2015 Airline Bojotar (Modified)

Over a couple days this week, Bow Thayer and I have been modding up his prototype "Bojotar" -- swapping out electronics and optimizing it a bit. He'd already raised the cone off of the back of the inside of the instrument with an add-on ring below it to coax a bit more acoustic tone, but he wanted a bit more something on the electric side of it and a bit more something on the acoustic side of it, plugged-in.

We swapped the original mini-humbucker pickup for a GFS lipstick pickup and replaced the bridge piezo unit with a two-sensor K&K unit. All the old wiring was removed and we popped a Les Paul-style 3-way switch on the upper bout and vol/tone for the electric pickup and volume for the acoustic pickup. Of course, the saddle got a bit of better intonation at the same time, too.

The result is a remarkably balanced (for mixing an electric with an acoustic pup, mind you) sound that hits a bunch of sweet spots. It all exits the guitar in a simple mono jack, too.

At any rate: what is this thing? It's a modification of the Eastwood "Folkstar" repro-National-style guitar (although, honestly, this one is made of ply and isn't res-o-glass like the originals) that makes this into a 6-string banjo (as in, 1 drone, 5 fretted strings) setup: low G note for the 5th string... popped onto a biscuit-cone acoustic/electric instrument. It's a great sound and a really interesting instrument for the open-tuning personality. I'm especially enjoying this latest incarnation of it which has simplified and ironed-out small issues that held it back from being 100% a player's instrument.

The best bit about the lipstick pickup choice is that it suits the acoustic sound of the K&K mounted on the biscuit very well. In "both pickups on" selection, you get a thicker acoustic sort of tone out of the instrument, but it's undeniably "vintage electric" when only the lipstick pup is selected.