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Old 06-25-2019, 06:34 PM   #1
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Default Tupelo tenor build

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Old 06-25-2019, 08:06 PM   #2
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Old 06-25-2019, 08:28 PM   #3
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Well, attaching a photo doesn't seem to want to work.

Anyway, this is the guitar;

Pretty basic stuff, though it is a four string cbg rather than a three. That makes the tuning with the OEM strings G-D-G-B. It is also fully fretted rather than just capable of slide use.

Wooden string guide with a zero fret and a wooden bridge. One lipstick pick up with a single volume control and no tone control.

I've stained the body of my guitar a dark red oak with a cherry neck protected by a poly finish and an oiled fretboard. The kit came with short (flat black) drywall screws pre-installed as fret markers. I've removed them and I'm considering other ways to make the fret markers a bit more pleasant to look at. They are somewhat irrelevant as the side markers are all I need for slide work. Still, ...

Assembly was easy with mostly basic, on hand tools. However, the smaller and smallest Philips head screws supplied might not fit the standard size driver most home owners have on hand. You will strip out the heads of these screws if you don't bother to get the correct driver.

Overall, parts quality is good for the price (the tuners are obviously low cost but look very nice with pearlized knobs and they work consistently well) and all the pieces go together well with only minimal fitting adjustments required. I wouldn't suggest anyone try this build unless they have at least a half dozen very good clamps however.

As with most kits, there are a few small things I probably would do differently if I were to build another similar guitar or I might just be a bit more aware of how to achieve a clean result. The supplied instructions are clear and understandable to the point I think that even a first time builder can expect very good results. Parts are supplied in individual packets where needed and are indicated as to their use. The quality of the kit itself leaves little to be desired so good on Gitty. They even supply an oversized chord chart for four string cbg's tuned to G-D-G-B.

I like the look of the stain on the body with the contrasting fretboard though even with sanding the exterior enclosure pieces down to 600 grit paper and applying three coats of sealer, the flat cut plywood still insisted on being somewhat blotchy. In the end, it looks fine with a highly figured grain pattern though it took some rethinking along the way to get there. The look and the final fit and finish of the assembled guitar though is highly acceptable for this price range.

I just finished the assembly last night after giving everything some time for the glue pieces to set up and the poly finish to harden in the high humidity we're having in Dallas right now. Therefore, I haven't spent a lot of time with the guitar yet. There are a few bugs to work out IMO.

There is a minor rattle in the enclosure that occurs around the 12th fret of the low G string. Not really noticeable when played with a slide but it's there if I fret the note. I'm not sure what to do about this as the box has been entirely glued together with no access ports to the inside of the guitar. I may have to just live with this since this is not that much of a problem considering the note's location on the fretboard.

I'm somewhat disappointed in the volume output when it's used as an acoustic instrument. There's not a lot there without an amp, which sort of negates its use as a back porch guitar to some extent. I shaved the bridge down a small amount to make fretting easier. The guitar purposely comes with a tall bridge more suitable for strictly slide use by a first time builder. I bought the fretted neck with the intention of fretting the guitar.

At this point, fretting chords does not make this the easiest guitar I have despite a short 23" scale length. Barre chords are presently more difficult than I had hoped for. I simply gave the (poplar?) neck a round over and didn't work at any sort of "C" shape given the neck's narrow width. The plywood body of the guitar itself is rather heavy - certainly heftier than a plain cedar cigar box - though all together the guitar feels well balanced when I'm playing it without a strap. The sanded neck feels very nice with a smooth finish that allows my hand to glide easily from location to location. The medium sized frets were factory installed with a very good fit to the neck, no fret dressing was required on my part.

Amplified or un-amplified the guitar sounds, first, like any plywood guitar with a wooden bridge and no saddle. Think low cost 1950's Kay or Silvertone. Other bridges are available from the retailer so I might have to look into another choice. Using a chrome deep well socket as a slide helps somewhat over the softer sounding brass slides. If I only intended to play overdriven amplified slide, I might not care. But, if I only intended to play over driven amplified slide, there were less expensive options. In a way, this reminds me that the use of the term "bluesy" in a guitar or amp might mean it sounds sort of like an instrument that didn't cost much back in 1930.

Amplified, the guitar sounds nice, though it never loses that plain plywood box with a wooden bridge sound. I mostly play clean - unlike a lot of cbg players - and the p/u has enough gain to overdrive my solid state Vox pre amp, if I choose. I haven't tried it with tubes yet.

Less than 24 hrs. into the finished guitar, I'll have to play around some to see what's there. I'll probably try open D tuning, different string sets to play the first four strings of a conventional guitar maybe and possibly a more conventional tenor guitar tuning in fifths.

As is, I would presently give the guitar about 3.5 out of 5 due to the wooden bridge sound and the low acoustic output.
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