Building A Replica Of
Randy Rhodes' Polka Dot Flying V Guitar
This was an interesting project. A customer here in the LA area is a big fan of Randy Rhodes, and he wanted
an exact replica of Randy's famous custom polka dot Flying V guitar. The original instrument was
made in Ibanez' Custom Shop, where my friend, luthier Mike Lipe, worked at the time. Mike works independently
now, and he took on the job of building the replica. He subcontracted the neck structure and the body blanks to
me. I made up a special thru-neck style neck blank, with the radical headstock and an ebony fingerboard. It took
a large block of maple, and I had to offset the centerline of the neck in the block to allow material for the
"spearpoint" headstock. That thing is dangerous!! Much of the layout work had to be done by eyeball from
photographs. I also roughed out the mahogany wings for the body and indexed them to the neck's spine with dowel pins.
It was a complex project, but it all came out well. Mike shaped the neck and finished up the body before sending
it to Pat Wilkins to be painted. I haven't seen the finished guitar yet, but it should be a beauty, and it'll
probably be better sounding than the original. Most of the construction details and the structural fit are
better than what Ibanez used at the time.
What does a full, custom made guitar like this cost? About $2500. My portion, the blanked out neck and body
wings, was about $350. If you want to talk to Mike about a custom guitar like this, his web site is: