I've been mulling over ideas for a guitar that I have decided I need in order to reproduce in a live situation the music I have been making in a couple of projects.
This past year I have taken to the bass guitar in a big way, so much so that it has become my main instrument. However, I still want to play guitar as well, but more than that what I'd really like to do would be to play both bass and guitar on the same songs. So, what is required is a doubleneck guitar and bass. Add in a looper pedal (or preferably two) and the possibilities are quite staggering - just check out what Kristian Dunn does in El Ten Eleven (see video clip above).
However, finding an off-the-shelf solution to a doubleneck guitar/bass combination is not so easy. Most such instruments I can find have the bass neck at the top and the guitar neck at the bottom. I can understand the logic at work here so that you have the strings across the entire instrument running from low to high, but I believe that this is not the best practical arrangement. Just think about it. For starters I'd have thought that having the longer bass neck at the bottom of the instrument would allow for better balance. But there is also the question of playability. With a bass on top you would need to rest your forearm across the longer scale bass strings in order to reach the guitar side, which could lead to unwanted damping or spurious noises from the bass if the volume for both necks was on at the same time. Also, for chordal work / strumming on the guitar I'd rather have that higher up on my body, whereas for playing bass I'm personally happier to have it slung a little lower.
So, yes, for me bass on bottom is definitely the way to go.
In which case, what options are there?
Well first off there are vintage instruments like the Shergold doubleneck and Danelectro examples pictured here.
Carvin DB630 as used by El Ten Eleven's Kristian Dunn. It's definitely one of the better doubleneck designs I have seen; it looks a lot less cumbersome than most.
Alas, these vintage instruments are all quite rare and not very easy to track down. In the event of actually finding one for sale, it is liable to be expensive. Did I mention that my budget is limited on this project? Quite frankly, the less I can get away with spending, the better.
OK, so how about a cheaper instrument from China or Korea? There are a number of websites that feature such instruments for sale, some of which have very cheeky copies of certain big brand American guitars complete with counterfeit logos, whilst others are variations on designs from those same companies but are guitars that never existed. In this latter category are a number of doublenecks.
OK, other options would be to commission a custom-built instrument but I've already explained that this is a budget operation, so that leaves the DIY route. Well, I've checked the doubleneck guitar kits available and can only find a 6+4 with the bass on top.
Bertram's advice to me is "try my way - cut two Squiers in halves and have them glued together by a pro." He's referring of course to his Doppelcaster, the doubleneck Telecaster that he built.
That is indeed one option, but if I wanted a doubleneck like the last one pictured above, joining a Strat body to a P-Bass body isn't quite so simple as the latter is a longer shape (remembering that I want the bass at the bottom). Then of course there is the body contouring to take into consideration. Slab-bodies would join together much more easily so maybe as Bertram suggests I should think Telecaster rather than Stratocaster.
Other guitars I considered joining together are:
- Ibanez GAX30 guitar and Ibanez GAX150B bass. But what do you know?... The GAX150B is now discontinued and no-one seems to be selling them on eBay either.
- Hofner Shorty guitar and Hofner Shorty bass. I thought this might allow for a nice compact design but I couldn't quite work if it was feasible to chop portions of the bodies off and join then together. There didn't seem to be quite enough material to work with. I did momentarily toy with the idea of NOT chopping down the bodies but connecting the two together with metal rods drilled into the bodies. However, I figure this would mean that the two necks would be too far apart from one another.
- Epiphone LP Junior/Special and similar bass. As long as both were slab-bodied and of the same thickness, this could work, but I simply haven't found the necessary donor guitars for sale.
So now I'm going to be rather cheeky and ask if there are any Guitarz readers out there who would be willing to help me with this project? (Hey, I may as well take advantage of having this guitar blog!) I neither have the resources or the talent so I'm going to ask: Would someone out there be able to build me a doubleneck body? I'm more interested in function rather than it being a superb piece of first class luthiery. Obviously I'd be willing to pay but I'm not able to pay custom shop prices. It'd probably be best if it was someone in the UK or maybe Europe, so as to minimize the cost of sending parts and materials back and forth.
I am open to suggestions but at the moment, I believe what is required is a new body routed for Telecaster parts on the guitar side and probably a P-Bass on the bass side (or possibly a Squier Bronco bass - the shorter scale may make for a better balanced instrument). As to the design, that is something we could discuss further.
Please contact me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or else via the comments below.
If anyone else has any ideas which might be useful please feel free to add to the discussion.
G L Wilson
one of these and swap the necks around. I wonder if it might be as simple as that? I can see that the bridges and pickups are in the same positions but would the neck pockets be the same size?
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