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Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)

Rick Fielding 19 Nov 02 - 02:04 PM
Clinton Hammond 19 Nov 02 - 03:15 PM
Leadfingers 19 Nov 02 - 08:00 PM
khandu 19 Nov 02 - 08:12 PM
Rick Fielding 19 Nov 02 - 08:52 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Nov 02 - 09:05 PM
dick greenhaus 19 Nov 02 - 10:33 PM
Jeremiah McCaw 20 Nov 02 - 12:05 AM
Rick Fielding 20 Nov 02 - 06:18 AM
GUEST,cookieless Tweed 20 Nov 02 - 06:44 AM
KingBrilliant 20 Nov 02 - 06:55 AM
Barbara Shaw 20 Nov 02 - 08:55 AM
reggie miles 20 Nov 02 - 10:55 AM
DADGBE 20 Nov 02 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,Steve Latimer 20 Nov 02 - 12:20 PM
Rick Fielding 20 Nov 02 - 12:43 PM
Steve Latimer 20 Nov 02 - 01:05 PM
Rick Fielding 20 Nov 02 - 01:06 PM
catspaw49 20 Nov 02 - 01:16 PM
Steve Latimer 20 Nov 02 - 01:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Nov 02 - 01:59 PM
michaelr 20 Nov 02 - 07:23 PM
Rick Fielding 20 Nov 02 - 10:22 PM
GUEST 21 Nov 02 - 07:00 AM
Peter T. 21 Nov 02 - 11:08 AM
katlaughing 21 Nov 02 - 11:16 AM
Rick Fielding 21 Nov 02 - 12:55 PM
Steve Latimer 21 Nov 02 - 01:58 PM
Rick Fielding 21 Nov 02 - 05:43 PM
Steve Latimer 21 Nov 02 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,MeRACEGUITAR 05 May 13 - 04:38 PM
GUEST 05 May 13 - 06:20 PM
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Subject: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 02:04 PM

Hi. I promised I'd put this in a few days ago, and it was first discussed in a thread about my recent concert in Branford Ct. I was going to make a couple of the little gadgets I use and send them to some people, BUT it occurred to me that if opened by American Customs Agents (especially since Uncle Sam lowered the boom about two weeks ago) it could be very problematic. You see they are sharp(ish) and could look to some like a weapon rather than a musical accessory.

First off (as part of pedant alert, ha ha!) Dobro is a copyrite brand name....so the thread could ACTUALLY have read:

CONVERT YOUR STEEL STRING GUITAR TO A RAISED ACTION HAWAIIAN STYLE GUITAR IN THIRTY SECONDS. AND BE ABLE TO GET IT BACK TO REGULAR ACTION AND TUNING IN ANOTHER THIRTY SECONDS (depending on how fast you can tune the sucker). Note: metal "Nut raisers" have been around for close to a hundred years but take (at the best of times) about four or five minutes to put on and take off....and by then, you've probably lost yer audience.

So, OK, here goes: I first made this little gadget years ago, but this is a bit of an 'improved' one.

#1. Get a brass rod about 12 inches long and about 1/6" wide. My local HOBBY/TRAIN store has a good supply. I think the one I currently have is 5/36". Haven't a clue what they're used for in the electric train biz, but they're perfect for string raisers....you can make about three of 'em from the one rod. (or two, if ya screw up the first one)

#2. Cut off a piece that is about four inches long.

#3. Put it in your vice and bend about one or one and a half inches into a right angle.

#4. The long part should be long enough to go across your fingerboard at the second fret with a bit to spare. The short part acts a "handle" and the end should now be smoothed so ya don't cut yerself.

#5. Put it in the vice with the 'handle' sticking up and bevel the end of the 'long part' to a "smooth point". This end (with the handle sticking up) has to slide under all six strings from the bass to the treble without scratching stuff.

#6. Put it back in the vice but this time with the handle pointing down. This part is a tad tricky, but don't worry if you screw it up, you've still got enough metal for two more. With a black felt pen you wanna mark six spots where you'll cut (file) tiny grooves so that the strings will stay in place while you're playing. You can measure it directly from your guitar's normal spacing OR you can make the spaces a HAIR wider as I do, to facilitate some Jerry Douglas licks.
Take a file and put the tiny grooves in (remember the handle is still DOWN so this is the OPPOSITE side of the 'bevel' discussed in #5. With some very fine sandpaper or a nailfile do a bit of smoothing around the groove so that there are NO sharp edges.

#7. No number seven....yer done!

Get your guitar, tune it to Open D (D,A,D,F#,A,D...from the bass string)
With the handle up, slip the long part under the strings just behind the second fret, from the treble string side. Once it's under..push it up so it bumps into the fret...turn the handle around so it's DOWN, and slip the strings into the grooves.
If you want a very clean sound, put your capo on (loosely) behind the string raiser....and it'll get rid of any unwanted vibrations.
Do a fine tuning (it'll need it) lay the guitar on your lap, grab your slide (I use a Stevens Bar, but the John Pearse are good as well) and start playin' San Antonio Rose, Crossroads Blues, or Aloha Oe(!!)

