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Publication numberUS3538807 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 10, 1970
Filing dateJun 19, 1968
Priority dateJun 19, 1968
Publication numberUS 3538807 A, US 3538807A, US-A-3538807, US3538807 A, US3538807A
InventorsLouis Francis
Original AssigneeLouis Francis
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Interchangeable stringed instrument
US 3538807 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] Inventor Louis Francis 650 NE 64th St., Miami, Florida 33138 [211 App]. No. 738,308 [22] Filed June 19, 1968 [45] Patented Nov. 10, 1970 [54] INTERCHANGEABLE STRINGED INSTRUMENT 7 Claims, 14 Drawing Figs.

[52] U.S. Cl 84/267, 84/293, 84/314, 84/1.16 [51] 1nt.Cl GlOd l/08, GlOd 3/06 [50] Field of Search 84/ 267, 293, 314

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,596,763 8/1926 Place 84/293 3,130,625 4/1964 Savona 84/267 11 I Ll I u n n r I ll II I 3,185,011 5/1965 Anderson 84/267X 3,396,621 8/1968 Dycus 84/267X 3,413,883 12/1968 l-lelbourne 84/267 3,439,570 4/1969 Lee 84/293 3,443,018 5/1969 Krebs 84/293X FOREIGN PATENTS 202,897 1956 Australia 84/293 Primary Examiner-Richard B. Wilkinson Assistant Examiner.lohn F. Gonzales Attorney-Kimmel, Crowell & Weaver ABSTRACT: A self contained and complete stringed electric musical instrument in the nature of a guitar, mandolin, banjo and similar stringed instruments, a support for the instrument, and means for releasably securing the instrument on the support.

Patented Nov. 10, 1970 v 3,538,807

. INVENTOR. 400/5 FEA/VC/S, I

Patentedj Nov. 10, 1970 Sheet FIG. 7.

Ma M //2 llll'lllfllll'llll l' INVENTOR. PEA/V C/uS Laws INTERCHANGEABLE STRINGEI) INSTRUMENT BACKGROUND OFTI-IE INVENTION The present invention relates to the general field of electrical tone generation, and in particular, to an electricmusical instrument having a stringed neck and including an electric translation device. The instrument according to this invention also includes tone and volume control devices.

A fine musical instrument such as an excellent guitar, mandolin, banjo, violin,'and related instruments is expensive to purchase and to maintain in first class condition. The conventional instrument provided with an acoustic body is open to many hazards whether theinstrument be cased or uncased. For example, the instrument may suffer damage through the rough handling of the same during transport, and components of the instrument frequently warp and crack under varying conditions of heat and humidity. Improper stringing which places too much tension on the neck and tail piece will also adversely affect the instrument. Similar adverse usage and conditions will also damage related instruments which are provided with a nonacoustic body or support.

It is commonplace today to observe musicians, whether playing solo or in a combination of musicians, to play two or more related types of instruments. Such a versatile musician must necessarily invest sizable capital in the purchase of these instruments, especially if they are of fine or excellent manufacture. Obviously, as the musician purchases two or more instruments, the cost of the maintenance thereof will also increase.

Of the components of a stringed instrument such as a guitar or mandolin, for example, the neck, whether fretted or unfretted, causes the most concern. The conventional neck of this type of instrument will warp, crack and is easily broken. Repair and/or replacement thereof constitutes a relatively major expense.

The conventional stringed instrument of the type to which reference has been made supra, and throughout the years of its known use, has undergone but minor changes in construction. For example, and considering specifically the neck piece, this component of the instrument has consistently tapered from its inner end towards the head end thereof on which are mounted the tuning keys. As a consequence of this construction the musician is seriously handicapped in the playing of the higher tones of any given string since the fingers must span a larger area of the neck at its inner end and, of course, the fingering of any given string must change as the musician moves his hand from one end of the neck piece to the other.

No attempt is being here made to catalog the many disadvantages the musician encounters when playing a conventional stringed instrument such as a guitar, but those noted above and briefly discussed constitute, perhaps, those which give the musician the most concern whether the instrument be of the acoustic body type or not.

