The Duovette

This is a hollow body guitar that I built recently. The building process is documented here.

I decided to name the guitar ‘Duovette’ as it is loosely based on three Gretsch guitars: – body size, scale length, pickup layout as per Duojet 6128, while body shape and F holes are as per a Corvette 6187 and the head stock shape as per a Corvette 6132.

Specifications: Grover Locking tuners, TV Jones Classic pickups, puriri fretboard, paua inlays, kohekohe sides and neck, mahogany back, norfolk pine top, rewarewa headstock veneer and ebony bindings.. Finish is Briwax oil on waterbased stain. Colour is best described as Carmine Red.

'Gretsch' Duovette 2020 Guitar
The ‘Duovette’ name still needs to be properly etched into the truss rod cover.
'Gretsch' Duovette 2020 Guitar
Duovette tailpiece end showing kohekohe grain
'Gretsch' Duovette 2020 Guitar
Duovette bridge shot – the bridge top part yet to be finished in puriri wood.
'Gretsch' Duovette Guitar
Showing the puriri fretboard with paua inlays
'Gretsch' Duovette Guitar
Mahogany back, ebony bindings, kohekohe sides and neck
'Gretsch' Duovette Guitar
Duovette Back showing Grover locking tuners
'Gretsch' Duovette 2020 Guitar
The Duovette almost complete – puriri knobs and bridge still to be done.
And here the Duovette in action… Thanks Warren, much appreciated.

Making a Bridge Base

The old Yamaha SA5, SA20, SA30 and SA50 have a rosewood or ebony bridge base. The bridge base is quite a nice piece of workmanship and is not easily made from scratch. The bottom of the bridge is angled in two dimensions so that it follows the contours of the arched top it is resting on. It is screwed onto the guitar body while the posts are screwed into the bridge base to allow the metal Tune-o-matic to sit on top.

You can buy generic timber bridge bases at Stewmac or so for about $20, but they look different and their post spacing does not allow for an original Yamaha SA30 tune-o-matic.

I had an old busted up SA30 with something that really could not be called an archtop bridge. It needed something better…

So I pulled the original bridge base from one of my SA30s and decided to copy it and make my own. Blimey, 3.5 hours later and I do have a rather nice (if I say so myself), brand new bridge base. Just need to source the screws and the posts but trying it with the original bits…

All fits perfectly on the old Superaxe and looks rather ‘original’. Here some photos.

Top one is the original rosewood base.

Yamaha SA30 Bridge Base

Bottom view:

Yamaha SA50 Bridge Base

Fitted onto the SA-30 body:

Yamaha SA30 Bridge Base

With tune-o-matic fitted:

Yamaha SA30 Bridge Base

Building a guitar with some NZ native woods – Kohekohe, Puriri, Norfolk Pine, Mahogany and Ebony

This hollow body guitar will be made from a mix of native timbers and some exotic. Intending to use the following exotic timbers:

  • Mahogany – back (old wood from demolished dressing table)
  • Ebony – bindings

Native timbers:

  • Norfolk pine – top (strictly speaking this is not a native from New Zealand)
  • Kohekohe – sides and neck (also known as New Zealand Mahogany)
  • Fretboard – Puriri

Click here to see its progress

Kohekohe flower
Puriri flower