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Interview with Steve Davis (Elmtones), Maker of the GOURDTAR!

We  are thankfully in good contact with Steve Davis of the Elmtones and maker of the GOURDTAR, who’s plane to the UK was delayed today due to Tropical Store Irene. Check out these awesome photos and interview regarding this one-of-a-kind, unique instrument!

Click any image to see a larger one.

Where did you obtain the gourd?
Got the gourd locally in Cane Garden Bay… the guys at the glass blowing shop had a few they were going to use for ??? not sure what really.

What is the Gourdtar made of?
The neck is laminated cedar (thanks Gerard at the” Woodshop” who gives me wood for beer:) and some extremely hard South American hardwood .. probably “Greenheart.”

I salvaged it from a wooden building in Nanny cay…. you cannot hammer a nail into that stuff without drilling a hole first. It is the backbone of the instrument. The fretboard and bridge/saddle are recycled from other guitars which were repaired or met an untimely end

How does it sound?
The thing is not really so loud but it has an interesting Banjo kind of sound…. would sound cool electric..  probably no feedback and great for anywhere needing percussive rhythm guitar. I could hear it doing Fungi, Plantation Blues or even Gypsy Jazz.

Are you planning on using it with the Elmtones?
I could certainly imagine playing it with the Elmtones on certain tunes when we get back together in October.

What made you decide to make the Gourdtar?
One of the reasons for the Gourdtar was the high humidity here this time of year. Much too high to build a regular accoustic so it was a fun thing to do on such a rainy year. Far fewer glue joints and a smaller more stable box.

I normally build regular guitar boxes in March and April when humidity here is at its lowest.

Is the Gourdtar for sale?
I dont think I will sell this insrtument as it is somewhat of a prototype.. I would be happy to build another or give advice to someone planning to try.

What advice can you offer for others who might be interested in building their own Gourdtar?
My best advice….the same as building any guitar… Have fun and glue the neck on at the correct angle!

Steve Davis, maker of the gourdtar, and many find sounds from regular guitars, electric guitars and microphones alike can be found living with his wife and son in Cane Garden Bay. Steve plays with the Elmtones in season on Fridays and Sunday nights at the Elm Beach Bar in Cane Garden Bay. It is a show you should definitely catch if you have the good fortune to be in the area!

Steve plays his own custom made guitars at some shows – something he probably wouldn’t mention and you probably wouldn’t know unless we told you -and now we have.

Steve – Thanks for taking the time to help get this together – very much appreciated and a great looking instrument, congratulations!

  • Bill Dickinson

    Is Steve originally from Rugby?