Monday, February 6, 2017

Wrest-Plank Tenor (IW#90)




Continuing in the deconstructing of pianos, this one was more an exploration than an attempt to really make an everyday player.  Four string, because that is what I have gotten used to.  I used drawings for a 1900 parlor guitar, so the body is wider and deeper than I am used to.


The strings in a piano go to tuning pins, of course, and those pins are held in a set of laminated maple boards with a bunch of holes drilled in them.  This is called the "wrest-plank," and it is usually behind the harp of the piano.  I had a wrest-plank from a piano that I did not know what to do with, and I remembered that a friend of mine that was in a workshop I did at Arrowmont School of Art and Craft this summer has used the wrest-plank of a different piano as the sides of an experimental instrument.  This got me to wondering what a guitar would sound like if I used the wrest-plank for the sides.

So this is all out of a piano made by the Shaw Company in Erie, Penna in 1905, according to the serial number.  Except for the top, which is made out of the sound board of the piano, the entirety of the rest of the instrument is made out of the wrest-plank.  That includes the fingerboard, the binding, the back and sides, the neck. 

I think the multiplicity of holes is really lovely, and the sound is really loud for the player, since ALL of the sound is shooting right up into your face.  I also really love the "blonde-on-blonde" look of this one.  It will mellow out of course to a honey yellow, but right now it is super light. 

It has a super bright sound, which might be more about the youth of the instrument than the construction, but for now it is really crisp and clear and pretty fun to play, actually.

I used a short-ish guitar scale length, which really underscored to me how used I am to a true tenor-length neck, as all of the frets feel so far apart to me.  So not a player just yet, but I might make another one out of my next wrest-plank and it might end up being a player yet...


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