The Doppelcaster project was quickly decided and is already on its track: after designing it last month, I have now most of the material - the 2 Squiers Teles, and GFS pickups and gear freshly shipped from the US. Tomorrow I will start to dismantle them and remove the finish - but I have to find my woodwork book to start the serious stuff (and I have to learn how to sold a humbucker). Any advice is welcome!
My latest infatuation is the Melobar, a portable lap steel guitar conceived in the 60s by Melobar and released a.o. by Mosrite - and revived lately by Manson for John Paul Jones.
I think that this instrument is probably less difficult to build than a regular guitar, because it evacuates the whole neck/ fret/ scale/ fretboard/ radius issue - more or less you nail the gear on a planck and you have a lap steel! Actually I never played a lap steel guitar, but I like bottleneck a lot, and I think that learning how to play a new instrument is easier than to go over my limitations as a guitarist (it worked with bass).
So a home-made Melobar could be a cool project - it would be a baritone to create an instrument that doesn't exist, I see it with six-string so I can use regular gear - a wraparound bridge, a mini-humbucker and a lipstick pickup both in bridge position, a telecaster control plate...
That's an exciting idea, will see if it can make an exciting project - I have other ones cooking...
A few days ago I was at the concert of the Dead Weather in Berlin - a quite amazing performance I must say. I've been following the Kills for a while now, so when Alison Mosshart joined the Dead Weather, I was quite curious about this new band - though I never really listened to the White Stripes, the Queens of the Stone Age or the Raconteurs.
The Dead Weather have been posting great live videos on the Web so for a while I was happy just with them and bought their first album just a few months ago - and realised that they were more than just another supergroup à la Them Crooked Vulture (though I'd like to see them on stage too actually).
Anyway, the concert was really impressive, everything seemed really thought and mastered, but the whole thing kept spontaneous and emotional. Usually I'm just interested in the music but the stage set - a giant eye in a baroque architecture painted on a canvas and lit with black light - and the light show were sharp and beautiful, contributing to the strong atmosphere. I love the almost primitive simplicity of the Dead Weather's music, and Mosshart's voice and stage presence are at the core of it. Having superstar Jack White as a side man creates a strange tension, because thus she can never really be the central focus, also with Dean Fertita being essential playing guitar and keyboards.
This night's version of Will There Be Enough Water? was mind-blowing - it's the only quiet song in a quite energetic set, and then White handles his infamous custom white Gretsch Billy Bo Jupiter Thunderbird for a beautiful and powerful solo, his only one of the concert - more was not necessary (I checked afterward different live versions of the song on YouTube, I can tell that the Berlin one was exceptional).
Didn't see a rock concert with guitars for a long time - I think that all my last concerts were about electronic ultranoise - and I'm happy I waited for something so good - though it doesn't console me of having missed PJ Harvey + John Parish last year!
A last thing, the sound engineers of Harvey's Neu Welt sabotaged the sound of the opening act, like often. People who do that are pure morons. They have all the material, they could do a proper job even if the guys are not world famous. Wonder if these people even care about music.
I know that I have many projects cooking and almost none really achieved but this last year I've been lucky enough to be very busy with stage projects - and this should last another year if everything works like planed! Anyway, it doesn't mean than I won't build anything, because I managed to introduce some more guitar making in Angel Meat. So here comes the Doppelcaster project, a double neck Telecaster that I intend to build from 2 Squier Telecaster Affinity (a guitar that has quite good reviews and is perfect for modifications). I've been looking for a while for a double neck guitar but they are mostly unaffordable if you don't want a no-brand cheapo, also often ugly and too big, and I thought so far that it would be too difficult to build one from scratch... I found the good compromise with the simple idea of gluing two guitars together and keep most of the gear - I will just put humbucker pickups on one of the necks. If the result is satisfying I consider later getting a baritone neck and embedded effects to make a richer and more complex instrument. I need to have this done by next october for my next show's premiere! Comments are welcome if you have any constructive ideas to help me doing the Doppelcaster!
Is it vain to have a personal guitar blog - one more guitar blog? Probably...
But when I started to pay more and more attention to my guitars - lifetime companions and much more than mere working tools -, I've been quite happy to gather information on the net, on blogs, forums, fan sites, etc... So maybe some people will benefit in a way or another from this one.
And maybe also one day someone will see and appreciate my design work and ask me to design guitars for his project or his company - feel free to contact me if you're interested!
You can click on most pictures to enlarge them. This blog is best displayed in 1280 x 800, but is also watchable on smartphones.
All the contents of this blog, (text, design and technical device) are intellectual property of Bertram Dhellemmes (unless stated otherwise). Every use or copy without an explicit permission is forbidden.
A sunburst Stratocaster walks into a bar, orders a beer and takes a stool next to a hot-looking Les Paul Goldtop, who's sipping an umbrella drink. The Strat leers at the Les Paul for several minutes and then says, "Hey, that's some set of humbuckers you got on you, darlin'."
"You're not getting any feedback off of me with a pickup line like that," the Goldtop says indignantly.