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Thread: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

  1. #1
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    NFI.

    For anyone looking to build a electric mandolin and has the ability make a few changes Stewmac has their mini strat and tele shaped objects on sale this week for $139.00. I built one of these years ago.

    https://www.stewmac.com/Browse/Minia...257_B_20200113
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Eschews Obfuscation mugbucket's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    Thanks Mike. Now I've got GAS.

    Despite the high cost of living, it still remains popular...

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    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    I've been considering the T-style kit and like the idea of trying it with (low to high) CGDAEB tuning considering the 16.3 inch scale but I'm just not sure about that high B string. Is this realistic?
    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotter View Post
    I've been considering the T-style kit and like the idea of trying it with (low to high) CGDAEB tuning considering the 16.3 inch scale but I'm just not sure about that high B string. Is this realistic?
    Are you talking about B4, above the normal *guitar* high E4 string? Doable. The fretted high E guitar string, at the normal 25.5" scale length, sounds as B4 when fretted on the seventh fret located at 17.02".

    If you're thinking about tuning the instrument with an open E5 string, like a normally-tuned mandolin, then even that mandolin high E will be problematic. No matter what the gauge, the interlocking factors of string width, strength and required tension all converge to make strings squirrelly and to regularly snap fairly quickly when tuned to E at any scale length higher than 15.2". )That means the high B5 will be even further out of reach, of course.)

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    I'd say re entrant tune the 6th up an octave F and then the CGDAE may be a more manageable range..

    The 6 piece Strat bridge may be more adaptable than the 2 strings per bar 3 piece..


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    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    Are you talking about B4, above the normal *guitar* high E4 string? Doable. The fretted high E guitar string, at the normal 25.5" scale length, sounds as B4 when fretted on the seventh fret located at 17.02".

    If you're thinking about tuning the instrument with an open E5 string, like a normally-tuned mandolin, then even that mandolin high E will be problematic. No matter what the gauge, the interlocking factors of string width, strength and required tension all converge to make strings squirrelly and to regularly snap fairly quickly when tuned to E at any scale length higher than 15.2". )That means the high B5 will be even further out of reach, of course.)
    Yeah, with the 16.3 inch string length I was thinking that that would be perfect for a Mandola like range. It makes sense that the B string probably wouldn't work.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    I'd say re entrant tune the 6th up an octave F and then the CGDAE may be a more manageable range..

    The 6 piece Strat bridge may be more adaptable than the 2 strings per bar 3 piece..
    I actually like this idea better. Thanks. From reading the kit reviews at the StewMac site I see that someone did fit it with a six saddle Strat like bridge for better intonation. But considering the interval stretch across all six strings a fan fretted fretboard would probably give the best intonation. Having said that, I'm assuming that the intonation of the low F in FCGDAE would be a little dodgy and could improved with an appropriately thick string gauge on the stock fretboard. Thanks again for replying.
    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

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    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    I'd say re entrant tune the 6th up an octave F and then the CGDAE may be a more manageable range..
    It looks like I missed the re-entrant part the first time. That makes sense too. I like that idea as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    I'm guessing that this question may have been asked once or twice before. (Please place fawn eyed naive emoticon here.)
    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

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    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    If you're thinking about tuning the instrument with an open E5 string, like a normally-tuned mandolin, then even that mandolin high E will be problematic. No matter what the gauge, the interlocking factors of string width, strength and required tension all converge to make strings squirrelly and to regularly snap fairly quickly when tuned to E at any scale length higher than 15.2". )
    Thanks for the feedback. I initially ignored this advice thinking that a high E at 16.3 inch scale would work but it sounds like it wouldn't. But what about giving it the Yank Rachell treatment and tune everything down three half steps to dAEBGbDb?
    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotter View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. I initially ignored this advice thinking that a high E at 16.3 inch scale would work but it sounds like it wouldn't. But what about giving it the Yank Rachell treatment and tune everything down three half steps to dAEBGbDb?
    I'm thinking that 16.07 is the longest scale length for Db to prevent premature string breakage.

