I don't actually know anything about this guitar. It belonged to a friend of mine. I think he bought it super cheap, owned it for a couple days, and then smashed it at a performance. It was a phase he's mostly grown out of, but he took a bunch of cheap but decent guitars off the market. This I think was the first, and it's actually pretty special.
Best I can tell it was hand made by some schmoe with some decent skills. There's no markings on the headstock or really anywhere else to give us any clues. It was a pretty serious, heavy duty guitar. In this first pic you'll notice that the body split almost in half, and the neck sort of splintered, but it's still attached to the guitar.
In fact, you can see her, that the body tried to split along the neck joint. The neck plate itself had five screws in it, and when I removed it, I found another two screws - which I suspect were meant to adjust the neck angle, but they are buried under a thick layer of whatever varnish is all over the thing, and I couldn't immediately remove them.
After ripping the fretboard off, the reason for those two screws is revealed. In lieu of an adjustable truss rod, this thing has three strips of steel! You can see one of them poking out the back of the neck in the top picture.
The pickguard is, in fact, a plate of steel. It came off the guitar in one piece with all of the electronics still connected. Yes, it flew across the room, and yes we're really frickin' lucky it didn't kill anybody! This pic is from after I cut all the pickup wires loose, but you can actually see that most everything is still intact. The jack was a little loose and needed to be bent back into shape. The knobs are gone, but I think those pots probably still work. One of the rocker switches is broken, but otherwise it's still like a miracle or something. IDK what these pickups are. The blue wires are shield wires which had been attached to the jack ground, even though they conduct via the pickguard itself. Redundancy is, as they say. It had been wired (as many of these are) with all three pickups in series, with an on/off shorting switch for each.
My plans for this thing don't require a neck, but they do allow for it to look as messed up as possible. Since I didn't want to put in the effort to pull those adjustment screws out, I instead just pulled the "truss rods" out and just snapped the damn thing off. Then I slathered Gorilla Glue all over the rough edges. It didn't make it any less pokey, but it should keep most of the splinters from breaking off and lodging themselves inside people. The fact that the tailpiece is still intact and firmly attached is a bonus, though.
Last Edit: Oct 20, 2017 17:29:17 GMT -5 by ashcatlt
Then I went to the hardware store with a basic idea and some time, spent a little money and got a buss bar, a length of threaded rod, and some roundstock, which I hacked up with the old dremel tool until I had...
An bridge/end piece, a riser to get it tall enough, and the posts to secure it...
...and a bridge, and a ubolt and an...S...thing which are a part of a novel "tuning" or tensioning system that you'll see in the next post.
Then I drilled some holes and stuck those things on. I decided to bypass all of the switches and pots and just wire the three pickups permanently in series and directly to the jack. You may notice that I rotated the pickups themselves, and this was on purpose. The control side of this is going to hang off the edge of where the body is broken, and I wanted to keep those wires from getting accidentally yanked. I did happen to notice (and remember) that the neck pickup had been wired reverse of the others. The series, from jack hot to jack sleeve, was red-black-red-black-black-red, and I put them back the same way. I did not test for magnetic polarity, because it ultimately doesn't matter for this application. As you'll see below, nothing actually excites any two pickups at the same time, so relative phase is pretty much moot.
Then I screwed it back onto the body (with new slightly bigger screws) and "strung" it up.
It's a noise maker! The strings stretch a little crooked from the tailpiece, over the threaded rod bridge, under the...S...thing, and through the buss bar. Pull it as tight as you can by hand, and screw down the buss bar screws. Then, by screwing down the...S...thing, the strings tighten up. It's a simple concept, and the use of a wingnut was supposed to make it relatively easy operation that needed only a screw driver. It's not at all easy though! I found that it works best if you run the strings as straight as possible to the hole, then tighten that screw, then spring it over to get the angle from the bridge (adding some tension in the process), and then tighten down the...S...and then kind of do the whole thing a few more times until it actually works well enough. :/ The loose ends of the strings on the other side of the buss bar are an unexpected bonus. Then there's three lengths of round stock through the remaining holes in the buss-bar that make a sort of six-tine thumb piano. Those bars are pretty thick for this short of a thing, really. It doesn't sound much like a kalimba. In fact, when you doink them, you tend to hear the strings resonating sympathetically more than the bar itself. But those are super simple to swap out with about anything made of metal, so we may try different things down the line. And just for good measure, I stuck a tremolo spring on there for some real fun with scraping and boinging.
I plugged it into an amp and it just worked. In fact, it's really damn cool with all kinds of fun noises available. The whole thing is extremely microphonic, but that's part of the fun, too. My friend moved away earlier this year, but he's back to visit this week, and I'm going to hand this to him and I'm pretty sure he's going to be blown away. Then I'm going to have to figure out how to make something similar for myself, cause I'm already jealous!
Looks like a homebuilt copy of the Brian May guitar- which is apt, since BM's original was also homebuilt. But, if you're going to build one for yourself, please just use a wooden plank instead of going all Pete Townsend with another guitar.
I personally have never smashed a single guitar. First because I just can't afford and B, because it's been done so many times by so many people. It's not exactly new or shocking anymore. That kid had some stuff going on back then. I think this one wasn't really planned, and he's almost kind of lucky that both his Tele and his Mustang were malfunctioning at the time because if he had smashed one of those he would really have regretted it. But then he started just buying the cheapest guitar he could find at the local Music Go Round before his shows "just in case".
Last Edit: Oct 23, 2017 13:18:59 GMT -5 by ashcatlt