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Author Topic:   New use for a Weissenborn?
Bill Leff
Member

From: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

posted 23 April 2002 09:08 AM     profile   send email     edit
I was fooling around with my Superior (Inferior?) Weissenborn copy yesterday while working at home. I'd picked it up without a bar or picks (I don't type well with fingerpicks on) and slung it guitar-style (upright) on my right thigh to give it a few open string strums while I was on the phone.

For some perverse reason I began fretting the low string and pushing it down to the fingerboard and started playing a walking bass line on the low string.

Sounds pretty cool, like an acoustic fretless bass.

Note you probably need pretty light strings on yours to do this. Mine's tuned to open E with a fairly light set of strings.

Brad Bechtel
Moderator

From: San Francisco, CA

posted 23 April 2002 09:51 AM     profile   send email     edit
Phil's Guitars in South San Francisco has a round neck Kona guitar. I've never seen it nor played it, but it certainly looks interesting from the photos. Here's the description:
Hawaiian Guitar, extremely rare Kona Type, extremely rare Kona Type with neck you can play like a regular guitar (round neck). All of the big Hawaiian guitar collectors have Flipped seeing this beauty, none have ever run across an example like This before. Looks like a Kona, but I suspect it's a Regal made guitar. Made in Chicago, very nice quality construction, Huge sound, very clean. All original Condition, A mind blowing very rare, very Cool guitar and only $1495.

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Brad's Page of Steel
A web site devoted to acoustic & electric lap steel guitars

Rick Aiello
Member

From: Berryville, VA USA

posted 23 April 2002 11:00 AM     profile   send email     edit
Having a string height if 1/4" at the 12th fret is the only complaint I have with my Superior. I can deal with the exagerated string spacing...but I sometimes "bottom out"

Are all Weissy's (and copies) strung this low or is mine in need of a "string lift".

Bill Leff
Member

From: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

posted 23 April 2002 01:14 PM     profile   send email     edit
Rick:

I never have a problem with bottoming out on mine, but I use a light bar (Dunlop 919). Not sure what the string height is, but it seems more than adequate.

Bill

Andy Volk
Member

From: Boston, MA

posted 23 April 2002 01:33 PM     profile   send email     edit
The action is My Bear Creek is quite high and contributes to the great tone, I think.
In moments of searing emotion I bottom out on my Bakelite Rick and click the fret board. I wish IT had another 1/4" of clearance.
Bill Leff
Member

From: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

posted 23 April 2002 02:12 PM     profile   send email     edit
I've got the same problem on my Bakelite. I'm still adjusting to it coming from a Melobar which had impossibly high action (that I preferred).
Rick Aiello
Member

From: Berryville, VA USA

posted 23 April 2002 03:28 PM     profile   send email     edit
Seein's how my Bakelite is about 3/8" at the 12th fret and in 15 yrs I haven't "bottomed out" on it yet ..... I must conclude that my Superior is a lemon .... or is that PINEAPPLE

Mike D
Member

From: Phx, Az

posted 23 April 2002 04:55 PM     profile   send email     edit
Brad, re: the 'Kona' There's one just like in in the booklet that comes with Tone Poems III (I can't find my copy just now) but it should be identified in in there, in fact you can even hear it.
nick allen
Member

From: France

posted 24 April 2002 12:15 AM     profile   send email     edit
I've seen photos of Ry Cooder playing one of these type guitars (Kona? Weissenborn? I'm not sure). I have a feeling he may have had the round neck put on it himself, and I seem to recall him saying there's only room to fret it up to around the 7th fret. Of course, he mainly uses it for bottleneck...
Just another sound in the arsenal.
Nick
Mike D
Member

From: Phx, Az

posted 24 April 2002 07:37 AM     profile   send email     edit
Nick, the pics I've seen of Cooder are of a real Weissenborn Kona. That's just how they made them. Probably to take advantage of shorted lengths of Koa. There's some good pics of that style on the Bear Creek site.
Andy Volk
Member

From: Boston, MA

posted 24 April 2002 10:56 AM     profile   send email     edit
Here's some useful Weissenborn info from Acoustic Guitar contributor, Ben Elder:

Most "normal" (later, standard) Weissenborns are at most three inches deep at the endblock and widest part of the lower bout, tapering to about one inch where the hollow neck joins the peghead block (which extends down into the hollow neck to about the first or second fret). The lower bout is 151/4 inches wide, the upper bout is 101/4 inches wide, the whole guitar is about 39 inches long (peghead design variations might change this measurement a bit), and the scale length is about 25 inches. Weissenborns are X-braced (with many subtle variations) and have a soundhole that's somewhat smaller than a Martin's (making it a bit of a challenge to install some soundhole pickups).

