A couple weeks ago, I was invited by Cigar Box Nation to enter a contest which will be judged in June by Fretboard Magazine editors. The prize is a custom made six-string guitar. Not that I need another guitar . . . I already have G.A.S. (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome) . . , but what the hell, it will be fun to enter. The only criteria is that the guitar must be created from a cigar box, have two or more necks, and be playable.
So, I pondered what to build and came up with the idea of using the ancient Chinese understanding of how things work . . . Yin Yang.
The Yin Yang symbol is an outer circle representing 'everything', while the black and white shapes within the circle represent the interaction of two energies, 'yin' (black), and 'yang' (white), which cause everything to happen, and they cannot exist without each other.
While 'yin' would be dark, passive, downward, cold, and weak, 'yang' would be bright, active, upward, hot, and strong. The shape of the yin and yang sections of the symbol actually gives the sense of continual movement of the two images, yin to yang, and yang to yin.
I chose Yin Yang as the theme for this guitar, because music, the universal language of the ages, and the guitar with its dark bass and bright treble notes, complimentary opposites, represents perfectly through its music how things work together.
In the photos, you will see how I designed the necks to be similar, but opposite. One is made of dark oak with a very dark ebony fingerboard, while the other is light oak with a very light monkey pod wood fingerboard, facing each other, with tuners to match. The three-string neck is accented in black (Yin), and the four-string neck is accented in white (Yang). This color scheme is carried on down the back of the necks to the tailstocks. The box is a Saint Luis Rey Churchill, which worked well in that the oval logo was removed to create a sound hole between the necks, which I backed in screen to finish that portion.
Inside, I set up each neck with a transducer pickup which can be activated by a switch when being played, so that only sound from one guitar is amplified at a time. The bridge is designed to accommodate each neck in one design, which tends to tie the two together visually. To accentuate the Yin Yang theme, I added small silver plated black and white symbols to neck, tailstock, and bridge, as well as a larger example laminated to the back of the box.
Who knows how this creation will be accepted by the contest judges, but I don't really care, because it was fun to build and it plays very well, so win or lose, I win.