Travel Guitar

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Golfxzq
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Travel Guitar

Post by Golfxzq » Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:00 am

Hi Guys,

My wife and I just got back from a three week vacation. Loads of fun and plenty of sights to see but... no guitar! I (foolishly) thought that I could do without a guitar for a few weeks while we were on vacation. After all... I still had my harmonicas. After about a week, I was really missing my guitar and the GAS started to build for a travel guitar. As we traveled I started researching my options. There are several great travel guitars out there, but they cost almost as much as a full sized guitar! Since I don't plan to need this guitar much, and I'm such a cheap-scape, I was in a real delema. I then started looking at used travel guitars... still not cheap enough. Then I considered making my own, but all the hardware and electronics still would be expensive. So, then I started considering just buying an old beater-guitar but then I would still have an issue carrying around a full sized guitar.

Then it hit me... beater guitar cut down as small as possible for easy transportation. I started looking for used gear and somewhere around $50 was about as cheap as I could find. So I set my budget... no more than $50. Most of the cheap beater-guitars on-line would add shipping, which almost doubled my budget.

By the time we got home from vacation my GAS attack had grown to an uncontrollable level. I was on a quest and I was determined not to spend more than $50!

Over the next few days I searched all the thrift stores and pawn stores in my area. I was in the second pawn shop explaining what I was after. The shop guy said, "People bring in beater guitars sometime but we pass on them because we can't make any money on them." As he was showing me his nice used $200-$300 guitars. An older guy in the shop overheard us talking and told me that he had a cheap, "project guitar" in the back. He went to the back, stayed several minutes, and then brought out this black Yamaha EG112C with rusty strings and stickers all over it. $50 flat, tax included, right at my cheapo budget. I tried to talk him down a little, but he wouldn't budge. We plugged it in so I could try it out.... very much out of tune and it would cut out occasionally if I twisted the volume knob but all the parts seemed to be there. The fret wires weren't even worn too bad. So it was a deal.

Let the project begin!
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"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
- Henry Ford

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VikingBlues
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by VikingBlues » Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:29 am

Hi to you too! 3 weeks does seem like a long time to be without guitar. The most I've ever managed in the last 10 years is a week.

I'm very intrigued to see this journey! :thumbsup:

It looks like the basic structure of the guitar is there to build on ... or rather to remove. :big_smile:

You've certainly hit on the potentially cheapest route.
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

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12bar
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by 12bar » Mon Oct 17, 2016 8:00 am

Nice project! I too miss my guitar when traveling, but with all my kids there's really no space left in the car...

If you cut away everything, it should look like http://guitarz.blogspot.de/2014/02/gras ... ravel.html :big_smile:

I've also seen Brian May in an interview where he played a travel guitar. Sound was great.

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Golfxzq
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by Golfxzq » Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:40 pm

Ok... Lots of thinking & searching the web for ideas... thanks for the link, 12Bar. Here is the plan. This will reduce the overall length by about 7-1/2" and the body by about 3".
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"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
- Henry Ford

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VikingBlues
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by VikingBlues » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:22 am

That'll help the weight & size!

I think your idea of where the end of the body will be should look better than the idea of having the bridge and steel block outside the body of the guitar done on that GrassRoots GR-PGG 3TS travel guitar linked in the post above.
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

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Golfxzq
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by Golfxzq » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:44 am

No turning back now....
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"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
- Henry Ford

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VikingBlues
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by VikingBlues » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:22 am

No turning back for sure! :yikes:

The body shape has a plus that the guitar should sit happily on the floor without leaning over.
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

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12bar
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by 12bar » Wed Oct 19, 2016 8:22 am

:eye_rub:
Did ou use a bandsaw machine?

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Golfxzq
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by Golfxzq » Wed Oct 19, 2016 2:33 pm

Yes... bandsaw with 1/4" blade for a vertical cut and ability to make the turns. It's going to take a bit of sanding with a drum sander and I'll round the edges on a router table but the basic shape is there.
"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
- Henry Ford

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Golfxzq
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by Golfxzq » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:21 am

After routing the sharp edges with a 1/4" pattern bit and sanding the heck out of it with a Ridged oscillating sander....

This great little sander has four sizes of drums, and I think I used them all...

