c.2004 Squier Electric Mandocello Conversion

This is the same Squier I've had kicking in the shop for a while. I sprayed it 1920s kitchen enamel green to begin with and then just yesterday finished converting it into a mandocello (or Stratocello?). Why not? The gauges are light but the thin 1 5/8" nut and fast neck meant it was perfectly suited to the task. Add a couple parts-bin Schaller tuners, conjure up a new bridge and tail from spare parts, a bit of setup and a new bone nut... and voila...! Thunderous baritone lows equally suited to absurd metal, jigs and reels, and Bach.

Yeah, it's fun. My friend Ken (who just drummed for us on the 4th of July and last night's gig) picked it up while waiting for me to load gear into my car and by the time I'd shoved a couple of amplifiers, a mic and stand, and my P-bass into the back he already said "this is mine." Fair enough! Now I have to build another. I'm thinking: blue sparkle Tele shape? Heh heh.

Fortunately, just like on a set of P-bass pickups, the uncentered polepieces seem to not matter all that much as far as even output and good sound goes.

Also: isn't that color grand?

New bone nut... and a forest of strings! These are gauged out at 50w, 38w, 28w, 15 plain. I used a couple sets of regular electric 11s to keep things simple.

Isn't it funny how well the conversion spacing turned out? I shouldn't be too surprised because the width, at least, is very similar to the old 1920s Gibsons.

My strange bridge assembly is a modified stash of parts-bin materials: an archtop guitar tailpiece "loader" used as a stop tail... an old pickup mounting plate used to cover the Strat "hole" for the whammy unit... and a modified Japanese-made Jazzmaster-style bridge unit used to make a fully-adjustable, compensated bridge for this monster.

I'm assuming this is no longer "designed and backed by Fender," but at least it's backed by sheer absurdity.

Despite a fresh paint job from last week I still manage to get tiny nicks and scratches on the bottom edge when I'm using these things around the house.

Pretty cool, huh? I had to cant the neck back slightly with a neck shim to make this setup work but it's worth it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amazing. Sounds gorgeous, looks great.