US 3439570 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 22, 1969 E. LEE 3,439,570
STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS HAVING A SLIDABLY MOUNTED NECK Filed Oct. 16, 1967 Sheet of 4 INVIHNTOR;
' EMERSON LEE BYz a g? ATTORNEY INSTRUMENTS HAVING A MOUNTED NECK Sheet 2 014 April 22, 1969 STRINGED MUSICAL SLIDABLY Filed Oct. 16, 1967 R E m E L E VL W N O S R M E ATTORNEY Aprll 22, 1969 E. L. LEE 3, 7
STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS HAVING A SLIDABI |Y MOUNTED NECK Filed Oct. 16, 1967 Sheet 3 of 4 I62 I64 I56 INVENTOR.
FIG 6 EMERSON L. LE
, BY Z ATTORNEY April 22, 1969 E v L. LEE 3,439,570
STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS HAVING A SLIDABLY MOUNTED NECK Filed Oct. 16, 1967 Sheet 4 of 4 INVENTOR. EMERSON L.
ATTORNEY United States Patent Office 3,439,570 Patented Apr. 22, 1969 STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS HAVING A SLIDABLY MOUNTED NECK Emerson L. Lee, 489 Brook Ave.,
Tooele, Utah 84074 Filed Oct. 16, 1967, Ser. No. 675,530 Int. Cl. Gd 1/08 U.S. "Cl. 84-293 13 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A musical system, including novel stringed instruments, the presently preferred instrument comprising a body and a neck which can readily be separated one from another to convert the instrument from one to another stringed type by exchanging necks or bodies. When assembled, the neck is slidably coupled to the body so that the body conceals the adjacent part of the strings and the position of the neck relative to the body may be quickly changed by the player when desired both before and during use to make holding, fingering and picking the instrument easier at any point in time. The body novelly accommodates sounding of picked notes from underneath the face of the body so that no interference occurs between the arm of the player used to pick strings and the strings, and the player may comfortably rest the mentioned arm upon the face of the body as the instrument is being played. The disclosure also relates to a novel pick guide mounted on the body, a novel pick and a novel instrument storage assembly.
This invention relates generally to stringed musical instruments, and more particularly to a novel musical system including instruments, wherein the neck may, at the will of the player, be displaced relative to the body from one to any other of a plurality of playing positions to suit the comfort and convenience of the player.
Prior proposed stringed musical instruments have possessed certain limitations. Specifically, such instruments (a) are uncomfortable to hold and inconvenient to play especially for prolonged periods of time during which various portions of the finger board must be used, (b) lack versatility, for example, by reason of having a very limited musical range, (c) are difficult and cumbersome for children to learn to play, (d) are restricted in number and types of musical effects which can be reproduced, (e) result in relatively short string life because strings are always picked in the same .region, (f) are awkward to store during periods of non-use, and (g) are costly to manufacture.
Therefore, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide novel stringed musical instruments, which overcome or alleviate at least some if not all of the above-mentioned limitations of the prior art.
In the presently preferred embodiment of the instant invention, a stringed musical instrument is provided which is highly versatile in that the neck is coupled in restrained sliding relation to the body and can, upon release of a brake or like mechanism, be either removed without tools for exchanging either the neck or the body to create a differently sounding stringed instrument or axially shifted and reshifted with respect to the body at any moment desired for the purpose of obtaining and retaining a comfortable playing position regardless of which part of the finger board is to be fingered. In this way, the sliding neck if desired can be'made much longer than standard neck lengths whereby the instrument is capable of producing musical notes over a musical range far greater than is possible with stringed instruments of the prior art. Expected string life is longer since the strings are picked in different places at different times.
The face of the body is desirably fiat and peripherally contoured, and covers the juxtaposed jportion of the strings allowing the player during use to comfortably rest his picking arm directly on the face of the body as the strings are picked adjacent one edge of the periphery of the body. Children with limited reach can adjust the instrument for their convenience during playing, especially when learning, and can situate the neck and body so that the picking and fingering areas are readily visible without craning the neck.