It is, therefore, one of the primary objects of this invention to provide a self contained complete and unitary stringed instrument in which the neck and tail piece are integrally formed.

A further object of this invention is to provide a body or support for the stringed and combined neck and tail piece described supra, together with means for quickly and easily effecting a releasable connection therebetween.

Another objectm of this invention is to provide a plurality of the unitary and complete musical instruments described above, each instrument beingstrung in accordance with the stringing of different instruments, and including identical releasable locking means for interchangeable connection on the body or support.

It is still a further object of this invention to provide a complete electric musical instrument of the type generally described above wherein the neck of the instrument has a constant transverse cross-sectional area throughout its length.

It is still a further object of this invention to provide the unitary and complete electric musical instrument referred to above with a laminated neck of which one of the laminae has an end portion thereof extending beyond the adjacent ends of the other laminae to form the tail piece of the instrument.

A further object of this invention is to form at least the above-described extended one of the laminae of a solid light weight metal.

Another object of this invention is to provide in an electric musical instrument of the type described above an electric sound pickupdevice .which ,is mounted on the tail piece for sliding movement longitudinally thereof below the strings to selected positions intermediate the bridge of the instrument and the adjacent end of the neck.

Theinvention has as still another object thereof the provision of aspring mounted bridge together with selectively adjustable means for controlling the tension thereof on the strings and to thereby obtain selected tonal changes.

As another object of this invention it is proposed to fixedly secure on the tail piece conventional volume and tone control means for the electrical pickup.

It is still another object of this invention to provide a laminated combined neck and tail piece together with means for effecting the releasable connection thereof with an acoustic body.

This invention has, as still another object, the provision of resilient type bridge means for each individual string of the instrument.

The present invention contemplates, as still another object thereof, the provision of an instrument of the type to which reference has been generally made above, the instrument being noncomplex in construction and assembly, inexpensive to manufacture and maintain, and one which is rugged and durable in use. I

Other and further objects and advantages of the present invention will become more manifest from a consideration of the following specification when read in conjunction with the annexed drawings.

SPECIFICATION IN THE DRAWINGS:

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of three electric musical instruments constructed in accordance with this invention, the instruments differing one from another, FIG. 1 further illustrating one of the unitary instruments releasably secured on. the support of this invention and illustrating in dotted lines a suitable case for the instruments;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the connected instrument and its support shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the instrument and support or body shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary detail cross-sectional view, FIG. 4 being taken substantially on the vertical plane of line 4-4 of FIG. 1, looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 5 is a back elevational view of the instrument and its support as illustrated in FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a detail transverse cross-sectional view, FIG. 6 being taken substantially on the horizontal plane of line 6-6 of FIG. 5, looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary detail cross-sectional view, FIG. 7 being taken'substantially' on the horizontal plane of line 7-7 of FIG. 4, looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary detail cross-sectional view, FIG. 8 being taken substantially on the horizontal plane of line 8-8 of FIG. 4, looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the resilient bridge supporting means, the bridge having been removed;

FIG. 10 is a detail transverse cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 9 but showing a modification of the laminated neck construction; I I

FIG. 11 illustrates a second embodiment of the resilient spring biasing bridge and wherein each string is independently supported;

FIG. 12 is a front elevational view of an acoustic instrument in which is incorporated the combined and laminated neck and tail piece of this invention;

FIG. 13 is an enlarged fragmentary detail cross-sectional view, FIG. 13 being taken substantially on the horizontal plane of line 13-13 of FIG. 12, looking in the direction of the arrows; and

FIG. 14 is an enlarged fragmentary detail cross-sectional view, FIG. 14 being taken substantially on the vertical plane of line 14-14 of FIG. 13, looking in the direction of the arrows.

