Hybrid Journey Part 1

In 2014 my band of 10 years, Jam-Bone decided to call it quits. I was not sure where to go musically at that point, originally guitar was my main instrument but I just spent 10 years exclusively playing my Conklin 7-string bass. It wasn't until Jam-Bone guitarist Rich Plumpton asked me; "are you going back to playing guitar or sticking with bass?" to which I pondered for a few seconds and then said; "both - simultaneously."

For years I had been following Charlie Hunter, a guitarist who had designed a hybrid guitar and developed a unique style necessary to play his invention that incorporated bass and regular guitar strings on one instrument. The design featured two distinct outputs, one for a guitar amp and one for a bass amp. I had the pleasure of meeting Charlie after one of his gigs (seen in photo at top of page) and he was very supportive and the 15 minute talk with him about his style and approach was a catalyst into re-learning how to play guitar and building my own to accomplish that task.

Sadly, these guitars were available for about $5k which was way out of my price range. Long story short, I successfully built my own hybrid prototype out of an old yard sale Les Paul knockoff to see if it could be done. Then I was hooked so I built one from scratch using Charlie's as a guide. Never having built a guitar before it was very challenging and I think I re-built it 6 or 7 times trying to get the electronics right. Keeping it in tune was problematic so I brought it to guitar wiz Bil Mitchell of guitar parlour and he made it playable by doing a fret job and major adjustments.

to be continued ...

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