Double-Neck PDF Print E-mail

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One of the neat things that's happening as I chalk up the years in the guitar making business is that I can build almost anything I can imagine now. And equally important, anything you can imagine. Early on I stuck with just one model so that I could more easily tell what happened when I did little things differently - causes and effects of different woods, hardware choices, angles, switching...
Before long I added a 2nd guitar model with a longer scale, but kept the same experimental approach. Well, after a couple of hundred guitars, all of a sudden I get this very clear idea of how a guitar is going to sound, look and play before I even glue it up. Sure, I still get nice surprises, but nothing completely unexpected. And that new sense has allowed me to become much more adventurous with my designs and concepts.Image

So I says to myself, "Self? Let's make a double-neck!" And away we went.

I never really could figure out why anyone would put a bass and a six string together - until I bought a looping pedal. As a performer, I simply have to have bass to fill in the bottom that my rhythm playing lacks. The looper takes care of that - when I can't find or afford a real bass player. I just lay down a bass line and even a rhythm guitar and percussion track. Then I can sing and solo over the top like I own the place! But it's a pain - and a drag on the crowd to be changing instruments all night. This rig lets you keep focused on the song and keeping the crowd entertained.Image

I don't usually go overboard on materials for prototypes, but a good friend had given me this beautiful piece of Koa awhile back. It is loaded with character including curling, "blistering", mineral steaking as well as a couple of knots that went all the way through. He told me it was recovered from a furniture piece built in the 1800s! Koa is one of the most musical/magical woods I've ever worked with.
The back is book-matched curly Silver Maple, as are the control plates. I've used soft maples on many guitars. It's not too bright sounding like harder maples can be. And it's a real trip to stare into the ripply curl!Image
Both maple fretboards are generously sprinkled with birdseyes. They both have 12 inch radii (usses?) and Padouk fret markers. The necks themselves are 5 piece laminates with 3 maple and 2 walnut bands, reinforced with two-way trussrods. And the headstock veneers are book-matched from very old Lauro Preto rosewood that was cut sometime in the thirties, milled and stored in England for decades before being shipped over here to Santa Barbara about 30 years ago. It's quite a thrill to work with and it ain't so hard to look at, either.Image

Here's a video of me playing this thing a couple of days after wiring it up. I'm running the bass loop through a little Yorkville 1x10 bass amp, along with a live cajon loop and a rhythm guitar track. Then I play lead through a little Randall 1x8 combo with effects until the camera batteries go dead. If you look close enough, you might get an idea of the switching. First, each axe has its own volume and tone controls. The guitar section has a mini-toggle for coil-tapping the Seymour Duncan humbuckers, and the bass has a push-pull pot for tapping that big, fat Dimarzio.
The toggle on the upper horn is for selecting the guitar pickups, while the toggle between the necks is for selecting bass, guitar or both. The little toggle in the bass section is used to select between the two output jacks. You can send either neck or both through either jack.

 

 

 
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