#1
Looking for input from some seasoned bottleneck players.
I will soon be scouring around for goods to scratch build a guitar for bottleneck only. I want to make it semi hollow (thinline-esque) with a single P90 pickup.
The only word I can come up with to describe the tone I am after is "swampy." ( I can't expect that to mean much to anyone, as I may have invented that word in this context.) Something fairly nasty, but will take some tremolo without becoming a complete mess.

I am hoping someone might share some insight on where to mount the only pickup. Nearer the neck? Bridge? Somewheres in between? Any opinions on which P90 and wiring? I want simple. I am considering leaving the volume and tone controls right off the guitar and letting the amp be the sole control center.

Any thoughts? Any constructive feedback would be greatly appreciated.
#2
I only play slide on electrics, and prefer P90-type pickups (including hum-sized SCs with bikini covers) to Strat SCs or humbuckers, though it really comes down to personal taste and the amp. My two amps are very bright, and I can get a tone I like, and less noise, by winding off the treble on the guitar tone control. - So I would never depend on the amp tone controls alone.

I generally prefer the neck pickup to the bridge. One pickup, a Lollar Chicago, sounds pretty good in the bridge, but it is marketed specifically as a bridge pickup for slide. An old prewar Rick horseshoe pickup would be the go if you could find one (I have a prewar Rick 59 lapsteel - the tin Rick - killer tone), or maybe one of Lollar's Valco-style string-though pickups. I have a couple fo originals of those, and they also have a very good tone.

FWIW, I would go solid rather than semihollow. I have an '82 Westone 335 knockoff, but I've never got on with it as well as the solidbodies, in spite of trying a lot of different pickups in it. The overtones in the high registers aren't so good.

Absolutely my best guitar for slide is a 34" OLP Music Man baritone knockoff with 13-56 strings tuned up to open D. It has worked well with several different pickups, and if I was building specifically for slide, I would be giving serious consideration to a long scale.
Last edited by Tony Done at Sep 28, 2014,
#3
Thank you. Just the kind of stuff I need to hear. Should I dink with the cut of the nut, height wise, or keep that about standard? Standard .013's for strings?

Just looking for a start point.
#4
Quote by khawk61
Thank you. Just the kind of stuff I need to hear. Should I dink with the cut of the nut, height wise, or keep that about standard? Standard .013's for strings?

Just looking for a start point.


I leave the nut low, as for fretted playing, and don't have the action very high either - about the same as my acoustic guitars for fretted playing. I use both 10-46 and 13-56 for slide, it depends on the guitar and the pickups. The problem with light strings, low action and a heavy slide is that you can hammer notches into the frets if you don't have a very light touch. I think iw ould start with heavy strings and a highish saddle and work backwards from there.
#5
Very cool of you to share your thoughts. I'm intrigued with your long scale suggestion. One last thing, and I should be good for the design and set up considerations. What preference, if any do you have on fretboard radius? I was thinking 9.5".

Thanks again.
#6
Quote by khawk61
Very cool of you to share your thoughts. I'm intrigued with your long scale suggestion. One last thing, and I should be good for the design and set up considerations. What preference, if any do you have on fretboard radius? I was thinking 9.5".

Thanks again.



9.5 just works for me, 7 doesn't. No problem on the high frets, trickier trying to do slide barres on the low ones. If I was custom building I would go flatter, around 12 to 16.

I'm convinced that the longer scale adds something to the tone, so much so that I've been wondering about using a baritone acoustic for slide, lightly strung (11 perhaps)and tuned to D or E. The strings on my electric bari are very close to breaking point, but there is no risk of structural damage on a solidbody as on an acoustic. It sizzles like wind blowing through telegraph wires.