30th July 2016
Another Clean Up, Maintenance and Modification Project
This was an attempt some years back to build a Japanese Kankara Sanshin. Couldn’t find much info on dimensions etc, for this build, so just winged it, found out the scale length is somewhere between 600mm and 1000mm so went halfway with 800mm, BUT!, basically the final result was a “DUD”.
AGP #245 – “Sanshin Fail”
3 String Fretless Roasting Pan Baritone Guitar
Scale: 800mm / 31½ inches
Strings: .052NW .036NW .026NW
Tuned: D A d
Original Build 28th July 2016: 9” x 9” x 2” Steel Roasting Pan, Tallow Wood Neck, Spruce Pine Headstock Wings, Spotted Gum Tuning Pegs, Timbers were coated a French Furniture Polish, No Pickup, Strings: Small Sanxian Steel-Copper & Nylon, Tuned G D g
Modified Build 22nd June 2022: 9” x 9” x 2” Steel Roasting Pan Wire Brushed, Heated & Quenched with WD40 & Sprayed with Clear Gloss Enamel, Tallow Wood Neck, Spruce Pine Headstock Wings coated with Tung Oil, 6.2k Single Coil Pickup, Wired Through a Tone Pot to the Output Jack, Chrome Machine Heads. :-)

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Comment by Doug Thorsvik on July 1, 2022 at 8:20pm

Thanks for the details AGP! I do enjoy the rationale behind some of the design decisions. It’s interesting to observe how many of them come down to personal choices, preferences or principles.

My scale lengths and design are usually constrained by the fact that the finished instrument needs to fit in a tenor ukulele, baritone ukulele, or electric guitar gig bag. I really need to get a mini strat sized gig bag to fill in the gap. That may sound backwards, but my goal to play with others and having my instruments fit in standard inexpensive gig bags meets that need. I have been going with 15 frets because I don’t need to play any higher on any of our songs.

Tuning is Open G to keep us all on the same page. The majority of those others are learning to play. My instrument needs to be close to theirs.

My strings are driven by playability, durability, and tone. I try to keep the tension low so playing 1-finger bar chords is easy an the intonation is still good. And thin strings for a high G on a 3-string are difficult to play clean. I have done experimenting with classical, steel, fishing and trimmer line strings. Each has strengths and weaknesses, no clear winner at this point. I’m not done yet. I would like to try some electric guitar flatwounds. Your DAD is still tempting me to try another fishing line experiment too!

To me Baritone should be sonically between a guitar and a bass and that is typically driven by scale length. Fishing line strings seriously mess with that in that I can get standard guitar tunings with traditional baritone/bass scale lengths. Cigar box guitars are cool because you just do what you want to!

My focus on CBGs with great volume levels for group play of CBGs has me doing primarily Uncle Crow builds which have yielded the best acoustic results for me. Looks are another matter.

We all have our own style which keeps it interesting. I always look forward to see what you will come up with next.

Comment by AGP # on July 1, 2022 at 5:56pm

Being Curious is how you learn Doug, I follow a few basic principles of my own when doing a build ie:

The scale is usually determined by the Box/Body size, and the fact that I like to access at least 19 Frets outside the Box.

The Tuning is a matter of personal choice, but I like to have a variety of differently tuned Gits in different scale lengths.

My string size is normally determined by the scale length, desired tuning and string tension, I personally like the individual string tension around 10kg to 11kg (22lbs to 24.25lbs), which allows me to either tune up, or down a step, without putting too much tension on the Neck.

I'm led to believe a scale of 27 inches and above is regarded as a a Baritone Build, and probably much to your dislike, my latest modification of an old build, was originally a 30" scale Whipper Snipper Cord strung 1 String Gourd Bass with Piezo Disc Pickup, but like your fishing line strung Bass String, the sound was pretty muted, this modified build, which has a shortened scale, and  turned into a 3 string GDg Geetar will be finished today, and then posted. :-)

Comment by Doug Thorsvik on July 1, 2022 at 6:29am

I’m always curious on scale lengths and tunings AGP. Your string weights, scale length and DAD tuning got me thinking again.  I have settled on GDG and related variants to keep the 1-finger bar chords in the same locations. I have a DA Chugger and switching between them is a challenge to keep chords straight. I currently have a fishing line CBG with a 32” scale length tuned GGD. The low G is the same as a bass guitar A string tuned down a whole step and the GD are the same as what you would get from the 5 and 4 guitar strings with a normal guitar scale length. So it’s like a Chugger with a bass string added in. The thick fishing line for the low G is pretty muted, so the bass fattens up the tone without taking over. Would you call that a baritone? Is the baritone moniker determined by scale length or tuning or maybe both?

Comment by AGP # on July 1, 2022 at 2:34am

Just Counted 37 Baritone Builds of varying scale lengths from 27" to 34" that I've done, only 4 them are Fretted, but none tuned specifically to D A d, one 27" scale 4 String is tuned E B e g#, which could be dropped to Open D,  and one 30" scale 3 string tuned C G c, which could be tuned up to D A d   :-) 

Comment by Doug Thorsvik on June 29, 2022 at 7:27pm

Have you used this baritone DAD tuning on any fretted models? Just curious how rhythm guitar would sound on it.

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