7/31/2014

c.2014 Antebellum Resonator Tele




This guitar design (like my banjo basses) is going to be continually evolving as I have time and dollars to throw at making new ones but I'm pretty happy with this one. It does what I want it to do (gives me enough unplugged volume to sing with and jam with one or two others -- sorta like the volume from one of those Art & Lutherie "Ami" guitars) while also plugging in and traveling easily.

It's interesting but you do get a bit of the cone's overtone sound coming through the pickups (especially the Dano-style one in the neck position) and overall when you're plugged in you get more of a 50s hollowbody/jazz box sound but without the big dimensions. And the third bit? Acoustic resonator tone hanging around ready to record with!


I put this one together with fairly inexpensive parts... a GFS bound Tele body and pickups and $65 Tele neck on eBay... but I didn't skimp on the cone: it's a Beard 8 1/4" diameter biscuit type intended for those old Airline/Supro style 50s guitars. I liked the slightly narrower size because it meant easier loading into the body.

...and speaking of loading into the body: it's all rear-loaded. The cone sits on a frame to support it (actually a modified drip cover for a stove's burner) which in turn is raised up and set on a back plate that's screwed to the rear of the instrument. The body itself is chambered out inside to give as much air room as possible (it's all cut under the pickguard, too).

The bridge is a standard new Nat'l biscuit that I've installed an adjustable (archtop guitar type) saddle on that I cut from a bit of spare rosewood. This greatly simplifies setup as you can just dial in your action height for "Spanish" or slide work on the fly. I originally had the strings using the big Jazz Bass cover as an integrated tailpiece but after doing some work I installed a parts-bin stop tailpiece under the cover instead (so setup can be done easily with the cover off).


The inexpensive Tele neck is holding up just fine with a set of 50w-11s on it. The tuners are just cheapies from my parts bin but they get the job done.



The hilarious red "light" on the control plate is where I used to have a jack for a K&K acoustic pickup installed. I decided I wasn't into the sound from that so I removed it. I may add a tone control later (I usually skip tone controls on my self-build guitars as I usually just adjust at the amp).

Note that the only soundhole is right in front of the cover. I used to have an air gap for sound to come externally through the guitar which seemed to add a small amount of volume but it also meant the tone changed every time you shifted in your seat. I wasn't too hot on that. I may try: 1) adding vent holes to the cover itself or 2) adding side vent holes in the body.


That's a Danelectro-style pickup at the neck and "Brighton" pup in the mid position. More info can be found in this review.



I used a nice, heavy, enameled steel Northern Pacific sign for the rear of the guitar... but I just noticed I put it on cockeyed in my haste this time around. Oops! Fix later...

My Grandpa was a big model railroader and NorPac was his preferred line to style so the logo is a nod to that and has always been blazed into my memory.




It's a fun rig... and highly portable. The bound sparkle-finish body and all the chrome gives it that hot rod look which is downright flashy.

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