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Reader Guitar of the Month: SinnerBoy Deuce

This Bo Diddley plank-style guitar was built to honor the musical bond between a father and son.

Name: Richard Day Gore

Location: Fullerton, California
Guitar: SinnerBoy Deuce

My original guitar hero never played guitar. This homemade guitar is a tribute to him.

My father, Jack Gore, was an accomplished craftsman as well as a world-class boogie-woogie pianist. We bonded on a lot, but shared a particular love for the blues music of the past. Thanks to the vintage 78s Dad toted with him since he was a kid, down-and-dirty music was part of the home soundscape.

He passed to the Big Jam in the Sky in 2011. When I was back home for his funeral, I processed some of the emotion with a challenge: design and build a guitar using only the hand tools Dad left on his workbench and materials he left in the basement. I settled on an easy-to-craft “plank” body style, à la Bo Diddley. Two pickups, 3-way switch, master volume, master tone. To add a dash of Space-Age wonk, the neck is shifted off-center, and to impart a little snap to the neck pickup, it’s nudged a touch south. The plank itself was an ancient slab of poplar found in a corner. The vintage green spray enamel came from Dad’s favorite hobby shop, the hardware from Guitar Fetish. P-90s float my sonic boat, but I wanted the freedom to swap them for humbuckers in the future, so I got a pair of their Dream 90s. The neck was lying around from a previous project. The most trying part of the build was cutting the binding channel by hand with an old razor knife. The binding itself was sliced from an old plastic door track I found under Dad’s workbench. (While there I also scored a few long-lost picks that date back to when I first picked up a guitar.)

It’s a blast to play: a rock-blues machine that cleans up nice but loves to screech. Best of all, it connects me with my deepest roots every time I pick it up. Boogie on, Jack!

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