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djobson101    30

Got the electronics cavity underway. The total lack of planning here made for some crude but functional development. Cut up a quick template shape to start the rout, and then following taped some pieces on the inside to finalize it. I have no idea why I thought it would be a good idea to leave out a tab on the top end for a fastener, but I did and regret that decision :lol:

591e12b4b99dc_PhotoMay1093736PM.thumb.jpg.5c9002c90cc8403afa74a032a7b0479f.jpg

...And those who are a regular gumshoe will be able to easily figure out what this was from...591e13c5256d6_PhotoMay1094830PM.thumb.jpg.cca954449a48cb4d1f0a6e5c4b48a1b2.jpg

So as to keep the common theme of this build going, I ended up with something that was not in line with the original idea, but thankfully I didn't get totally screwed. After the part locations were figured out I shaved off some of the underside of the top with the router.591e13e86a440_PhotoMay16112815AM.thumb.jpg.7809bbffa5069228cc7c4cce9c28ef94.jpg591e154cdaa95_PhotoMay1614658PM.thumb.jpg.681d256159e30a950a4a5e688d158bb3.jpg

Not as planned but I'll live with it.591e1567b072f_PhotoMay1614644PM.thumb.jpg.2d40a955fd19d6d6a9311d12dc4fedc9.jpg591e1591eccfb_PhotoMay18113322AM.thumb.jpg.a06041e243bf6858ea19b7993a5c65ac.jpg

 

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djobson101    30

The thing I couldn't live with though, and forgot to photograph the evidence probably out of frustration, was having similar problems getting a nice set of tuning machine holes drilled. Trying to act as a jig while putting the angled head stock up on the drill press just wasn't the way to go it at all. Next time I won't wait until the body is all glued up maybe so it's not so clumsy to maneuver. Despite the lack of picture, take my word for it they looked terrible. 

Had some free time this week to fool around with the guitar, and decided to cover up the abomination. By chance I had bought some rosewood veneer a couple years ago with no specific purpose in mind, and I thought this was just begging for it, so I glued one on either side of the headstock and got the holes right.

591e17418d7af_PhotoMay18112936AM.thumb.jpg.628b5d28b87975dced8570ec1d339d5a.jpg591e174a04578_PhotoMay18113014AM.thumb.jpg.1311a419015da2ab91b2bfab4a44ebe1.jpg

It's far from perfect of course, but to me just nicer to look at than the dowels. They would've shown much more here than the ones under the ferrules will I think... So it's kind of a bonus in that it's covering a mistake I know is there, but looks sorta cool too. I would've liked it if I could've trimmed the laminate more uniformly with a chamfer bit or something, but I don't have a small router that I would feel more comfortable doing that with, and don't know how to approach going around the volute & fretboard end. So I just hit it with a file and will leave all that for "next time".

Now though it does have a sort of theme, even though the walnut and rosewood don't exactly match:591e1847f0e2b_PhotoMay18113256AM.thumb.jpg.8dc7b9db5cd4d9eafb4f02a5cff4a84b.jpg

I started installing the frets only to find out that I had enough wire for 22 out of 24... so I will wait until they're all in to update on that front when I start doing some fretwork. There will be lots of tutorial reading and video watching when I get there...!

The next couple weeks we will be moving to a new rental, so this will be the conclusion of guitar building in the old Perry St. Garage. The good news is the next place has a similar garage, and this one even comes without the complimentary pile of "landlord's old stuff that hasn't been utilized for decades"! So I will be very excited to set up the floor and get rolling again.

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ScottR    1,366

Headstock plates were created to cover glued on wings and scarf joints and the like as much as to be design elements. Yours are doing exactly what they are intended to do.

SR

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mattharris75    164

Nice save on the headstock! Loving the Languedoc vibe, it's really coming through.

I sent a letter to Paul Languedoc, probably around 17 or 18 years ago, to see if he would build me a guitar like Trey's. At the time he wasn't building professionally, and wrote me back a nice letter saying that he was just swamped with other stuff at the time, but maybe one day.

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djobson101    30
On 5/19/2017 at 7:17 AM, mattharris75 said:

Nice save on the headstock! Loving the Languedoc vibe, it's really coming through.

I sent a letter to Paul Languedoc, probably around 17 or 18 years ago, to see if he would build me a guitar like Trey's. At the time he wasn't building professionally, and wrote me back a nice letter saying that he was just swamped with other stuff at the time, but maybe one day.

