Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

I Love This Guitar, Now

A while back (maybe a couple of years ago?), my friend Tony G was looking for a 3-speed bike, and I had an early-60s Hercules hanging in the shop building. I told him he could have it, and he asked if i would take a guitar in trade. I was really planning on just giving Tony the bike, but i told him to bring the guitar over, and I'd take a look at it. This is what he brought.

I immediately tod Tony that I'd love to make the trade. I had a vague notion that I could do something with the guitar, at some point.

TrueTone was the house brand for Western Auto, back in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Various Chicago instrument makers produced guitars for W/A, including Harmony and Kay.

The painted on 16th-note "pickguard" identifies this particular guitar as a Kay. You can find quite a few examples of this motif on Kay and Old Kraftsman branded instruments on the interwebs.

Yesterday, I spent about 9 hours cleaning up in my shop building. During that time, I also took the time to start hanging parts on some project bikes. As I moved some boxes, I unearthed this guitar, leaned up against the wall of the shop. For some reason, I immediately realized what I wanted to do to it.

This is what I saw, in my head...

First, I made a new bridge saddle, from a bicycle spoke, for the home-made wooden bridge, and threw some spar varnish on the wood which was exposed when the veneer peeled off.
Then, I drilled the body for a cord jack, and volume and tone controls. I put those all into place, then screwed the mounting plate for a Strat-style single coil pickup into the top, with the pickup spanning the sound hole.

Then, I strung it up with some 13-65 DR DDT electric guitar strings.

It's a screaming Blues Machine, on the dirty channel, and sounds great on the clean channel, or acoustic, as well.

Here's a video...



At 4:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds good on both channels - I like the clean the best. Also, I love that painted on note on the "pick guard" - very nice retro design.

At 7:09 PM , Blogger Apertome said...

Sweet new bike! ... err, guitar :) I think I like the clean channel better too but it does sound good and it looks like it's fun to play, as well.

At 12:51 AM , Blogger Jon said...

I'm so used to talking bikes...

At 7:51 PM , Blogger Travel Gravel said...

Naturally, you would work in a bicycle part. Nice and ratty, yum.


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