This is a Savannah 12-fret Single-O size parlor guitar with a strat-style pickup in the soundhole. It plays easy and sounds like a poor man’s ES-125.
- Scale: 25 1/2″
- Lower bout: 13 1/2″
- Waist: 8 1/8″
- Upper bout: 9 5/8″
- Action at 12th fret: 4/32″ (1/8)
This guitar is all laminate, with a basswood top and mystery wood sides and back. It’s a little overbuilt, too. I noticed that the back bracing that you can see from the soundhole is carefully shaped, but the X braces are a bit oversized and not shaped well. (How many people are looking at inexpensive guitar tops with mirrors through the soundhole?) Because it’s overbuilt a bit, it doesn’t have the best acoustic sound. So, I decided to make it into something that would sound a little better.
First, I installed a 1/4″ jack in the side of the guitar. I ran twisted pair wires from the jack to a strat-style pickup I mounted in the soundhole. Twisting the wires helps to reduce hum, like shielding the cavity in a solid-body guitar.
One other thing I did when wiring was to run a ground wire from the jack to a bit of shielding tape that I used to cover the bridge plate. This way the string ball ends will connect with the grounded shielding tape, and ground the strings.
I replaced the stock bridge pins, which were terrible and cracking, with some better plastic ones. I also replaced the plastic saddle that came with it, which was collapsing under the G string, with a better saddle.
Then I leveled and dressed the frets, which were a mess. I don’t know how this could have been played without a fret job. (It probably couldn’t be, which is how I ended up with it.) I oiled the board, and strung it up with electric 11s (48-11). If this guitar was to get a lot of acoustic use, I’d probably swap the plain G for a would 18g G string. I adjusted the nut slots for easy action, and played it a bunch to get a feel for the sound.
I like it! It’s got an electric sound somewhere between a hollow body and a solid body, with the single coil pickup giving some nice bite while the body adds in some natural reverb. Can’t afford an ES-125? This might be for you!
Here’s a sound sample, acoustic first, and then electric: