Skele is a prototype run amok.
In preparation for the mechanical complexities of Cupid, I wanted to build a test neck incorporating titanium tubing from headstock to bridge. I have long been violently opposed — Rebel! — to the stupidity of digging a pit in the highly stressed primary coupling area between the neck and body. All for the whim of screwing a pickup in the crater.
Obviously it's worked for the last 50+ years.
But that doesn't mean it's a good idea.
A one piece neck structure IS a good idea. Light, stiff, resonant, stable. Much faster and easier to build. The only adjustment is string height at the bridge. No joint hump. No dead spots. In comparison, a typical bolt-on (or glue in) neck is much like trying to land a Banshee on the deck of an aircraft carrier in a hurricane. Why are we so invested in 1950's thinking?
Pickup technology has been the limiting factor.
But the times, they are a changin'.
Because I wanted an apple-apples comparison, and because I have a premium chambered swamp ash 'Tele laying around the shop for test purposes, it seemed a good idea to create an easily accessed body in a familiar shape. Something to facilitate rapid pickup swaps. Ahem. NEW style pickup swaps.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Rick does not duplicate others' instrument designs for profit.
With the body crudely built from birch plywood and ripped 2x4 structural bracing, you can imagine my surprise when I hit the first chord after stringing up Skele. Everything was in thirds. One third less weight. One third louder volume. One third longer sustain. The plywood honeycomb acts as an acoustic soundboard amplifying the resonant Uni-Neck.
I'm in love. So much so that this week I will design and build a "serious" body to better match this experimental neck. Here's what you're looking at:
• curly maple Uni-Neck with titanium tube core
• Trapezoidal Neck Profile
• ebony fretboard
• stainless steel frets
• bone nut
• Waverly bronze tuners
• forged titanium bridge and hardware