9/08/2016

1940s/2016 "Shield" Electric Tenor Guitar





Update: I replaced the tuners with metal-buttoned ones of the same type. The "keystone" style tuners had an annoying rattle to them. These are tight and good to go. See below pics:



Now back to the original post...!

Parts, parts, parts! I've had some parts floating around and yesterday I took a "workshop vacation day" and spent some time doing my own stuff instead of "real work." This one combines a 40s Del Oro (Kay) tenor banjo neck that I'd previously hacked-up, a pine shield from when I was a kid at the SoCal RenFair, a spare Alnico Dano-style "lipstick" pickup (Korean-made), and a 4-string electric guitar bridge. It's only a step away from a "cigar box guitar" and I know it.

It's a totally-weird partser but it plays spot-on and sounds excellent. The thin body also makes it extra-lightweight so it feels like a baritone uke instead of a solidbody electric. That same thin body made hardware and neck mounting a bit of a bugbear -- as you can see, I've housed the jack in an old cookie-cutter to give it legroom and, down the post, you can see how I've canted the neck angle forward to align the strings down to the Fender-style bridge.

Still, the neck is straight and it plays with 1/16" action at the 12th fret -- right where you want it.


The griffin, I think, makes the funkiness worth it. When you have this in playing position, the griffin is more upright/walking, too.

I have this strung GDAE (octave mandolin) style with fairly light strings (36w, 26w, 17, 11) for the 23" scale length.




The lipstick pup is simply screwed right onto the body. I have it "adjusted" to roll-off the unwound strings by leaving the bass side of the heel slightly thicker. It's not obvious to the player but it sure works.


The bridge is string-through. The jack is a Switchcraft unit and there are no controls -- simple, simple, simple.



The "control route" (as in: I chiseled it quickly) is hidden by some sticky pickguard material that was cut very fast and then screwed-down after-the-fact. The "strap" is an old belt that I've finally found a home for!



Five bolts are better than four, right?


I used my drill press for the neck bolt holes but, obviously, not for the string-through-bridge ones. Oops! It works -- who cares?


Here you can see the crazy neck-angle "trick." It's actually a pretty cool thing as you get a lot of string clearance near the end of the neck but a more natural height near the bridge. This also pushes your arm out into a more natural posture.

I'm wondering if an acoustic made this way would be more ergonomic...

2 comments:

Robert Gardner said...

Pretty magnificent, especially the scratchplate channel covers. You are the da Vinci of odd instruments...
Rob

Greta said...

Is that thing for sale?