Big guitar

This week I've been recording Australia's largest playable guitar in Narrandera

It's been a goal of mine for a few years now to work with this unique instrument.

Last year I got the support of Narrandera Shire Council to develop a grant application to see the guitar tuned, possibly for the first time in decades.

Tuning was completed by Chris Kschenka of Custom Music, who suggested we tune it up to G to improve audibility.

Working with Wasabi Jones of Highpoint Studios, who grew up in nearby Matong, the recordings will be made available as a multi-sampled instrument to realise music that would otherwise be challenging to perform on the big guitar.

We've used a variety of microphones, including my Barcus-Berry contact mic, an AKG PZM and Jones' Earthworks condensers.

You can see the PZM was placed inside the body of the big guitar.

The instrument is in need of some repairs but I used tape that wouldn't leave residue to hold down the warped frets.

Jones will likely re-pitch some notes to fill gaps -- although we are considering keeping some bum notes for character.

We ran the monitor out on the contact mic into a guitar amp to aid audibility of the lower notes.

The big playable guitar was made from plywood by Robert Palmer in 1988 to promote the Country Music Club of Narrandera.

The guitar took more than 300 hours to complete.

Due to its size, two musicians are necessary and the instrument is tuned down about two octaves below a regular guitar.

With a length of 5.82 metres, width of 2.02 metres and strings humming over 3.98 metres, the big guitar was recognised as the World’s Largest Playable Guitar and included in the 1991 edition of the Guinness Book of Records.

This record stood until 2000, when a team at the Academy of Science and Technology in Conroe, Texas, constructed a guitar 13.3 metres long and 5 metres wide.

Narrandera’s Big Playable Guitar remains the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

Thanks to Wasabi Jones and support from Narrandera Shire Council, Western Riverina Arts and Regional Arts NSW.

This project is supported by Create NSW’s Country Arts Support Program, a devolved funding program administered by Regional Arts NSW and Western Riverina Arts on behalf of the NSW Government.