My guitars

2 Guitars

Over the years I've had a number of guitars - some of them bought, and some I made myself. None of them have been expensive, or great classics, or collectibles, but all of them have made good music and given me a lot of pleasure. I have to admit my playing is not very good, but I enjoy myself so that's the main thing.

My first guitar was a solid-body electric I made when I was about 15. I really didn't know what I was doing, but it didn't turn out too badly. It had a single pickup mounted flat on the body in the neck position, a tremolo that was a bit like a Bigbsy, and the neck I bought pre-made from a guitar shop that has long since closed down. The body shape was pretty radical, being a bit like a curvy Gibson Explorer. The thing was incredibly crude, but sounded good in a smooth jazzy sort of way. It started falling apart after 15 years of use and abuse, and I gave it to a friend who used the hardware on another project. I always regret that - I wish I'd kept it and restored it.

Guitar No 2 is an Epiphone Texan, which I bought in the early 70s. This is the Japanese Texan with all plywood construction and a bolt-on neck. It has a tremendous sound, especially with open chords. Nothing subtle about this one - it's great for belting out loud country music, and is still my favourite.

Epiphone Special 2

Guitar No 3 was another Epiphone, this time a Special II. I decided to try and recapture some of my lost youth with the cheapest electric guitar & amp I could find. The Special II is based on the Gibson Les Paul Special, but with a plywood body and bolt-on neck.The first one failed after 2 days (faulty switch). The second had its neck out of alignment, so I loosened the screws, gave it a yank, and tightened it up again - better than new! The neck and hardware from this guitar have now been incorporated into No 5. My next project will be to make a new neck and convert the thing to a solid-body resonator guitar.

Guitar No 4

Guitar No 4 is a Fisher special. After buying the Epi Special II, and remembering old No 1, I decided to have another go at making my own instrument. This time I was far more scientific in my approach, and spent a lot of time researching and planning before I started work. The body shape is based on a Rickenbacker but the instrument is more like a Les Paul in tone, though its semi-hollow construction and Bill Lawrence pickups give it a versatility and sound all its own. It sounds better than it looks, and it looks better in the flesh than in the photos.

Guitar No 5

Guitar No 5 is another Fisher original. This is a true hollow-body, rather like the PRS Archtop, but without the centre block. The neck and hardware are from the Epi Special II - I had intended to upgrade them, but the thing plays so nicely that I don't think I'll change anything. The pickups were originally the el-cheapo Epiphones, but I did change them to Lawrence L500s, which made an enormous difference.

That's not a guitar!

No, but it's my latest project. It's based on the Studio Harp from Musicmakers Kits.

The neck is laminated from two layers of jarrah with a centre stripe of koto ash. The pillar is two pieces of jarrah laminated together.

I made the sound box from 19mm marine ply, and the sound board is a good quality pine laminate. Overall, I think lighter woods may have been a better bet, but this instrument is very sturdy and should last forever.

The harp is now finished and strung up, and sounds pretty good. Now I have to learn how to play it.


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