That's pretty awesome :) I can imagine though he probably didn't have much time at all to be building back then, going on tour and doing all that work with the band. But cool nonetheless, it's stories like that that only add to the allure of those guitars. Seemingly impossible to obtain a real one!

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djobson101    30

Getting settled into the new garage, almost fully set up:

5942f3d6765b0_PhotoJun1261230PM.thumb.jpg.98e2180b001c9d91c960003fc56fbe87.jpg

I finished pressing the frets in and got to work trimming and dressing. I had made a fret wire bender that I think I got my measurements wrong on because some of the frets appear to be improperly seated. So maybe they are smaller than 20" radius? It also took me about halfway through the neck to get the hang of pressing it in straight without popping sideways out of the caul. There is room for lots of learning here for me.

5942f4a3d0ee4_PhotoJun1171117PM.thumb.jpg.e6fe884c14da75339867e7010fe6caaf.jpg

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djobson101    30

I had gone a little gung ho in cutting the nut slot, meaning it wasn't done very nicely or with a plan so I decided to take an offcut from the fretboard and glue in back on behind the slot.

5942f64b29a29_PhotoJun1454321PM.thumb.jpg.998d96167c1b817c3b9aec2f28fc92d4.jpg5942f65974256_PhotoJun1520833PM.thumb.jpg.271f7d991f9521fe66f9b018b85c1f19.jpg5942f6656e517_PhotoJun1521825PM.thumb.jpg.21a29a407bf7a2f10b5b157d026f37e2.jpg I'm looking forward to this setting up so I can set the nut in and start cutting slots. After that, it's 

  • Need to screw in/sand down the control cavity cover
  • Test mount humbuckers
  • Drill for input jack

Really getting excited to cut those string slots in the nut though, I want to hear what it sounds like unplugged! :rock

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djobson101    30

Finished up some things, & found out more things to do..

I applied some finish product - decided to order some Sutherland Welles stuff since I had used it for a customer's floor earlier this year and thought it was neat & easy to apply. They have a hard sealer that is sort of like a primer for the topcoat. Here's after some brushed coats - not sure which one this was, but I did 2 coats of the sealer & 3 of the top coat ("Uralkyd 500").

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Then realized after waiting to put hardware on it that the bridge sat too high.

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Some rigmarole of pulling the post threads out...

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And reluctantly slapped another template on the thing :unsure:

(Here can also be seen that I attempted to string it up once without the top ferrules installed... taught string vs. cedar = <_<)

596e9db98be99_image1(9).thumb.JPG.3d251fe2dbf79ae8815f5ef0bc09e241.JPG596e9dbd0caa9_image2(5).thumb.JPG.79d2a56dacb402ac9a0b5e45afa53e8c.JPG

 

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djobson101    30

Went back after all this and painted flat black inside the humbucker cavities & bridge recess. Will have better pics later on but this is where we're at:

596e9e72742f7_image2(4).thumb.JPG.8230acd68043279e642f605b5d612560.JPG

I have a couple more things to do before I'm going to feel like it's "done" ... have to tame the wires a little bit inside so they are not as loose/visible from outside. Not totally visible in this picture but they are.

That and, there is a couple of horrendously improperly seated frets... makes for some false and buzzy notes. I'm otherwise mostly happy with how it's playing at the moment but I would really like to fix this if I could. Is there any way of approaching this without going too crazy?596e9ed540e97_image1(8).thumb.JPG.2318feecd64ab16eaa10d2ced611c844.JPG

 

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ScottR    1,366
On 7/18/2017 at 6:51 PM, djobson101 said:

Is there any way of approaching this without going too crazy?

Are the slots deep enough in the center?

SR

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Prostheta    1,257

If that's the issue, the tough call is having to pull them, deepen the slots and re-fret. At least the fret slots can be re-cut without issues with self-binding or whatever. Looking at the last posted photo, the fret tangs look like they might well be bottoming out. I'm with @ScottR on that one.

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djobson101    30

Thanks so much @eubie & @Prostheta. @ScottR I'm I'm fairly sure (or at least hope) that they're deep enough - squeezing pressure by hand is enough to get the bottom of the crown portion to touch the fretboard. I'm worried though that this might have been one of the frets that put up a fight on it's way in and chewed the slot edges some?

Either way, I have plenty of leftover wire so I guess it'll be pulling the fret and taking care to check the slot and get the replacement right. By the way for pulling frets is it not recommended to use regular flush cutters and order the fret pullers that are specifically for this?