I also had to redrill the output jack hole because it was cut off with the lower section. Then there was a problem with the jack cover. It was convex on the original shape and concave on the new shape. The solution was to flip the cover and apply a little heat from a heat gun. It settled right into shape.
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"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
- Henry Ford

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12bar
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by 12bar » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:14 am

Birth of the Minicaster! :thumbsup: :clap:

sergiojl
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by sergiojl » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:32 am

Beautiful Project indeed. I bought a Yamaha Silent guitar for traveling purposes; it is a great guitar, not a toy like others. You can always buy a cheap classical guitar at your arrival place.

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Golfxzq
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by Golfxzq » Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:08 am

Time for paint... Nothing fancy, just aresol cans. After a couple of coats of primer I decided on a gold metallic for the body and headstock face and a cream for the pick guard. I'm leaving the neck and back of the headstock natural. All I had to do to the edges and back Where it was cut and sanded is apply a few coats of boiled linseed oil to blend it in.

My "spray booth" is simply a cardboard box. In order to draw out the overspray as I painted I salvaged the fan out of an old hair dryer and powered it with a 120V AC to 12V DC converter found at Good Will (about 50¢ I think... in keeping with my cheapo goal). It is important to draw out the overspray before it settles back on the finish.
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"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
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12bar
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by 12bar » Fri Oct 21, 2016 6:59 am

The empty linseed oil can would make a nice body for a suitable amp... :wink: :big_smile:

Great work! :clap:

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Golfxzq
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by Golfxzq » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:59 pm

The painting is done... Several coats of color (I lost count) and five coats of satin Policrylic. A good buffing with Lambs Wool between each coat for a smooth, but not shiny, finish. Ready for assembly.
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"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
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VikingBlues
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by VikingBlues » Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:41 pm

There's a lot of skill and good thinking going in to making this project work. Methinks you'll end up with an end result that is much more than it's cost would suggest. :thumbsup:

Nice work on the jack cover, and the cardboard box as a paint room!

Just thinking you have a plus with your 5 position selector switch and a master tone - you'll have a very usable bridge pickup.
I sometimes wonder if the HSS strat pickup combination is in part popular because the SSS combination with the standard strat wiring has a incredibly trebly pickup which often in my experience makes the bridge pickup almost unusable on its own.

The project is progressing really well! :clap:
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

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Golfxzq
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by Golfxzq » Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:39 am

Ok... Finally done & back together. Final length is 32-1/2" and final weight 5.2#. Not bad for hauling around in the back seat of our car. Right now I'm using it with a little Vox AC-30 pocket amp and earplugs. I've had this little Vox laying around for years with little use. Not the greatest tone, for sure. So there's an iRig 2 on my Christmas list.

I've played it through my regular amp (not too portable) and the sound isn't half bad for an inexpensive, used, chopped up, $50 pawn store, guitar. It certainly fits my bill... A guitar that I can use sitting in a parking lot while wifie shops or in a hotel room somewhere without drawing strange looks!

It was a fun project. Just what I like; guitars and woodwork... and dirt-cheap! I'll get it inside and record something using my Pod-Farm so you guys can evaluate for yourselves. A word of warning though... I am nowhere near the players that you guys are, so don't expect much.

And you are right VB... It does stand up by itself.
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"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
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12bar
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by 12bar » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:02 am

Golfxzq wrote:A guitar that I can use sitting in a parking lot while wifie shops ...
:rofl: I need one, too! Great project! :clap:
Golfxzq wrote: I'll get it inside and record something using my Pod-Farm so you guys can evaluate for yourselves.
:drool: Did you record something before cutting?

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Golfxzq
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by Golfxzq » Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:00 pm

No, unfortunately not... that would have been a great idea though. I wish that I had... with the rusty strings, cutting out, and terribly out of tune! Maybe the contrast would have made me sound better.
"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
- Henry Ford

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Golfxzq
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Re: Travel Guitar

Post by Golfxzq » Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:49 pm

Hi Guys,

That sound bite is going to have to wait a couple of weeks. I almost had it ready to post yesterday and this morning we have a family member who is ill. So... off to Lousiana. At least this time I have the new travel guitar in the back seat.

I'll get it posted as soon as I can. Believe me... It's not going to be that exciting anyway.
"Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
- Henry Ford

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