Guitars going green? Not entirely, however, Gear-Vault would like to present to you; Brad’s lab, a guy named Brad (www.bradslab.com) who took some time and effort to build a green guitar made from bamboo wood. ‘Bamboo!? What… did he just say bamboo guitar?‘ Yes I did! And the guitar looks great and sounds even better.
Using Brad’s own words, we are going to walk you through the steps of building a Bamboocaster. First things first, you need bamboo wood. Where is one going to find bamboo wood to build a bamboo guitar? Brad simply approached a local flooring company and asked them to make boards to the appropriate specifications. There are several different ways bamboo is made into boards, the kind Brad used were made of long strips with a rectangular cross section laminated together. For the experiment, Brad ordered pieces of both vertical and horizontal lamination, and preferred the more “wood-like” grain of the vertical type. Stranded bamboo boards look even more wood-like, but weigh nearly twice as much as the already heavy laminated boards.
Brad decided to make a Tele -style guitar — mainly because of its utilitarian simplicity to build and the perfect platform for testing different woods and hardware. Brad used an acrylic telecaster template. He also downloaded Terry Downs’ blueprint drawing from TDPRI and modified it slightly, then had routing templates laser cut from 15mm acrylic. Anticipating possible weight issues, he also made an additional template for routing Thinline-style chambers.
Brad decided to use 5mm thick vertically laminated pieces for the top and back, with a center section of 35mm thick horizontally laminated board. The picture above shows the body parts after being rough cut on the band saw. Next, he hollowed out the center section with a jigsaw.
Next Brad mounted the routing templates on the rough-cut bodies and cleaned up the outlines. The big pin router made short work of the first body, but halfway through the second one the bit started to chatter and tore a huge chunk out of the side. But after gluing it back on and re-routing the body (with a new bit) you can’t even see the damaged spot. Next he drilled out the pickup cavities and neck pockets before cleaning them up on the router as well.
With the bodies basically done, it time to move on to necks. A week prior, Brad ripped some pieces of the horizontally laminated board and glued them together to make the bamboo strips vertical. Brad cut out the necks on a band saw, then ran them through the pressure planer until they came out at 21mm. The fingerboards will be the same 5mm thick bamboo board he used for the tops and backs of the bodies.
Assembly is pretty much self explanatory. But the most exciting part is taking the Baboocaster for a test drive. How does it sound? I’ll let you decide. Scroll down and listen to the videos of this guitar in action. Leave a comment and tell me what you think of the idea of a Bamboo guitar. First Act (Bambusa) is the only company that I know that manufactured a bamboo guitar. Should more guitar manufactures produce bamboo guitars?
Bamboo Guitar — Bamboocaster — in action!