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eubie    53
2 minutes ago, djobson101 said:

By the way for pulling frets is it not recommended to use regular flush cutters and order the fret pullers that are specifically for this?

I think you can use the flush cutters, or a pair of small pliers - as long as the tool is getting a good grip on the fret without denting/gouging the underlying wood.  For instance, if a point of your tool is leveraged against the fretboard, you're probably going to end up sad.  But if you have a good flat area of the tool distributing its weight on the board, you will probably be ok.  Or better yet, get something between the tool and the wood like a credit card or similar - no sharp edges, flat enough to give you a good leverage point, etc.  Or just clamp the neck well, and pull the fret out without leveraging against the wood at all.

Here's the important information though (based on a history of both success and failure at this task)... heat up your frets before you pull them.  If you used any glue, this will soften the glue, and the heat will also expand/soften the wood just a tad.  Then go slow as you pull them.  The goal here is to keep chip-out to a minimum. 

I'm sure there are others with other experience and advice for you, but that's what I've learned from my mistakes.

-- se

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Prostheta    1,257

A thin steel fretboard protector, normally used for shielding the board during polishing can also be used as a buffer to protect the board from damage levering them up.

+1 on heat.

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bileshake    4
On 2/9/2017 at 4:38 AM, djobson101 said:

So I'm actually not sure how to approach the string gauge for this guitar. Is it that using light or normal gauge strings on the longer scale creates more tension by the time it's tuned up?

As long as I can get away with using a string set without a wound G string I think I'll be happy. 

I've got big sausage fingers and play a LTD HB-300 which is a 27" and it's beautiful, I used to buy 7str. pacs and through the .008 away. Ha Ha. just stay way from the wound G. I think 20 is the largest plain I've seen. Oh yeah I tune to droppedB or A.

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djobson101    30

Welp, work has been busy off the hook lately and I never did feel ambitious enough to yank the frets out of this thing and get it right. I'm thinking I might just leave the whole thing as it is and move on, since there are a number of additional things about it that would make me feel like it isn't worthy of being a "go-to" guitar... Here are my suspicions.

  • The body turned out pretty thin and since there aren't any contours where your arm rests on it, it feels a little awkward to play. It's also slightly neck-heavy
  • Using short and thin fret wire made it so that a lot of your finger is in contact with the fretboard and I feel like it has a smidge less sustain, sort of towards how a fretless guitar feels (not that I don't have love for fretless instruments :) but it wasn't what I was hoping for!)
  • The neck is pretty straight, just can't seem to get the action where I'd like, I'm convinced that the whole neck sort of bows a little from the heel when under string tension because of the excess of soft wood in the construction

Overall though I'm happy with how it turned out and of course there is a lot to improve on... I have been messing around with a couple projects on my days off but have been a slouch with maintaining any kind of work flow and taking good pictures of things. I really want to get a proper build going soon!

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Andyjr1515    536
On 19/11/2017 at 8:29 PM, djobson101 said:

Welp, work has been busy off the hook lately and I never did feel ambitious enough to yank the frets out of this thing and get it right. I'm thinking I might just leave the whole thing as it is and move on, since there are a number of additional things about it that would make me feel like it isn't worthy of being a "go-to" guitar... Here are my suspicions.

  • The body turned out pretty thin and since there aren't any contours where your arm rests on it, it feels a little awkward to play. It's also slightly neck-heavy
  • Using short and thin fret wire made it so that a lot of your finger is in contact with the fretboard and I feel like it has a smidge less sustain, sort of towards how a fretless guitar feels (not that I don't have love for fretless instruments :) but it wasn't what I was hoping for!)
  • The neck is pretty straight, just can't seem to get the action where I'd like, I'm convinced that the whole neck sort of bows a little from the heel when under string tension because of the excess of soft wood in the construction

Overall though I'm happy with how it turned out and of course there is a lot to improve on... I have been messing around with a couple projects on my days off but have been a slouch with maintaining any kind of work flow and taking good pictures of things. I really want to get a proper build going soon!

