A Thinline Acoustic Electric Portable Guitar

Strobel Guitars Custom Shop has created a new model in our Rambler® Professional Electric Travel Guitar portfolio. We are often asked by our jazz playing customers if we could create a hollow version of our Rambler® Custom travel guitar. I started thinking about this seriously after meeting with Tony DiCaprio in New York City about 2 years ago.  Tony owns a  Rambler Classic Travel Guitar and is a prolific jazz player, teacher and author.  He played guitar with Elvis Presley’s band in Las Vegas (you can hear a fan yell out on Elvis’s Las Vegas recordings – “play it Tony”!).  We thought the new Hollowbody Rambler® Portable Guitar should keep the same shape and detachable neck attributes as the Rambler® Custom travel guitar.  Maybe use a Mahogany body with a Maple top and bottom – similar to a Gibson ES-175…

How to make an Electric Hollowbody Travel Guitar?

We started with a nice Mahogany body blank glued to a Flamey Maple top and used the same body outline as our Custom Rambler® Electric Travel Guitar. We made a new template with a ¼” smaller outline as a guide to route out the body.  This created thin Mahogany rims for the sides of the portable guitar. The pickup route needed be as close to the neck as possible to create that ES-175 sound. We made sure to leave wood for mounting the bridge attaching the neck. The back is another piece of Flamey Maple about ¼” think and shaped to match the body outline.  Now we had to figure out how to make the f-holes…

rims-with-bridge-neck-blocks hollowbody-top-view routed-body-and-back

Rims with bridge / neck blocks

Routed body and back  

Hollowbody top view

Making the f-holes for a small travel guitar

The small dimensions of the body require that we design custom f-holes.  Many thanks to Pat O’Donnell of Resurrection Guitars for his help with the design and location of the f-holes.  Pat made a template for us, so we can replicate the design for future customers that would like a  Custom Rambler® RS-175 Hollowbody Travel Guitar.

rs-175-f-hole-template pat-routing-the-first-f-hole flip-over-the-template
RS-175 f-hole template  Pat routing the first f-hole Flip over the template

A vintage Gibson finish for the RS-175 portable guitar

After all the routing is complete, we start the long process of sanding and sealing the body.  Our inspiration for the design and finish of the Strobel Rambler® Hollowbody Travel Guitar was a 1956 Gibson ES-175.  After many hours of sanding and several clear coats of nitrocellulose lacquer we are ready for the color coats. We used the “PRS” process to make apparent bindings for the edges of the top and bottom by painting a base coat of Vintage Amber on the whole body, then taped off the “bindings”. The next color coat was a light Tobacco Sunburst, followed by a darker Tobacco Sunburst.

back-after-first-color-coats vintage-amber-front-view side-view-with-bindings
Vintage Amber front view Back after first color coats Side view with “bindings”

After taping, we spray on the vintage tobacco sunburst finish…

taped-and-ready-to-paint rs-175-tobacco-suburst side-view-tape-removed
Taped and ready to paint RS-175 Tobacco Sunburst Side view – tape removed

How did the Rambler® Hollowbody Professional Travel Guitar turn out?

finished-rs-175-travel-guitar  les-paul-side-jack back-of-rambler-hollowbody
Finished RS-175 Travel Guitar Les Paul side jack Back of Rambler Hollowbody

The RS-175 sounds excellent unplugged, rivaling the sonic output of much bigger electric hollowbodies like the Gibson ES-335 or a Thinline Tele.  Weighing in at about 3 pounds, she has a warm “acoustic” tone plugged in with nice harmonics and “oomph” provided by the Schaller® Golden 50 Humbucker. MP3 audio files are available upon request. Please visit our Guitar Gallery to see more pics of the RS-175 Rambler® Custom Hollowbody Travel Guitar (courtesy of Speedring Studios).

As with all our Rambler® Travel Guitar models this is a full scale professional instrument with an easily detachable neck.  The body and neck fit in your briefcase or computer bag providing you with a great sounding, great playing guitar that just happens to be easy for traveling.

Custom Rambler® Travel Guitars for sale

It takes careful planning and workmanship to create a great sounding, great playing, high quality portable guitar.  We are now pleased to offer the Custom Rambler® RS-175 Hollowbody Travel Guitar for sale.  Please contact Russ at [email protected] to create the guitar of your dreams, designed just how you want it. Strobel Guitars works with you to optimize the wood selections, neck shaping and set up to match your style of playing. You pick the wood, the color, the neck shape, the inlay and choose any number of available options (piezo bridge, gold hardware, coil tap, etc.).