WHAT THE HECK IS A DREADNAUTILUS GUITAR?? :
It's an easily portable, handmade, six-string guitar with a unique shape and a big, beautiful voice. The "Dreadnautilus" guitar is designed and built to be small and light enough to travel well; inexpensively priced but with a full-bodied sound worthy of any kitchen, campfire, concert hall or recording studio. The Model A Dreadnautilus ("DN-A") is a "headless" guitar, with the tuning machines at the opposite end of the strings, set into the body of the instrument. This design feature allows for a much shorter, more portable instrument.
The body shape, reminiscent of a snail or nautilus shell (after all, it makes the perfect portable house; why not a portable guitar?), creates a "cutaway" effect enabling clear access up the neck to the 19th fret! The shape is well balanced, cradling banjo-like in your lap or hanging comfortably from a strap.
The top of the DN-A is made of beautiful old growth redwood, gathered from logs that have been down for over 60 years, left behind by a logging operation. The back and sides are of lovely walnut, also from trees that grew in our area of California. The headless neck is shaped of walnut, and is reinforced with epoxy-graphite for a very light, stiff construction. The fingerboard wood is chosen for hardness and stiffness, from a variety of available hardwoods. The DN-A's top is finished with an environmentally friendly, "water-borne" lacquer; the back, sides and neck with a velvety, hand rubbed oil and wax. An unobtrusive clear plastic pick guard protects the treble side of the top.
The Dreadnautilus comes with an elegant custom-made travel case, water resistant and well padded, with handles and an adjustable strap for carrying from your shoulder or on your back.
The design is subject to the forces of inspirational evolution.
I built the first Dreadnautilus ancestor (a rather homely but charming little guitar affectionately known by its owner as "the Fred"), some years ago for a friend who was planning several months of traveling, and wanted a guitar that he could easily carry with him, but that had a "real" sound. It also needed to be cheap. It turned out to be a great success, and he encouraged me to refine the idea. Initially, the early Dreadnautili cost $500., pretty extraordinary for a handmade guitar. I kept trying to cut corners to make them inexpensive, and finally realized that what I really wanted to do was make them better. As I improved the instrument, batch by batch, I saw my hourly wage heading toward the low side of 3 bucks an hour. The Dreadnautilus continued to evolve and improve, and the price became a little more realistic. Unlike most of my work, I used the same (customizable) design for each DN-A, which made it possible to keep the price relatively low. Because of limitations on my time and energy, I am no longer able to build Dreadnautilus guitars on order, though I continue to recieve requests for this neat little guitar, which is still a favorite oif mine.