Baroque-n-Roll ! ! !

If you could have a 5-course wire strung baroque-looking guitar for $600 would you be interested? Would you care that it was made mostly out of luan plywood? Would you care that it was covered with paint? Would you actually appreciate the metal frets? What if it actually sounded pretty good? What if it was 1/8th the cost of a 'real' instrument? I'm making this as a joke, but I'm hearing more and more from players - amateur and professional alike - of their trepidation of taking their $4500 Voboam to that festival-that's-mostly-outdoors-in-that-place-that-rains-alot, or that 'hands on' school program, or that weekend beach party with friends, or (those that admit to it) the Ren Fest. Watch this space and see the transformation, and listen to the eventual sound clip, and ruminate for yourself.

I bought this steel strung made- in-China kiddie guitar for $30. It actually sounds pretty good and is relatively well intonated. Watch it be transformed into an early guitar. I haven't decided yet whether it's going to be a 4-course renaissance instrument or a 5-course baroque. I know, the body shape is all wrong, and what about those flames. But with a peghead extension, a little bridge reshaping and a respray job, I think we've got a good ren-fest instrument here.

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I take as my scripture for the day the following excellent examples

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First step, pull off hardware (it's already 1/2 as light) and scrape down the peghead for the new extension and facing. Looks like the thing is made out of luan.

Tuning machine holes are plugged and cheeks are scabbed on to initiate silly-ass spanish baroque peghead.

Goodbye flames, hello color that looks like wood from a distance.

Tee Hee.

base coat on

These are really huge sapele pegs.

This guitar is friskey!

Instant ivory back stripe!

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Coming soon. . .

Retapping the bridge for 5 double courses

The stenciled-on bridge mustache

Really cute strap buttons of ivory-looking material

The glue-in resin rosette

The REALLY WIDE painted on body edge purfling

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Years pass. . . Ok, the pegs were ridiculously large and the peghead was flamboyantly wide. I am too ashamed to even take a picture of the above instrument's first incarnation. Below is a fancy but not successful paint scheme and 6-string arrangement, and below that is the final incarnation, with the poorly-realized 'ivory' 'inlay' removed, additional central pegs (a la bandurria) for double courses on the 1st and 2nd and a tasteful gilded english guitar-esque rosette. This has turned into a personal toy, not a project to take the Ren Fest by storm.

Remember, this cost me $30.

Tee Hee.

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And now for something completly the same. . .

Tee Hee. More adventures in kiddie guitars. I got this from World Market for $20. It's billed as a 'child's guitar' but it was completely unplayable in its purchased state: action WAY too high and friction tuning machines so slack that holding any kind of pitch is impossible, combined with poor string gauging (only about 0.015" differential between highest and lowest string). But I saw a mini Spanish renaissance guitar - or some kind of modern descendant like a Quinta - in the making. A little professional lutherie inflicted and one trip-to-the-craft-shop later and we have a 4-course freakshow. I have it tuned in tenor banjo intervals in an open-A tuning. Check out the off-the-shelf scrapbooking sticker that's almost identical to a standard baroque guitar mustache bridge! Synchronicity! A little ball fringe and we're ready to tango.

Next to charango for scale.

World Market photo of original condition

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Betsillworkshop.