How to Set Up a Seasick Steve "Three String Trance Wonder" Guitar


Originally published at Cigar Box Nation.

Thanks to Seasick Steve's buddy, Davey (the maker of the hubcap guitar) for helping on this article.

Seasick Steve's "3-String Trance Wonder" guitar is the stuff of legend.  The guitar was originally given to Steve with only three strings left, and he's kept it that way ever since. 

Seasick's guitar is nothing but an old Japanese hollowbody guitar from the 60's, most likely from the Teisco factory.  (The body is the same as a Teisco EP-7.)  It probably had two pickups to begin with, but now sports a single 1950's Harmony pickup duct taped to the top.  

As a hardcore fan, I had to make a version of this axe for myself.  Luckily, I had almost the same model in my arsenal, a Sorrento hollowbody of the same period, so I set up the strings just like his.

Here's how to set up a 3-string Trance Wonder  

(String gauges and tuning, low to high):

  • [Remove bottom E string]
  • .049w - tuned to G 
  • [Remove D string]
  • .028w - tuned to G
  • .018 - tuned to B
  • [Remove high E string]

Tuning: Open G: GGB  (middle G is one octave higher than bottom)

Strings are .049w, .028w, .018p. from a pack of D'Addario EXL115s.

One of the unusual things of the Three String Trance Wonder is the positioning of the strings.  There's a space between the first and second strings.

Ok, have fun snipping strings from your guitars!  I'll be back soon with some video lessons on How to Play Like Seasick Steve!

-Shane Speal

 

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