I have a friend who’s a real life rock star: Chris Ballew, lead singer of the Presidents of the United States of America. If you know anything about the band, you’ll recall that they perform on simple, modified 2 and 3 string guitars. Chris sent me pictures of the instruments in his Seattle home recording studio and I don’t think he paid more than $75 for any one of ‘em. His collection is full of cheap, pawnshop prize guitars from the 1960′s and 70′s… not something you’d expect from a Grammy nominated artist.
This Silvertone acoustic guitar is one of Ballew’s “studio workhorses”. He removed the guitar strings and substituted two bass strings to it. (A and D strings, btw.) Because of the simplified floating bridge setup of the original guitar, Ballew was able to move it around to find the best possible intonation and then secure the bridge with gaffer’s tape. A vintage soundhole pickup completes the instrument.
Ballew still performs with the Presidents every once in a while, but his big passion lately is children’s music! He performs under the name Caspar Babypants and he’s just put out a new album, “This Is Fun!” The new album is chock full of 3-string guitars, 2-string basses grooves that can make a baby boogie. Here’s his official website.