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Grey and blue stylized iceberg

Hawaian Guitar


Electrical system, restoration and customization

I had already mentioned in my article ACS-GTR-1 on the customization of an acoustic guitar, my family had many differents musical instruments. This Hawaiian guitar belonged to my grandfather. A very old model of the brand "Otwin" that dates from the 70s and equipped with a connection system and a microphone mechanism that I had never seen before...

Banner picture zommed on the hawaian guitar
Picture of the original version of the hawaian guitar
Picture of The Guitare Hawaïenne before its cutomisation/restoration.

Original version

I have never been able to ring this guitar because its connection system is outdated... My idea was to mount a real humbucker microphone to give a second life to this instrument. And the task was not going to be simple. Hawaian guitars have 8 strings whose spacing does not match the standard humbuckers of the standard of electric guitars. After a few measurements and material comparisons, my choice stopped on the DiMarzio X2N®7 where the size of captors perfectly cover the space of the 8 strings.

For an integrated electric microphone, we need an integrated electronic circuit. And so, a cavity to integrate all this cirtuit, placement of the knob(s) and the jack connector. But what about the mass ? ... the bridge is in wood and has only one small bar - which also looks like a guitar fret (!) - on which the strings are layed. I'll have to be ingenious...

Pictures of the guitar on work

Photo de la guitare après ponçage
The Hawaian guitar scratched.
Photo de la guitare avec la défonce pour accueillir le humbucker DiMarzio
The Hawaian guitar with the cave a humbucker.

Restauration de la guitare

Set all the instrument in parts : strings, fretboard (in plastic !), bridge rails, and mechanics that - like the acoustic guitar I have customized - needed to be clean. The body is made in very massive wood which had to be scratched.

After a some projects of electronic and structural schemes, I finally opted for a centralization of the elements - the volume knob, the cables and the jack insert - in a single cavity as compact as possible. Firstly, because the body of the instrument - probably in massive oak - is not very big nor very thick. And secondly because the wood is particularly difficult to dig when you have a simple chisel ... and not a stomping machine. A small plate of plexiglass, recovered and cut from a frame, will serve as a cover for this electronic cavity.

Photo du circuit électronique de la guitare

A small and very discreet groove leads a cable from poti to the metal part of the bridge to serve as a grounding point. Very experimental technique that works well but could be more efficient.

Picture of the electronic cave
The rear cave for electronic circuit.

Pictures of the guitar painted

Front view of the hawaian guitar in black white and red
Front of the Hawaian guitar finished.
Rear view of the hawaian guitar in black white and red
Rear of the Hawaian guitar finished.
Picture of the head on the hawaian guitar
Details of the head on the Hawaian guitar.

Painting and design

Initially, the guitar was to be white, green, turquoise and gray antracite... but a little accident of varnish forced me to start all over again from the beginning. I chose to change the colors and create a more striking graphics in black, white and red.

For the customization of Skateboard, I had invented various and totally surreal letters, and I liked the idea of re-exploiting them for this guitar. Especially with this very powerful color combination.

A strings set from D'Adarrio usually suitable for 8-string guitars that almost match the standard draw of Hawaiian guitars will do the trick. As for tuning, open tuning, I'm still in my research... but the instrument now offers a great design and sounds very good.

Picture of the bridge of the guitar
Details of the bridge on the hawaian guitar.

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