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Ethereal Guitars

The Oracle - First Build in 3 Years - Glad To Be Back!

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I first joined PG back in 2006 when I built my first electric.  I owe a lot to this forum as without it (and the help of my good mate Oz Tradie) I wouldn't have finished the 40 odd guitars I've built over the past 10 years.  Great information + great people = the ultimate guitar builders community.

Unfortunately for my my guitar building plans I've moved house several times since 2012 and it's been challenging to say the least dragging machinery and tonewood around, setting up and packing up!  Thankfully, I've now settled and won't be going anywhere anytime soon.   I've recently had time to build my new workshop. and have been getting myself setup again and ready to make dust!

My first project for the "new era" is a singlecut design I call "The Oracle".  There's nothing groundbreaking or radical going on, just a good solid design that I have had success with in the past.  I'm a Les Paul guy to the core so the inspiration is obvious but I like to add my own spin and create something unique.

I'll document the build as best as I can and share as much as I am able.  We'll kick off proceedings with some pictures of the new workshop.  It's a 6mx3.5m space built inside a 3 car tin garage/barn.  All the walls and celing are insulated and it seems to be working a treat so far with stable temperature and humidity hovering around 50.....creeps to 55...dehumidifier for 2 hours and it drops to 40 then takes 3 days to creep back to 50.

 

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Anyway, enough of the workshop and onto the build!  I'm using a nice slab of African Mahogany for the body.  It's sanded to just on 36mm.  It will be solid, no weight relief or chambering.  I'm using some nicely figured Tasmanian Blackwood for a bookmatched 16mm top.  The neck is a 5 piece laminate with a bookmatched Blackwood billet for the outers, black dyed maple veneers and a Queensland Walnut centre piece.  I'm going with CF Rods and an LMI truss rod for max stability. I'm using Gidgee for the fretboard - an Australian Desert Hardwood - some really nice figure and colour, super stable and makes great FB's - Gidgee's the one on the left and that's the one I'm going with.

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This guitar will be a 25" scale, 22 fret twin humbucker build with standard LP controls (2 Vol, 2 Tone and a 3 way toggle).  Reckon I'll go with push/pulls on both volumes for parallel and tap options.  Fret board has been slotted and I've got the body well underway - and that's pretty much where I'm up to .  Oh yeah......my name's Jon!

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Nice seeing that you're making first sawdust in your organisation there! Nothing like putting it in place, then covering it all with a fine layer of work. :lol:

That Gidgee looks spectacular....is it hard to come?

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2 hours ago, Prostheta said:

Nice seeing that you're making first sawdust in your organisation there! Nothing like putting it in place, then covering it all with a fine layer of work. :lol:

That Gidgee looks spectacular....is it hard to come?

Thanks Prostheta.  Gidgee is certainly not a commercially harvested wood on any large scale.  I have a contact (one guy operation) who sources the timber from privately owned farms.  Being a desert hardwood, it takes forever to grow and does not grow big so supplies are certainly not plentiful from what I understand.

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Good to see another Oorstrayan around here. I suspect you and I might have a Gidgee and Blackwood supplier in common. ;)

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4 hours ago, curtisa said:

Good to see another Oorstrayan around here. I suspect you and I might have a Gidgee and Blackwood supplier in common. ;)

Cheers mate!  Reckon you're probably right too - Mr Loggerheads and Mr Tasmanian Tonewoods :thumb:

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Some progress this weekend on The Oracle.  

Blackwood top has been glued to the body and flush routed.  I've started using a Scheppach Table Router for a lot of my routing work and it's working out great.  Dust extraction fence makes for clean work and the setup overall is pretty impressive.  These routers are cheap too - might not last for years depending on workload of course but right now it's a winner!

I've also routed the toggle switch cavity and the cavity plate recesses - plates are done too with just a fraction still to remove so not such a tight fit.

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Looking good, Jon. The right balance of no frills and bling in my book.

How is Mr Oz Tradie? I used to visit his website for updates on his builds and borrow some new ideas, but I notice he hasn't updated anything for a couple of years now.

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17 minutes ago, curtisa said:

Looking good, Jon. The right balance of no frills and bling in my book.

How is Mr Oz Tradie? I used to visit his website for updates on his builds and borrow some new ideas, but I notice he hasn't updated anything for a couple of years now.

Thanks mate.  Yep not too over the top which I find appeals to more people - not quite so individualised.  Oz Tradie is alive, well and smiling :-).

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12 hours ago, rhoads56 said:

Please change your name, so you aren't confused with a similar brand also from Australia. 

:(

Hi Perry.  I registered my business name Ethereal Guitars in Victoria on the 1st May 2007.  The etherIal business name to my understanding came along well and truly after mine hence their need to misspell the name.  I have no intention or desire to change my business name.

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They make impressive high-concept stuff. It'd be a shame for you guys to have bad bones over a name. Anyway. Conversation for another time. Let's make with the guitars, ladies. :thumb:

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No bad bones here - long live every guitar builder :thumb:.

