Tagged: R.C. Allen Grez Guitars
Hey, sorry for the delay in responding, been running around too much the last few days. I don’t think anyone would dispute that different bridge materials and designs have a strong influence on the sound. Since you really like the sound of that guitar with its all aluminum bridge, I doubt you could switch to an ebony or rosewood bridge and get to the same place.
I am nearing the edge of my knowledge here but, with any material, with regard to sound transmission, you want to look at weight, stiffness and internal damping. I believe stiffness and internal damping tend to track, when one is higher, often the other is also, but it’s not an absolute link. So, aluminum is about 2x the weight of ebony and it’s stiffer. More stiff = better transmission of high frequencies (the twang) and Heavier = more sustain and possibly a slightly slower attack for mid-low and low frequencies (warmer and fatter for neck strumming). This all sounds good, but really, its very instrument dependent, matching the bridge to the guitar, the pickups and the desired tone.
After all that BS, here’s what I think you should do. The aluminum bridges can have slight notches cut into them just like you find on top of the tune-o-matic saddles. You can adjust string spacing a little by putting notches in to force the strings where you want them. You could do this yourself if you have that level of expertise, or bring the guitar and the one you want to match the spacing of to a good tech or builder.
No apologies necessary. I know we all get busy. Thanks for that information you gave me. Very cool and helpful. Tommy was telling me that you were going out to get some of the wood RC had put away for years. He was telling about going out there with you and just all of the cool stuff he had just sitting out there. Sounds very cool. He also let me hear the change in the guitar after you changed some of the saddles around in his bridge. I do not know much about the style bridge you put on his guitar, or even the name of it. What is some of the main characteristics of it, or some advantages of it, compared to something like a Tune-o-matic? I appreciate you letting me pick your brain. Talk to you later. We need to find a way to get on one for me to try. Hopefully I will be able to make it out in the winter for the NAMM show. There is an amp company that will give me a pass to come do some demos and things with them. Hopefully they will do it in California this year.
Yes, Soooo much wood. I completely filled the back of a station wagon and about 1/3 of 5×8 trailer. I now have enough veneer of various types to build R.C. Allen guitars for years and years to come. And I picked up a bunch of random hardwood, flame maple, mahogany, walnut….. The cool thing is that I am now building from his forms and molds with his wood. In the piles were many guitar tops and backs that he made, so some of the guitars I make will be started by RC and finished by me.
As for the Embi bridge, its a new version of the old Melita bridge. This new version uses very low profile screws on top instead of the big thumb screws. The benefit is that you can palm mute much more easily. The string spacing is slightly wider than the standard Gibson / Tune-O-Matic, but not Fender wide, a general improvement I think. I should say that I commonly use a Tune-O-Matic and file the string grooves into the saddles spaced to the outside of the saddle, not the center to get greater string spacing. Otherwise I don’t know that much about these bridges, they are very light and well made. They guy is friendly when you call and you do get to talk to “the guy”.
I usually, but not always, get down to winter NAMM and would usually bring a guitar or two, so hope to see you then.
Grez, I saw your new Youtube Video of you explaining/demonstrating the difference between the full hollowbody guitar, the 335, and your guitars. I thought that was very cool, explained well, and very well done in general. You could really hear the differences in all of them. I thought, what I am assuming was Tommy’s guitar because it looked just like it with the Switchmaster type switch, sounded the best of all of them. It had the big body sound like the full archtop, but the bass wasn’t overpowering in your guitar like it was in the full archtop. I really think that guitar blended the best of both worlds the best of your guitars featured, for what my taste likes. All of them sound great, and was excited about the big body sound that your smaller guitar could still put out. Very impressive. If they sounded that good just being recorded through a condenser mic, and then coming through my little computer speakers, I bet they really sound amazing in person. Tommy’s guitar sounds great coming over the internet feed when I talk to him.
Thank you and yes, that’s Tommy’s guitar. I recorded this just before I sent it to him, but just got around to editing the video and posting it. Acoustically my big Gretsch 17″ Country Club does have too much bass, but with the tight low end you get from the Dynasonic pickups or even filtertrons, it sounds nice plugged in. I bet it would sound like a big mushy mess with standard PAFs.
That’s funny you mention the Gretsch played acoustically vs. plugged in. Tommy and I were talking about that a few weeks ago when he came out to Carolina. He grabbed mine to play it and did the whole knock on it, and things to hear its acoustic qualities. I told him that it didn’t sound good played acoustically but was a monster plugged in. We started talking about how we both have never come across a Gretsch Electric that sounded good unplugged, but they always sounded great plugged in. I know my 6120 has these two huge sound posts in it. I never do, but you can really let a high powered amp rip with one of those and have pretty much no problems out of the guitar. If you have ever seen Setzer live, especially with the Orchestra, he is the perfect example of this. He plays that blonde Bassman Piggyback, through a 2X12 cab, and has it cranked to the point of break up, and is standing right in front of it.
Mikemc, you asked for an update……. This is the headstock design RC used except I scaled it down a little. His was GIGANTIC. The flowerpot inlay is a design he used also. The fingerboard dot layout I took from a photo of a guitar he made for Roy Lanham. I need to put the frets in, do a little more sanding/shaping on the back of the neck, glue it to the body and spray some finish on it. I’ve been distracted and not made a lot of progress in the last month, but I’m back on it!
[IMG]http://i978.photobucket.com/albums/ae266/tgk03/cb9baa2b-f03c-46bd-bc31-02cb6a2c60a4_zpsb45f6bb0.jpg[/IMG][/URL]” alt=”” />[URL=http://s978.photobucket.com/user/tgk03/media/cb9baa2b-f03c-46bd-bc31-02cb6a2c60a4_zpsb45f6bb0.jpg.html]
My friend would talk about his brother-in-law who played in bands in the 50s and 60s. He gave it up a long time ago. But my friend told me that he has an old Stratocaster and I bugged him to take a pic of it for me, thinking he had a late 50s model. One day he did take pics and this is what he has. My friend’s BIL said that RC Allen was a good ol’ boy and a good friend of his!
I love the headstock and the dot pattern. Can’t wait to play her!
Sorry. I seem to be a little challenged when it comes to posting pics.
Hey tgk03, Try copy the HTML string into the text window instead of using the img button above. That works better for me. I would love to see the pic you are trying to put up.
I don’t know what I am doing wrong, but maybe you can this text follow the link….
Just testing to see if I can post using the same method as I do with other forums.
My Epi Byrdland.
Edit; So how do ya post photos here using Photobucket?
Hey guys, I finished the RC Allen guitar. Picks below. The pickups are Vintage Vibe HCC (Humbucker size Charlie Christian). For what it’s worth, I started with 500k pots and didn’t like the sound, a little to bright, not shrill at all, but not warm enough. 250k pots worked well. You can swap out the magnets in these pickups so I ended up with Alnico2 in the neck and Alnico3 in the bridge. Next time I use these pickups I will ask for them to be over wound just a little. I shot of video of the process of making this guitar and will post it in two parts soon.
– Grez –
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