Saturday, January 14, 2006

GuitArt - The Guitar Calendar - "Songbird"

I asked my daughter to name this one. It is actually very handy for writing songs. That plus the birdseye maple top gave the name.

This is an Epiphone Chet Atkins model. It’s like an acoustic guitar, but made with a solid body. The back, sides, and neck are all solid mahogany, the front (top) is highly-figured birdseye maple. It’s actually quite beautiful close-up. This plays and feels like an electric guitar, but it has acoustic guitar tones.

Acoustic guitars usually have a lot of feedback because of the hollow body, so Gibson designed this one for Chet Atkins so he could play on stage without the squealing and booming feedback you normally get. The pickup is under the bridge.

When I bought this guitar in 2001, it looked beautiful, and played very nicely, but it sounded terrible. I took out the old pickup and plastic bridge and replaced them both. I bought a high-end Fishman pickup/preamp system, and then resolved to MAKE a new bridge from bone because that transfers the vibrations of the strings much more accurately and with resonance. I bought 3 flat pieces of bone. I superglued them together to make a solid block. Then, slowly, I grinded and sanded them into the exact 3-d shape I needed to make a bridge that exactly fits the hole and also gives the right intonation for the guitar. It worked, and now the guitar looks, plays, AND sounds terrific.


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