Well, I did it again.
You may recall the first AlleyRat. I liked it a lot but ended up giving it to my wifes Cousin as a wedding gift. He LOVED it so that works out.
In any case, I wanted to replace it and had some stuff hanging around. So I built a replacement. I went with the standard Seth method of finding a measuring tape once the project was done.
Scale length is about 34”. The neck is the bottom of an old K-Mart vintage bamboo rod which I pulled out of the dumpster. I cut it in half (more or less) and let that drive the long scale. I also did not want to drill a hole in this particular box, as this was obviously a grand experiment. See below for that solution.
The 5 strings are partially to test the idea, as I just had an order for a 5 string and wanted to see how it feels and looks. I put two bass strings (.080 and .100) and three guitar strings (not sure on gage. the highest string is unwound) and then just tuned to ear. I also already broke one string tuning.
The tuners are I-bolts. I grabbed a bunch of lock washers and flat washers and tried my best to make some friction tuners. In the end, this method is a real PITA and I would recommend not doing it if you have the option. It stays in tune mostly, but takes a lot of cranking and a lot of space. One bass tuner had to be mounted backwards because they take up so much space. Cheap tuners will not cost much more and will work as well or better. Though with the bamboo, I am not sure standard tuners would have worked in this case…
I attached the neck and the box to a “body” I made with scrap leftovers of our T&G laminate flooring and it worked very well. Ill do that part again for sure. I have an even more insane guitar idea but need to build a few sellers first...
The tail piece is, fairly obviously I think, a tin tomato can. I just sorta eyeballed with some tin snips and then smacked string holes with a screw. Give some good resonance actually.
The two sticks are held together with a pipe clamp, but I knew with 5 strings that would not work for a nut, so I stuck a 7.62X54R shell up there (I own a Mosin-Nagant 91/30 as my hunting rifle, this shell is surplus and not reload-able, so good use of brass in my book). I actually have a bin of assorted brass that we find when camping and hiking. My kids call it Gold and pick it up until their pockets are full (side note: If you go shooting in the woods, clean up after your self!), I then give them a dollar for the Gold and try to find ways to use it. So in the bucket I have a lot of steel cased 7.62X39 which is what I used for the bridge/saddle. Sort of handy actually as I can set intonation for the guitar strings and bass strings, thus the offset. You can also see the .22 shells I used to space the strings. These just click down in, i filed some little groves to help hold them there.
I also screwed the box to the flooring “body” from the inside and left the screws tall so that they would support the top as it took pressure from the strings. Seems to have done the trick perfectly.
Now to figure out electric pickups…