Several modern makers are building Weissenborn reproductions these days, including the following:

American Guitar Co., 1512 Corinth Ave. #6, Los Angeles, CA 90025; (310) 478-5083.
Bear Creek Guitars, Hawaii
Breezy Ridge Instruments, PO Box 295, Center Valley, PA 18034; (800) 235-3302; (610) 691-3302.
Tony Graziano, 1016 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95062; (408) 423-2517; (408) 479-3590.
Hawaiian King, 442 Dufferin St., Toronto, ON M6K 2A3, Canada.
Butch Hodgkins, PO Box 155, Allardt, TN 38504; (615) 879-8446.
K&S Guitars, 2923 Adeline St., Berkeley, CA 94703; (510) 843-2883.
Larry Pogreba, PO Box 861, Lyons, CO 80540; (303) 823-6691.
John Reuter, 1020 W. First St., Box 40, Tempe, AZ 85281; (602) 967-2893.
Tim Scheerhorn, 1454 52nd St. S.E., Kentwood, MI 49508; (616) 281-3927.


Rick Aiello
Member

From: Berryville, VA USA

posted 28 April 2002 02:17 PM     profile   send email     edit
Well, I had enough...I took off the strings...pulled out the little plastic bridge piece...took it to Home Depot...got a 1/2" x 1/8" x 36" piece of "rolled steel"...hacksawed a 3 1/8" slab ... filed like a madman. Fit perfect !! (after 2 hrs of work).

Now the string height is 3/8" at the 12th...never sounded this good either.

Now I've made a nut (for my Ricky 100) and a bridge out of "cold rolled steel" from the Depot. Maybe a steel guitar made out of STEEL is next...What a novel idea

Mike D
Member

From: Phx, Az

posted 28 April 2002 05:11 PM     profile   send email     edit
Old Weissenborn's almost always used metal for the saddle, I wonder why Superior went with plastic. There can't be that much of a cost difference.
Bill Leff
Member

From: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

posted 29 April 2002 09:11 AM     profile   send email     edit
Not sure I mentioned this before but I replaced the plastic saddle on my Superior some time ago with one made of steel. Sounds a lot better.
Dwight Mark
Member

From: Denver, Colorado, USA

posted 24 November 2002 01:32 PM     profile   send email     edit
For those of you that were interested in the Regal Hawyofone guitar used on Tone Poems III, I put up some photos of the one I've had hanging on the wall. http://www.dwightmark.com/bearcreek.htm
It's on the bottom of the page. The label inside says Jonathan.

The other photos are of the Bear Creek Weissenborn I have listed in the "for sale" forum.

Dwight

Russ Young
Member

From: Seattle, Washington, USA

posted 24 November 2002 01:38 PM     profile   send email     edit
A pair of gorgeous guitars, Dwight -- even if "Hawyofone" is about the dumbest-sounding name I've ever heard.

What's the other guitar -- with rope binding -- in the pictures with the Regal?

[This message was edited by Russ Young on 24 November 2002 at 05:23 PM.]

Dwight Mark
Member

From: Denver, Colorado, USA

posted 24 November 2002 03:13 PM     profile   send email     edit
I don't know. The rope is the same on the two. As I mentioned, the Hawyofone has a label of Jonathan. I'm guessing they're both Regal made instruments, since the Hawyfone is the same as the Regal in Tone Poems III. I just got it, I'm on a Koa kick at the moment I guess. I have a little old washburn parlor, spruce top, rosewood back, but I think this thing sounds even better. It needs some setup to get it working just right.

Dwight

Russ Young
Member

From: Seattle, Washington, USA

posted 24 November 2002 05:31 PM     profile   send email     edit
For those of you who are (re)reading this thread, let me add the following to the "plastic saddle" comments about K&S/Superior guitars:

Before buying my Superior -- and after reading the original thread -- I asked George at Berkeley Music Exchange about the use of plastic. His reply: "It's never been a plastic nut and saddle. I polish the bone and people
think it's plastic."

A close examination of my guitar (built in 6/00) reveals that it is indeed highly polished bone.

Rick Aiello
Member

From: Berryville, VA USA

posted 24 November 2002 07:10 PM     profile   send email     edit
I stand corrected ....

I sure don't regret replacing it with the metal saddle though ... Its volume, tone and projection are "Superior"

I did scratch the @*%& out of my leg once with those "winged" nut extensions ...

[This message was edited by Rick Aiello on 24 November 2002 at 08:04 PM.]

Russ Young
Member

From: Seattle, Washington, USA

posted 24 November 2002 08:36 PM     profile   send email     edit
I keep thinking that I'm going to replace mine with metal too, Rick.

It's just that I never have two spare hours in which to do all that filing! Maybe if I did a little bit every day ...

Dwight Mark
Member

From: Denver, Colorado, USA

posted 24 November 2002 09:52 PM     profile   send email     edit
I had a fret put in place of the K&S I bought used. I recently ordered some drill rod online and I was planning on replacing the fret with drill rod. I tried this on a Weissenborn and found it improved the sound as well.
The K&S I bought used had some cracks and is a cedar top. The neck seems really wide, wider than a real weissenborn. The sound is very different as well, but it is a good different. I tune it down and it is very warm and mellow. I recently put a mag-mic pickup in it and it is a good live sound with a band.

Dwight

mikey
Member

From: Hawaii, Big Island

posted 25 November 2002 12:51 AM     profile   send email     edit
Those Kona guitars I believe WERE made to be able to play rhythm fretted if need be...
Mike

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