Duct Tape Hardshell Coffin Guitar Case

A couple of years ago I built an acoustic guitar case, constructed entirely of cardboard and duct tape. Since completing that project, I have wanted to make a new case for transporting my parlor-sized guitars.

I didn’t want to complete that exact same project, so I drew inspiration from my favorite case from the 90’s, The Coffin Case, which had a red interior and black exterior much like my previous duct tape acoustic guitar case.

My version of the coffin case is constructed similar to the previous case but has interior dimensions made to house a parlor guitar. This case is a bit smaller than the previous case, so it only required six rolls of duct tape, one large 2-ply box, and a length of chain.

Follow the link below for more images and descriptions:

https://junkshopaudio.com/duct-tape-coffin-case-for-parlor-guitars/

Thanks,

Advertisements

Better Bolt Bridges – Left-handed Thread Rod

Better Bolt Bridges – Left-handed Thread Rod

I had been struggling with keeping my floating bolt bridges in place for proper intonation. I would set the bridge perfectly, as pictured below:

fullsizeoutput_68f

However, over time, the vibration of the strings would eventually turn the bolt, thus throwing my guitar out of tune, as pictured below:

fullsizeoutput_68e

If you look at the first picture, you can see that the orientation of the string is strained as it fights to stay in one of the thread slots. The force that the string places on the bolt naturally moves the bolt into a position where the string sits comfortably within a thread slot.

fullsizeoutput_690fullsizeoutput_691

Even bolt bridges that are mounted into a slot suffer difficulties. However, since the bolt can not turn to orientate the threads with the strings, they are more prone to slipping into another thread slot, which leads to intonation and string spacing problems. Plus, a string sitting on top of threads allows less usable surface area than a string seated within a thread slot.

The solution showed up on my doorstep yesterday morning. I had been trying the figure this out when I recalled that, in my warehouse days, contractors would request left-handed thread rod for certain jobs. I looked around and found 3/8 left-handed steel rod at Fastenal for $26.87, plus shipping, which seems pricey, but I can cut about 36 2″ floating/fixed bridges for $1.08 each.

This is the direct link to the rod that I purchased:   https://www.fastenal.com/products/details/47304

fullsizeoutput_693

Here is the result. As you can see in the image below, the floating bolt bridge is once again in tune; however, this time the strings will not cause the bolt to turn because the strings are now seated comfortably within the thread slots.

IMG_1719

Tragedy averted—now I just have to find some left-handed brass rod.

Thanks,

img_1926-2

https://www.junkshopaudio.com

 

Bennet’s Bamboom Stick

Bennet’s Bamboom Stick

IMG_1663IMG_1647IMG_1649IMG_1651

“Bamboom” was how Bennet used to pronounce “bamboo” when he was younger. In Army of Darkness, Ash called his shotgun a “boom stick”—no real correlation, just a fun fact.

This instrument was commissioned by Bennet. I can’t remember what it is really called, but Bennet fell in love after playing one at the St. Louis Cigar Box Guitar Club. Both the frame and handle are constructed entirely of bamboo. The one that he saw included a cigar box and piezo pickup, but I wanted to streamline the design, so I cut a hole and installed a JSC Nd144 electromagnetic pickup. 

IMG_1635

Bamboo is incredibly strong for its thickness and weight, but it is easy to manipulate once a hole is created. I made horizontal cuts with a hacksaw and then drilled a couple of holes, where I wanted to cut vertically, and sawed a half inch strip out of the center. After that, a sharp chisel cut the rest relatively easy, with a surprising amount of control over how much material was removed.

IMG_1636

I cut a handle from a smaller diameter piece of bamboo; it fit snug within the opening. Build note: if you are thinking about constructing a similar instrument and use a bamboo handle, consider reinforcing the handle with a piece of dowel rod. The handle on this instrument cracked during its first use. I’ll just remove the twine and then glue and clamp the handle on Bennet’s, but it’s better to reinforce the handle from the start.

IMG_1641

From the pickup hole, I had limited range to place the piece of angle that would hold the tuner and the 1/4″ jack, but that was the only access that I had without creating more holes. It was tight, but it all fit without interfering with the connections. IMG_1642IMG_1643IMG_1645

I filed a large rectangular notch into the top of the handle and use a 1/4″ bolt and rod coupling to tighten the string down. A couple of brass pieces and binding screw worked well to allow the handle to pivot. I also rounded out the back of the frame to allow the handle more range and added an eye bolt, bent to an angle, to act as a bridge and set a consistent action.

IMG_1644

Because of the limited space, I had to set the piece of angle, then install and solder the jack to the pickup, then install the bent eye bolt, and finally seat the pickup. I was extremely happy that it all worked the first time. After that, I added the usual simple machine to set the open note/octave.

IMG_1654

For the bottom, I added a screw-on rubber bumper so that it doesn’t slide on the floor. I fit perfectly, with a little persuasion.

There is only one E string, but the instrument has a lot of range. I added the simple tuner so that the player can set the open note/octave. The player controls the pitch by tightening and slacking the string with the handle and there is definitely a learning curve, as the player has to listen for the note correct pitch—I place the difficulty level somewhere between playing slide guitar and trombone. Good times.

Thanks,

img_1926

 

Cecil Whittaker’s Pizza Box Guitar

fullsizeoutput_658IMG_1587fullsizeoutput_664

I had this clean Cecil Whittaker’s Pizza box, so I strung it up to see what it would sound like. I cut down the neck, glued it, and carved the Double Razorblade head design that is now the official Junk Shop Audio head. Then, I cut a channel in the neck for my Junk Shop Audio Nd144 pickup and stained the neck with a steel wool and balsamic vinegar blend that looks awesome. The old looking strap came with my Jay G. parlor guitar; it seemed to match this build well. I made a strap adapter out of duct tape, which works well with the disheveled theme.

IMG_1583fullsizeoutput_665

I cut a hole for the 1/4″ jack, along with removing part of the inner box. The jack works great, but care must be taken when inserting and pulling out the cord, as the wall is a bit weak.

IMG_1578IMG_1579

I installed a small piece of angle with three brass screws. and then added the simple machines—made of ground thumb screws and rod nuts—and a bridge made of cut brass rod, filed flat on the bottom. To hold the box closed, I used the strap button, which is made of a brass knurling nut and a vandal-proof bolt—when this is removed the box opens.

IMG_1592

For the head, I used stainless bolts, brass washers, and brass knurl nuts to hold the strings in place and a cut bolt for the nut. For the frets I went in a new direction—after marking the fret distances, I cut small grooves into the top corner of the neck to mark the fret positions. These small grooves can be seen from both the front and side, so it is visible from all angles. I like the subtle look of these markers.

fullsizeoutput_667IMG_1591

Acoustically, the guitar is not super loud, but it’s great for jamming out in the driveway after hours; amplified, it sounds great.

Thanks,

img_1926-2