Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Jim Davies' electrified 5-string acoustic

Jim Davies, bassist with Small Machine writes:
I sometimes comment on the Guitar Blog and I thought I'd send in this - your comment on the Burns/Hayman guitar, "I've always liked acoustics that have obviously been electrified with pickups and control knobs on show for all to see" spurred me into photographing and videoing one of my own guitars for submission for your blog.

The attached photos are of an old acoustic that has been "modified" over the years by me, The original guitar was sunburst, made in Eastern Europe model with a white scratchplate, trapeze type tailpiece and no bridge (or strings). Over the years different paint finishes and hardware have been added to the guitar, including a pickup from a Japanese Telecaster copy (wired straight to a jack) and homemade bridge, scratchplate and soundholes. I keep it in an open-E tuning based on the "Keith Richards" open G, so it only needs 5 strings. The strings come out of the big bridge straight onto the wood - there is no saddle - which lends the guitar a sitar-type quality.

I made a YouTube video so that you can hear what it sounds like amplified and acoustically too.
I used to think that perhaps I had gone too far with the things I had done to the guitar, but a few years ago I found an unmodified version of the same guitar in a charity shop. I bought it, got it home, put new machine heads on and strung it with new strings and realised why I had gone to such lengths to change the original; it sounded awful! Attached also is a cameraphone photo of the two together [inset, above].

Jim Davies
Hey Jim, great stuff. Thanks for sharing it with us. I guess this is the same kind of do it yourself ethos as displayed by cigar box guitar builders. I'm reminded also of Seasick Steve, who besides playing his "3-string trance wonder" also often riffs upon a beaten-up old parlour guitar with a Teisco pickup screwed into the top - and it sounds fantastic.

Oh, and on an unrelated note, I'd just like to point out that yesterday we exceeded one million page hits - which is nice. Remember, there were no other guitar blogs when I started this one. I'm just pleased that so many people seem to like it, bearing in mind that I originally started it only so as to keep track with guitar-related items I'd found when surfing the web.

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

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