Thus, the vibrating strings are sounded behind the face of the body either within a non-electrically amplified sounding box or by use of an electric pickup unit hidden at or near the underside of the body. This results not only in a significant improvement in holding and playing'comfort but also in a meaningful manufacturing cost savings since fancy woodwork or the like is not required at the location where the neck is coupled to the body or in the region where the pickup unit is housed in a hidden position.
A pick guide is supported by the body in superimposed relation over the strings at one end of the body and is provided with a curved edge along which a pick, either of conventional design or of novel construction according to this invention, can be selectively displaced to pick the strings in a very accurately-controlled manner.
Spare necks and the body-mounted neck, when not in use can be individually and collectively stored upon the pegs of a novel floor-engaging instrument storage assembly for convenient and centralized access.
With the foregoing in mind, it is another primary object of this invention to provide a novel stringed musical instrument having one or more of the following advantageous features:
(1) The neck or body of which can readily be exchanged to thereby selectively create different stringed instruments;
(2) The neck of which can be displaced at will relative to the body before and at any time during playing to enable the player to acquire and reacquire positions in which the instrument can be comfortably held and played, and, when set in a selected position, can not be inadvertently shifted from that position;
(3) The body of which is superimposed over the strings (a) so that the picking arm of the player may be freely rested directly upon the face of the body without interference with the strings and (b) to accommodate sounding of vibrated strings within a sounding box or into an electric pick up device from behind the face of the body;
(4) Which has a musical range far in excess of the range of conventional stringed instruments;
(5) Which provides, due to a novel pick guide for more accurate and continuously consistent picking of strings in a less tiring manner;
(6) Which accommodates production of distinct sounds, such as a pleasing tremolo effect, through use of a novel pick;
(7) Which can be retained individually or as part of a group of instrument pieces upon a novel instrument storage assembly during periods of non-use;
(8) The body of which is desirably flat for easy viewing of the areas picked and fingered and is peripherally contoured to comfortably accept appropriate portions of the players body during use;
(9) Which can be suitably constructed at less expense than can prior art stringed instruments;
(10) The strings of which last longer because they are picked in different places at various times;
(11) Which can be used to more satisfactorily teach a novice, especially a child.
These and other objects and features of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing wherein:
FIGURE 1 depicts in perspective neck and body components of presently preferred embodiments of this stringed instrument invention mounted in upright relation upon pegs which comprise part of the floor-engaging instrument stand;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged front perspective of an instrument body, of the type shown in FIGURE 1, adapted to be used together with electrical amplifying equipment;
FIGURE 3 is a rear perspective of the instrument body of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a somewhat enlarged front perspective of another instrument body, of the type shown in FIG- URE 1, which is a hollow body providing a sounding box for emission of audible musical notes;
FIGURE 5 is a rear perspective of the instrument body of FIGURE 4;
FIGURE 6 is a cross sectional view taken along line 6-6 of FIGURE 5;
FIGURE 7 is an enlarged front perspective of the neck of the instrument shown at the left of FIGURE 1, with a central portion broken away for ease of illustration;
FIGURE 8 is a cross sectional view taken along line 8-8 of FIGURE 7;
FIGURE 9 is a fragmentary cross sectional view taken along line 9-9 of FIGURE 7;
FIGURE 10 is a perspective view of a novel pick for use with stringed instruments;
FIGURE 11 is a perspective of a presently preferred peg-providing instrument storage stand upon which stringed musical instruments and parts thereof, manufactured according to this invention, may be stored during periods of non-use; and
FIGURE 12 is a cross sectional view taken along line 12-12 of FIGURE 11, illustrating the four possible positions which each peg may occupy.
Specific reference is now made to the drawings wherein like numerals are used to designate like parts throughout.
FIGURE 1 illustrates exchangeable parts which may be selectively combined to form various types of stringed musical instruments, for example, the instrument generally designated 20. The instrument comprises a separable body, generally designated 22, and a sliding neck, generally designated 24. The neck 24 can be removed and replaced by other stringed necks, such as the giant neck 26 or the 8-string neck 28, to versatilely allow for prompt creation of differently stringed musical instruments.