    For what it's worth, I once retuned a 19.1" scale length acoustic Tacoma Papoose, with a pickup, to C2-G2-D3-A3-E4-B4. That's an octave mandolin/mandocello range, with the B4 acting as the cherry on top. The body couldn't really support that low C2, but the pickup meant it could function, with a detune pedal set to a two-cent offset, as a travel version of my full-sized 25.5" Ovation mandophone of the same tuning.

    The intonation was a bit off though at the bottom end, so I eventually put it back in A-to-A standard tuning. I had wanted to try converting one of the electric Papooses over, since the bridge saddles could be moved, but wound up getting involved with other projects.

  11. #10
    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    I'm thinking that 16.07 is the longest scale length for Db to prevent premature string breakage.
    You're such a killjoy. You keep dashing my fifth tuning dreams! So close, yet so far. How is it that you determine 16.07 inch as minimal string length to prevent premature string breakage at Db?

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    For what it's worth, I once retuned a 19.1" scale length acoustic Tacoma Papoose, with a pickup, to C2-G2-D3-A3-E4-B4. That's an octave mandolin/mandocello range, with the B4 acting as the cherry on top. The body couldn't really support that low C2, but the pickup meant it could function, with a detune pedal set to a two-cent offset, as a travel version of my full-sized 25.5" Ovation mandophone of the same tuning.

    The intonation was a bit off though at the bottom end, so I eventually put it back in A-to-A standard tuning. I had wanted to try converting one of the electric Papooses over, since the bridge saddles could be moved, but wound up getting involved with other projects.
    I always liked that little guitar since I sing and play a bunch of blues in the key of A.
    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

  12. #11

    Default Re: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    I have a non-Xcel spreadsheet which I've used for years. However, here's a quick method.

    https://www.stewmac.com/FretCalculator.html

    The relevant pieces of knowledge I would use for a "highest pitch before breakage" is that a steel string will break a bit beyond G4 at a 25.5" scale length. A guitar's high E4 string is in safe territory, and can even go that 1.5 steps higher.

    And that means one can tune a plain steel string to G5 at a 12.25 scale length.

    So, using that helpful calculator from StewMac, I can figure out the fret offset distance from the 25.5" nut.

    Here's an example from real life:

    I see a five-course mandolin/mandola for sale, with a 17" scale length. What is the longest scale length I can use to reliably tune to high E5 for that top course?

    So, using the StewMac fretboard calculator, I enter in 24 frets, and a 25.5" scale length.

    Now, counting up the frets and incrementing my pitch of G4 by half-steps with each fret, I see that I get to E5 at the ninth fret. That fret is 10.338" from the nut. Subtracting 10.4" (rounding up just to make it easy) from 25.5" leaves a scale length of 15.1" to be safe.

    So, I now know that 17" is 1.9" into breakage territory. It might last a little while, but not for long.

    In this example from real life, I actually contacted the seller, and the seller indeed verified that the top course had never lasted over time tuned to E5. I saved myself a bunch of money, as I wanted an instrument in standard mandolin/mandola tuning.

    ----

    It took a lot of empirical experimentation over many years before I accepted that weirdly converging limit on the pitch of a plain steel string. "I'll try a thinner string! That'll work!" Nope! *laugh*

    Good luck!

  13. #12
    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    I have a non-Xcel spreadsheet which I've used for years. However, here's a quick method.

    https://www.stewmac.com/FretCalculator.html

    The relevant pieces of knowledge I would use for a "highest pitch before breakage" is that a steel string will break a bit beyond G4 at a 25.5" scale length. A guitar's high E4 string is in safe territory, and can even go that 1.5 steps higher.

    And that means one can tune a plain steel string to G5 at a 12.25 scale length.

    So, using that helpful calculator from StewMac, I can figure out the fret offset distance from the 25.5" nut.

    Here's an example from real life:

    I see a five-course mandolin/mandola for sale, with a 17" scale length. What is the longest scale length I can use to reliably tune to high E5 for that top course?

    So, using the StewMac fretboard calculator, I enter in 24 frets, and a 25.5" scale length.

    Now, counting up the frets and incrementing my pitch of G4 by half-steps with each fret, I see that I get to E5 at the ninth fret. That fret is 10.338" from the nut. Subtracting 10.4" (rounding up just to make it easy) from 25.5" leaves a scale length of 15.1" to be safe.