Referring now more specifically to the drawings, reference numeral (see FIGS. 1 and 2) denotes, in general, a complete electrical musical instrument and its body or support constructed in accordance with the teachings of this invention. The instrument 20 may be broadly described for the purpose of convenience, as comprising an elongated combined neck and tail piece 22 and an open sided body or support 24. Turning first to a description of the combined neck and tail piece 22, this component of the instrument is seen to comprise a plurality of laminated members including an elongated substantially rectangular centrally located bar 26 formed of a rigid and light weight metallic material such as, for example, aluminum. The bar 26 (see FIG. 3) has a downwardly offset end 28 and an opposed end 30 in which is formed an upwardly opening L-shaped notch 32 to provide an abutment shoulder 34 and a longitudinally extending lock tongue projection 36. The nature and functions of the abutment shoulder 34 and the lock tongue projection 36 will be set forth in detail below.

Reference numeral 38 denotes a first elongated substantially L-shaped angle member having an elongated substantially rectangular side wall 40 from which laterally projects an elongated substantially rectangular flange 42. As is seen in FIGS. 1 and 3, the L-shaped angle member 38 is formed with an end 44 which is offset laterally in the direction of the flange 42 and also downwardly. Adjacent its outer terminal end at the aforementioned end of the L-shaped angle member 38, the flange 42 is provided with a first transversely extending opening 46 and spaced inwardly therefrom is the first series of three transversely extending openings disposed in longitudinally spaced relationship and each bearing the reference numeral 48. A second series of openings 50, 51 extend transversely through the flange 42 adjacent to but spaced inwardly from its opposite end. The side wall 40, adjacent the last mentioned end of the L-shaped angle member 38 is cut out to form an abutment shoulder 52 and to simultaneously provide a lip extension 54.

A second L-shaped angle member here bearing the reference numeral 38 is provided identically constructed with respect to the L-shaped angle member 38 with but two exceptions. Consequently, components of the L-shaped angle member 38 having their counterparts in the L-shaped member 38 bear identical reference numerals but to which have been added prime marks to effect a differentiation therebetween.

The first of the exceptions noted above comprises the fact that the end 44' is laterally offset in the opposite direction whereby the ends 44, 44' diverge away from one another, and the second exception resides in the omission of an opening corresponding to the transversely extending opening 51 formed in the flange 42. With respect to the opening 50' it should be here noted that it is spaced inwardly on the flange 42 the same distance from the outer terminal end of the lip 54' as the opening 50 is spaced inwardly from the outer terminal end of the lip 54.

As is seen in the several FIGS. of the drawings, the L-shaped angle members 38, 38' are disposed on opposite sides of the bar 26 and the side walls 40, 40' are superimposed and secured thereagainst by conventional means such as, for example, welding, an adhesive, or by mechanical means (not shown). With the L-shaped angle members 38, 38 fixedly secured to the opposed sides of the bar 26, the ends 44, 44' of the angle members 38, 38' diverge away from the adjacent end 28 of the bar 26. With the bar 26 and L-shaped angle members 38, 38' connected in the manner described supra, the abutment shoulders 34 and 52, 52' are coplanar and the length of the lock tongue projection 36 equals the length of the lip extensions 54, 54.

With continuing reference to FIG. 3 of the drawings, reference numerals 58, 58' each denote identically constructed inverted triangular frustoconical lock flanges. The flanges 58, 58' are formed, respectively, with substantially flat base ends 60, 60 and opposed apex ends 62, 62' disposed substantially in the plane of their respective frustums. An adjacent pair of edges 64, 64' incline downwardly from their associated bases 60, 60' towards the apex end 62, 62' at such an angle as to form lock lugs 66, 66. Each of the lock flanges 58, 58 is provided, adjacent their respective base ends 60, 60', with a pair of transversely extending bolt receiving openings 68, 68'.

The adjacent confronting sides of the lock flanges 58, 58' are superimposed against the remotely disposed sides of the side walls 40, 40' with their respective base ends 60, 60 disposed in abutting relationship relative to the adjacent ones of the flanges 42, 42'. The bolt receiving openings 68, 68 are aligned with bolt receiving openings 70, 70 (see FIGS. 3 and 7) formed in the side walls 40, 40', and the latter are, in turn, aligned with similar bolt receiving openings 72 which extend transversely through the bar 26. Conventional bolts 74 are extended through the aligned bolt receiving openings, and the assembly is secured by the conventional nuts 76. As is seen in the several FIGS. of the drawings, the inverted triangular frustoconical lock flanges 58, 58' are spaced inwardly from the abutment shoulders 52, 52' an appreciable distance and inwardly beyond the openings 50, 50'.

