5/07/2017

2017 Wildwood Yin-Yang Partser Parlor Electric Guitar





My friend Rick has been wanting one of these since he saw the first one in 2014, and this one is certainly done-up in appreciation of his style. To that effect he's got a DeArmond gold foil pickup front and center, which provides that clear, bright, anti-Fender-clean tone which drives ever so sweetly into a jet-engine roar. It'll pair nicely with the Vox AC-30 he uses for shows.

The whole idea is to make something simple and somewhat quickly, so I built this "slab style" like the last one, with everything mounted directly on top as the (Martin-size-5-shaped) pine body is so thin. It has a 25 1/2" scale Peavey neck (with the headstock done-over in black) and I've bolted it farther down the body to get more of the approximation of a 12-fret parlor "feel" in the lap. The mix of the lightweight pine body, long scale, and gold foil pickup actually gives this a response similar to something like a Gretsch electric archtop from the 50s. Pine is like that on a solidbody, I find.


A customer who popped-in while I was putting this together said to me, "but the back is so much better-looking!" -- obviously missing the mark on the whole vibe thing with a "barncaster." The plank was, yes, another bit of salvage from the stacks of wood in our barn.



I'd been using this neck for a while and so knew it was stable and had a good feel. It's a Peavey neck that's had its branding sanded-off and its surface "ebonized." The nut is bone and the neck itself is the usual maple/rosewood deal.





The copper and brass "yin-yang" is set into a cut-off incense holder that I used to cover-up the pickup leads going to the bridge and controls. It also dresses-it-up a bit.

The gold foil pickup itself a 1966 gold foil with its original housing and it sounds lovely. After finishing the guitar, I played it and was thoroughly disappointed to hear the pickup crackling in and out like a static radio and so I shot the wiring harness with cleaner... then replaced the wiring harness... and then decided I might need to open the pickup to solve whatever the heck was going on. Before doing so, however, I removed the pickup from its housing, checked it out with a shim under it and taped to the body and -- hey! -- it worked just fine. So -- why?

It turns out that the spring-steel tabs that are riveted to the back of the pickups on these actually somehow interfere with the pickup's signal when they're cranked to a certain height. I don't know why, but using a cut-off wheel on my Dremel I removed them and then added regular spring-style adjustment and everything worked just-fine. Whew!


The bridge doubles as a control and jackplate like some weird Dali interpretation of a lap steel from the 40s. It's a 50s-style P-bass cover to which I've added a hardtail Strat bridge (modified to top-load), volume pot and knob, and side-mounted jack. A healthy amount of screws hold the whole thing down.





I'm tempted to write "...and butchered in Vermont" below that.



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