You’d maybe expect guitars of the apocalypse to be a bit more Thrash and Death-Metal?
No, these are the kinds of guitar you can expect to find after the event. No more Gibson, no more Gretsch, or Fender. We’d most probably have to adapt to survive without other neat items like juicers and cereal fortified with vitamins. You can read the post on the ridiculous idea behind this here.
Anyways, In preparing for all eventualities and not even a city and guilds in woodwork, I set about my contingency plan to build a basic instrument.
I sourced the wood from an old Victorian shop on Smithdown Road that was being refurbished. The old doorframe was in a skip in front of the property was all in one piece and (after gaining permission to scavenge the skip) dragged it up Lark Lane on a busy Saturday evening to amused revellers.
The necks of the guitars were all made from this lovely piece of mahogany by first planing it and then dividing it with a circular saw and then a jigsaw. Further planing and surform and electric sanding shaped and smoothed the necks to the desired shape. I kept my eye on the wood to make sure each piece had at least one totally flat surface – I used a long builders spirit level for this. I had two old boxes of boules which looked perfect for the hollow body needed to make it sound as an acoustic – without amplification.I cut the f holes with a fret saw and holes (in line with each other) for the neck to slot – the same diameter as the neck. I shaped the headstock with a jigsaw and a detail sander to create a downward dip (for better string tension) and drilled holes for the machineheads.
Next, I recycled the little grater thing in a bike puncture repair kit; drilling small holes to take the strings – this fitted as a cap over the bridge end of the neck – I didn’t want the strings to be attached through the holes. in the wood alone.
Finally it was a simple job to attach the machineheads, put the neck in place by opening the box and stringing it. I considered putting frets in the neck but found it not easy to play but I liked the clean look and hadn’t fretted before nowwould try fretting (pun unintentional) another time.
It sounded great ( I tuned the bottom string to the D below middle C and the following strings to the fifth and finally (to an octave above the root D – this way you could get a bluesy sound by playing the minor third position on any string – anyone could sound awesome on it… well, it’s great fun, if a little difficult to play. It works well as a slide guitar, I had an old brass military shell casing from a skip, and some world war before that . I hack-sawed (in order to be able to put your finger through it) to use as a slide.
This is my second go with a pre-made box. I wanted to try a fretboard and as luck should have it, I had the old neck from a les Paul copy . I coaxed (haha, read wrenched) the fretboard from the neck and glued it to the one I’d made with nasty epoxy. If you place the bridge in a certain spot it makes a very ‘sitar’ -like sound (the box sort of rattles by the f-holes and it sounds great . This is a lot easier to play than Sonny Knight Blues Edition No.1
The guitar that was sacrificed for the neck in the next and my bin-lid guitar- now reluctantly sold.