This was a custom commission for Robert Hendrick, owner of Rail Yard Studios in Nashville, as a graduation present for his daughter.
All the wood is salvaged from the decking of railroad cars built to carry coils of steel, and he has been using it in some amazing pieces of furniture, along with other big heavy stuff from the railroad industry. I have no idea what actual species it is, but it is a mahogany-like timber from some tropical region of the world.
Since I only use local and/or salvaged woods in my instruments, this was a rather interesting opportunity for me.
The New York Central Railroad disappeared in 1968, into a convoluted series of mergers, with most of the original lines now being operated by CSX, though much equipment still bears NYC reporting marks.
The body is heavily chambered, with a 1/4″ top sawn from the weathered original surface of the plank, and finished with milk paint in a rough approximation of faded “Century Green”, as used by the NYC in the late 60’s, carrying over into the Penn Central merger through the 70’s.
The pickguard is rusted roof tin, and the NYC emblem is from a 1950’s post cereal box.
Bridge and tuners are by Hipshot, and pickups are homespun by me.
Another Salamander, this time with an eastern red cedar top on a basswood back.
I initially did the same gouged surfacing as on the walnut one, but wasn’t happy with how it turned out on the cedar, so I sanded it down and just did a mildly distressed finish, which suits it much better.
The neck is maple, with an osage orange fretboard.
Pickups are my homespun humbuckers, but my standard windings ended up sounding overly bright and harsh in this one, compared to the walnut version with the walnut neck and persimmon fretboard, so i made a set of overwound ones, which sound much fuller and less brash.
Bridge pickup: 7200 turns per coil, 10.6K ohms DCR
Neck pickup: 5600 turns per coil, 8.2K ohms DCR
Both have alnico 5 rod polepieces and aluminum casings.
Brass compensated bridge/tailpiece combo.
Hipshot Classic tuners.
Weighs 6.6 pounds.
Further evolution of the Salamander design, featuring a carved walnut top, surfaced with a gouge to give a hand-hewn look, on a contoured basswood back.
Very sleek and comfortable.
Neck is walnut, with a persimmon fretboard.
Homespun humbuckers with alnico 5 polepieces.
Bridge~ 6000 turns per coil, 8.7K ohms DCR
Neck~ 5000 turns per coil, 7.5K ohms DCR
Aluminum compensated bridge/tailpiece with locking studs.
Hipshot Classic open-gear tuners.
25″ scale, 22 high/wide frets
Weighs 6.8 pounds
this is a new one.
“The salamander is an amphibian of the order Urodela which, as with many real creatures, often has been ascribed fantastic and sometimes occult qualities by pre-modern authors (as in the allegorical descriptions of animals in medieval bestiaries) not possessed by the real organism. The legendary salamander is often depicted as a typical salamander in shape, with a lizard-like form, but is usually ascribed an affinity with fire, sometimes specifically elemental fire.”
a curious thing, considering the typically moist habitat and manner of the non-mythical variety.
one piece cucumbertree body with lightly hammered and torched finish.
bolt on maple neck with osage orange fretboard.
homespun humbuckers with aluminum casings and alnico 5 polepieces.
bridge~ 6000 turns per coil, 8.8k
neck~ 5000 turns per coil, 7.5k
aluminum compensated tailpiece
hipshot classic tuners
weighs 6.6 pounds.
this is one i built a couple years ago and decided to change a few things on.
here is how it looked before~
and now, with an antique copper pickguard and one less pickup~
the top is one single piece of elm barnwood with the original red paint, on a single piece cucumbertree back, with a distressed finish.
neck is maple, with a persimmon fretboard.
single coil pickups with coil taps wired to give humbucking operation in the middle position.
grover deluxe tuners and brass hardtail bridge.
weighs 7 pounds.
$1950 including case.