Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Dunluce II-SC "Rapter" Guitar

Dunluce II-SC Rapter

Dunluce II SC Rapter


  • 6 string double cutaway electric
  • Nut width 43mm at headstock end. Made from bone.
  • 25.5" scale length
  • 21 fret finger board
  • Schaller M6 machine heads chrome
  • Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB (Jeff Beck) in the bridge position
  • Seymour Duncan SH2N-4C Jazz in the neck position
  • Schaller hardtail bridge with thru stringing
  • Roland GK-3 divided hex synthesizer pickup.
  • Schaller security locks
  • Push Pull potentiometers with various switching patterns (series, parallel, single coil taps)
  • Each pickup has a separate volume control. No tone controls on this guitar.

Presented here is a prototype Synthesizer Controller Guitar.

Body construction

The body is sapele and the neck is maple with the truss rod hidden by the walnut skunk stripe.
I decided to modify an existing guitar I had had for a few years as it's neck and electronics were shot. I ended up basically making a new guitar using the body only. Even then the body was extensively modified and now bears absolutely no resemblance to the donor guitar.
If you have ever heard the joke about the man who says "I've had this broom for 45 years, it's had three new handles and 3 new necks in that time" well that's what the Rapter is!

I threw away everything from the original donor guitar apart from the body. I then had to cut out the neck pocket to make the scale length 25-1/2" (the original was a strange scale length of something like 24- 5/16"!!!)
I then cut out the pickup routes and the various channels for control/signal cabling.
Sapele body during spraying
The body was finished with tobacco nitrocellulose but my wife thought it looked a bit anemic. I had some cherry red nitro left over from another project so managed to lightly spray over the tobacco producing a rich rd-brown. When I coated it with gloss clear coat it really brought out the timber hues.

Neck construction

I made the neck from solid maple stock first of all routing the truss rod slot. I had some walnut left over from a previous project so cut it into a strip and glued it in.
Finished neck
Fretboard after laquering
I shaped the front of the fret board using my usual technique of radiused aluminium sanding block with self adhesive sandpaper. The radius is 9.5" like Mr F's modern range. I also shaped the headstock roughly in Mr F's Strat shape as I hadn't yet come up with my own single sided design (I have now).
Neck showing skunk stripe
The rear of the neck is a flat C similar to my USA Fender Strat. I made a few sanding templates from the Strat and transferred the profile. If it's not broke why fix it I thought.
The neck is finished with amber tinted nitrocellulose with satin clear coat on the back of the neck and gloss clear coat on the head stock.


As this had previously had a scratchplate on the front (being subject to many mods by me over the years) I decided to fabricate a black/white/black laminated scratchplate and mount the electronics onto it.
I chose the Seymour Duncan's own favourite combination of Jeff Beck / Jazz humbuckers. I also wanted to experiment with individual volume controls per pickup with no tone control. Each volume control is also a push pull switch to select single coil or humbucking modes per pickup. There is also a single 3 way switch to select each pickup or both at the same time.

Synthesizer Controller

I added the Roland GK-3 divided hex pickup so I could connect it to a synthesizer. This is the standard "bolt on" version and can be removed if necessary. On future guitars I shall build the electronics into the guitar now I know it works ok.


The Rapter has been set with a really low action and plays very fluidly. The pickups are very powerful and puts the clean channel of a valve (tube) amplifier into smooth overdrive. When you switch to a lead channel the pickups will not feedback.
The single coil sounds are interesting and the combination of volume controls/switching allow you to achieve very subtle sound landscapes.
The synth pickup, when run through a suitably equipped computer or dedicated synthesizer, make you think differently how you approach playing an instrument. For instance if you want to sound like an entire string orchestra you can set each string to play individual instruments (or groups of instruments). You can also set it so that you can split the fret board, say the bass strings set for double bass, the D and G strings piano and the top strings fiddle. The possibilities really are endless.
When playing piano for instance you don't do string bends. You can set the pickup controller so that it only plays full notes (no sliding between notes). You then begin to play like a pianist. Alternate tunings are also very possible at the touch of a button. So you can now play a 5 string banjo without snapping any strings!


All in all this was a very interest project taking an old worn out guitar and bringing it back to life (with a bit of general wood working) and making a very likable, different musical instrument. I like it very much and future projects will incorporate different electronics but also include the Roland pickup.

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