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John Abbett

New Project - Style Of Gibson Byrdland

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I doubt that a guitar made from a single continuous piece of Walnut would be much cop as an instrument. An interesting task in practice, but as a result? Maybe not....

I think that as an all-Walnut instrument with the wood used correctly, it would be pretty cool though. It all really depends on the tonal qualities of the Walnut to start out with....were you suggesting a more "common" through-and-through solidbody John?

I'd like to see your Byrdland GOTM'ed. I fully respect the work and perseverance which went into this.

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I wasn't clear. I would make a full hollowbody with 1/8 inch thick front and back and 3/16 inch sides out of large black walnut boards carved out. The body would be black walnut panels carved out of solid wood. The neck would be black walnut with a ebony fretboard. It could have black hardware. Several coats of gloss nitro and it would be something to see. Not something that would show up well on stage I admit, but in person it would be pretty cool.

I think it would sound like a full Mahogany guitar. The byrdland I built has a spruce top and a maple back. The maple is more dense then black walnut, the spruce much less. Black walnut and Mahogany are about the same. I have a full walnut (Not black walnut) Gretsch Hollowbody that sounds pretty good. The carved panels are about 1/8 inch thick, with spruce supports.

There are some full Mahogany Acoustics that sound good.

If I make the top the right thickness and support it, I think it will work. Only one way to find out - right?

-John

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True true. I think that bending a veneer of Walnut (or a little thicker) covering around the long and short grain of the "solid hollow" core could offer an alternative look to the sandwiched Walnut. Create a thread when you move forward on this ;-)

In the meantime, GOTM? :D

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Man that is an outstanding guitar!

Too bad about the 23.5" fingerboard. I was just thinkin' though, didn't Gibson get their shorty fingerboards by sawing the first fret off a 22.75" fingerboard? Try measuring from fret 1 to 13 and multiply by 2 and see if that isn't it.

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Not quite. Cutting a board down from 24.75" (or whatever they used at the time) would result in a scale length of around 23-1/3", which is still acceptable and a reasonable choice for production simplification. For instance, when I get around to making my Red Special replica a 25-fret 25.5" scale board (common scale length) can be cut down to a 24-fret 24.07" (unusual) scale board with the original first fret being turned into a zero fret.

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I doubt that a guitar made from a single continuous piece of Walnut would be much cop as an instrument.

You would be surprised. Actually turns out fairly good. I have done a few like this. Only glue joint is the fretboard to the rest of the neck. Not always walnut, 2 so far, both came out excellent.

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I know it's a bit late, but great build! Really informative, especially because I'm reading all I can about archtops. I do have a question though; how did you go about printing out the template you made from the Byrdland picture? I did the same with a picture of a Gretsch, but have no way to print something 16"X22".

By the way, this is my first post, so Hello everyone, and thanks for any help!

Ian

p.s. That setup you have fro routing bindings is brilliant! Would you mind terribly if I use your idea?

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I found a picture of a Byrdland on the web that was square to the face of the guitar. I snagged it, converted it to outline in photoshop, and scaled it up to known dimensions. I knew the width at the widest point, and the width of the neck at the 12th fret. I scaled it up until it matched really close. Once I had that I printed it out on a large format printer.

The binding jig is not my idea.. I copied it from someone (Sorry can't remember who to give credit to.).. It works really well. Cutting the slots was easy, bending the maple and black fibre binding was a realy pain. I'll never do it that way again, plastic next time.

I used the bushing kit from Stu-Mac. Very nice set of 6 or 7 router bushings. I could pretty much do whatever I wanted. I think that was 13 ply binding in the end. Way too much work.

Stay tuned, I'm in the middle of a room remodel, but when that's done I'm thinking about a full hollowbody carved from black walnut plates. Should be sick.

-John

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I know it's been a while, but I have a question and I'll give it a go:

How did you mount the pickups? I've been thinking and thinking about it and the braces just have to get in the way, especially for the neck pickup. It seems very unwise to weaken the brace by cutting slots to fit the pickup. I'd love to know how you mounted them.

Thanks for the help!

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I know it's been a while, but I have a question and I'll give it a go:

How did you mount the pickups? I've been thinking and thinking about it and the braces just have to get in the way, especially for the neck pickup. It seems very unwise to weaken the brace by cutting slots to fit the pickup. I'd love to know how you mounted them.

Thanks for the help!

The neck pickup I had to notch the braces a little. I took about 1/3 off of one side. If I had pre-planned it I wouldn't have had to. I would have rather narrowed the brace, instead of notching. It would have been stronger.

The bridge pickup actually sits on top of the braces in my case. If you pull out the pickup you can see the braces, they went between the pickup screws.

It all sorta worked out in my case. Luck. Next time I will draw it out better.

-John

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Awesome! Thanks so much for the info!

I'll make some measurements on my plans and see if it might be possible to keep the braces wide enough to not have to mess with them, or maybe make them thinner. I would just be worried that if I widened the spacing on the neck side while still having them under the bridge feet they would start getting pretty darn close to parallel, but I don't know what that would do, if anything.

I just wanted to let you know that this is probably the coolest and most informative thread on the boards, in my humble opinion :D (although Blackdog's stuff is always killer).

If all goes well I should have a thread up in the In Progress section soon! I have a stack of wood acclimatizing in the basement and it is just calling my name!

Thanks again!

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Anytime. Rock - On!

My next build is going to be a 335 made from black walnut. Should be pretty cool looking. Should sound similar to a maple one. I have to finish the kitchen before I can start it.

John

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