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Guitar Of The Month For October

  

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The only thing not done 100% by me is the inlay. I have CI do that. I send them an image, they do the inlay. It's my idea though. The rest of the guitar is made from scratch by me. No CNC. I design and shape all my own templates then make the guitar. (Of course the electronics etc. are purchased). Pickups are Loller.

-Doug

Didnt you say in thye original post that the pickups were dimarzio air norton and tone zone?I already voted and don't really care but I'm curious as to what you actually used :D

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It was a toss up between the Zipper and the Odd Boy. It literally came down to a coin toss.

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The only thing not done 100% by me is the inlay. I have CI do that. I send them an image, they do the inlay. It's my idea though. The rest of the guitar is made from scratch by me. No CNC. I design and shape all my own templates then make the guitar. (Of course the electronics etc. are purchased). Pickups are Loller.

-Doug

Didnt you say in thye original post that the pickups were dimarzio air norton and tone zone?I already voted and don't really care but I'm curious as to what you actually used :D

Ha!! Musta took my stupid pills that day! :D They are actually Loller on this one.

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I have to pipe up here. Jehle I love the concept. Not crazy about the headstock but the whole dig in the parts bin and see what we get thing is so cool. Also an inspiration that guitars don't need to be high dollar to be good.

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Hi!

Here are my comments:

Bigd:

sweet tele, but you didn't get my vote because you didn't build the neck. Btw, I like string thru on tellies. I would have put a pickguard on it too.

Jehle:

I don't like the design but there's something of a music man that I enjoy.

I like the idea of the junkbox guitar. Nice initiative!

Doug:

I don't like the shape, The wood is amazing but the color didn't do it.

What I really like is the fretboard! Awesome inlays and ebony! You get my vote for the neck!!!

Jazzclub:

Awesome shape! That's too bad the neck is aftermarket. I don't like the color on the closeup shot but the overall is the sweetest!

Anyway! Great work all of you!

Fred

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Yes, yes, I know these are "project" guitars but let's face it: many take the easy way out and buy a neck. I don't care about bridges or pups or anything else. The neck and body are two most fundamental pieces of the instrument.

As Perry said, you give credit where credit is due. If you build your own neck which most openly admit is the "scariest" part of building a guitar, then I'll give you more credit.

A guitar would have to totally blow me away in every other aspect to get me to vote for it with a purchased neck.

Dave

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The zipper cherry is very similar to design i came up with a couple years ago, im calling my lawyer :D . i think the tele looks best thats the best quilted maple ive ever seen.

Edited by Nitefly SA

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"Building necks is scary and difficult" has GOT to be one of the most persistent myths in guitarbuilding, IMO, because if you've got reasonable amounts of manual dexterity and a few basic hand tools, you can make a great neck. It's what's going to define what your guitar feels like, and while that may be 'scary', it's also a whole lot of fun.

A really, really good fret job and high gloss stained finishes both have more quirks/difficulties than building a good neck.

There, I said it.

I voted for the zipper cherry, which, while I wouldn't want to own it per se (I'm pretty trad in my tastes), has some really nice design things going on, and a killer carve.

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If you build your own neck which most openly admit is the "scariest" part of building a guitar,

Dave

I think it is not the most scariest part of the buil, but the most critical. You screw the neck, no matter how good the guitar is, it is worthless! I don't think that my first neck will ever make it to a guitar! (whenever I decide to make it), it would have to be purfect in order for me to consider it.

And the neck per se is not the hard part, I find carving a body more challenging, but the fretting! Even the bought ones need a bit of work! to Include Carvins and Warmoth. Of the 4 necks that I have boought (not that many) all of them needed a bit of attention.

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Wait, you haven't built a neck, but you're ranking its difficulty? That sounds a bit off to me. I don't know, I find carving to be pretty straight forward. It's never really intimidated me. I've always thought getting the binding channel right on the horn of an LP was a bit of a challenge, nothing insurmountable though.

...talk about off topic, hehe.

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If you build your own neck which most openly admit is the "scariest" part of building a guitar,

Dave

I think it is not the most scariest part of the buil, but the most critical. You screw the neck, no matter how good the guitar is, it is worthless!

And the neck per se is not the hard part, I find carving a body more challenging, but the fretting! Even the bought ones need a bit of work! to Include Carvins and Warmoth. Of the 4 necks that I have boought (not that many) all of them needed a bit of attention.

Yes. It's the most critical. That's why folks are "scared" off. Not sure what you're saying though. On the one hand you say the neck isn't the hardest part but then you say fretting is. Fretting, that is, cutting slots, dressing, etc. is all part of the neck no? Also, fret dressing is also an art in and of itself. Properly levelling frets is something most who try, think they can do correctly. Takes dozens of tries before you really know what you're doing.

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Personally I loved the carving I did on my Telecaster, I think that was the most fun I've had since I've started this...and it's one reason why I'm considering building my own neck one day. I mean, I can only imagine the feeling--since that's the part of the guitar one actually holds!

The main thing that's holding me back (apart from my own ineptitude) is the need for specialized tools for doing the fretwork...can't justify buying all that just for one neck!

I can understand that a self-built neck gets more points in a GOTM decision (see, back on topic, kind of) though, and I definitely respect that.

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The main thing that's holding me back (apart from my own ineptitude) is the need for specialized tools for doing the fretwork...can't justify buying all that just for one neck!

Off topic, maybe should be moved/turned into a new discussion, but...like what??

You need fret dressing tools even if you buy your necks (most of the time, anyway) and certainly if you buy used parts. What mystical magical expensive tools do you think you need for fretwork that you don't already have?

My list:

- Fret nipper

- (Fret puller, for refrets)

- (Tang nipper, I think it's essential for bound fingerboards, and actually use it on non-bound boards as well, but it's not strictly necessary, I guess)

- Hammer (and if you want to get fancy, press, which can be hand-made)

- Fret crowning file

- some sort of fret leveller (be that aluminum angle stock, stones, file, whatever).

The only specialized tools up there: fret crowning file and a press. Fret nippers and pullers are easier to buy from a supply house, but you can make 'em yourself from hardware store stuff. The only other 'pricey' thing is a slotting setup, but that can pay for itself within 3-4 fingerboards.

Honestly, tool price shouldn't be an issue when it comes to neck building.

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Personally, I don't care if someone buys a neck, contracts inlays, makes their own pickups, or hunts cats for string material. A guitar is more than the sum of its parts. How much thought went into the design? How well does the design work? Does it look comfortable? Is it something that I would actually want to play?

That last one is most important to me. If a guitar is something that I would be afraid to take to a bar and leave on the bandstand -- or wouldn't be caught dead playing -- then it won't get my vote. Doesn't matter how pretty it is, or who made the parts. I've had a lot of nice (semi-expensive) guitars and they sat home because I was afraid of breaking them. That's why I put together and play beaters.

I don't think the whole pro vs. amateur thing should factor in either. It's all subjective, anyway.

That's my nickel's worth. Take it or leave it. :D

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doug's without a doubt

seeing his new custom just gives me even more excitement before he starts on my V

i am just overfilled with joy, the guitars this guy makes are pure gold

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Wait, you haven't built a neck, but you're ranking its difficulty? That sounds a bit off to me. I don't know, I find carving to be pretty straight forward. It's never really intimidated me. I've always thought getting the binding channel right on the horn of an LP was a bit of a challenge, nothing insurmountable though.

...talk about off topic, hehe.

I haven't build a neck yet... I got about 6 "mock necks) out of sliced 2X4, and I haved leveled 4 necks (that I didn't like who they turned at the end). So I'm not ranking the building as difficult, since I think that I got no problem with the contour, my beef is withg the fetting, aand until I get that tiddy up, I don't plan on making a neck for one of my guitars!

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Maiden I have a sugestion for you.

On my first neck the fretting and slotting was sub standard. So I bought the table saw blade from stew mac and bought there pressing caul and used it in the drill press.

There slots were perfectly auccreate and the frets went in so flush and strait the board was -perfectly- level. With no buzzing anywhere on the neck.

Those two tools made fretting 100% easier. I wouldn't be making my necks if I diddnt't have those two tools.

I've made four so far and all have turned out great.

Edited by Godin SD

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Thanks Godin, but as I say, I got no worries on the board yet, especialy since Stew Mac got the compound radius 25.5 now, I wish they had a 25 soon. But the tools I'm getting are the basics, Radius blocks, crowning files, pressing caul, maybe a hammer since the bronze one I got its severely abused, then the 2 mandatory router bits, for the rod and the carbon fiber strips.

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Well, I have made three necks and fretted two. The first sucked so bad I plan on burning it - along with the body (way to heavy). That fret job was done with a brass/poly hammer and my inexperience became evident pretty quick. The second time I made a neck it went much smoother. The only difference between the two was that I got the stewmac blade, made a shooting board to run the fingerboard, and used a press to install the frets. Night and day difference as far as the fretting goes, but the neck itself was done in the same manner. A tuned spokeshave, scrapers and sand paper. Someone mentioned in another thread that the centerline defines the carve - that is the golden rule of carving the neck. If you don't break the centerline, you don't expose the truss rod channel. It really is that simple.

There is a lot of voodoo involved with even the thought process of creating a neck.

In my mind though, it really just comes down to geometry:

1. The strings have to have an equidistant accending spacing from the nut to the bridge (forming an elongated trapezoid).

2. The strings need to stay roughly the same distance from the fret board from the bridge to the nut. Several was of skinning a cat, same holds true for this.

3. The anlge of the headsock needs to be sufficient to hold the strings in the nut without allowing them to move at will (barring locking nut of course) 10 degrees is my preferance for 3x3 .

4 Possibly an angle on the heel of the neck (depending on if you need neck angle for your configuration AND if you subscribe to the idea of angling the neck vs. the pocket for the desired relief).

5. The neck must be wide enough at the nut to accomadate the string spacing you want.

6. The neck must be wide enough at the heel to accomodate the spacing of the bridge while still leaving the same distance from the string to the edge of the finger board to the the E,e strings

To me those are the simplified requirments for making a neck, everything beyond that is personal preference - which is what making your own neck is about anyway.

However, I am not a pro. I don't consider myself good enough to be telling anyone what to do. This is simply the thought process that I use when building my necks. BTW, if you fellas that have more experience would like to poke holes in this - feel free. I'm here to learn.

Nate Robinson :D

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That centerline idea works until you decide you want a neck profile with an offset center. That's the only kind of neck I feel comfortable playing. I'm just very diligent about checking all of my dimensions with a digital caliper often.

Edited by thegarehanman

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That is a very good point. Would you mind giving a brief description of how you begin your "offset center"?

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