Monday, March 04, 2019

I Think the Next Guitar Build ...

... is already "blessed."

I found this tin cake pan at a garage sale quite some time ago. It resonates like a mother****er when I hold an instrument against it and play. It's like a natural sound box.

I decided not to go "primitive" and "whatever I have lying around" on this one.

Went to Lowe's and bought an 8-foot poplar 1x2 for the neck. I had it cut into two prospective necks -- one 37" long, one 41" long, because I like prime numbers. Of course, the actual scale won't be nearly that long. Probably 25", based on advice I've received on the Cigar Box Nation build forums. That will allow me to string it as a conventional 3-string GDC "cigar box guitar," or as a light-string bass.

I told the guy cutting the board at Lowe's (I had to have it cut there since we aren't driving a car that an 8-foot board would fit comfortably in) what it was for, and we started talking. I joked that I might have to take this guitar out to Bo Diddley's grave and play it a little for him. Turns out he knew Bo Diddley, and makes music with the man's grand-daughter. Good juju.

So that's about $10 down.

I may glue a metal yardstick (another 50 cent yard sale find) to the neck as a fretboard. Or maybe not. This is going to be an unfretted guitar or bass, at least for now.

Then I went online to CB Gitty, the premier supplier of cigar box guitar stuff, and ordered a bunch of parts, some that come in quantities good for several builds: 12 ferrules (for feeding the strings onto the neck; I'll use six of them for three strings), 25 washer-head self-drilling screws (for attaching the neck to the pan; I'll use either two or three; the price was better than just buying two or three not-as-good screws at Lowe's), two bone nut blanks (I'll use one for the guitar), two maple "flying bridges" (I'll use one), four screened 1" grommets (for sound holes -- I may use all four); a set of six "three on a plate" tuners (enough for two guitars), and a pre-amp/piezo kit that I may use on the guitar, or set up as a stand-alone pre-amp for multiple instruments (I have a piezo lying around that I can use in this instrument if I want).

So that's another $50. We're into the range I pay for a cheap already-made guitar now, but I'm jazzed about this. I expect it to be my first really quality non-kit build.

I'm hoping to find some good art, have it laser-printed onto iron on transfer paper, and make that pan look interesting. I'm thinking of, hmm, Bo Diddley's face. I thought about getting some metal stain and just turning the thing into a Jackson Pollock knock-off, but that stuff is very expensive.

By the time I get strings on this thing and make noise with it, I may have $100 in it. But if I do the job right, I could probably sell the thing for $200 all day long. If I want to. But I won't want to. I've got the bones of a really nice instrument here if I don't screw it up.

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