You've seen bits and pieces of this over the past few months. I won't say it is finished but I've learned to play it enough so I'm not completely embarrassed. Here's the Cello Bo. (Don't worry, I'll tell you what a Cello Bo is after the video.)
The Cello Bo is a home made instrument made in the spirit of the cigar box guitars, except it doesn't have a box! It is unfretted and can be strung with 3 or 4 cello strings. (The neck scale is 27.5 inches, hence cello strings.) It is entirely electric. I can be played sitting, as shown here, or standing, except, well it is too short.
So it's not really a diddly bo, it has too many strings, it's not really a cello, since it can't be bowed, and it's not really a cigar box guitar since it doesn't have a box, but I guess that's the closest thing it is.
I learned to play after it built it. Ok, I played cello years ago and that's why I had some strings sitting around. It is using the top three cello strings, tuned to GDG.
Here's some detail shots.
It is made from maple, finished with 3 coats of tung oil. That was applied about 2 months ago and it still isn't dry completely. The back piece rotates so the neck is free to move while you are playing. Still, it is hard since you don't have anything to hold onto. I'm not sure I'll do this design again.
I'm using a rod piezo pickup. There are rivets through the "body." I messed them up pretty bad. I didn't want them loose so the hole is small which meant I pounded them in with a hammer, which scarred them. There 5 holes so it can be strung with either 3 or 4 strings. The strings go through the body, then back up again. I did this to shorten the length that the body had to be. I then used a drilled nickel to hold the strings.
If I do this again I'll certainly do something else. If the body were longer here then the standing configuration would be better, currently, the standing configuration is too short to be playable by me.
I route the wire from the pickup through a copper tube to both protect it and add some style. The copper is super glued to screw eyes.
This is the other end of the tube. You can see where the jack from the rod piezo goes into the guitar jack, which is attached to a larger screw eye.
The head has 1 bass tuner and 3 guitar tuners. If I had to do it again I'd use 2 bass tuners and 2 guitar tuners. (The 2nd thickest cello string is a little thick for the guitar tuner in my opinion.) You can see the bolt "nut," and the 15 degree scarf joint.
The wooden pegs are decorative, I had screwed the pieces together while glueing and those screw holes needed to be hidden. The pegs are awful actually, that's why I later bought a drill press.
Note much going on at the rear of the head except I put the guitar tuners too close to the edge so I couldn't put half the screws in!
The other mistake is that I wanted this to be the front since it had more interesting grain, but oops.
This is the back where you can see where the strings come out, then go up through the body again to the nickel. I used a grommet there to ease the strain on the strings.
You can see the lynch pins that hold the horizontal bar, plus one of the two additional pegs that are used when the cello bo is used for standing.
I had intended to be able to transport the cello bo with the horizontal bar attached but I messed up the pegs so they don't work.
Here it is in the standing configuration. It is too short for me to play. I could have made the horizontal bar longer, but then it would have been too wide! The solution is to have the body be longer, but, well, it was already cut!
Thanks for reading this far!
That sir is extremely cool!
Talk about thinking outside the box. :D
I see what you did there! :- )
The funny part is is that I started building only to have a source of vibration since I was building an amp. LOL, talk about a project that took on a life of its own.
Paul, that is a cool piece. I interpreted what you wrote as "I had some cello strings laying around, so I built an instrument to hold them". I guess you could be glad you didn't have some harp strings laying around with the others......you might have had to build a harp/cello-bo. Wait a minute.....
I like the way you think...
Paul, I like the way you build. Have you checked Craigslist for used harp strings yet?
I can dig it!! Well done!!
Thanks! I'm quite happy with it.
It's a beautiful Baritone Scale instrument (Bari-Schtick?)
Is the cross piece long enough to spike the floor and play sitting down like an orchestral cello? couldn't you make another back/second piece that is long enough to play standing up? and keep the shorter one for sitting (maybe even a little shaping with a draw knife to make the short one more comfortable for your thighs?
Baritone guitar? That's a thing? OMG, strings may be cheaper than cello strings.... Yup, way cheaper. I can get a set of D'Darrio for $7 as opposed to no name crap strings for $10, and I've broken 3 sets building this! I guess I'll need to figure out which strings to use, the top 4 or the bottom 4, or 3. But so many possibilities!
No, you can't spike it on the ground by it self. When I sit on the sofa to play the bottom is about half a foot from the floor. That would limit neck sway, which I guess is both good and bad. Right now it can be play upright, sitting, with the cross brace but you need to be cool with it being loose.
I like the idea of shaping the cross bar, I think I'll do that! Plus it will look cool.
I can make a longer standing piece but then I'd have 3 pieces, I wanted to avoid that, and notice the cool dark grain at the bottom of the body and the bottom of the cross piece. (You can see it in the cross picture, I put the brace on backwards in the long picture.)
No worries, I have more wood in the basement!
That turned out great Paul and it sounds good. You might want to add a rubber piece to the bottom of the stand so it doesn't slip around. Maybe a walking cane tip, if you use the cane attachment with the four tips it will also serve as a stand. ;)
Hmmm, yeah. My cello has a steel spike with optional rubber tip. You use the spike on carpet and the rubber tip on hardwood. That actually just gave me a idea. I should buy (or make) a cello spike and mount that to the cross piece. That way the cross piece won't have to be long and it gives you a height adjustable stand.
Hmm, I just checked amazon. You can buy this part, called the endpin, for about $20. It looks ilke it goes into a tapered hole in the base of the cello. So I would guess a screw eye might be made to work. Or just glue a block of maple to the back of the cross piece and cut the tapered hole in that.
Neat thought path, thanks!
Glad I helped, just don't try to put it under your chin with the spike on it. Haha
Just remembered on The Beverly Hillbillies TV show when Jethro was playing his big Fiddle(Cello) under his chin and poking himself in the neck. Haha