"Orthus" - a double necked, ladder braced acoustic lap-slide guitar



Inspired by the fabulous instrument made by the New Zealand builder Paddy Burgin and nagged by my daughter Martha to make her one as soon as she saw the clips Paddy posted of him playing it on Youtube, I embarked on making a double necked acoustic lap-slide guitar. As usual I wanted to do this my own way and in my own style. After playing around with different concepts, I decided to make it a similar size to my Red Kite, but to go with a ladder braced top and one soundhole. It is called Orthus - in Greek mythology he was the two headed, serpent tailed dog of Geryon, the three headed giant king of Erytheia. Orthus was also the father of the Sphynx. Orthus is Khaya top. back and sides with curly eucalyptus bindings and sycamore fingerboards and bridge. With the sympathetic strings and overall tension, tuning down a step makes this a fabulous baritone instrument without having to increase the scale length. The lower neck in CGCCGC (a lot of CGCGCD tuning) and the upper one in CGCEbGC or CGCEGC means you can use both necks to good effect - 260lbs on a 630mm scale length and it sounds good. With the string gauges taken down a little it can work in D tunings as well. I suspect that similar but diverse tunings will work better for combination playing than having say Open G and Open D - this is useful if you are performing a repertoire without having to re-tune plus you get the spacey sound and sympathetics. Here's a recording of me playing my arrangement of "This Little Light of Mine" in CGCCGC/CGCEGC tuning on Martha's "Orthus" (pictured above).