About This Listing

A long, long time ago I saw a video on YT where Kaki King was playing a track called "Bowen Islands" on a "odd guitar". I recommend you search for this song. There are several different renditions of it.

The innovation was to put a special bridge on the 16th fret of the guitar, which divided the strings, so that you can get 2 notes on one string. On the right side of this bridge the one that is normally on the guitar at the 16th fret, and on the left side of this bridge a sound a fifth lower.

One hand can then pluck the notes on the 'bass' side and the right hand on the other. On such elevated strings, one can also do various new techniques impossible on a typical guitar, e.g. the characteristic koto or guzheng playing of pulling up the sound by pressing the string, etc., etc.

I was very fascinated by this idea. I started experimenting with different guitars with different numbers of strings. The problem, however, was that the sound of the two sides was not well balanced, because the part with the strings above the soundbox definitely dominated in volume over the strings that were mostly just above the neck.

I once found the solution at a local market where someone was selling the body of a stringed instrument with a thick hollow neck in the middle. The body had no bridge, tuners, or strings so it's hard to judge what the instrument was in the past. It seems to me that the maker was clearly fascinated by Indian instruments, and this one of mine in a previous life was something along the lines of a Instrumental Tanpura. The body itself was made entirely of pine and had a flap at the back of the body. I thought it could be used to create something on which I could return to an idea taken from Kaki King. So I bought it, and the instrument underwent some modifications including:

- lengthening the headstock with the addition and re-positioning of tuners, 

- sanding and repainting,

- installation of a decorative figurine,

- addition of magnets for locking/removing the rear body clapper,

- making the side bridges for the strings, and the centre rest.

I experimented a lot, but you can see the final version in the photos. You can also listen to an unplugged recording from my old iPhone. Beginning is dry version without any effects, and in second half of movie is the same video drowned in the depths of reverb.

In the pictures you will also find information about the thickness of the strings and the tuning method I finally adopted. There is, of course, no obstacle to modify this according to your ideas. All 3 supports/bridges are not fixed. They can be moved to suit the string thickness used. This is a bit of work, but it is the only way to tune it. Mounting everything permanently would make any further changes impossible.

The overall length of the instrument is approx. 93 cm.

Width of the box at its widest point approx. 29 cm.

Overall height approx. 17 cm.

The final result is interesting, but I would rather call it a folk instrument than a true luthier's instrument, and in 3 aspects:

1. thanks to the hollow neck, the sounds of both sides are now reasonably balanced, but acoustically the instrument certainly does not have the depth and volume of a good class luthier acoustic guitar;

2. by tuning 24 notes with 3 supports/bridges  and 12 so-so quality tuners you can get a couple/parteen cents closer to the correct pitch of both notes on a singular string, but don't expect to get it perfectly on point with all the notes on 12 strings in one time. It takes practice and patience, but the end result is a natural chorus effect rather than a perfect tuning of all the strings;

3. as you can see from the photos, not everything is perfectly finished with attention to detail.

So why buy this instrument ? There is certainly no other like it. It is unique in appearance as well as capability. A bit like a koto/guzheng. A bit like a harp. A bit like an african Kora (it was the thumb rests that inspired it). I haven't even come up with a name for it yet. You must put it on a table or on your lap, learn to play and experiment. For me, unfortunately, the original enthusiasm is gone. If I do find time to play, I prefer my beloved Stick. This instrument is just standing around and getting dusty, so I'm keen to find it a new home where they will love it and play it. Maybe you can take care of it ?

I will be happy to pass on all my know-how to the buyer.

Visible case and tuner included.

If you have any questions, ask me.

If you live outside EU please note that you may be subject to duties and taxes in your country.

Listed7 months ago
Condition
Brand
Model
  • One of a kind
Categories

About the Seller

My Gear Outlet

Sierosław, Poland
(42)
Joined Reverb:2020
Items Sold:71
Weird instrument – not Passerelle Koto Guzheng Harp Kora Lira Kantele
Weird instrument – not Passerelle Koto Guzheng Harp Kora Lira Kantele
Originally $778.53, now $444.87 ($333.66 price drop)
$333.66 price drop

About This Listing

A long, long time ago I saw a video on YT where Kaki King was playing a track called "Bowen Islands" on a "odd guitar". I recommend you search for this song. There are several different renditions of it.

