

In the Works
February 5, 2019

It has been well over a year since my last update. The time gap does have a few good reasons. First, I retired from my "day job" as an economics professor after 39 years. Second, I relocated to a new residence, in another city, which also involved relocating my workshop. So, a lot of non-guitar building activities occupied most of my time. However, once my workshop was set up, I managed to complete two more guitars in the Magnus style -- Ambrose and Aries. Both were completed right before the '18 holidays.

My new shop is located in the outskirts of the Tulsa, OK metropolitan area. So, part of my time has also been spent getting acquainted with local players and music scene. They have examined, tested, played, and provided valuable feedback, all of which has greatly enhanced my building process.

Where to from here?

I have at least one more Magnus O6 under way. This looks to be an all maple instrument, very much like the Mystic Ghost from the O5 series in terms of chrome hardware and white stained finish. The top, back, sides, neck, and fretboard are well underway.

Also underway is a redesign of the O4 style (Margie, Barbie, et.al.) While the O4 has been a crowd pleaser, I felt it could stand a bit of improvement. I've tweaked the basic body curvature and the shape of the single cut away. I also intend to modify the construction process, using techniques similar to those developed for the Magnus, including separate back and sides (versus carving the body from a single block of wood). This should generate a larger body cavity and thus enable a fuller, more robust sound. The changes are enough that I'm likely to make this a new O7 style, complete with it's on name (leaning towards Majestic). First up will be one comprised primarily of maple. But this remains in the planning stage.

And if history is any predicator, I'm also likely to build one O7 with mahogany back, sides, top, and neck.

Lastly, I don't know if I am finished with the Magnus style. I have a few additional build possibilities in mind, and given that I have yet to put any on the market, if the demand is there, I'm likely to continue the line.

Stay tuned.

For nice demo of the Mystic line, let me direct you to a couple of Youtube videos made using the Mystic Ghost (https://youtu.be/ZY_BvZXHQV0 and https://youtu.be/HsngMD-O4Ss) by Richard santos Mallia. He has several additional videos posted to YouTube, so please check out his work.~


Home Guitars Bio Blog Contact

Home