4/21/2017

2017 Wildwood Partser Parlor Special Electric Guitar





I've made funky things like this in the past, but this one might be the most extremely funky version yet. It's a "partscaster" but not in the traditional sense -- this one borrows parts on a new build rather than just assembling a bunch of stock parts.

The neck is off of a Korean (I think) Silvertone electric that's, maybe, 10 years old... the pickguard is off of a 50s Kay acoustic... the tailpiece is 1930s parts-bin rummage... and so is the TOM bridge. The only things that seemed "destined" for the project are the pine body (liberated scrap from a corner of our barn) and the Alnico mini-humbucker pickup that I'd been wanting to stick on something.

A friend of mine has been egging me on to make another parlor-sized electric for a while, now, so since I was geared-up for "Jake's garage shop" projects today, I figured it was now or never. I traced a size 5 Martin body on the 3/4" thick pine for the shape and then bandsawed it, sanded it roughly, and sealed it. The body is thus about the length of a normal electric guitar (16") but only 11" wide. Like 60s Japanese electrics, the body is just barely thick enough to pass muster, but it's stable and the lightweight makes it feel alive. The balancing point is actually right at the neck joint -- yuss!

The maple neck just got a scrub-down with 0000 steel wool on its back and a quick sand-and-color to the face of the headstock. It was otherwise ready to go and has been installed on a "random project electric" I've had in the stash since last summer... so I know it's a stable Asian-import neck rather than a "dud." It has a 24 3/4" short scale length, 1 11/16" nut width (with a bone nut), 12" radius, and jumbo frets with only the faintest wear.


The general idea of the guitar borrows the aesthetics of the Supro Ozarks (Nat'l-made) from the 50s. 

All the electronics are actually mounted to the pickguard, though the bridge is fully adjustable and a long string afterlength means that this has a "springy" feel. I've got it strung with 10s.

Clearly, perfection was not intended when putting this together. The sanding on the body is left rough, there are scratches and dings all over the body (as well as a big knot in the middle of it) from living in the barn, and it's all part of the look and feel, for sure. Of course, the setup is obsessed to an ideal 1/16" overall at the 12th fret (a hair higher on the low E)... with a straight neck and spot-on playability.

Just a note, by the way -- in the pictures there are no strap buttons on the guitar, but I added a pair in "the usual places" after taking the shots.


The "faded surf green" headstock is at least an improvement on a gimmicky, gloss, black one.


The neck shows the odd ding and scrape here and there. The dots are pearl, though.


The only control is a single volume pot.


As the pickup is mounted directly to the top, most of the adjustability of it resides in the polepieces. I think this little pickup sounds great. Because the output is backed-off (I think it's around a 7.5k or so), it has a lot of clarity and balance but with a P90-ish chunk in the lower-mids. It makes the guitar ideal for a chorder -- which the 14-fret neck joint points it towards.

If you drive this pickup, it also fattens-up beautifully to a thick fuzz the more you push into it.











Here you can see the exposed electronics (archtop-style) mounted to the pickguard.


4 comments:

Alex Robinson said...

Well Jake, that is a Fertile mind you have there. Any bit of anything not nailed down is fair game for you. And even nailed down things can be prised free. Keep up the good work My Man.

Jon said...

That is one awesome guitar. I hope you will forgive me if I steal the concept and build myself something similar.

Jake Wildwood said...

Do it!

Sowpath das said...

nice post