    So, I now know that 17" is 1.9" into breakage territory. It might last a little while, but not for long.

    In this example from real life, I actually contacted the seller, and the seller indeed verified that the top course had never lasted over time tuned to E5. I saved myself a bunch of money, as I wanted an instrument in standard mandolin/mandola tuning.

    ----

    It took a lot of empirical experimentation over many years before I accepted that weirdly converging limit on the pitch of a plain steel string. "I'll try a thinner string! That'll work!" Nope! *laugh*

    Good luck!
    Well, you've almost talked me out of ordering this kit. Would going a half step lower of dbAbEbBbGD work? If not, is there a re-entrantly tuned 6th string all fifth tunings that would work for this 16.3 inch scale?

    Is this concept basically impossible without a fan fret system?
    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

  14. #13

    Default Re: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotter View Post
    Well, you've almost talked me out of ordering this kit. Would going a half step lower of dbAbEbBbGD work? If not, is there a re-entrantly tuned 6th string all fifth tunings that would work for this 16.3 inch scale?

    Is this concept basically impossible without a fan fret system?
    *laugh*

    First off, it's not my intention to talk anyone out of anything. However, while moving towards CGDAEB full-fifths tuning on six courses, I did run into a lot of roadblocks to be surmounted. I did a lot of experimenting long ago while trying to achieve that high B4 at a 25.5" scale length, and finally had to wait for string technology to advance to where that pitch was achievable. Even so, those strings are pretty expensive individually, and each instrument took a lot of prep to get to a smooth enough string path where it wouldn't pop.

    However, let me ask you: using that StewMac fretboard calculator, and the other information I gave you, what is the maximum safe scale length for Db? You only need to use subtraction to figure this out, at this point.

    If you build someone a fire, they will be warm for a day. If you set someone on fire, they will be warm for the rest of their life.

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    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    *laugh*

    First off, it's not my intention to talk anyone out of anything. However, while moving towards CGDAEB full-fifths tuning on six courses, I did run into a lot of roadblocks to be surmounted. I did a lot of experimenting long ago while trying to achieve that high B4 at a 25.5" scale length, and finally had to wait for string technology to advance to where that pitch was achievable. Even so, those strings are pretty expensive individually, and each instrument took a lot of prep to get to a smooth enough string path where it wouldn't pop.
    Hmmm...

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    However, let me ask you: using that StewMac fretboard calculator, and the other information I gave you, what is the maximum safe scale length for Db? You only need to use subtraction to figure this out, at this point.
    I suppose that it's entirely possible that it could be argued that had I truly understood your previous post then I probably wouldn't have asked the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    If you build someone a fire, they will be warm for a day. If you set someone on fire, they will be warm for the rest of their life.
    I dunno about dat but I do know that where there's smoke, there's the possibility of smoked salmon, which is delicious.

    Mini T-Style Electric Guitar Kit just ordered. If the fifth tuning idea doesn't work out then I've got an even crazier idea.
    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

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    Registered User mreidsma's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    No source on 5 piece bridge/saddle combos, but CB Gitty had a blowout sale on bottom loading 4-piece adjustable bridge/saddles a few weeks back for $5 a pop. Not sure if the sale is still on, but I've thought about this kit and swapping out the bridge to make it a 4 string (and thinning the neck). But the line of other projects is just too long!

  17. #16
    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stew-mac mini guitar kits on sale

    Quote Originally Posted by mreidsma View Post
    No source on 5 piece bridge/saddle combos, but CB Gitty had a blowout sale on bottom loading 4-piece adjustable bridge/saddles a few weeks back for $5 a pop. Not sure if the sale is still on, but I've thought about this kit and swapping out the bridge to make it a 4 string (and thinning the neck). But the line of other projects is just too long!
    I've got all the makings for a CBG but for some reason never got around to giving it a go. I dunno, the price was right on this one and I liked the photos of the completed builds in the reviews on the StewMac website. It is, indeed, tiny as you can see it in comparison to my Buckeye F5 in a Northfield Airloom "Recurve" case.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    "I shall call him Mini-me." (Kinda, sorta, not really.)
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    I'm hoping that it will pair nicely with this 8 Watt tube amplifier that I built from an old Kodak film projector.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

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