The innovation was to put a special bridge on the 16th fret of the guitar, which divided the strings, so that you can get 2 notes on one string. On the right side of this bridge the one that is normally on the guitar at the 16th fret, and on the left side of this bridge a sound a fifth lower.

One hand can then pluck the notes on the 'bass' side and the right hand on the other. On such elevated strings, one can also do various new techniques impossible on a typical guitar, e.g. the characteristic koto or guzheng playing of pulling up the sound by pressing the string, etc., etc.

I was very fascinated by this idea. I started experimenting with different guitars with different numbers of strings. The problem, however, was that the sound of the two sides was not well balanced, because the part with the strings above the soundbox definitely dominated in volume over the strings that were mostly just above the neck.

I once found the solution at a local market where someone was selling the body of a stringed instrument with a thick hollow neck in the middle. The body had no bridge, tuners, or strings so it's hard to judge what the instrument was in the past. It seems to me that the maker was clearly fascinated by Indian instruments, and this one of mine in a previous life was something along the lines of a Instrumental Tanpura. The body itself was made entirely of pine and had a flap at the back of the body. I thought it could be used to create something on which I could return to an idea taken from Kaki King. So I bought it, and the instrument underwent some modifications including:

- lengthening the headstock with the addition and re-positioning of tuners, 

- sanding and repainting,

- installation of a decorative figurine,

- addition of magnets for locking/removing the rear body clapper,

- making the side bridges for the strings, and the centre rest.

I experimented a lot, but you can see the final version in the photos. You can also listen to an unplugged recording from my old iPhone. Beginning is dry version without any effects, and in second half of movie is the same video drowned in the depths of reverb.

In the pictures you will also find information about the thickness of the strings and the tuning method I finally adopted. There is, of course, no obstacle to modify this according to your ideas. All 3 supports/bridges are not fixed. They can be moved to suit the string thickness used. This is a bit of work, but it is the only way to tune it. Mounting everything permanently would make any further changes impossible.

The overall length of the instrument is approx. 93 cm.

Width of the box at its widest point approx. 29 cm.

Overall height approx. 17 cm.

The final result is interesting, but I would rather call it a folk instrument than a true luthier's instrument, and in 3 aspects:

1. thanks to the hollow neck, the sounds of both sides are now reasonably balanced, but acoustically the instrument certainly does not have the depth and volume of a good class luthier acoustic guitar;

2. by tuning 24 notes with 3 supports/bridges  and 12 so-so quality tuners you can get a couple/parteen cents closer to the correct pitch of both notes on a singular string, but don't expect to get it perfectly on point with all the notes on 12 strings in one time. It takes practice and patience, but the end result is a natural chorus effect rather than a perfect tuning of all the strings;

3. as you can see from the photos, not everything is perfectly finished with attention to detail.

So why buy this instrument ? There is certainly no other like it. It is unique in appearance as well as capability. A bit like a koto/guzheng. A bit like a harp. A bit like an african Kora (it was the thumb rests that inspired it). I haven't even come up with a name for it yet. You must put it on a table or on your lap, learn to play and experiment. For me, unfortunately, the original enthusiasm is gone. If I do find time to play, I prefer my beloved Stick. This instrument is just standing around and getting dusty, so I'm keen to find it a new home where they will love it and play it. Maybe you can take care of it ?

I will be happy to pass on all my know-how to the buyer.

Visible case and tuner included.

If you have any questions, ask me.

If you live outside EU please note that you may be subject to duties and taxes in your country.

Listed7 months ago
Condition
Brand
Model
  • One of a kind
Categories

About the Seller

My Gear Outlet

Sierosław, Poland
(42)
Joined Reverb:2020
Items Sold:71

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