Shakespeare Hardback Book – Three-Stringed Electric “Cigar Box” Guitar

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I had a crazy idea to make a book into a guitar and this is the product. It took a while to find the right book, but eventually I landed on this copy of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. It was a mix of the correct size and thickness; plus, it’s Shakespeare.

I did some quick Internet research and didn’t see any other “book guitars”, so I assumed I was in fairly uncharted waters. I took some time and thought about how I should best proceed. In the end, a straight edge and razor blade seemed the best course.

I would be lying if I told you that the first cut was easy. I’m not in the business of destroying books, but…

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I found the center of the book and measured the width of the neck wood. Then, I taped it off and drew the lines. I cut out the side first, to the depth of the neck, and then cut the center to the same depth. After the center was removed, I set the temporary neck in the center and replaced the side pages—everything fit great.

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Next, I fastened the outer pages to the back cover with some flat, low profile bolts. I drilled through the pages and back cover, installed the bolts, and then chiseled a small area on the inside of the front cover to allow for the other end of the bolt. Now, the pages wouldn’t fall out and it would be a secure area for the electronics.

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I cut down the neck, glued it, and carved the Double Razorblade head design that will be my official Junk Shop Audio head going forward. I cut a channel for my Junk Shop Audio Nd144 pickup and stained the neck with a steel wool and balsamic vinegar blend that looks awesome.

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I fastened the neck through the back of the book with flat furniture bolts. These bolts come in a variety of colors and are strong—the neck was firmly attached and the bolts looked cool.

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To hold the pickup in place, I used some metal scraps from the 9v adaptor deconstruction. I lined them up on the neck, grabbed them with a length of duct tape, and placed the tape in the correct area on the back of the book cover. the magnets on the pickup will attract to the steel scraps.

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I cut a hole for the 1/4″ jack and a small channel between the jack hole and pickup for the wire.

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I installed the 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 a cut bolt, filed flat on the bottom.

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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. The frets are drawn on in pencil, because I may add a fretboard and frets in the future.

Acoustically, the guitar sounds louder and more bassy than I thought it would; amplified, it sounds really dirty when you kick in the overdrive.

Check out this quick and dirty video:

Thanks,

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Cecil Whittaker’s Pizza Box Guitar

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Thanks,

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Fireplace Pan Electric Guitar

Fireplace Pan Electric Guitar

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I found this old brass fireplace pan at my local antique mall and immediately saw potential. The wrought iron handle seemed like it would accommodate two strings and it was long enough to provide a reasonable scale.

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I based the scale and fret spacing off of my son’s 19″ Zakk Wylde Peewee Les Paul, which was about as far as I could push the space provided. I used the rim of the pan as a bridge and, even then, I only had about an 1-1/2 of usable surface behind the nut.

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As usual, space was tight; therefore, traditional tuners were not a viable option. Using the rim as a bridge, I installed the tuners down the side of the pan and my simple, linear machines were perfect for the space available. These tuners are cheap, efficient, and adaptable—many of my past projects would have been impossible without the flexibility offered by these machines. I placed the 1/4′ jack in the upper right instead of the lower right, because the protruding cord would be the least obstructive and it could double as a makeshift strap button.

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The head isn’t spectacular, but I do like the functional aspect of the built-in wrought iron hanger. The nut is fabricated of a brass bolt cut to length and filed down to half its diameter. I left the head on, because the bass string pulls with greater force than its counterpart. The knurled nuts are my personal favorite; if I could, I would find a place for them in every project—they just look so cool and sometimes offer excellent function.

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The pickup is my own Junk Shop Audio Nd144 style, great for 1-string to 3-string applications. It has a compact design and can be installed in a number of creative ways—in some cases it can even be hidden completely for a smooth, uncut top appearance, to better preserve original cigar box artwork.

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The strap nut is created from a bolt, a beveled washer, a 1/4″ aluminum sleeve, and a couple of nuts. However, its more important function is to attach the metal strip that holds the pickup in place. The strap is made completely from red and black duct tape; I feel it complements the instrument well.

Thanks,

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Quick and Dirty Acoustic Pickup

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I needed a pickup that I could easily install and remove from guitar to guitar—this is what I created with few spare parts I had laying around.

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I grabbed a Lego crate and lid got the housing and a RCA jack for the connection. The active agent is a piezo disk that I broke out of a buzzer housing.

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Drilled a hole in the bottom of the crate and installed the RCA jack.

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Then, I drilled a hole in the  lid and inserted the piezo wires.

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Next, I soldered the wires to the hot and ground terminals on the RCA jack and closed the crate.

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To allow for easy installation and removal, I added a 3/8″ removable Glue Dot to  the back of the piezo disk and one side of the Lego Crate. Done.

