Dreadnautilus #1 was built in a batch of two in 1995 by luthier Fred Carlson. The top is old-growth redwood salvaged from an old stump or fallen log; the back, sides, and neck are walnut. The headless design utilized tuners that were attached to the body, below the floating, banjo-like bridge. On the earliest versions of the instrument, those tuners were “planetary-geared” banjo 5th-string pegs, anchored into a block glued to the underside of the redwood top. The banjo pegs turned out to not be able to reliably take the tension of the guitar bass strings and the gearing tended to strip out fairly quickly. Eventually, all of those early instruments got those pegs replaced with guitar tuners mounted to smaller blocks.
There were five batches of Dreadnautilus guitars produced, between the years 1995-2000, with a total of 15 being produced. All were constructed of salvaged redwood and walnut, with the exception of #15, which was redwood and salvaged Big-leaf maple.