The separable body, such as body 22, can also be removed and replaced by other suitable bodies, such as the one shown in FIGURES 46, inclusive. Thus, nonamplified hollow bodies provided with a sounding box may be used as well as electrically amplified bodies, provided with circuitry and adapted to be electrically connected to an amplifier and speaker assembly for sounding picked notes.
The sliding neck, such as the neck 24, is mounted upon a suitable body so as to be longitudinally displaceable at the will of the player of. the instrument. The neck may be provided with any feasible number of strings, and may comprise a bass guitar, a wide range stringed instrument, a mandolin, a banjo, etc. Instruments of all of the mentioned types or any part of them may be provided in a group and components may be exchanged one for another at the desire of the player without use of tools. In each case, the sliding neck is a musical instrument in itself, While the body performs the function of holding the neck in a selected position. When not in use, each sliding neck may be supported upon a peg, such as peg 30, for centralized, easy access. Each peg 30 in FIGURE 1 is illustrated as being fixed in an upright disposition to a floorengaging pedestal 32 comprising part of an overall instrument storage stand 34.
It is to be appreciated that once a given neck, such as 24, and a given body, such as 22, have been slidably united, as shown at the left in FIGURE 1, the neck may be selectively displaced axially substantially along its length relative to the body from any one position to any other position. For example, contrast the solid body position with the dotted body position in FIGURE 1. Thus, a convenient holding and playing position may be initially selected, based on the part of the finger board which the player expects to use. Moreover, at any point in time during playing, the position may be instantly reset by sliding the neck 24 relative to the body 22 to obtain a more comfortable or convenient position in which to jointly finger and pick the strings. Once a given position has been selected, it is retained by a suitable brake or like mechanism until the player elects to alter the position at which time the brake can be easily released.
While only two spare necks, 26 and 28, are illustrated, it is to be appreciated that any number of differently sounding necks could be provided. The neck 26 is unusually long and is provided with far more frets on the finger board than exist on standard sized necks, to provide an unusually wide-range of musical note-making capability. The extra length poses no difiiculty as the neck 26 can be axially adjusted relative to the body upon which it is adapted to be mounted so that the portion of the finger board anticipated to be played will be situated to provide a comfortable left hand position, for example, directly beneath the left shoulder, when the instrument is played in the conventional manner, namely, by fingering with the fingers of the left hand and by picking with the right hand.
Specific reference is now made to FIGURES 2 and 3 which in greater detail illustrate, as typical, the body 22. The body 22, as illustrated, comprises a block 46 formed of a top block piece 48 laminated or otherwise bonded at interface 50 to spaced rear block pieces 52. The block pieces may be formed of hardwood, plastic, fiberglass or other suitably durable and shape-retaining materials sufficient to accept a sliding neck manufactured according to the present invention and retain the neck in a selected position.
The block 46 is, by comparison with standard bodies, very flat and receives the neck so that the back surface of the neck runs tangential to the chest of the player, making it easy for a player to view the strings as they are being played. Moreover, the block 48 is peripherally shaped or contoured to present an attractive appearance and to provide three concave grooves or cavities. These grooves or cavities are a thigh-receiving cavity 53, adapted to rest upon the thigh of the player with the leg raised in L-shape position to allow for comfortable playing, an arm-receiving cavity 54 adapted to receive the picking arm of the player in comfortable relation, and a chest-receiving cavity 56 adapted to comfortably rest against the chest of the player when suspended by a shoulder strap during use.
Screw-restrained pegs 58 (FIGURE 2) and 60 (FIG- URE 3) are provided front and back to receive a shoulder strap 62 for suspending the instrument in a conventional manner during use while standing.
At the back side 64 of the body 22, a longitudinallyextending, open-sided, rectangular recess or channel 66 extends the full length of the body 22. The rectangular recess or passage 66 is fully open at both the front, at 68, and the rear, at 70, of the body, and is preferably eccentrically disposed toward the cavities 54 and 56 so that the cavity 56 of the instrument, when held against the chest by the player, will rest upon the players rib cage more or less at the abdomen.
Opposed, flat tongues or keys 72 and 74, fabricated from suitable plastic, such as nylon, from metal, from fiberglass, or the like, are disposed jointly in a common plane parallel to the plane of the body 22. Each tongue or runner 72 and 74 is secured in a slit 76 in the body by bonding, screws or in any other satisfactory way. The purpose of the runners or tongues 72 and 74 is to slidably receive a selected neck to accommodate relative displacement of the neck with regard to the body to select comfortable and convenient holding and playing positions so that the portion of the finger board which the player anticipates fingering with the left hand will be generally downward of the left shoulder rather than lateral of the left shoulder.
As is evident from FIGURE 3, a pair of pick-up heads 80 and 82 are buried or recessed at the base 84 of the longitudinal, rectangular recess or axial cavity 66. Thus, concealment of the heads 80 and 82 does not require the presentment of fancy and expensive casings or enclosures as is the case when heads are exposed to view on conventional guitars and the like.
The pick-up heads 80 and 82 form part of conventional electrical circuitry of the stringed instrument which need not be described in this specification because of its conventionality. Such circuitry is hidden in one or more cavities (not shown) provided in the body 22 and is concealed beneath the cover plate 90'.
The cover plate 90 may be of bonded thermoset plastic such as Formica or the like or suitable wood or metal. Preferably, the cover plate 90 will present an essentially unencumbered exterior decorative face 92. Electrical controls 94, also conventional, are provided at face 92 for tone, volume and like selection. An outlet plug (not shown) is suitably disposed in the body 22 so as to be accessible for receiving a jack (not shown) adapted to receive a cord which spans between the instrument and an amplifier-speaker assembly.
The body 22 is also provided with a brake mechanism, generally designated 100. It is to be appreciated that while only one brake mechanism is illustrated, many types of brake mechanisms could be used to fulfill the purpose to be described.
The brake mechanism 100 is concealed in a suitably configurated cavity within the body 22 and comprises a linear plunger 102 biased toward the longitudianl recess 66 by a compression spring 104 interposed between the body 22 and the concealed end 106 of the plunger 102. The tip 108 is exposed at the recess 66 and carries a neck-engaging friction brake pad 110 adhesively secured in a notch 112 at the tip 108 to normally develop a pressurized friction engagement with the neck An angular, internal side notch 114 accepts a brake actuator 116. The brake actuator is biased outwardly by a compression spring 118 interposed between the body 22 and the concealed end 120 of the actuator 116. The central angular portion 122, upon inward pressing of an exposed push button end 124, displaces the plunger 116 inwardly from the recess 66 to thereby release the brake shoe pad 110 from contact with the neck to accommodate relative displacement of the neck and the body to slidably change the position of the neck or to remove the neck from the body.
The body 22 also carries an adjustable pick guide, generally designated 130. The guide comprises a metal or rigid plastic plate 132 mounted in cantilevered relation to the body 22 upon rigid wires 134 and 136 which are respectively satisfactorily embedded in or otherwise supported by the block 48. The plate 32 is thereby superimposed over the strings on a selected neck to one side of the body when a nack is assembled upon the body 22. A screw 138 securely fixes the exposed looped end of the wire 136 to the plate 132 and a cap screw 140* ad justably secures the exposed end 142 of the wire 134 to the plate 132. Inasmuch as the exposed end 142 of the wire 134 comprises an elongated loop 142, the position of the plate 132 may be adjusted (contrast the solid and dotted plate positions of FIGURE 3) so that the leading curved edge 144 of the plate 132 can be positioned through such adjustments, for example, to suit the natural arch traversed by the right hand of a given individual while holding the instrument in any one of several possible playing positions and picking the strings on the neck. Picking is accomplished by displacing a pick across the leading edge 144 of the guide in a to and fro manner so that the pick will appropriately strike strings desired in a more exact manner and one which will be less tiring to the individual playing the instrument. At the same time, use of the pick guide 130 accommodates far better control and allows for the precise production of musical effects such as a tremolo" effect. Thus, the picking area provided by instruments according to the present invention is adjacent one side of the body and the neck-carried strings are disposed in part in hidden relation behind the face of the body and are sounded from underneath the face by the body adjacent pick-up heads and 82. While not shown, a suitable electric pick-up unit similar to 80 and 82 could be eliminated from the body and directly associated with the neck adjacent the strings in a manner known in the art. In that event, the body would serve only to hold the neck in the selected position.
Specific reference is now made to FIGURES 4 through 6, which depict, as typical, a non-electrically amplified body, generally designated 150. A resonance chamber or sounding box 152 is housed within the flat body 150 by a contoured, peripheral-edge frame 154 which externally presents essentially the same contoured exterior as does the described body 22 and may be fabricated of the same material, such as hardwood.
The frame 154 is formed of a front block piece 156 laminated or otherwise secured at 158- to back block pieces 160. The frame 154, formed by block pieces 156 and 160 is illustrated as being internally configurated in the same manner as it is externally configurated. However, the sounding box 152 which is formed by the mentioned internal configuration could be of any satisfactory shape and size and need not correspond to the external configuration of the body 150.
The sounding box 152 is further formed by a thin front face or cover plate 162 which desirably provides a substantially unencumbered decorative front face 164 and in appearance resembles the described cover plate of the body 22. Additionally, the cover plate 162 is provided with sounding holes 166, which in the illustrated embodiment take the shape of the letter L. See FIG- URE 4.
The sounding box 152 is also formed in part by spaced, opposed rear cover plates 170 and 172. The plates 170 and 172 are disposed in a common plane parallel to the plane of the body 150 and present opposed free edges 171 and 173. As is evident from FIGURE 6, the rear cover plates 170 and 172 are illustrated as being formed of metal, although other suitable rigid materials could be used. The rear cover plates 1 70 and 172 are secured in recesses 174 and 176, respectively, although this is optional, and are adapted to function as guides, optionally referred to as runners, keys, and tongues, to slidably accept and retain a neck fabricated according to the present invention similar to the manner in which the tongues 72 and 74 of body 22 receive and retain the neck according to the present invention.
The body 150 is illustrated as being equipped with the brake mechanism for holding a given neck in a given position. Also, the body is provided with the pick guide 130, already described. Other structure which is similar to that described in conjunction with the body 22 has been identically numbered in FIGURES 4 through 6 and no further description will be here presented as the previous description is deemed sufiicient.
Specific reference is now made to FIGURES 7, 8, and 9 which depict, as typical, one presently preferred neck heretofore mentioned and identified by the general numeral designation 24. The neck 24, as illustrated, comprises a solid hardwood main stem 200' which runs essentially the full length of the neck and may be provided with central reinforcement, e,g. a steel bar, if desired, primarily for the purpose of constraining the stem in a linear disposition counter to the eccentric force exerted upon the neck by the tension in the strings. In crosssection the stem 200 is generally semi-circular, providing a curved under surface 202 (FIGURE 8) and a front flat surface 204. The front surface 204, if desired, can be provided with a facing plate 206 comprising a rigid plastic, such as Formica, which would provide a decorative exposed face 208.
The neck 24 is provided with an array of strings 210 which may be of any feasible number, six being illustrated in FIGURE 7. The strings 210 are held in side-byside relationship by a tail piece 212 in a conventional manner. The strings pass over a bridge 214, across a finger board 216, maintaining the mentioned spaced relation, and over a nut 218, all in conventional manner. Conventionally, the ends of the strings 210 are respectively wrapped about tuning pegs 220 which are controlled by tuning keys 22 (FIGURE 1) at the head or distal end 224 of the neck.
As will be readily apparent by reference to FIGURES 8 and 9, the neck 24 is provided at its proximal end 230 with a blind bore recess 232 which receives a blind bore metal insert 234 in press-fit relation.
The purpose of the blind bore insert 234 is to accommodate placement of the neck, with or without an attached body, upon a peg of a stand for storage during non-use. Two such strands are illustrated, namely, the stand 34 of FIGURE 1, already described, and the stand 240 of FIGURES 11 and 12, hereafter described, By placing the necks of different manufacture but all according to the present invention upon separate pegs comprising a closely spaced array, one is able to quickly select a given neck for use with a given body and is able to exchange one neck for another with very little inconvenience and practically no loss of time, for example, when a comparatively lengthy musical concert is being presented using instruments according to the present invention.
The stem 200 is also provided with opposed side grooves or keyways 235 and 237 which are disposed in a common plane and extend longitudinally or axially through most of the length of the neck 24. In the illustrated embodiment, the grooves 235 and 237 are directly fashioned in the wood of the stem 200 and are shaped and sized to snugly though slidably receive the free opposed edges of the nylon tongues 72 or 74 of the body 22 (or the free edges 171 and 173 of the back cover plates 170 and 172 of the body 150). In this way the neck can be slidably joined to the body with the tongues 72 and 74 in mating relation with the grooves 235 and 237. Thus, necks and bodies may be quickly exchanged, the position of the neck relative to the body may be quickly shifted before or reshifted during playing of the instrument to provide a more comfortable and convenient instantaneous playing position. Once a position is selected, the described brake mechanism 100 will restrain the neck in that position until released for changing positions.
More specifically, to install a neck according to the present invention upon a body according to the present invention, the brake mechanism 100 is released by depressing the push button 24. This retracts the brake pad 110 away from the longitudinal recess 66. The plane of the grooves 235 and 237 is aligned with the plane of the tongues 72 and 74, respectively (or with the plane of the back cover plates 170 and 172). The neck is displaced axially relative to the body maintaining the alignment of planes until the proximal end 230 of the stern 200 is superimposed over the body a substantial distance along the recess 66.
Thereafter, once the brake mechanism is released, the brake pad 110 will contact the adjacent surface of the stern 200 and restrain the neck in the mentioned position. Before or during playing the neck position may be quickly readjusted so that fingering upon the finger board 216 may take place preferably downward from the left shoulder as picking of the strings takes place adjacent the body below the curved edge 144 of the pick guide 130.
The strings which are juxtaposed the body are hidden behind the face of the body and sounding of vibrated strings takes place at this location either within a sounding box of the type provided by body 150 or through utilization of a body, such as 22, which accommodates sounding by electrical amplification. The concealment of the strings is also advantageous as no interference between the arms and clothing of the person playing the instrument and the strings will occur. The player of the instrument will be entitled to conveniently rest his right arm upon the face of the body so as to confortably pick the strings, as desired.
This instrument arrangement is especially advantageous for teaching novice players, especially children, inasmuch as the sliding neck, the flat body and the concealment of the strings allows the child to more comfortably finger and pick the strings within easy reach and at the same time readily visually observe the locations at which fingering and picking are taking place.
While only one neck, identified by the numeral 24, has been described in detail in this specification, it is to be appreciated that a wide range of similar necks could be provided so that new musical sounds may be effected and essentially any type of conventional stringed musical effect and sound can be produced. Two such necks are illustrated in the FIGURE 1 and identified by the numerals 26 and 28, neck 26 providing a significantly greater number of spaced frets and a length far greater than a standard neck length so that an extremely wide musical range of notes can be produced.
The manner in which the neck is slidable relative to the body provides an additional advantage, namely, the string life of wound strings is materially increased because the strings will be picked at various locations along the length of the strings corresponding to the selected positions of the neck relative to the body.
Specific reference is now made to FIGURE 10 which in perspective illustrates a novel pick for use with stringed instruments. The pick is generally designated 270 and is configurated to provide a relatively thin or fiat gripping portion 272 equipped with an integral concave, thumibengaging button 275 and opposed flexible narrow pick fingers 273 and 277, of different size and flexibility. Either finger 273 or 277 may be selected for use, the thinner finger 273 being preferred for playing melody and the heavier finger 277 being preferred for chording. In either case, the selected finger will bend noticeably as a string is picked by the selected finger. Contrast the solid with the dotted finger 273 positions of FIGURE 10. The pick 270 is preferably fabricated of a resilient though durable material, such as nylon, and is provided preferably with at least one notch 274 adjacent each finger 273 and 277. A second notch 276 can optionally be provided.'0ne selected notch 274 or 276 can be placed over the front curved edge 144 of the described pick guide and displaced to and fro as desired to cause the flexible finger 273 or 277 to pick across one or more strings 210. A somewhat ditferent musical effect is produced by such picking technique depending upon which notch and which finger are selected for such displacement to and fro across the edge 144. The pick 270 is also particularly advantageous in producing a unique tremolo musical effect caused by rapidly displacing the finger 273 or 277 back and forth across a given string mounted upon the neck.
The mentioned instrument storage stand 240 of FIG- URES 11 and 12 comprises a floor-engaging base 242 fabricated of metal and providing three pedestals 244 and equi-radial eccentric holes 246. The base 242 is basically triangular in shape and is fabricated to present a curved open groove 248 aligned radially outward from the center of the base 242 and opening at the inside end thereof into each hole 246. The outside end of each groove 248 receives a peg 250 in pin-connected, hinged relation. The pin 252 is secured in tight-fitting relation in apertures, aligned normal to the radial direction of the groove 248, provided in the base 242 and the pin 252 extends through a closed slot 254 provided in the one end 256 of the peg 250. See FIGURE 12.
Each pedestal 244 of the base 242 is provided with an essentially upwardly opening, slightly inwardly angled blind bore 260. This accommodates placement of the peg in a locked, upstanding direction with the proximal end 256 being received in mating relation in the similarlyshaped blind bore 260 so as to lock the peg in the erect sold position illustrated in FIGURE 12. It is in this position that a neck according to the presentinvention at insert 234 may be fitted upon the peg 250, the distal end of which is tapered at 262.
Each peg 250 may assume three other positions, i.e. (a) the upright dash-dot position of FIGURE 12 wherein the peg is elevated suflicient to remove the proximal end 256 from the blind bore 260, (b) the dash position of FIGURE 12 with the peg 250 pivoted to the horizontal so as to be received in the adjacent open groove 248, and (c) the dot position of FIGURE 12 which is radially outward from the dash position of FIGURE 12 such that the proximal end 256 is situated in contact with end 264 within the open groove 248. The latter position prohibits pivotal movement of the peg 250 relative to the base 242 about the pin 252. Thus, the latter position locks the peg 250 in an inactive position. The dash position mentioned must be reassumed before the peg 250 can be pivoted to the erect positions.
The advantage of disposing the pegs 250 at an angle toward the center of the base 242 when erect is to cause the center of gravity of any neck or neck-body combination which may be secured upon the peg to be placed closer to the center of gravity of the base so as to avert tipping over the base.
From the foregoing it is apparent that the present invention provides unique body and neck components which may be selectively slida-bly joined to provide various and almost unlimited types of versatile stringed musical instruments and, once joined, can be relatively axially shifted and reshifted with little loss of time to obtain the most comfortable holding and playing position for the moment. A novel pick, pick-guide and instrument storage assembly are provided and the mode of playing such instruments is distinctive.
What is claimed and desired to be secured by United States Letters Patent is:
1. In a stringed musical instrument, an instrument body comprising an essentially unencumbered front face and a longitudinally-extending neck-receiving passage disposed in the body behind the front face and terminating fore and aft respectively in a first opening at the front end of the body and a second opening in the back end of the body, the body being mounted to an instrument neck within the passage behind the face in selectively slideable relation, said neck having a series of side-byside strings and adapted to project fore and aft through both the first and second openings beyond the body, the portion of the strings coextensive with the body being concealed behind the face, said slideable mount comprising guide means exposed within the passage to selectively accommodate (a) napid relocation of the neck relative to the body from any one position to any other desired playing position so that the length of the neck extending from the first opening beyond the body is thereby varied, and (b) total separation of the neck and the body for exchange of either the body or the neck to convert the one surface over the frets an array of strings to be manipulated by a player, a body having an axial throughchannel opening at both ends of the body, the throughchannel receiving the stern through one of the openings and allowing for projection of the tail of the neck through the other opening, the body comprising structure adjacent the channel to accommodate sounding of audible notes in response to manipulation of the strings, coupling means integral with the body slideably engaging mating coupling means exteriorly exposed at the stem of the neck such that the player can incrementally axially displace the neck relative to the body within the through-channel from one to any other desired position to make the instrument easier and more comfortable to use and hold and brake means accommodating said axial displacement during repositioning and restraining the neck in any selected position.
3. In a stringed instrument as defined in claim 2 wherein the brake means comprises a normally closed manuallyactuated brake mechanism interposed between the neck and the body and adapted, at the election of the player, to (a) develop a pressurized friction engagement between the neck and body for restraining the neck in any selected position relative to the body and (b) readily open to accommodate free, unrestrained axial displacement of the neck relative to the body.
4. In a stringed instrument as defined in claim 3 wherein the brake mechanism is housed in the body and comprises (a) a biased plunger presenting an exposed friction brake shoe for normally engaging the surface of the neck and thereby restraining the neck as mentioned, and (b) release means which when actuated retract the friction brake shoe away from the neck into the open position for achieving the mentioned axial displacement.
5. In a stringed instrument as defined in claim 2 wherein said coupling means comprises axially extending interrelated guide means disposed within the channel and interposed between the neck and the body to accommodate the mentioned relative axial displacement from position to position without relative rotational and lateral displacement between the neck and the body.
6. In a stringed instrument as defined in claim 5 wherein said guide means comprises (a) longitudinally-extending keyway means carried by one of the body and and the neck and (b) longitudinally-extending key means which mate with the keyway means carried by the other of the body and the neck at a location generally within the longitudinally-disposed channel.
7. In a stringed instrument as defined in claim 2 wherein said neck has an overall end-to-end length which exceeds the standard neck length by a significant amount providing a wide musical range such that normally a player cannot comfortably finger the strings near the distal end of the finger board and jointly pick the strings near the tail piece of the neck, said neck presenting on the one surface thereof a series of frets one spaced from another whereby a wide range of musical notes which exceeds the range capability of fixed neck instruments may be sounded by displacing the neck through the channel relative to the body until the portion of the finger board to immediately thereafter be played is disposed in close proximity to the body and by subsequently picking and fingering the strings at juxtaposed locations within easy reach and sight of the player.
8. In a stringed instrument, a neck strung with an array of side-by-side strings and a body to sound musical notes responsive to picking of strings, said body being provided with a reduced depth portion. comprising a longitudinal generally U-shaped recess with openings at fore and aft ends of the body and along the underside and further comprising structure including brake means disposed within the recess for connecting the body to the neck so that the body generally conceals the juxtaposed portion of the strings while allowing the neck to extend through the fore and aft openings whereby a player is able to comfortably rest the arm used to pick the strings upon the face of the body without interference with the strings as the instrument is played.
9. In a stringed instrument as defined in claim 8 Wherein said body comprises a hollow sounding box in open communication with the longitudinal U-shaped recess having string ingress means so that the strings extend intoand vibrate within the box as the instrument is played.
10. 'In a stringed instrument as defined in claim 8, wherein said body is generally solid and carries sounding means operated by electrical energy including pickup means carried by the body at the underside thereof at the U-shaped recess directly adjacent the concealed portion of the springs, and circuitry means adapted to operate speaker means.
11. -In a stringed instrument as defined in claim 8 wherein said structure for connecting the neck and the body comprises means associated respectively with the external periphery of the neck and the body to accommodate relative axial displacement therebetween for extending and retracting the neck relative to the body when desired by the player.
12. A multi-position stringed musical instrument comprising a body and a neck, the body comprising (a) an un encumbered front face, (b) an axial cavity behind the head, (g) a tail piece adapted to project out of the neckegress means beyond the body, (h) an array of strings superimposed over (i) spaced frets and concealed in part behind the face of the body in the cavity and (j) axiallyoriented anti-rotate body-uniting means axially slidably related with the neck-uniting means at the cavity so that the respective relative lengths of the neck exposed beyond the neck-ingress and the neck-egress openings may be varied by axial linear translation of the neck relative to the body at the election of the user so that the portion of the strings to thereafter be fingered and picked can both be closely juxtaposed the body and (k) brake means for restraining the neck relative to the body but accommodating said axial linear translation.
13. [In an instrument as defined in claim 12 further comprising a piok guide superimposed over the strings adjacent the neck-ingress opening and having a free edge adapted to guide a pick across the strings.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,130,625 4/1964 Savona 84267 3,185,011 5/1965 Anderson 84-293 FOREIGN PATENTS 202,897 1956 Australia.
OTHER REFERENCES National Catalog, Valco Guitars, Inc, Chicago, Ill., 1964, page C.
RJICHARD B. WILKINSON, Primary Examiner.
I. F. GONZALES, Assistant Examiner.