11/05/2015

2000s "Kitbashed" Acoustic/Electric Cuban Tres




Another Cuban tres project? Well, this one isn't mine -- but I did improve on it. This is a consignor's instrument and it was apparently cobbled-together up in Burlington, VT. It looks to have started as an all-laminate student 3/4 guitar of a better-than-average description and then was converted into a Cuban tres with the addition of a new headstock veneer, fancy USA Sperzel gold-plated locking tuners, a fill/redrill of the pinholes at the bridge, and some sort of active undersaddle pickup (there's a battery at the neckblock) installed.

The setup was decent when it came in but I tossed the fragile plastic saddle (not cut all that great, anyhow) and installed a bone one, leveled and dressed the frets (they were pretty pitted in the 1-7 area), and set it up properly to play with spot-on 1/16" action at the 12th fret. It's tuned in standard G-C-E low to high tres tuning but can be retuned to G-B-E (guitar style), A-C#-E (open A), G-B-D (open G) or capo-friendly E-B-E and F-C-F open tunings. I have it setup for "high E" tuning rather then re-entrant E, but can adjust to whatever the next owner wants.



A slightly clumsy bone nut was installed when this was converted, but it's been adjusted and does the job. This feels like a 1 5/8" nut width and the neck profile is a very shallow, fast C shape.

String gauges are 10/23w, 14/14, 11/11.


Bound, radiused, rosewood board.


The soundhole looks like it was "decorated" via Dremel wheel. Cute!


The new bone saddle was a huge improvement vs. the terrible plastic one which split as soon as I started sanding it.


The guitar is all laminate -- with laminate mahogany back/sides and a laminate spruce (x-braced) top. The neck is several-piece mahogany.



It's surprising to see these fancy gold-plated USA Sperzel locking tuners! They do work nicely.


Gold strap button, too...




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