Thanks for submitting your guitar for consideration. Good news! Your guitar has been chosen as our Reader Guitar of the Month. We will publish the image of the guitar with your story in our June print issue. That's the gist!
In addition to this guitar being uniquely cool, we're all about telling stories. You were very prepared with your guitar's backstory, so we should have everything we need in regards to specs. If you want to provide anything else unique or worth noting, please feel free to do so. I think we have everything we need, but I wanted to let you know we've chosen you so you can make any additions if you wish.
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I purchased a modestly priced Seagull Model S6+ Tobacco Burst during the summer of 1997 as a backup acoustic guitar. A piezo was installed, it was then gifted to our teenage son who put this axe through its paces before returning it to me in the early 00's. Psychologically bifurcated (I am a 12 string aficionado on the one hand, and work-shy when it comes to tuning on the other), I engaged the services of then local luthier, John Thurston (the "T" of K&T Guitars, 1980's), to convert this Seagull into an 8 string guitar. This would give me the jangle of a 12 string guitar, the facility of a 6 string on the high and low ends while reducing tuning by roughly 33 1/3%. Tuning keys were replaced with mandolin-style tuners, 4 in a row on each side; and John cleverly inserted 2 very short metal poles in front of the peg holes at the 3rd and 4th string position to facilitate string separation while using the existing holes to accommodate both the "G" and "D" octave strings. 2 slots were filed into the nut and voila...John delivered me my "new" 8 string and at a very reasonable cost.
Artist Connell P. Byrne (pbase.com/connellart) was then commissioned to paint it; the only stipulation? It's theme be a sea-based with the goddess Aphrodite somewhere depicted on the body (my spouse and I had recently purchased a mobile home near the beach in Ocean City, MD). Here are photos of how Connell transformed this guitar into a functional work of art: Aphrodite presents herself in her "Metropolis"/C3PO guise, surfing on her shell as she rides the back of a crimson octopus; a fish in the Japanese style (the food of Venus, "Friday I'm In Love," and all the rest of the mythological inter-connection) a Hippocampus and Nautilus are featured on the front with dolphins swimming around the sides; and Poseidon's trident points the middle way (in the position of equipoise) on the headstock. This stick is 100% hand-painted, then sealed for protection. I also replaced the string pegs with brass abalone-inlayed ones and inserted a decorative carved sound hole cover (suggesting undersea foliage, likely in the Indian Ocean). The final touch was attaching a Tsunami-themed strap, embroidered in a matching blue/orange color scheme.
As you can see, I do perform (and record) with these guitars. I play them through a Radial Pre-Z into a Bose PA, and if their tones have been compromised by these modifications, darn if I can tell. They sound great, satisfy my expectations and never fail to elicit interest from audients: one satisfying experiment in acoustic guitar modification, and with very little risk.