Workshop: 3-Course Chime

What to do with a $40 electric guitar? No one ever wants to buy these and so I often wind-up with a bunch of random "student" gear from "helping folks out" and not enough students to sell (or give!) them to. This one has rotted away in the shop since late summer and so I decided to do something about it a couple weeks ago. A few minutes later and I had a nifty new toy to bang on that's not unlike the instruments from the last ephemera posts...

I buy and then sell 12-strings of various sorts (acoustic, electric) for myself at least once a year and I realized it's not that I didn't like the sound, feel, or tuning fuss -- but that I never use them for any application other than open tunings "on my own" and a sort of mid-range, jangly counterpoint or lead role in group work.

Something like this mongrel -- tuned G-D-G starting a note below guitar's A string and having octaves on all courses -- works perfectly for said role. The wide spacing of the strings also lends itself to fingering in that sort-of helter-skelter backing/fill way you hear instruments of a similar vibe to this playing all throughout Latin America.

Do it fast! Get it done!

Who even knows where this guitar was made? I'm guessing China or Korea. The neck quality is actually quite good but the electronics, pickups, and hardware (especially the bridge and tail) are on the iffy side.

17/36w, 11/26w, 8/17 stringing.

The TOM bridge easily retrofit to this purpose via new slots. Note how each string gets a saddle, too, for easy setup and in-tune octaves.

The next bit to do on this is to replace the boring-sounding humbuckers with something more articulate and then yank out half of these controls and replace them with a decent harness. Or... not. It is, afterall, a $40 guitar.

1 comment:

Alex Robinson said...

That's Cool Jake My Man. You're gonna have some fun with that one. Yet more of your creative mind at work.