FRETS.COM Field Trip

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Jeff Traugott comes calling with his
Amazing Eight-String Guitar
© Frank Ford, 3/31/98; Photos by FF, 3/31/98

Earlier tonight, March 31, 1998, Jeff Traugott stopped by and brought his most recent and most unusual guitar. Like all luthiers, there's nothing he likes better than showing off his latest creations!

It happens that I live halfway between Jeff's shop in Santa Cruz, and Oakland, the home of Jack West who ordered this special instrument. That made my house the perfect place for Jeff to deliver his guitar to its eager new owner. (You can find Jack's band on the web at

This is a unique Traugott guitar. It's an eight-string finger style guitar with a range from a high A to a low B. It's a pretty big deal to coax that great a range from a single rosewood guitar body, but Jeff rose to the occasion.

He built the guitar using a variant of the Novax "fan fret" system. He used a scale that ranges from 23-3/4" on the high A (440) to almost 28" on the low B. The first string is 0.010" and the eighth string is 0.085."

Everything except the body outline is asymmetrical! The intersection of the cross-brace is skewed way over to the treble side, and the peghead cants back at an oblique angle to accommodate the slanted nut.

Here's Jeff sitting in my kitchen with his new baby:

Just look at that crazy guitar! M.C.Escher would be proud of you, Jeff.

Notice how he spaced the tuners to harmonize with the asymmetrical peghead:

(There's a really good picture of this guitar on page 3)

Jeff tells me he spent an ungodly amount of time drawing and redrawing every detail, calculating and hand cutting all those crazy frets.

Back in the living room, Jeff looks on while his guitar gets an enthusiastic tryout:

Here's the payoff:

Is he happy, or what?

You can reach Jeff at his shop, six days a week: 408-426-2313



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