Couple of other points. The REASON for raising the strings (rather than just tuning 'open' for slide) is to get that very clean "Dobro" sound, with no fret noise.

Never tune your guitar "UP"! Always tune it "down" so you don't put extra stress on the neck.

Here's a couple of other tunings (and remember, since you're putting the string raiser on the second fret...at least in THIS example..yer two semi-tones above.....so a D tuning becomes an "E" tuning actually.

An ACTUAL modern Dobro tuning is GBDGBD which I'd NEVER do on a regular neck steel string guitar. You MIGHT try FACFAC (which becomes a "G" tuning when on the second fret) but I'd ALWAYS put the guitar back in regular tuning immediately after practicing for a few minutes. You simply DONT wanna stress your neck.

Here's a 'sort of' dobroish tuning that you can practice most dobro licks on and it won't mess up your guitar.
CFCFAC (it'll be a G tuning when you got to the second fret.

Cheers and have fun.....questions welcome...'cause it's easier to MAKE this little sucker than to explain it.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 03:15 PM

If I've ever seen a post that need pics, this is it! :-)


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Leadfingers
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 08:00 PM

Wild Willy Barrett does it with a four inch nail.He says it HAS to be a four inch nail.Dont ask me---Ask Willy.


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: khandu
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 08:12 PM

Hmmmm... I'm gonna try it!

khandu


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 08:52 PM

Thanks Khandu.

Yeah, Clinton, a picture would help, but all it really looks like is a brass "L" 'bout three inches one way and an inch and a half the other.

Leadfingers, I can relate to Wild Willy. For years (when I was playing in bars) I'd get a swizzle stick from the audience (for the string raiser) and a knife from the kitchen, and finish the night off with Crossroads, or Long Black Veil or another slide piece.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 09:05 PM

And then Wild Willie is liable to play it using an egg as a steel. A raw egg as he is likely to demonstrate by throwing it at the audience. (I caught it and threw it back. I think he caught it himself, but the memory is uncertain on that point.)


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 Nov 02 - 10:33 PM

In a related vein--a two-inch length of ;awn-trimmer nylon monofilament can perform yeoman (yeoperson?) service as a fiddle cape, if you encounter folks that insist on playing or singing in Bb or Eb.


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Jeremiah McCaw
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 12:05 AM

Damn, Rick; have you got these ideas and gadgets of yours patented? You should. The idea is so simple and elegant. Thankyou.


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 06:18 AM

ha, ha Jeremiah. Honestly I tried years ago to get into "commercial mode", but it simply takes away the fun for me. I had a long talk with Rick Shubb (the capo guy) when I first did my banjo mute, and quickly realized that I simply didn't find marketing interesting. Two Mudcatters, Banjo Bob and Steve Latimer have tried to get me into some marketing (without too much success. We HAVE put the mute up on my website though.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: GUEST,cookieless Tweed
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 06:44 AM

Here's some info on making your own resonator guitar using a carriage bolt and a one pound coffee can. There's a pic and a soundclip of the beast. It actually does work!

Special Riders and Guitar Oddities (Scroll down a little)


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 06:55 AM

Tweed that looks brilliant! Any step by step instructions perchance?? (she pleads)


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 08:55 AM

Rick used this gadget on Frank's guitar at his Branford, CT concert recently. I was truly amazed at the sound coming out if it! It really did resonate like a resophonic guitar and Rick definitely knows how to play the thing.

Rick, things like this (well, not exactly like this) are sold via mail-order all the time. Why can't you put this up on your website as well? If they want to inspect the package, so be it. You need to MARKET these great inventions of yours. Or work a deal to have someone else market them.


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: reggie miles
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 10:55 AM

And here I always thought I needed a whole nuther gitter on stage to jump into them stranger tunings. I like it! Now I've just got to lurn me how to play like Jerry and Rick.


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: DADGBE
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 11:36 AM

Rick, This is a great li'l gadget. Last time I flew the security people got in a snit over the nut raiser in my pocket. It was ok after I told them that I was a doctor.


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: GUEST,Steve Latimer
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 12:20 PM

Barbara,

Don't go down that road. Yes, Rick's products need to be marketed, but I understand that Rick enjoys tinkering, inventing and manufacturing on his own terms. He does it for a hobby, he doesn't want the stresses of marketing on a large scale.

I have one of his mutes, they're excellent.Mute I can't wait to see this new device.

Rick, are you going to put the Dobro device on the site?


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 12:43 PM

Probably not Steve, but if you'd like one, just drop by, and I'll whip one up for you. Still have two thirds of a brass rod left, and I can do 'em in about three minutes now.

Now perhaps someone should start a thread called "Major idiosynchrasies" (after checking the spelling) I'd be right in there with things like:

Dear Abby (or Abby's daughter)

I LOVE inventing stuff, but the moment that more than a few of my friends and acquaintances get these inventions....I lose interest...and start workin' on somethin' else. Nope, I ain't rich, far from it......just weird! (but persistent)

Signed

Arrested Developement

These things really ARE easy to make....try it.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 01:05 PM

Rick,

Please set one aside for Susan. I'm still not sure if I'll be able to make it to Sunday's show, I'm hoping to. If so I'll pick it up then.


