Hello and welcome back to The RIG's Den, from your friendly online store/column-churning dude/reference guy. For this month's column we'll be tackling DIYing and the homegrown home-built boutique scene; and as bonus, a quick rundown of a recent guitar project that I did. Here's an earlier review of my guitar tricks.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Many a time when humankind has created tools that would have eased his daily tasks. It is as they say what makes us humans unique. For the Filipino musician this holds very true there have been countless innovative inventors turned entrepreneurs who have made it their business to provide what the working class budget conscious musician might ever need.
I'm talking about gigbag makers, pedal builders, self styled luthiers and other DIYers. Most of you know them from the internet sites and online communities.
In this day and age it no longer is just about the technology and the knowhow. The internet has made it possible for people with little to no formal training and education to gain access to the technical knowledge. I know there are some musicians who have started making their own musical projects in their own homes.
The DIY scene (if there is such a thing) is really something else and it's great to see many Filipinos have followed suit, some have built names in creating and marketing their handmade creations and there have been a number of ardent supporters backing them up.
For me though, I mostly got into DIY it for the curiosity and as they say if necessity was indeed the mother of invention, the mothers of my invention was lack of money and the boredom from not doing anything at the time.
Here's a quick rundown of my recent double neck guitar build:
I watched MacGyver (80-90s reference-go Google that now) a couple of times and I built a prize winning stringed instrument for a physics fair in high school. So I said fuck it maybe I can do this myself. A few years ago I taught myself how to solder and trained with basic woodworking tools with Google and YouTube as my main references. Fast forward to 2012. I finally felt that I was hardly enough to offer my services to the public. Last year I did a short stint at THE RIG repairing guitars and basses but due to my busy busy schedule and a newfound day job, decided to lay low with the guitar repair business but that didn't stop me from DIYing.
For some time now it has been my dream to own a double neck guitar. Of course one was not readily available in the Philippines. And when I chanced upon a double neck model here, I thought I cost too much and is not built as good for the price of the guitar.
I planned and planned, tried to save some money then, it hit me, since I already have some tools, I thought why not build my own double neck guitar? The premise was simple build a double neck guitar for less than 6000 pesos, the cost of a decent second hand instrument. It cannot cost more than that because I didn't have the extra cash for the project. I also thought that it would be fun for me to make one.
I designed mine so that it would not have just a guitar but also a bass on the upper neck.
The guitar was to be constructed from two defective instruments I purchased off of the internet. Once I completed my purchase I disassembled both instruments and measured the areas for cutting.
Since, I did not own a circular table saw I decided to take the bass body and the guitar body to a furniture shop that will cut and set it (with strong wood adhesive) for me. It took them 3 days.
Once that was done, I re-assembled the necks and tested it, I didn't want to spend extra on the pickups so I dug up my old bin of used parts, I used a soap bar type pickup for the bass and I'll be installing a used mini rail hum bucker at the neck position of the guitar ( since I didn't want a single coil type pickup at the neck position I just put the hum bucker there –). Once that was done and out of the way I proceeded to use a coping saw to create a finer cut away in between the two necks.
The bass part had a basic volume knob while the guitar had a volume knob and retained its 5 way selector. The tone knob was wired in such a way that it would affect both necks.
One of the famous dudes who owned a double neck was Mr. Big bassist Billy Sheehan, his always had separate outputs so that he could plug which ever "neck" he wanted to thru different amplifiers. I thought “Hey! That would be good”, but then after the first prototype I thought to myself that it would mean that I needed to carry more cables during gigs. The first wiring prototype was scrapped and I re- made it to a much simpler wiring.
The guitar was already in playing shape, strings were attached and the intonation and action was set however there was one slight albeit aesthetic problem.
The guitar bodies were of different colors, with the budget running really low and my excitement and anxiousness to play the instrument really high, I decided to do with a polyvinyl sticker wrap finish ( the kind of stickers used to wrap cars and stuff). Since having a printed pattern cost so much I decided on flat black and proceeded wrap the top first. I left the bottom (back part) of the body unwrapped so as to show that the body was made from two different instruments, if anybody asks (also I was lazy).
Now I know that it might not be as perfect or as pulido as you would like but I am sure as hell proud of it. You know how food just tastes better when its home cooked (I'm assuming you know how to cook, otherwise, don't). The total money I spent was just a little over 5500 for a unique instrument and as really I had a lot of fun building it and I continue to have lots of fun playing and tinkering with it.
In future articles I'll discuss some easy DIY guitar mods that you can practice on.
‘TIL NEXT TIME