2019 Jake Wildwood Electric Octave Guitar

A customer of mine mentioned lusting after a 6-string version of a Hammertone. When I mentioned I could make one and put a whammy on to boot, he greenlighted the idea. Yesssss! Fun commenced.

He wanted to use a well-loved Jazzmaster vibrato and a pair of used Duncan Little '59 pickups, plus a maple/rosewood neck combo. I got to figure-out most of the rest but he did acquiesce to my suggestion to include a coil-split switch so this thing could go back and forth between a humbucker sound and a single coil sound.

After playing it a while, I think that coil split will be key to how this gets used in his recording studio -- the single coil mode on this gets a very Fendery, Strat-like, Mandocaster vibe that immediately appeals to me. It even gets that quacky/shimmery sound in the middle position. The humbucker mode is much more of a modern, clean, punchy sound.

I borrowed styling queues from my favorite weirdo brands: a little Bigsby in the birdseye neck and long, odd body... a little Mosrite in the offset body and its odd cut... and a little Harmony/Kay in the batwing-style control "pickguards."

The body is a plank of Douglas fir that I'd had stashed in my scrap woodpile in the barn, but it was the right size and depth for the project and I love this stuff as a tonewood for electrics as it gives a warm, clean tone and it's fairly lightweight. It's the "pine" one usually finds on eBay-sourced homebrew Telecaster bodies these days. As such, it's not perfect and has one knot and various small nicks and dings if you care to examine it closely. It has a satin finish on it and to get the color more "white-blonde" I soaked the body with white printer's ink before putting finish on it. That gives it that translucent-blonde, old-school look. If I just finished this in natural the body would be almost a salmony-pink in the middle. The binding is simple black plastic.

Of course, the action is dialed-in at a perfect hair-under 1/16" at the 12th fret. String gauges are 36w, 26w, 18w, 12, 10, 8 and it's tuned an entire octave up from normal guitar at EADGBE low to high.

Scale length: 15"
Nut width: 1 3/4"
String spacing at nut: 1 1/2"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/8"
Body length: 15 1/4"
Lower bout width: 10 1/2"
Waist width: 7"
Upper bout width: 9 1/8"
Side depth at endpin: 1 1/2"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides wood: flamed maple ply
Neck wood: birdseye maple
Fretboard: rosewood, zero fret
Bridge: Jazzmaster-style (modern)
Neck feel: medium-big C, 10" board radius

The neck is a hunk of quality birdseye maple and the fretboard is rosewood and features a zero fret. I used a one-piece "string tree" to satisfy a better break-angle over the nut. The frets are jumbo/pyramid-shaped stock.

I used my usual "slanty" fret dots -- this time in mini-pearl.

While the new owner wanted a Mustang bridge, I had trouble with the wider saddles on it giving bad notes. I used a modern-style Jazzmaster bridge I had on hand instead and now it's trouble-free.

Controls are: pickup selector, volume, and mini-switch that coil-splits both pickups at the same time. Thank goodness for 2-way DPDT switches.


Ivan said…
Yowser yowser yowser!!!!!!
Rob Gardner said…
What a great little guitar, and not even a winter project...
phogue said…
That is beautiful, and it looks like fun!