Reference numerals 80, each denote a length of a quarter-round strip of wood or other suitable materials. Each of the quarter-rounds 80, 80' is formed with an upwardly facing (see FIG. 3) elongated planar rectangular upper end 82, 82' and confronting elongated planar and substantially rectangular sides 84, 84. The quarter-rounds 80, 80' are inserted within their respective L-shaped angle members 38, 38' in such a manner that the upwardly facing ends 82, 82' are superimposed against adjacent portions of the flanges 42, 42' and with the sides 84, 84 being superimposed against the adjacent ones of the side walls 40, 40'. The quarter-rounds 80, 80' (see FIG. 5) extend from the outer terminal ends of the ends 44, 44 to points located in spaced confronting juxtaposition relative to the edges 64 of the lock flanges 58. The quarter-rounds 80, 80' are adhesively or otherwise suitably secured by conventional means to their respective associated L-shaped angle members 38, 38'. To serve a function to be described infra, each of the quarter-rounds 80, 80 adjacent their respective ends 86, 86' is formed with a series of three transversely extending openings 88, 88', and it should be noted that these ends 86, 86' are bent downwardly and are laterally offset in the same manner as the overlying portions 42, 42' at the ends 44, 44.

Referring now to FIGS. 1, 3, 6 and 7, it will be seen that an elongated substantially rectangular fret board is denoted by reference numeral 90. The fret board 90 is of constant width and spans the upper end of the bar 26 and the upper sides of the flanges 42, 42' to the remotely disposed edges 92, 92' thereof. As is seen in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the fret board 90 extends longitudinally of the L-shaped angle members 38, 38 and the bar 26 from, substantially, the openings 50, 50' to, substantially, the inner ends of the ends 28, 44 and 44'. The fret board 90 is provided with a string support 94 which projects above the side thereof and which is rigidly secured to one of its opposed ends. Spaced inwardly therefrom are a plurality of transversely extending longitudinally spaced keying frets 96. As is seen in FIG. 3, the frets 96 terminate with the fret 96' which is spaced inwardly from the end 98 of the fret board 90 leaving the area therebetween entirely clear. The fret board 90 may be connected to the adjacent sides of the flanges 42, 42 and the upper end of the bar 26 by any means conventional and well known in the arts.

FIG. illustrates a modified neck construction. Here the l.-shaped angle members 38, 38 and its associated bar 26 have been formed as a single substantially T-shaped element 100 in which the side walls 40, 40 have been'eliminated, the integral element 100 now comprising a wider bar or stem 26A from the remotely disposed sides of which laterally project the longitudinally extending flanges 42A, 42A, respectively. in all other respects, this assembly is identical with the assembly shown in FIG. 6.

The bridge of this instrument is denoted by reference numeral 102 and is of compound construction (see FIGS. 1, 2, 4, 8 and 9). The bridge 112 is seen to comprise a normally horizontal elongated substantially rigid rectangular metal block 104 having centrally located longitudinally spaced internally threaded openings 106, 106' formed therein. The block 104 is transversely superimposed over the upper sides of the flanges 42, 42 and of the bar 26 with the openings 106, 106' being aligned with the openings 50, 50'. Screws 108, 108 extend through the openings 50, 50' and are threaded into the openings 106, 106' to releasably secure the block 104 in place. The opposed ends of the block 104 are also provided with transversely extending openings 110, 110" and receive screws 112, 112', respectively, therethrough. The screws 112, 112 project above the upper side of the block 104, and superimposed on the block 104 intermediate the screws 112, 112 is a pair of helicoidal beehive springs 114, 114'. As is clearly shown in FIGS. 8 and9, the bases of the springs 114, 114 abut against the block 104 with the apices of the springs projecting in a direction away therefrom.

