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I once came across an article on a "double strung" eight string guitar created by an ol'time blues player.  He had drilled out the headstock of his guitar to add two extra tuners at the center top.  Then cut and drilled the nut, saddle and bridge to accommodate the two new strings added to the 3rd and 4th string spacing.  The secondary strings were, I believe, tuned to octaves much like a 12 string would be.  

Memory says he played slide guitar with this creation, mostly in open D which would be severely mojoistic IMO.


Anyone have any idea who this might be?   

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I did find who I was looking for.  Thanks.


For all I can remember - after all I have had some serious meds in the last forty years ... all legal you know - Big Joe Williams is the blues player I was thinkin' of. 

His conversion was to nine strings with the first, second and fourth strings doubled; https://www.google.com/search?q=big+...liams+guitar&*

Click on the image; http://www.allmusic.com/album/nine-s...s-mw0000267452


Seymour Duncan would have loved getting this sound ...

Big Joe Williams (Born Joseph Lee Williams-October 16, 1903) was an American Delta blues guitarist; singer and songwriter, notable for the distinctive sound of his nine-string guitar. His recording career spanned five decades and he was inducted posthumously into the Blues Hall of Fame on October 4, 1992.

Big Joe was a mountain of a man. He had a taste for pickled pigs feet, peppermint schnapps and Chesterfield cigarettes. He lived in an abandoned warehouse loft playing his hand modified guitar with cymbals taped to his knees and no laces in his shoes. Joe was the ultimate scavenger and tinkerer. He added three extra strings to his guitar by pounding nails in his headstock. He was King of the 9-string guitar.

When Big Joe played it was more than music, it was his sound, energy and his tone that moved people. Blues historian Barry Lee Pearson illustrated it best when he wrote:

“When I saw him playing at Mike Bloomfield's "blues night" at the Fickle Pickle, Williams was playing an electric nine-string guitar through a small ramshackle amp with a pie plate nailed to it and a beer can dangling against that. When he played, everything rattled but Big Joe himself.”

– Sounds good to me: The Bluesman’s Story, Virginia Piedmont Blues
- See more at: http://www.bigjoestompboxcompany.com....Zf6wfigV.dpuf

JanVigne is offline  

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Since the 70 year old images aren't top notch, here are a few more examples of how the additional strings were done ...


Here's a Little Martin with the type of conversion I was taking about; https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...0938023&type=3

When I first came across this mod, I thought this must be a PITA to achieve. If you cut the nut and saddle too deep or too shallow, the new octave string will not sit level with the original, thicker string. 

Playing by fretting the guitar might not be too bad though finger picking would be a hit and miss affair. 

Playing with a slide, if you screwed up the string height, you would find lots of string buzz and not so great tones I would think.

This seemed to me at the time to be a less than ideal solution when you might rather start with a 12 string and just pull a few original strings off.


The first image here is more in line with the photo I remember of the ol'time blues player; http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewt...3ead66ddbcc122

Tuners sticking up in the air from the top of the headstock and all. 

Now, here's someone showing no respect for a Martin 000-15; http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Luth...stconvert.html

Kinda makes you wish the neck gets pulled all out of place from the extra tension, doesn't it?

And, then, here's what I suppose is the dummies conversion technique; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6GRlF-tMUg

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That one on YouTube sure sounds neat, very unique. There are all kinds of people doing all kinds of weird things to their guitars. Very cool.

Thanks for the post JanVigne. Very interesting.

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