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 01:06 PM

....and if you aren't using a custom intonated capo on your 12 string, yer probably having to tune more than you should......or driving some of yer playin' partners nuts, ha ha!

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: catspaw49
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 01:16 PM

It's a great idea Rick and you're getting plenty of kudos, but let's face facts here..........you're sick.

Reminds me of slipping sheets of paper behind the dampers of a piano so the damn things sounds like an old player, almost harpsichord like. I can also remember that my Mom like ta' killt me when I did it to her very expensive Everette.....and the paper slipped down and got stuck......necessitating getting a guy out to the house and removing it with some difficulty. I also remember paying for that idiocy........

Anyway, I admire your creativity, your earnestness, your generosity, your talent, your imagination, and your wife......Not necessarily in that order.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 01:38 PM

Okay, the custom intonated twelve string capo has to go on the site!!!


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 01:59 PM

And there's the one where you have silver foil slotted in and out of the strings of a guitar up near the bridge to give you that flamenco sound.


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: michaelr
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 07:23 PM

How about a custom mini-resonator cone to pop into the soundhole?

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 10:22 PM

Great stuff Tweed!

Michael, unfortunately a custom mini-resonator that pops into the soundhole would be out of position. It has to be under the Bridge and saddle. Check out Tweed's link.

The 12 string capo is verrry simple....I just thought of it, that's all. Put a Shubb or Dunlop C Clamp (Maybe a Kyser, I'm not sure...'cause the Shubbs and Dunlops are 'tension adjustable) on your 12 string at the 2nd fret and REALLY tighten it....MUCH more than you'd normally do. Leave it for a couple of minutes. Take it off and notice where the grooves for the 11th and 9th strings are. (they're the THICK ones) Take a very sharp exacto knife and cut a tiny "V" shaped groove right where each of those strings will go. The groove is exactly the size of this one "v".

Now when you put your capo on the 12 string, the thick strings "sink" into it a bit and you don't have to tighten it as much as you used to. It will then be more in tune. If you have to...do it with the 7th string as well.

Cheers

Rick

PS you can use McGrath's trick up near the 12th fret and get a "Steel Drum" sound.


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 07:00 AM

I got a Manson with a Slideslammer, that does just what it says on the tin! look it up in The Ultimate Guitar Book .


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 11:08 AM

What I want is something cheap that will turn me into Rick Fielding. I am eying one of those cyberassist implants for Christmas.yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 11:16 AM

This is a lot of fun to read about. You do have an inventive mind, rick!

Tweed, love the sound clips, but the diddley-bow one didn't work. And, the one pound coffee can is on the back of that one? Is the can in its original shape? Or, pounded in a disc? Trying to visualise it and seeing some guy with a coffee can hanging down between his legs as he plays this thing on his lap!**BG**


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 12:55 PM

Easily done Peter. But remember......

Never again will hordes of young girls come up to you and say: Oh, Wow...GEORGE MARTIN! I'll sleep with you if you can get me Paul's autograph! OOOOOPS! Sorry, I forgot...Those AREN'T young girls anymore, they're grandmothers!

You'll have to exchange your sophisticated sense of humour for whatever it is that I'VE got!! I don't reccommend it...too hard to explain to people.

You'll actually know FEWER chords in open G and D than you did before!

*****************************************************************

Some other inventions that I lost interest in once they were done:

A cooking pot with three sections to cook three different vegetables.

A two foot rod with red flag on it that you could swing out to the left from your bicycle to make traffic keep it's distance. It was operated by a little button with yer left hand from the handlebars.

A high quality (heavy, good wood, real gears,) table hockey game.

A performer's stool with built in Amp and taperecorder.

My guess is that ALL these things have been done by others at some point, before or after I thought of them. It keeps me off the streets though. I seem to remember an inventions thread at Mudcat. I imagine there's a lot of pretty creative eccentrics here.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 01:58 PM

Rick,

I wish I'd seen that Table Hockey game. I've heard you metnion it a few times, it sounds great.

That performers stool is a good idea too.


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 05:43 PM

By he way....Once you tighten your banjo head (quite tight), a small piece of foam placed at different spots between the co-ordinator rod and head (from the inside...so you'll have to take the resonator off)will give you MOST of the sounds of your banjo heroes. Depends on where you put it. A small dowel moved around will give you the sound that the REST of your banjo heroes have. This is a tad tricky and takes a bit of practice but it works even in most cheap banjos....BUT NOT ALL!

Steve, there are MANY reasons I wish I'd known you a few years ago!!

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 06:41 PM

Rick,

So this foam somehow magically makes right hand work like Earl or Dr. Ralph? Neat.

Thanks for the nice comments. The feeling is mutual.


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: GUEST,MeRACEGUITAR
Date: 05 May 13 - 04:38 PM

How bout a tomato can in the sound hole?


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Subject: RE: Convert your guitar to a Dobro (quickly)
From: GUEST
Date: 05 May 13 - 06:20 PM

Kinky. How about "First, buy a ten dollar guitar?" Bankley said that.


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