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Guitar #061

Chambered Electric Gypsy Jazz Stereo Guitar.


Completed June 25th, 2018

Here is the latest guitar for Canadian Blues great James Anthony.  This guitar is a bit of a departure for James as he finds himself playing more jazz of late, and being inspired by 1930's jazz in the style of Django Reinhardt.  This style of music was very technical, and very fast.  DJango played the accoustic Selmer-Maccaferri (now commonly called a "Gypsy Jazz" guitar) developed in Europe before electric amplifers were in wide spread use.
This guitar is inspired by those instruments, thus built in the style of a Gypsy Jazz but with the thin body of a modern electric, and the nexk joint shifted to the 16th fret giving much better access to the high frets then Django ever had.


This head stock is a big departure for an electric guitar, but is a copy of the slotted type use on the Gypsy acoustic guitars. This was one more element of the design capturing the feel of the 30's instruments.

You're looking at a highly chambered version of a solid body electric guitar built in the style of a 30's Gypsy Jazz Acoustic.  That Spruce top plate also really gives it the look of an acoustic.

This is my second "Stereo Guitar"; with a Gretsch Filtertron Pickup in the sound hole, a Shadow SH 099 piezo pickup under the bone saddle to give that "Plugged in Acoustic Tone", volumes for each, and a Ghost Acousti-Phonic pre-amp circuit board tying it all together. From there the signal is sent to a stereo jack, and with a Y-cable, run to two amps - an acoustic guitar amp and an electric guitar amp.

Talk about a big sound. Leaving the pickup selector in the middle position with both sources ON, allows you to shape the tone of the guitar with the volume control as you send various amounts of signal to either amp.

The body of this guitar is Mahogany, with most of the wood routed out but for a beam down the middle of the body to just past the string through ferrules. The neck is set with a tenon like a Les Paul, but unlike a Les Paul, the necks heel is cleanly flowing into the lines of the body.
This neck is a sandwich of Mahogany, Maple, and Ebony.  The Head caps and control covers are also Ebony.

Note that this is not an acoustic guitar. It is a Chambered Solid Body Guitar, meaning that this guitar does not "push air". The sound comes mostly from the pickups, one magnetic positioned in the sound hole, and one piezo pickup embedded under the bone saddle.
The Piezo style of pickup is what is used to give acoustic guitars the ability to be "Plugged in" for amplification. The quality of sound that provides is not the same as the guitar heard live with out an amp but it is now instantly recognized as the sound of an acoustic anyway. Placing a magnetic pickup on an acoustic simply makes it sound like an Electric. Conversely, installing a piezo on a solid body gives the tone of a plugged in acoustic. That is the strategy here. Combining these two approaches in one guitar provides huge tone and a wider array of possibilities for how to shape your sound.

The top of the guitar has Ebony binding and a sharp edge - just like an acoustic. Both the top and the back of Acoustic guitars are also not completely flat but have a slight radius built in. That same shape has also been built into this guitar, but in addition, the back edges have been rounded over like a Strat or Tele.

The bridge on a Gypsy Jazz is a floating ebony style just like on an Arch Top, meaning it can move around. The Gypsy guitars also have a set of diamond reference markers to help locate the correct bridge position.
The problem with floating bridges is that they can move if the player bends the strings very much.
This bridge was done in a way that captures to look of a traditional floating bridge, but was glued down making it much more stable, and also shaped so a bone saddle along with the embedded pieso pickup could be used.

Check out James Anthony's web site.