It needs some more sound shaping, but it has potential and is decent in a pinch.

Check out my video:

Thanks,

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Yard Dog Tremolo (controlled by cellphone app)

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So…this is the newest addition to my Yard Dog collection—super low rent manifestations of repurpose and modification. This project is based upon the mechanism present in the Strobe Light Tremolo; however, instead of utilizing an internal light source, the light comes from a free and ordinary cell phone app. This allows for many variations, as flashlight apps with strobe light features can vary in speed and brightness, thus allowing for a bit of customization from user to user.

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I started with an ordinary sardine can—cleaned it out and drilled the holes for two ¼” jacks and a single pole, double throw switch.

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It’s wired simply—audio in to switch with one side as a bypass and the other side controlled by the photocell. The photocell was extracted from an ordinary nightlight that comes on automatically when a room becomes dark.

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I originally had just the piece of painter’s tape over the top, but found that the phone created noticeable interference. Therefore, I lined the inside with aluminum foil and then carefully insolated the bottom with part of a sticky note and the top with more painter’s tape, just in case the foil shakes loose. Since the phone creates so much interference and it sits on top of the unit, I cut about an 1/8” of aluminum foil to keep my signal quiet; it is barely audible when the light turns on and off. I cut a small, strategic hole exactly where the phone’s LED light exits the phone.

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Duct tape was the lowest rent covering that I could thinking of, so I placed two pieces over the top and ran my thumb around the edge a few times. Then, I used a razor blade to cut the excess tape close to the outer edge. I found the hole and cut the duct tape and then wrote the name in red Sharpe.

That’s it—a simple, effective analog effect driven by digital technology.

Watch my video:

Classical Acoustic Resonator Guitar

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I picked up this broken Fender Classical Guitar at a local antique mall for pretty cheap. The bridge was completely ripped off and tied to the headstock in a sandwich bag. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, but thought, why not.

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First, I tried to clean the broken wood off of the bridge and guitar top; I applied glue and clamped it—that proved unsuccessful, so I cut a big ol’ hole in the top about the size of a stove drip pan, because that’s what I do.

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I found that a paint can lid from a five gallon paint can fits perfectly over a stove drip pan—who knew. Four small screws were installed to keep the lid from shifting when the strings exert pressure. A tailpiece from an old acoustic was sanded and then added for greater stability.

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I cut the ends off of the bridge to make in more compact and then cut and stacked two pieces of brass rod to serve as a saddle.

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I found that this modification required a lot of reinforcement—I glued the bridge to the lid, cut small holes on either side, and then zip-tied a similar-sized block of wood to the bottom of the paint can lid from over the bridge. Additionally, I installed a brass bolt through the top of the lid that secured it to the drip pan via an old mounting bracket from a junction box.

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I strung it with nylon strings just to see what it would sound like—it doesn’t resonate similar to steel rather, the resonating sound comes from the unplayed/untouched open strings and the untouched top. The player must keep his or her arm off of the top of the guitar or it will sound like any other classical guitar, which is cool, because it offers flexibility with regard to sound.

That’s it; check out the video:

Stay tuned for the removable pickup rig that I have designed for use with this guitar, since nylon strings negate use of my 9 volt power adapter pickup.

Thanks,

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Yard Dog – Aluminum Level Full-Scale Steel Guitar

Homemade Promotional Guitar Pick Project

Homemade Guitar Picks

Hi,

Over the past few months, I’ve been
trying to get the word out about this site and recently entertained the idea of making homemade, promotional guitar picks to distribute. I believe I have stumbled upon a reasonable process and wanted to share it with you.

The process entails printing 56 pick-sized designs on a sheet of transparency film and then laminating it. After that, four laminating pouches are cut into eight separate sheets and are then laminated to the back of the primary sheet one at a time. Finally, the picks are harvested with a Pick Punch and finished with 600 grit sandpaper.

This project takes a little effort, but the final product is a very excellent, medium-gauge pick. Detailed instructions are in the works—in the meantime, have a look at the attached images.

Thanks,

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Sneak Peek — First images of SlipStick Carry-On Electric Slide Guitar prototype

Hi,

I’m here at Orlando Airport waiting for a flight back to St. Louis. I was at a management seminar over the past few days and had originally designed this guitar for the trip, so that I would have an instrument to play during the down time.

I call it a carry-on electric slide guitar because it is 20 inches in length and designed to fit diagonally across a carry-on sized suitcase. It worked well and though I brought a distortion pedal and mini amp, I really only needed my iPhone, the GarageBand app, an iRig interface, and a pair of headphones.

The bench image is early, as I have since moved the strings closer together and added a 1/4″ jack, but I will likely install three strings on the on the finalized model.

There will be more to come.

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