I'm a bit late on this one :rolleyes:

Anyway, a few things occur to me:

  • Personally, I HATE the just-finished bit of any build I do.  The first set up.  I pretty much always think it's a disaster.  I'm pretty much always ready to admit defeat, email the intended owner with profuse apologies and sorting out a bin bag big enough to dispose of it.  Really.
  • Ref the frets - I think you said that the frets where the middle is high (and there were not too many of them?) you could bottom to the fretboard with a firm push?  A squeeze of titebond along the gap, clamped down with a radius block for 1/2 hr or so (or a dribble of thin CA glue along the line and simple a firm push until the wick'd glue has set) will usually sort.  If it actually will ground to the fretboard at all, then it's  often just that the tangs have cut a groove and don't have enough resistance to hold the fret flat against its natural tendency to return to its radiussed shape.  You only have slots that need deepening if it won't bottom however hard you press or clamp it down.
  • Ref the neck heavy, there are a few options.  Change of button position; extension to the top button; wider strap; lighter tuners (this will make a BIG difference on the longer neck)
  • The action takes, in my own experience, a bit of iteration of fret levelling, truss rod adjustment, leaving to settle and repeating.  I'm doing exactly that at the moment with the Alembicesque build...and it's going to the owner in less than a week's time.  I've still got a slightly higher action than I think it should end up with so I have at least one more iteration to do.
  • Ref the fretwire - even a new bought guitar usually takes a few weeks of playing until you settle in with it.  The first Gibson Les Paul I had took months for me - and the only real difference was going to a 12" radius from a 9.5"...

So by all means hang this on the wall for a bit and start the next one....but do come back to it.  It looks superb and I have no doubt whatsoever that it will play superbly well too once you've done a bit of normal post-build tweaking.... :thumb:

 

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djobson101    30

I know it would be reasonable enough to go through a small checklist to try and get it up to snuff but I'm also kind of just hitting the wall with it mentally right now... I mean, it looks okayish enough as a decoration for the time being :rolleyes: believe me though I am certainly in the mode of thinking it's a disaster.

I think you're right on with the fret situation, if you squeeze them even by hand you can get it to bottom out but then it returns to it's unseated position.. I'm pretty sure my technique in both bending the wire and installing it to the fret board left much to be desired. Probably badly chewed a slot or two :unsure: or five :lol: at some point this season I should give it a whirl with wicking some glue down in the couple troublesome slots.. 

By the way that bass looks like it came out amazing, you really brought that thing back and then some. If I were the owner getting it back from what it came to you like, I'd be floored!

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Prostheta    1,257

This happens a lot, I think. A person's first builds are often carried out with a set perspective based around high expectations which are not always in line with how it'll turn out. Problem is, it's rarely easy to get a handle on what is being done right, what is being done incorrectly and what needs practice until you have a little experience under your belt....and that often comes as a result of completing a less than satisfactory first build. A lot is always taken from first builds of course. Finding your bearings. You not have an excellent grounding point and set of experiences that will help you step up to a higher level with subsequent builds. Rather than regret anything from this build or any build (unless you spunked a crapload of cash on an expensive irreplaceable set of woods, which I see too often....and have done myself) just stick to the idea that you're on an uphill path.

Instruments are a built using a large set of differing skills and knowledges rather than one skill of "instrument making". Things like cleanly-cut fret slots are one of those. I don't like the term "hitting the wall" and it implies an impassable limit. You know where you can improve, and that's more than a lot of builders who are satisfied with what they do.

If you're going to glue your frets down, use something that can clamp them in place whilst the glue cures and be prepared for cleaning up squeezeout and excess from gravity. Getting the right amount for it to be effective and not a mess is a bit of a trick, especially if you use CA with a small time window to get it done and step back.

Got to run to work....I hope this provides some encouragement any maybe a more positive perspective. Less hitting walls ;-)

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Prostheta    1,257

When the thread is reviewed Dalton, you can see a lot of problem-solving and good application to them. I don't see that much wrong with this build. Maybe dropping the bass side of the TOM bridge back for easier compensation. Oops on the heel, but hey.

F-holes....I would approach these using a router bushing set. Your Makita should be compatible with a generic Porter Cable set for a couple dozen bucks. Tight radii can be done that way if you make a custom template that incorporates a bushing offset.

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djobson101    30

Yes... the expectations get the better of me all too easily :lol: I will say though to take away one good thing from that, it's that viewing the high quality work that makes up much of this site moved me enough to get started with this. I do feel better knowing that when I come across these areas again things won't be as daunting.

My feelings on the coming winter, though, are another story :rolleyes: It shall be a time to PLAN a great many things, lol. Or invest in a sweet heater for my garage.

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