The bridge 102 further includes an elongated substantially solid cylindrical metal rod 116 having transversely extending openings 118, 118' disposed, respectively, adjacent each end thereof. The openings 118, 118 are adapted to be aligned with the openings 110, 110', respectively, and receive therethrough the upper ends of the screws 112, 112', respectively. As is seen in FIG. 8, the underside of the rod 116 is engaged by the apices of the springs 114, 114, and the rod is secured in an adjusted relationship across the springs by means of the digital manipulative nuts 120, 120. The bias of the springs 114, 114' constantly biases the rod 116 for movement in a direction away from the block 104.

It should be here noted, reference being made to FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, in particular, that the end 98 of the fret board 90 abuts against the adjacent edge of the block 104 when the bridge is assembled on the instrument in order to prevent any inadvertent or accidental movement of the bridge 102 in the direction of the fret board 90. The rod 116 is also provided with upwardly opening longitudinally spaced string guide slots 122.

A modified form of a bridge is disclosed in FIG. 11. Here the bridge 102 is seen to comprise the horizontal transversely extending block 104' which supports a plurality of longitudinally spaced beehive type helicoidal springs 114A. The base convolution of each of the springs 114A is fixedly secured by conventional means to the upper side of the block 104', and the uppermost convolution 1148 of each of the springs 114A is formed with an upwardly opening spring receiving slot 114C. The functions of the several springs 114A will be explained in more detail below.

The outerterminal ends of the ends 28, 44 and 44' are closed by an L-shaped angle member or cap 124, the cap 124 including a flange 126 which overlies the outer terminal ends of the end portions 28, 44 and 44'. The flange 126 of the cap 124 is apertured as at 128 (see FIG. 3) to receive conventional screw fasteners 130 therethrough.

Conventional tuning key assemblies are here designated by the general reference numeral 132. Each assembly 132 includes a manually operable handle 134 (see FIG. 5) which, when turned, effects a rotation of the conventional gear train 136 which, in turn, drives the tuning posts 136. The posts 136 extend transversely through the aligned pairs of openings 48, 88 and 48 and 88', respectively, on the outer ends of which are secured and wrapped one of the ends 138 of a plurality of instrument strings 140. The other ends 142 of the instrument strings 140 are extended longitudinally of the combined neck and tail piece 22 to be threaded through, respectively, openings 144, 144' formed in the flanges 42, 42'. The aforementioned other ends 142 of the strings 140 are anchored against the underside of the flanges 42, 42 by conventional securing means 46 (see HO. 5). The strings 140, in extending longitudinally of the combined neck and tail piece 22, are engagedwithin slots 94' formed in the string support 94 and in the slots 122 of the rod 116.

Reference numeral 148 designates an elongated substantially L-shaped guide having a foot portion 150 fixedly secured tothe flange 42 intermediate the bridge assembly 102 and the adjacent end of the instrument 20. As is seen in FIG. 1 of the drawings, the foot portion 150 projects laterally from the flange .142 and the leg section 152 thereof projects inwardly therefrom relative to the combined neck and tail piece 22 to extend substantially parallel to but in laterally spaced relation relative to the adjacent edge 92 of the flange 42.

Reference numeral 154 generally designates an electrical sound pickup device of conventional construction. The pickup device 154 is, in this instance, modified at at least one of its ends to form a substantially hollow cylindrical sleeve 156 which is slidably carried on the leg section 152 of the guide 148. The mounting is such that the electric pickup device 154 extends transversely across the combined neck and tail piece 22 and is freely slidable longitudinally thereof between the adjacent and confronting ends of the block 104 and the end 98 of the fret board 90.

At 158 is indicated a conventional tone and volume control device for the electrical pickup 154. As is seen in FIG. 1 of the drawings, the control device 158 is fixedly connected to the flange 42 by an offset bracket 160, and the device includes an independent manually operable tone control knob 162 and a similar independent manually operable volume control knob 164. The control device 158 is connected with the pickup device 154 via the usual connector cable 166, and the control device 158 is adapted for connection to a conventional sound amplifier (not shown) by way of a second connector cable 168.

For convenience and in keeping with the terminology of the art, and further by way of definition, the ends 28,- 44 and 44' which project beyond the adjacent end of the fret board 90,

' together with the associated tuning key assemblies 132 and including the cap 124, shall hereinafter by referred to as the head, H, of the instrument 20. The fret board 90 and that portion of the bar 26 and adjacent portions of the L-shaped angle members 38, 38' which are contiguous thereto, and including the quarter-rounds 80, shall henceforth be referred to as the neck, N, and those portions of the L-shaped angle members 38, 38'. and that portion of the bar 28 which projects beyond the end 98 of the fret board towards and including the lock tongue projection 36 and lip extension 54, 54' shall be termed the tail piece portion, T. The tail piece portion T is, thus, an extension of the neck N. Y

The instrument 10, as described above, comprises a complete and unitary electric stringed instrument which requires no other components to be operable. if desired, however, a body or support indicated at 24 may be provided. ln the instant invention, such a body or support is, preferably, open sided as stated supra, and comprises a continuous strip of lightweight metallicmaterial 200 (see FIG. 3) having elongated opposed side walls 202, 204 and opposed end walls 206, 208 to define the substantially hollow rectangular body 24. The side walls 202, 204 are each formed with an inwardly extending concave-convex portion 210, 212, respectively, intermediate their ends with concave sides thereof opening outwardly to rest over the leg of the instrument user.

The end wall 208, centrally of its ends, is formed with a substantially U-shaped notch 214, and reinforcing plates 216, 218 are fitted against the opposed sides of the end wall 208 and are provided with similar notches 220, 222, respectively, of dimensions corresponding to the notch 214. As is seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, the notches 214, 220 and 222 are disposed in confronting registry, one vim the others. With specific reference to FIG. 3 of the drawings, it will be seen that the notches 214, 220 and 222 all open into the plane of the edge 224 of the end wall 208 which is also common to the adjacent edges of the side walls 202, 204 and the end wall 206.

Reference numeral 226 denotes an L-shaped latch (see FIG. 3) having a leg section 228 superimposed against the outer side of the reinforcing plate 216. The foot portion 230 of the latch 226 projects laterally from the leg section 228 and inwardly of the body 200. The plates 216, 218 and the latch 226 are secured to the end wall208 by any conventional means such as, for example, rivets 232.

To serve a function to be described infra, the end wall 206 adjacent its edge 232 (contained in the common plane of the edge 224) is formed with a transversely extending substantially rectangular opening 234 intermediate the ends thereof. The slots 214, 220 and 222 are disposed in confronting and aligned relationship relative to the opening 234. If desired, support legs 236 (see FIGS. 1, 2 and 5) may be connected to the end wall 206 adjacent its respective ends, the support legs 236 being fixedly secured thereto by any conventional means such as is indicated at 238.

The combined neck and tail piece assembly 22 is connected to the body 24 by inserting the lock tongue projection 36 into the opening 34 in such a manner that the lip extensions 54, 54'

' overlap adjacent portions of the edge 232. The combined neck and tail piece assembly or unit 22, in effecting this connection, extends longitudinally of the body 24 in such a manner that those portions of the bar 26 and L-shaped angle members 38, 38 which extend between the edges 64, 64 of the lock flanges 58 are received within the notches 214, 220

and 222 with the apex ends 62, 62' of the lock flanges 58, 58

disposed in confronting relationship relative to the adjacent side of the foot portion 230 of the latch 226. The user now grasps the end wall 208 and pulls outwardly thereon while at the same time the combined neck 22 is forced inwardly of the notches 214, 220, 222 to cause the lock lugs 66, 66' to escape the outer edge of the foot portion 230 after which the user releases his grasp on the end wall 208 to permit the lock lugs 66, 66 to engage on the underside of the foot portion 230. It will be understood, of course, that the material from which the body 200 is formed is sufficiently resilient to permit the abovedescribed flexing of the end wall 208. To disassemble the combined neck and tail piece assembly 22 from its associated body 24 it is only necessary that the end wall 208 be flexed outwardly a sufficient distance to permit the lock lugs 66, 66 to escape past the foot section 230 after which the combined neck and tail piece 22 is pulled in a direction away from the body 24 to effect its separation from the notches 214, 220 and 222, after which the combined neck and tail piece assembly 22 is pulled in the direction of the end wall 208 to cause the lock tongue projection 36 to escape from the opening 234 and the lip extensions 54, 54' to disengage from the adjacent portions of the edge 232.

Different tonal qualities of the instrument may be developed by shifting the position of the electric pickup device over the fret board 90 beneath adjacent portions of the strings 140. In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. I, the practical sliding movement of the electric pickup 154 is limited by the length of the leg section 152 of the guide 148 and/or the distance between the bridge 102 and the immediately adjacent one of the frets, the fret 96, for example. In theory, and by way of a further example, it is obvious that the sliding movement of the pickup device 154 would be limited only to the distance between the bridge 102 and the remotely disposed end of the fret board 90.

Other tonal changes may be effected by adjusting the position of the bridge rod 116 against the tension of the biasing springs 114 by advancing or backing off the nuts 120.

With the bridge of FIG. 11, still other vibratory tonal effects may be obtained. In this bridge 102, each of the strings 140 is independently supported and the user, after having picked or strummed any one or all of the strings 140, may place one or more fingers over the strings at the location of the springs 114A to pulsate the same to produce a vibrato or tremolo effeet, or optionally, he may push the string and an associated one of the springs 1 14A in any direction to again vary the tonal effect produced thereby.

As is usual in most electric instruments, further tonal effects may be achieved by the adjustment of the tone controlling knob 162 of the control device 158. Volume is, of course, con trolled by the knob 164.

The complete instrument 20 as shown in FIG. 1 may be centrally housed in any desirable receptacle or case shown in dotted lines and designated by reference numeral 300. The instrument 20 is here shown as being strung with six strings to construct a musical instrument in the nature of a guitar. The case 300 is preferably of such size as to conveniently hold two other combined neck and tail piece assemblies 22A and 225, respectively, the combined neck and tail piece assembly 22A being strung to provide an instrument in the nature of a mandolin, for example, while the combined neck and tail piece assembly 22B is strung as a banjo type instrument.

The combined neck and tail piece assemblies 22A and 22B are identical in construction to one another and with the construction of the combined neck and tail piece assembly 22, differing from one another only in the length of the combined neck and tail piece assemblies and their respective stringing. Since the several instruments are otherwise identical, it is obvious that the combined neck and tail piece assemblies 22, 22A and 228 may be interchangeably used with the body or support 24.

FIGS. 12 to 14, inclusive, illustrate the instrument of this invention incorporated with a hollow acoustic body here bearing the reference numeral 500. The acoustic body 500 is defined by a pair of opposed longitudinally extending side walls 502, 504 and a pair of opposed end walls 506, 508, respectively. The side walls 502, 504 include a pair of opposed concave-convex portions 510, 512 with the concave sides thereof opening outwardly. In this embodiment, one side of the instrument is closed by an elongated breast piece 514 having a centrally located longitudinally extending concave-convex portion 516 formed therein.

The end wall 506 and an adjacent section of the breast portion 516 are formed with confronting slots 518, 520, respectively, and fixedly connected by conventional means (not shown) to the inner side of the end wall 508 is an elongated block 522. One end of the block 522 extends through slot 520, and this end of the block 522 is also slotted as at 524. To serve a function to be described, the slots 520 and 518 are aligned, one with the other.

The other end of the breast portion 516 is also slotted at 526 and opens in the direction of the end wall 508. An inverted substantially L-shaped latch plate 226 has its leg section 228 fixedly connected by conventional fasteners 232 to the inner side of the end wall 508, and the foot portion 230 thereof projects'laterally therefrom and in the direction of the slot 526.

Releasable securing means is designated by reference numeral 530 and is carried by the block. 522. This means comprises an elongated screw 532 having a threaded shank 534 and an enlarged slotted head 536 to receive a bladed tool (not shown). Fixedly connected to the shank 534 adjacent the head 536 is a transversely extending substantially hollow cylindrical sleeve 538.

Reference numeral 540 denotes a closed ring having a cylindrical transverse cross-sectional configuration, the ring 540 including a pair of opposed spaced and substantially parallel ring sections 542, 544. The ring section 544 is (see FIG. 13) rotatably mounted in the sleeve 538.

