Thursday, May 13, 2010

The 'Gitfiddle'

I remember, as a young guy, how fascinated I was with Paul McCartney's Violin Bass Guitar, so I decided to create a little guy from a rat violin I found in a secondhand store.

It's not a cigar box guitar, but so what, there really are no rules when it comes to building small instruments. 

I haggled with the old guy who runs the place until he caved in and sold me the thing for much less than he had it marked.  Nothing like getting a bargain, right? 

After carting my prize home and into the shop, I quickly started ripping it apart.  Off came the strings, fingerboard, bridge, string retainer and chin rest.  Whoa, what next!  Gotta mark the spots where the saw will separate this little devil, and then carve it apart.  All the demolition took about 20 minutes, and I was in business. 

After the parts were separated and on the bench, I chose a nice piece of oak for the neck that would soon connect the tuner curl and the body.  After carefully measuring it for the correct scale length, I commenced to carve and shape the neck to fit the violin pieces remaining.  Once I had all the modifications completed, a really cool veneer laminated to the neck, and the fret slots cut, out came the epoxy and together went the curl, neck, and body.  Modified the string retainer to accommodate guitar strings and a much lower bridge.  Cut an opening in the back so that I could tuck a pickup and output jack in place.  Covered the opening with a specially designed piece, and that was about the end of the tougher stuff.  It wasn't long before the finishing touches were in place and it was ready for finish sanding, seal, paint in strategic places, and final coating with poly.  On with the strings.  Tune it to a fine D-F#-A and C, and I was ready for the blues on my new, well, almost new, 'Gitfiddle'.

Because the violin was made to be a well-resonating acoustic instrument, it makes a great little guitar and sound great without amplification, but when I light it up with the amp, it really sounds great.  

Damn, I like it when a plan comes together!

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