It has happened several times that a request from a customer has prompted me to design a new instrument derived from a current model. In this instance, the requirements of the customer were uncommon and totally out of the mainstream. The sound desired was very particular, kind of Morricone, retro-style hollow-body, with very vertical orientation when worn on a strap, and out of phase serial connections of two widely spaced single-coil pickups.
The design most accommodating to the hanging orientation and the semi-acoustic tone possibilities was based on the AcustiVibe body built with the central solid body core instead of the fully chambered body of the standard model. So, choosing a very light Korina blank, I routed just side chambers on the AcustiVibe, topping it with burled Poplar.
Next, I repositioning the neck-body joint and replaced the bridge and pickups. An ABM single saddle bridge was chosen to maintain the AcoustiVibe’s wider string spacing at bridge. Two mini-humbucker Manne blade pickups were properly placed. After experiencing the superb tonal enhancement of the 25th Anniversary Taos, I repeated the bridge mount by placing a resin base under the bridge. The theory behind it is to better match the acoustic impedance of materials.
The result was… surprising! Superb tone and sustain with a semi-acoustic “honk” flavor. Another very out of the ordinary request was a front output with no controls. I just added a 220k resistor grounded on the jack to simulate the pot. Each pickup was connected in parallel, and then in parallel out-of-phase, as requested. Great tone for this variation of a AcustiVibe that is now called AcustiVibe “Electric”, producing one-of-a-kind sound-coloring for a demanding customer!