GUITAR REPAIRS: CASE STUDY BLONDIE XII

THE NEED – My current band and writing style has led to the regular use of a 12 string sound within the set. This incorporates both rhythm and arpegiation / picking style. My current instruments whilst fine lack the body and tone of my Krueger original Blondie (my pride and joy) there was only one thing to do. So this summer I commissioned Dietmar to develop a 12 string version that had the same full body sound and bass response with great ease of play.

THE NEW BRIEF – Like before the instrument had to perform equally on stage as in the studio. This model had to build on the visual looks and sounds of the original Blondie but 12 strings also have their own technical requirements and specifications. Like before I have discussed all of my wants and needs but have left some space for Dietmar to move the original model on. With that in mind the bridge and headstock are to be given the typical creative twists that Dietmar does so well to overcome these needs.

Construction – A number of changes have been incorporated into this 12 string version of Blondie

• The neck has had a skunk style stripe fitted to increase strength, stability and truss rod adjustment.
• Alternate neck joint method to take the extra stresses associated with 12 string guitars.
• The headstock needs to incorporate twice the number of machine heads without increasing its footprint significantly (no mean challenge).
• The top side bracing has been adapted to account for differing tonality and stresses that 12 strings in tension brings.
• The bridge has to allow for twice the number of strings.
• A wider neck needs to be set and profiled accordingly.
• Easy access to the battery compartment.

Headstock – 12 into 6 doesn’t go, normally.

but it was important to me that the 12 string versions headstock did not become overly long and if possible mimick as closely as possible the original 6 string version. This has called for some creative thinking incorporating a slotted headstock to allow for tuners in a classical configuraion and a standard western layout all in one.

Main Body Assembly – There is as much care taken over how the guitar looks and behaves from the inside as there is taken over the external aesthetics.

Detail is what its about, and at this point it starts to look and feel like a guitar. The rear of the body is glued in place sitting on the fillets for added stability and support. This is the point of no return and so all internal elements that affect tone, electronics, and access are completed including the preamp slot and the on body pickup are set and fixed. This is the point where Dietmar really get on with the magic

Finishing Touches – Which brings us up to date.

Whilst the original model required restraint, it does not mean that there is no room for subtle creativity. I was not after a complete replica of the Blondie model in every detail, this is a 12 string and we are some two years on. So this model brings its own opportunities for expression. Dietmar has allowed me a small glimpse, and having given him some freedom to work his magic in these final details, I just have to be patient and await the final unveiling.

Whilst visually similar to the original “Blondie, six string” there are some very clear and wonderful differences.

The sound and projection is that special blend of jangle but with an amazing clarity that allows equally for strumming and picking styles. This instrument is lighter in weight and even with the extra machine heads is still balanced to perfection. So, does this instrument deliver? “Does it ever! Its evolution from the original 6 string version is a revelation and exceeds all my hopes and expectations. Dietmar thank you so much.

For the full gallery of the finished guitar please click here

This post is also available in: German