knowing how acoustic 7's are sought after, I'm thinking some of you might be interested in this. And no less because the total costs for this mod -and a succesful one - were under 200 euros.
So what gives? Well, I wanted my own acoustic 7. Things were expensive, though, so I thought that basically a 7-string neck is a wider 6-string neck. 12-string acoustic guitars tend to have wider necks than 6-stringers. Conclusion? Get a 12-stringer and modify it to take 7 strings.
And it works. Here's how it was done.
Disclaimer: Cheap parts and experimental attitude = not the best level of work possible. Aestethics aside, functionality was the most important thing here.
Your regular, run-of-the-mill cheapo del cheapo 12-stringer. It sounded actually better than I thought, costing only 150 euros, but let's not expect too much from it. It works and doesn't sound absolutely horrid. You can also see the original, normal bridge. Just to be sure that the strings would have an even spacing, I just couldn't use the old pinholes. Solution...
Blank peace of rosewood from Stewmac. Measured and drilled, here stand the 7 holes that will be occupied by the strings. 5 mm holes behind and 2 mm holes in the front, those will hold my strings like some makeshift tune-o-matic tailpiece.
Shaping two. What can't you do with a dremel?
Tried to get a good pic of the holes. You propably got the idea anyhow, but here anyway.
Final shaping. Getting together there.
Also made the nut and bridge piece from bone. Blanks also that I bought originally.
And voilá, here's the final assembly.
So, a two-day project that gave me something unique and who knows, useful. I just might do this again some day, with better parts (or a better guitar to start with), since there are some flaws here that I'm not so happy with. Such as:
- Nut. Never ever file the slots with an attitude "oh the string jumps out, I'll better make this slot deeper". Now I've got a buzzing low B on the first fret. Second buzzes none, so I just might file the first fret a little lower, or get a tighter string, or just make a new nut. Anyway, first nyt ever I've made so all in all I'm happy with this.
- Makeshift string holder. It works like a charm. Glued it with plentiful titebond and it holds well, so that's a relief. Could have spent more time to finish it better, but it works and I'm happy - next time I'll pay more attention to detail.
- Since the peg holes are untouched, This thing can be yet converted back to a 12-stringer by changing the nut. Now yes there are 12 tuner pegs but 7 strings for now, so I'll have to consider do I want modularity or aestethics.
And the most important lesson...
It works. It plays. It can be done.
A 7-string acoustic for cheap. Not the most elegant solution, but definetly playable.
Just make sure you have a dremel tool
Any questions I'm happy to answer