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Post new topic Lightweight, resonant D8 body blank...ideas?
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Author Topic:  Lightweight, resonant D8 body blank...ideas?
Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 11 Aug 2019 6:02 am    
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(Quick backstory...about 10 years ago, as a bored guitarist, I decided I would learn sitar, or steel guitar. I chose sitar, spent 7 years pursuing it vigorously (with an amazing teacher). A couple years ago I circled back around to steel guitar, which is why I'm here Smile )

I know there are a host of interesting acoustic instruments for Hindustani classical on slide guitar...the Mohan veena, the Hansa veena, Debashish's chaturangui, and the much more ancient vichitra veena. But I'm interested in an electric instrument, potentially, for playing Indian classical on. Specifically a double neck style instrument where one neck is the playing neck and the other provides the sympathetic strings (taraf). I first realized how that could work when just tinkering on my Stringmaster T-8, with the B11 neck (tuned to the khammaj thaat, or mixolydian mode)...having the necks separate (rather than stacked on top of each other like on a sitar or the acoustic slide instruments) would allow distinct blending between the symp and main pickups.

Anybody have any ideas for a body blank that could accommodate something like this? I could even see a kind of single neck body with a "harp guitar" style extension that connects to an extension on the bridge end (housing the sympathetic bridge and pickup) since you wouldn't need a fretboard for the second neck, nor would you need equal string lengths (on a sitar they are usually all the same gauge, different string lengths). It's kind of a long term project idea. I thought about adapting a cheaper vintage D8 if one comes along but it seems a shame to butcher one...but I suppose if a pre-butchered body needs a new life...
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 11 Aug 2019 6:39 am    
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Hudson Steel Guitars offers Stringmaster-style body blanks and will do a custom one off a CAD drawing. Perhaps that would work? There are likely people on the forum who could create a formal CAD drawing from your ideas for the specs. Sounds like a cool idea! Good luck.

https://hudsonsteelguitars.com/p/lap-steel-kits-and-parts

PS if you check out Lap Steel Lunatics on Facebook you can see/hear many electric steel players playing Indian music of all kinds.
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George Piburn


From:
The Land of Enchantment New Mexico
Post  Posted 11 Aug 2019 7:24 am     CNC Body? We Got it
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Hello from GeorgeBoards

My new life in New Mexico includes my ability to

Both design in 3 dimensions and CNC Route solid wood planks in 3 dimensions.

Combine this with our ability to 3D design and produce final quality parts in carbon fiber reinforced Polylaticacid - ( super strong material)

We should be able to cover your entire project in a much more short term concept.

Everyone here knows I take my offers with the greatest of sincerity, if you want to make your thoughts become a functional reality,

I am Glad To Help You.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 11 Aug 2019 7:48 am    
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If you're not familiar with George, everything he does is of the top tier, highest quality. You can't go wrong, IMHO.
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 11 Aug 2019 9:33 am    
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Thanks! I will be in touch once this gets a bit further out of wild daydreaming phase and into "explain new steel guitar related expenses to wife" phase Very Happy
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George Piburn


From:
The Land of Enchantment New Mexico
Post  Posted 11 Aug 2019 10:45 am     photos
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Photos or hand drawing will help even photos of any thing similar.

I have no clue what those other instruments look like you are getting inspiration from.

On a side note "Wife Blamers" are at the bottom of my happy list. If this type of behavior and thinking is involved ;I prefer to focus on other projects.
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Bill Sinclair


From:
Hagerstown, Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 11 Aug 2019 12:43 pm    
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Nic,
Coincidentally, I completed the rewiring of my Rickenbacker DW16 just yesterday for this very purpose. I wired in a stereo jack and a stacked volume control so that I could control the volume of the two necks going to two separate amp channels. I've been playing with it all day and now I'm going to be late for a BBQ! Right now the sympathetic neck is still tuned to A6 but I have plans for a tuning based on the circle of fifths that should give me sympathetic notes for all twelve tones of the western scale. I'll post more on this later this week.
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G Strout


From:
Carabelle, Florida
Post  Posted 12 Aug 2019 7:37 pm    
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I second what Andy posted. George Piburns work is high quality and his service is second to none.
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Melbert 8, Remington D8, Excel Jerry Byrd D8, Rick B6, Tremblay 6 lap steel, Marlen S-10 4&4, Benedetto Bravo, Old Gibson ES 175 , Ibanez George Benson GB10 and a bunch of old lap steels.... mostly Ricks
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2019 5:31 am    
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Doing a quick, inaccurate, and not very pretty mockup in (I'm very technically advanced as you can see, haha) Microsoft Paint:



Basically the main part of the steel would be like any normal S8, except for the layout of the strings...typically you'd have the top 4 strings spaced out over more of the nut / bridge, as they are the heavier gauge playing strings. The bottom four strings would be placed tightly together, of light gauge (could be 3 strings) and possible set a bit lower to avoid the bar (they would only ever be played open)...these are the chikari, or drone strings, usually tuned to root fifth and sometimes third. Could also put a sitar-style jawari bridge just for these strings but that might be a little complex to get right. Top main strings would be tuned like a sitar or surbahar...top string tuned to a fourth, then root, then fifth, then low root...these being the only strings played by the bar.

Then I have a small offshoot above for the sympathetics...a curve wrapping around with the tuners along the edge. Each string is the same gauge (probably 009 or 010) and tuned to the notes of the scale or raag you are playing. A separate pickup is there, and very little string spread since you aren't playing these strings directly...they just resonate. A sitar style jawari bridge would give these the requisite "sizzle" I think. Then you have either Vol1, Vol2, Master tone, or Master vol, blend, and master tone. Either would get the job done (basically I could see lightening the main string volume until the sympathetics start really singing in balance with the main neck).