The stem 534 of the screw 532 is threaded into the block 522 with the sleeve 538 disposed adjacent the inner end of the slot 518 and in such a manner that the ring section 542 may be swung clockwise and/or counterclockwise, reference being made to FIG. 13, towards and away from the slots 518 and 524. The end wall 508 is also formed with a notch 544 centrally of the ends thereof, the notch 544 being aligned with the notches 524 and 518.

With this acoustic body 500 it is proposed to employ the same combined neck and tail piece assembly as that described above subject to but two modifications and, hence, those elements thereof having counterparts in the previously described embodiment bear identical reference numerals.

ln this embodiment of the invention, the combined neck and tail piece assembly 22 extends longitudinally of the body 500 with the lock flanges 58 extending through the slot 526 to engage their respective lugs 66 beneath the foot portion 230 of the latch assembly 226. In this position, a portion of the combined neck and tail piece assembly extends longitudinally of the concave-convex portion 516 of the breast 514, and the flanges 42, 42', adjacent the outer end of the tail piece portion are notched as at 550, 550' to receive the arms 552, 552' of the block 522 disposed at each side of the slot 524. The second change involves forming a groove 546 to extend transversely across the tail piece portion T adjacent its outer terminal end, the groove 546 being adapted to releasably receive the ring section 542 therein and to thereby releasably clamp the combined neck and tail piece assembly 22 to the body 500.

In this embodiment of the invention, an inverted substantially U-shaped bridge 560 is provided, the bridge 560 comprising a bight portion 562 from the opposed ends of which laterally project legs 564, 564, respectively, the latter being fixedly secured by conventional means to the breast 514 in such a manner that the bight portion 562 spans the concaveconvex breast portion 516 and that portion of the combined neck and tail piece assembly 22 disposed immediately therebelow. The bight portion 562 is provided with the usual string guide slots 566 to receive the strings 140 therein. In all other respects, the combined neck and tail pieces 22 are identical.

Having described and illustrated two embodiments of this invention in detail, it is to be understood thatthe same are offered merely by way of example, and that this invention is to be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.

I claim: 7

l. A stringed instrument comprising:

an elongated element including an intermediate neck portion and integrally connected head and tail portions at the respective opposed ends of said neck portion; means on said tail end portion for anchoring one of the adjacent ends of a plurality of strings directly thereon;

winding key means mounted on said head end portion to windingly receive the other adjacent ends of said strings thereon, respectively;

string bridge means mounted on said tail end portion;

fret board means mounted on said neck portion for juxtaposition relative to said strings; and 7 means on said fret board means abutting said bridge means to prevent inadvertent movement of said bridge means in the direction of said winding key means.

2. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said abutting means comprises that end of said fret board means disposed immediately adjacent said bridge means.

3. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said bridge means includes a string engageable rod and resilient means interposed between said element and said rod, said resilient means constantly biasing said rod for movement away from said element and in the direction of said strings.

4. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said bridge means includes independent resilient means for interposition between said element and one, respectively, of each of said strings to constantly bias each of said strings for movement in a direction away from said element.

5. The assembly of claim 1 and 2 substantially hollow body having a pair of opposed open sides and including a pair of opposed end walls; and means on said element cooperating with means on said body to releasably connect said element thereon.

6. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said element is substantially T-shaped in configuration and includes an elongated substantially rigid b ar having a pair of aligned substantially rigid flanges pro ecting laterally from a pair of opposed sides thereof;

said fret board means extending laterally across said bar and flanges;

means fixedly connecting said fret board means on said bar and flanges; and

said fret board means extending substantially from said winding key means to said tail end portion.

7. The assembly of claim I wherein said element is substantially T-shaped in configuration and includes an elongated rigid bar having a pair of aligned substantially rigid flanges projecting laterally from a pair of opposed sides thereof;

means fixedly connecting said fret board means on said bar and flanges;

said fret board means extending substantially from said winding key means to said tail end portion; and

said bridge means extending transversely of said bar and flanges.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification84/267, 84/314.00R, 84/293, 84/743
International ClassificationG10D1/08
Cooperative ClassificationG10D1/08
European ClassificationG10D1/08