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Thread: BB King with a doubleneck guitar and...?

  1. #1
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default BB King with a doubleneck guitar and...?

    I just came across this picture of a young BB King playing a double neck. The top neck is a standard 6 string guitar, but the bottom neck sure looks like a 10 string..something. Anybody have any clues?Click image for larger version. 

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: BB King with a doubleneck guitar and...?

    That is amazing. The 10-string neck has a 10th-fret marker (not a 9th), so it does really seem like it might be intended for CGDAE tuning, and built by someone who knew mandolins. It looks like there might be a six-letter logo on the headstocks, but the photo's too small to make out what it says. It doesn't look like a Bigsby, Harvey, or Mosrite, but could have been influenced by any one of them ... who else might have been building such things back in the '50s?
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: BB King with a doubleneck guitar and...?

    Apparently, not even Deke Dickerson has been able to identify this one.
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

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    Default Re: BB King with a doubleneck guitar and...?

    Dunno if this helps?

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    the headstock from a "BB King B405 8-string mandolin" sold on ebay this past November.

    (Winning bid: $46.)

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    Default Re: BB King with a doubleneck guitar and...?

    Quote Originally Posted by jesserules View Post
    Dunno if this helps?

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    the headstock from a "BB King B405 8-string mandolin" sold on ebay this past November.

    (Winning bid: $46.)
    Man, that is one tiny photo, isn't it? Sorry. A google search for the quoted phrase should get you to the auction, if interested.

    The headstock logo is two capital B's, back to back, with a crown on top. Whether there is any actual connection with BB King I have no idea.

  6. #6
    Mostly Harmless Tommcgtx's Avatar
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    Default Re: BB King with a doubleneck guitar and...?

    I emailed the BB King museum, and this is the response I recieved:

    The instrument is a double neck, or multi-neck guitar. They are still around today and many performers have played them. It's basically one guitar body with two necks, one having six strings and the other ten.


    B.B. was photographed by Ernest Withers in the 1950s holding this guitar. The other man in the photo is Andrew "Sunbeam" Mitchell, owner of Mitchell's Hotel and several clubs on Beale Street, including Club Handy. He later (1965) opened Club Paradise.


    We don't know what happened to the guitar, but I have sent the photo to LaVerne to see if it brings back a memory for Mr. King.


    I will keep you posted.

    Allan Hammons | President

    I replied that I saw the photo here, and explained that since the 10 string side had a shorter neck, that maybe it was something mandolin related. Anyway, I was curious after seeing the photo, and found the same photo at the museum's website, so I figured I'd ask and share my results.

  7. #7
    Registered User jmp's Avatar
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    Default Re: BB King with a doubleneck guitar and...?

    Must have been the period in his career when he was considering whether to become "BB King blues guitarist legend" vs "BB King, eclectic/electric citternist extraordinaire". Apparently he made the right choice, but just imagine if he'd gone the other way!
    Last edited by jmp; Mar-06-2014 at 2:25pm.

  8. #8
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: BB King with a doubleneck guitar and...?

    It was a money making gimmick
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  9. #9
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: BB King with a doubleneck guitar and...?

    I just found some info on this instrument.
    It was built by Lyn Vernon and Sid Manker in Memphis in the 50's and sold to BB King. An acquaintance of mine, Steve Vernon, is the son of Lyn Vernon, and still has the original plans. He thinks the name is "ManVer". He doesn't have any more info on how it was tuned, where it is today, etc. but he said that he's going to dig out the plans, so maybe I'll be able to post those in the near future. It was featured on an album cover, but who knows if it was ever recorded.Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by John Rosett; Nov-02-2018 at 12:57pm.
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

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