I've made some progress with the neck over the past week. I have used some ultra thin plumbers tape for the LMI truss rod as I had a bad rattling experience with one several years ago.  Fretboard is on and I have used a 2mm Blackwood headstock veneer to match with the body.  I'm running with an 11 degree headstock angle.  Next job will be to install the abalone diamond fret inlays. 

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I've never gotten around to making a neck pocket routing jig before but I've managed to put this one together.  It worked out really well and the alignment is bang on perfect with a lot less mucking around than with rulers and string lines as I've done in the past.  The laser is a pretty cool way to get things lined up, not foolprooof by any stretch but a useful tool for sure.

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2 hours ago, Ethereal Guitars said:

  The laser is a pretty cool way to get things lined up, not foolprooof by any stretch but a useful tool for sure.

+1 on the laser line up. I cant remember where I first saw a laser being used for neck alignment- either this site or maybe youtube- but i have used it ever since- so quick- frees up your hands and more importantly gets over the "landscape/elevation" issues - the light travels over the body and a raised neck/ fretboard- you can move and line up the neck vs having to hover over the neck/body move strings or rulers or what have you- so much easier. 

This is shaping up nicely. what type of bridge will you be using on this? 

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10 minutes ago, Mr Natural said:

 

 

+1 on the laser line up. I cant remember where I first saw a laser being used for neck alignment- either this site or maybe youtube- but i have used it ever since- so quick- frees up your hands and more importantly gets over the "landscape/elevation" issues - the light travels over the body and a raised neck/ fretboard- you can move and line up the neck vs having to hover over the neck/body move strings or rulers or what have you- so much easier. 

This is shaping up nicely. what type of bridge will you be using on this? 

I found it pretty hard to find a decent laser level that could do this job but I have been able to make do.  It casts a fairly thick line - maybe 3mm thick so I just centred it/eyeball and did some double check alternate measurements to make sure I was on target before routing.  Bridge for this guitar will be a Gotoh TOM with string through ferrules.

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Yeah, lasers that cast thin concentrated lines are probably "less than the safest" compared to more diffuse thicker lines.

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I simply use the laser line to align to the center line drawn on the body (which is clamped down), and once that is done its simply a matter of lining up the neck- and I have a white center line drawn on the fretboard-and two free hands to maneuver and clamp with. My laser has a couple of "heads" that allow for thin line, thick line and spot Once the laser light is lined up on the center line-its a cake walk- and I would say its more accurate than without it. you can immediately tell when you are off center using the laser.  

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11 hours ago, Mr Natural said:

I simply use the laser line to align to the center line drawn on the body (which is clamped down), and once that is done its simply a matter of lining up the neck- and I have a white center line drawn on the fretboard-and two free hands to maneuver and clamp with. My laser has a couple of "heads" that allow for thin line, thick line and spot Once the laser light is lined up on the center line-its a cake walk- and I would say its more accurate than without it. you can immediately tell when you are off center using the laser.  

Do you mind me asking what brand, model your laser is?  The choice of lasers on the market is off the charts but finding the ones that just cast a simple line seems to be pretty hard in Australia.  Thin line would be a dream!

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@Ethereal Guitars- its a Titan brand laser. I tried looking it up online- I am not sure Titan makes these anymore- its a self leveling laser that looks like a bar level and comes with a tripod and mounting guide.  I found a couple of 7piece Titan level kits online (ebay, aftermarket shops)-for approx $50 usd,  but mine is 15 piece and I want to say it was more like $200. I have had it for at least (?) 20 years, possibly more

after looking at your pic above- I am not sure what I am calling my "thin" line is much different than yours. The "thin line" head doesnt project well past about five feet- and what I am calling "thick line" is the head that appears to be for further distances from the level. I will take a photo in the next day or two and post to show you what I am talking about. 

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On 8/14/2017 at 1:26 AM, Mr Natural said:

@Ethereal Guitars- its a Titan brand laser. I tried looking it up online- I am not sure Titan makes these anymore- its a self leveling laser that looks like a bar level and comes with a tripod and mounting guide.  I found a couple of 7piece Titan level kits online (ebay, aftermarket shops)-for approx $50 usd,  but mine is 15 piece and I want to say it was more like $200. I have had it for at least (?) 20 years, possibly more

after looking at your pic above- I am not sure what I am calling my "thin" line is much different than yours. The "thin line" head doesnt project well past about five feet- and what I am calling "thick line" is the head that appears to be for further distances from the level. I will take a photo in the next day or two and post to show you what I am talking about. 

Thanks for the extra info.  My laser projects a line that is around 3mm thick so I just eyeballed to centre my centreline within the 3mm if that makes sense.  It would be amazing to get a 1mm sharp laser line.  Having said that, I don't know much about lasers and from what Prostheta suggested - a thin line might burn a hole straight through the guitar!  Or me <_<

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