Saturday, November 17, 2012

The 'Delta King'

The "Delta King' is the latest creation coming out of my shed yesterday.  As you can see, it's a six-string electric with Tele controls.  The name comes from my visit a month ago to the Mississippi delta and to deliver a guitar case and guitar to my friend Roger Berry. The cigar box is an Arturo Fuente 'King'.   Thus the name 'Delta King'.

So, with the formalities out of the way, let me explain the concept of this axe.  Roger sent me off on my way home to enjoy everything the delta had to offer (read about that in a previous post here) with my car loaded down with a huge treasure chest of goodies he had boxed up for me.

From the massive bounty, I chose the parts necessary to complete this build.  The neck is a new Warmuth made for Fender to their specs, but it looks a little different, because I removed the dark brown finish from it to reveal the grain.  The neck and bridge pickups, along with the switch and volume/tone controls, are from a Telecaster.  Add a couple strap buttons and an output jack I had in my own supplies, and brass corner covers and things are taking shape.

After deciding where I wanted the bridge and pickups located, it was only a matter of measuring to determine the neck position.  The box was reinforced internally for structure and balance, and control locations were decided to allow for comfortable use.  Now, it was time to start putting all this stuff together.

I like the AF box, because it is covered with really cool gold colored paper accents and colorful pieces to enhance each end.  But, the box is wood, not the cardboard that many of the paper covered boxes are made from.  I decided on a custom design for the neck pickup surround, rather than to just cut a naked hole in the box top, and the black paint blends nicely with the color of the box.  But, there is still some work to do, and some fun to be had.

I decided the guitar would not be complete without delta images, so I chose some of Roger's favorites that he had me include in the case I built for him.  These are all the 'real deal' of the delta.

Top left is a tribute to Robert Johnson (the king of the delta blues movement more than a hundred years ago, and he just happens to have born at Hazlehurst, where Roger lives).  Top right is T Model Ford, a well known delta blues man; then moving on down the collage is the 49/61 Crossroads sign in Clarksdale, the home of Ike Turner and Sam cooke, to name just a couple; the Po Monkey's Juke Joint outside Merigold is one of a few jukes to last into the 21st century, and it rocks every Thursday night; Club Ebony, B.B. King's juke at Indianola; Blue Front Cafe at Bentonia; The bluesman James 'Super Chicken' Johnson playing one of his signature custom made gas can guitars - he lives in Clarksdale and is a regular on the schedule at Ground Zero;  a plantation cotton field somewhere in the old delta when cotton was picked by hand; and to anchor the photo collage is the Ground Zero Blues Club at Clarksdale, which is owned by Morgan Freeman and a guy from Las Vegas.

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