Humfree pickups absolutely essential since the sympathetics will be quite low in volume so you don't want to be boosting a lot of 60 cycle hum...

Anyway, that's my thought...lot of variables and artistic license that could be had (like I was saying, could cut out the inside section of the extension to save weight and give it a harp guitar look...and obviously MS Paint rounded rectangle shapes aren't the most aesthetically appealing, ha!).

There are a lot of acoustic versions of this...most incorporating the sympathetics into the neck, underneath the main playing strings (not ideal for the electric version where I would want to have a discrete magnetic pickup sensing each independently). Debashish Bhattacharya's three designs, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt's Mohan veena, and Barun Pal's hansa veena. Great players all...in terms of purely aesthetic appeal I love the hansa veena best, it seems to hew a little more closely to traditional Indian instrument design rather than adapting an archtop Spanish guitar, but can't say whether it is a superior design sound wise...
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2019 5:47 am     Re: photos
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George Piburn wrote:

On a side note "Wife Blamers" are at the bottom of my happy list. If this type of behavior and thinking is involved ;I prefer to focus on other projects.


I reread this and got your point the second time! I understand, and clarify my wife deserves not blame, but a great deal of credit, she's the one that keeps me grounded and responsible! I only meant my comment as a bit of jocularity and self-deprecation. She's the sensible one by far and still has been a great sport with my new hobby (says the new Clinesmith owner!). So please don't read into this any actual bitterness/resentment/blame. But for her sanity I try to spread things out a bit, and occasionally sell a guitar or two so I don't overcrowd the place! Smile
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George Piburn


From:
The Land of Enchantment New Mexico
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2019 6:30 am     Custom twanger
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Hello from George

So far , the head stock is the most weak-point and would suggest you go with and graduated head stock with turned up key heads.

Along that long outer neck the same eye deer, 10 spots to mount up righted tuners.
That one will take some engineering time to get them lined up like what you want.

Hollowing it out from the bottom, is not that big of a deal, and perhaps a built up frame so to speak, then do some routing. Several ways to add a bottom.

Alumitones are the ticket on the pickups.

Cutting Vgrooves would need to be by hand and somewhat of a challenge to get your preferred results. Do able for certain.

Photos of these instruments you are referencing would be a big help, as I do not study any of that style and have clue what they look like.

I went to see Steve Miller Rock star, over the weekend, and he has a guitar along the lines of what you are asking about. Of course he wrote a #1 hit song, and used the over strings , as part of his hook.
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Dan Yeago


From:
Virginia, USA
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2019 7:57 am    
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My favorite would be a very lightweight piece of swamp ash that's well seasoned. It can be very balanced and resonant on solid bodies from a Precision bass to Telecaster, with surprising volume.
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George Piburn


From:
The Land of Enchantment New Mexico
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2019 11:31 am     outer neck
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Does the out side need 10 - could it be 8 strings? I have solutions for both.

Since it is not actually played can it be the same top level, not raised like a D8.

I scoped out those bone bridges, we could router out a pocket to make it be any final height above the deck.
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2019 1:04 pm    
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Sympathetic strings can be any number from 7 at minimum to 12 or 13 traditionally. 8 would be fine. It could be same as the top level, sure...for whatever reason in my mind it was lower/thinner to save on bulk (rather than higher).

None of the pic is well thought out from an aesthetic perspective, the headstock design was "MS Paint rounded rectangle" as is the body, just using it as a mockup....

And for reasons I will blame on no one but my own sense of good timing and thrift Smile, not ready to do this yet, so please don't put too much thought into it yet...it is appreciated though!

An example of Debashish Bhattacharya on his acoustic version (don't care for the ridiculous light show, but music is good, great interplay on the jhalla):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIc9PQEzBNI

It looks like Debashish has the chikari mounted forward, played by the index finger perhaps while the thumb was playing the main string...reverse of what I have here. Interesting. I think each of the major players does it slightly differently. I can't imagine playing the chikari with my thumb during a fast jhalla, my thumb doesn't move fast enough to get that done.

For jawari bridges, a great source is Tony Karasek, who made the bridges (out of nearly wear-free delrin) for my sitar and sur-bahar. Great guy and superbly knowledgeable in the care and feeding of those instruments.
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Waikīkī, at night when the shadows are falling
I hear the rolling surf calling
Calling and calling to me
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George Piburn


From:
The Land of Enchantment New Mexico
Post  Posted 13 Aug 2019 1:51 pm     I can do it.
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Hello from George

I know this is all thought and such at this point, no sales pitch from me, just glad to help if we can.

All good news , I already have a D8 body pattern that is ready for final touchups to fit your project. That saves you hundreds.

Making the front apron neck lower is some what simple.

Quick non binding estimate for cnc only no sanding painting.

Solid Poplar Wood lower neck set up for Alumitone 3.5 Tone Bar
bottom routed control pocket extra holes for control pots switches.

Brass angle nut and bridge no Vgrooves set.

Control pots switches jacks etc.

Front neck 8 String, Solid Poplar Wood.

Programming and set up for pockets , plate height etc.

Your looking at $500.00.
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GeorgeBoards S8 Non Pedal Steel Guitar Instruments
Maker of One of a Kind Works of Art that play music too.
Instructional DVDs
YouTube Channel
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