Outrageous Frankenstein Guitar Comes To Life [VIDEO]

Outrageous Frankenstein Guitar Comes To Life [VIDEO]

See how Shane Speal turns dead yard-sale guitars into an outrageous Frankenstein build with C. B. Gitty parts.


"Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Igor, would you mind telling me whose brain I did put in?

Igor: And you won't be angry?

Frankenstein: I will NOT be angry.

Igor: Abby someone.

Frankenstein: Abby someone. Abby who?

Igor: Abby Normal!"

- Young Frankenstein (1974)


Behold, the FrankenTulip, a Frankenstein parts-caster I cobbled together from dead guitars I’ve bought at yard sales and flea markets.

Hear the FrankenTulip

The body is a circa 1965 Teisco E-110 (aka “tulip” body), and the perfectly fitting neck is from a Harmony H-804 model from the 1970s.

Shane Speal's FrankenTulip guitar

Fans of cheap-o guitars will recognize that these two different models are basically the same guitar and were made at the same Japanese factory.

These plywood slab bodies and simple, top-mounted electronics are the most basic guitars ever built. They’re also a blast to mod and an excellent way for a beginning guitar tinkerer to get his/her hands dirty.

Guitar body and license plate

I scored the tulip guitar body for $7 at a flea market.

All the electronics and pickguard were gone, but luckily the "ashtray" tailpiece and bridge were still there.

I decided to craft my own pickguard using a broken 1928 New York license plate that I got free in another flea market deal.

And like a mad scientist, I designed my own unique pickguard shape and carefully cut it out using a simple pair of tin snips.

Running the rough metal edges on my belt sander smoothed them out.

C. B. Gitty P-90-style Soapbar pickup and cover ring

"Abby Normal"

Since I didn’t have the gloriously nasty Teisco pickup that came with the guitar, I decided to load it with a C. B. Gitty P-90 Soapbar

At just $12 each, I buy these by the dozen and always have a pile in my shop (they’re explosive sounding in my cigar box guitars!)

I also bought a walnut pickup mounting ring from C. B. Gitty. The ring is a beauty but I wanted the wood to more closely match the gritty license plate.

A short session with a woodburning pen blackened the wood and gave it a rough and complimenting look.

Stick Yer Neck Out

I found the Harmony neck in a $5 box lot at a local yard sale.

It was nice and straight, and frets only needed a little filing on the ends to remove any sharp points.

The tuners, however, were shot, so I drilled out the holes and added a set of Gitty chrome, sealed-gear tuners.

C. B. Gitty sealed-gear tuners on a Harmony guitar headstock

Pointy Fret Ends

After decades, the wood of the guitar neck has shrunk just enough to expose the ends of the frets, causing them to be sharp as I run my hands up and down it.

Luckily, I had my C. B. Gitty Small Fret Bevel File. It was the perfect tool to file those ends down into a beautiful, playable feel.

C. B. Gitty fret end file

Conclusion

For around $40 in parts, a couple Pignose snout knobs and a pack of new strings, I’ve got a fun new guitar.

The C. B. Gitty "Soap Bar" P90-style electric guitar pickup mated with this setup gives a country twang that I wasn’t expecting.

In overdrive, it delivers a Hound Dog Taylor attitude in spades. And best yet, this project gave me a quiet evening’s project to enjoy.

What sort of guitar will you cobble together next?

10th Jun 2019 Shane Speal

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