2000 Taylor Baby Tres/Guitzouki Conversion

Update 2019: This came back in trade and I've updated the entire blog post.

In 2015, I took this instrument in trade for work. A friend of mine had been playing some small guitars I'd modified to Cuban tres-style instruments and so he had me do this one up in that style which involved regluing the bridge, filling/redrilling pinholes, and adjusting the nut and saddle for good compensation with the new tuning. I think I sent it out with him in gauges suited to traditional GCE (low to high) tuning, but he probably played it like a guitar in GBE or open-G GBD.

Anyhow, it came back in trade for more work, but some braces had sprung loose, it was dirty, and there was a little rust-pitting on the two neck bolts. I glued-up the loose braces, cleaned it up, and restrung it like a 6-string Greek bouzouki (or like a mountain dulcimer) in a DAD tuning with an octave on the low D string. This makes this more of a "guitzouki" than a tres, but it's basically an all-purpose ethno-sounding box, now, which would make it a nice recording buddy or to fill the role of a mountain dulcimer's strummy niche when you need something that can easily get into different keys.

I figure one can just capo up and down the neck to get into different keys with this stringing. It's a nice, lush sound and I used heavier gauges -- 13/36w, 17/17, 13/13 -- to give it more of an "octave mandolin" sort of attack to the voice. It plays on-spec with hair-under 3/32" D and 1/16" AD action at the 12th fret, has a working truss-rod, and barely-touched original frets.

Scale length: 22 3/4"
Nut width: 1 11/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 7/16"
String spacing at saddle: 2"
Body length: 15 1/2"
Lower bout width: 12"
Upper bout width: 19 1/4"
Top wood: solid mahogany
Back/sides: ply mahogany
Neck wood: mahogany
Fretboard: ebony
Neck shape: 14-16" radius with slim-C rear profile
Bridge: ebony
Nut: synthetic
Saddle: synthetic

Condition notes: while it has a few minor scratches and finish blems here and there and the neck bolts have a little rust-pitting on their top edges, the instrument is overall in good shape. There's excess glue under the top from regluing the braces, too, but fortunately that's inside. The original Baby Taylor gigbag is missing.


Unknown said…
Looking for a conversion like this one I can purchase. My fingers are short and traditional Tres necks are usualy bigger and thicker (i.e. Paracho). An this means I have trouble fingering the notes. This one would be perfect. If referrals are available please let me know.
Thanks and good job!
San Francisco, California