Friday, October 28, 2011

The 'Stratocrapper'

I've discovered, during the past couple years, that anything goes when building a cigar box guitar, and it doesn't necessarily require that a cigar box be used in the creation of a pretty cool instrument.  All that is required is a little creativity and a lot of imagination.

So, while taking a 'john' timeout, my imagination was wandering from one wild-assed (no pun intended) thing to another, and the thought occured to me that a toilet seat would make a great 'plank' guitar . . . it's shaped right; feels good when it should; some are made of wood, so construction would be easy; and it would be cool as hell (an oxymoron).

Off to Lowes I went in search of the perfect toilet seat.  It had to be wood, preferably oak, and it had to have a brass hinge arrangement.

I found just what I wanted, paid the lady, and beat feet out of the store . . . I bet they were wondering why I was in such a hurry with a toilet seat under my arm . . . they just didn't know the real mission I had in mind.

When my wife saw my new $30 prize, she asked, "Why are we replacing a toilet seat?"  "We aren't!," I said.  "Well, why did you buy that thing," she said.  Excited as all get out, I said, "I'm gonna make a guitar!"  She looked at me, rolled her eyes, and said, "What?"  "Ya," I said, "It'll be a hoot!, and I'm calling it the 'Stratocrapper!"  To this, she didn't have a response, only a thousand yard stare, and walked away.

Off to the workshop I went.  It didn't take me long to decide what I would do with the Fender six-string neck I had on the shelf.  I took the seat apart, swapped the pieces around so the lid was the back and the seat was the front, attached the two pieces together, and measured twice and cut once (the recommended Rockler Woodworking approach) so the neck would fit just right on my new guitar body.

Now, what to do about electronics, 'cause this rig was not set up for acoustics.  Let your mind wander just a bit and I'm sure you can imagine the sound produced from a toilet seat . . . didn't want those acoustics.  ;-)

I created a box from a hollowed out piece of oak, with laminated Spanish cedar top, which would carry the pickups and the bridge, while hiding the wires in the routed channel below.  Next, I designed another cedar piece to rest on the seat ring, which would hold the controls recessed into another routed channel.  The electro parts were gathered and I commenced to put a wire harness together, which would fit the channels and openings in the covers.  All this didn't take long, thanks to the handy, dandy tools and layout in my shop.

Once the fabrication and fitting of pieces was completed, it was on to design.  The oak lid would remain golden, but the seat would be stained a very dark ebony for contrast with the lid and other wood parts, and to tie the neck and body together.  The hand painted graphic on the back speaks for itself, and the logo on the headstock finished the job.

My nine-year-old granddaughter Maggie saw the finished guitar yesterday, while visiting us for Halloween treats, and said, "Grandpa is that a toilet seat made into a guitar?"  When I said it was in fact a toilet seat, she howled, "Seriously, a toilet seat!"  "Seriously, did someone sit on it?!"  "Oh, no, I can't believe you would make a guitar out of a toilet seat!"  I didn't tell her it was new and unblemished, hee, hee.  I wonder what she'll say when she sees the bedpan guitar I'm gonna make. 

Here it is.  The 'Stratocrapper'.  What do you think?  I'll probably get a letter from Fender Guitars saying I must cease and desist in using 'strato' in the name, since they seem to be on a recent lawsuit mission scolding all the folks referencing 'strato' anything . . . look out weatherman, when you mention the stratosphere.

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