1970/2019 Gibson/Mexican Suitcase Semihollow Electric Guitar

My friend Rick has been responsible for a good number of the weirdo "box" guitar projects through the shop of late. This one is another of his. He came by the guitar-less 1970 Gibson J-50 neck from a friend of his and I found the hip, tooled-leather Mexican suitcase at an antique shop out here. It's from around the same time as the neck, so it was like a match made in... Tijuana?

The tailpiece is an old '40s Harmony one and I used Korean-made, Alnico-magnet, Strat-sized single coil pickups that are built like P90s and have adjustable poles. They sound more P90 than Strat, but still have some of that Stratty spank to them. I put the bridge pickup really close to the bridge and because of that it gives a good, growly, Tele-ish twang -- while the neck pickup has some of that '50s Gibson P90-in-ES-125 vibe. The knobs are from a '60s Japanese guitar.

Under the hood, I put a big pine block in to support everything. It was tricky (and ugly) fitting the mucked-up dovetail of the neck into it, so the neck is also double-bolted to the "body." A simple 3-way switch, volume and tone controls, and vintage ABR-style bridge finished it up. Inside, everything is also shielded, too. The pickup rings are ones I made from a discarded Strat pickguard.

It's setup on-the-dot and has 1/16" overall action at the 12th fret, strung with 46w-10 gauges. This has a long-scale neck (25 3/8" or so as I recall?) and so it handles more like a Fender than it does a Gibson in the left hand.

How about that Mayan calendar?

Because the bridge posts had to go into 1/4" of slightly-wobbly leather, I had to embed some hex nuts into it to keep the bridge stable.


Rob Gardner said…
I saw Rick playing this on Sunday. Sounded great but really looks magnificent. Strange old leather souvenir suitcase or briefcase with a major rocking sound. Completely unique.
Unknown said…
Awesome! I love my silverwear box partscaster that you made. You need to keep doing these!
Unknown said…
This is just the coolest thing I have seen in a while. I happen to have an old wooden silverware box I have been wondering what to do with. Let me know if you want it for another project and I will bring it up next time I bring an instrument in for servicing.