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Andyjr1515

Finished Pics! One for Me - No 2 of a Brace (2) of 6 string electrics

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Bit more progress.  Having been quite pleased with the retro-fitting of binding on the fretboard of the Alembic-esque build, I've decided to go completely radical and bind it BEFORE I fit it to the neck and body and fret it! :D

For the binding, I've used some acoustic body binding with a b/w/b feature strip:

_MG_3888.thumb.JPG.cda1a4e66761c66258b8ba727f50b47d.JPG

I'm going for dots with the 12th fret a couple of swifts again...might make this my standard look

_MG_3887.thumb.JPG.bc80fc3ed54c9aa33bfb59f218c90f9d.JPG

 

_MG_3896.thumb.JPG.f3258e5aace8322ab6efa811a8176d3c.JPG

Epoxied mixed with snakewood dust (sounds like a Dr Feelgood remedy).  I'm sure I'll get used to the lumps when I'm playing :lol:

 

Note the router base rub mark at the 13th fret...it's swift-shaped :D

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4 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

I'm sure I'll get used to the lumps when I'm playing :lol:

Now, Andy. We have to talk about all these little double entendres you leave lying around in your threads. Sometimes I look at some of your comments and I think you're baiting us to see who will make the first 'Are You Being Served?' reference.

Or is that just me?

I can feel a thread derailment coming on...

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And here it is, ready for fretting.

_MG_3901.thumb.JPG.039b1c95825a092e9cb144f4272991c9.JPG

And so comes the next possible departure from my norm:

Fit then Fret (my normal way - mixed results)

or 

Fret then Fit (could this be my gateway to happiness....or simply more misery)?

 

What do you reckon?

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12 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Fit then Fret (my normal way - mixed results)

In what way? Difficulty in fretting/crowning/dressing due to the un-removeable neck-thru construction?

 

14 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Fret then Fit (could this be my gateway to happiness....or simply more misery)?

Wellllll, it's the way acoustic builders do it. I've tried it thrice and got OK results, certainly no worse than fit first then fret later. The biggest issue is lining the finalised fretboard up onto the neck and clamping the lumpy, radiused board while the glue dries. It's definitely easier to glue a flat board to a flat surface. Then again, thus far I've only done bolt-ons.

...Oooooerrr, I said 'lumpy'...

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47 minutes ago, curtisa said:

In what way? Difficulty in fretting/crowning/dressing due to the un-removeable neck-thru construction?

 

Wellllll, it's the way acoustic builders do it. I've tried it thrice and got OK results, certainly no worse than fit first then fret later. The biggest issue is lining the finalised fretboard up onto the neck and clamping the lumpy, radiused board while the glue dries. It's definitely easier to glue a flat board to a flat surface. Then again, thus far I've only done bolt-ons.

...Oooooerrr, I said 'lumpy'...

It's the difficulty of clamping the caul on the frets where the neck starts thickening towards the heel.  Nowadays, I run a thin bead of titebond along the tang, lightly hammer to properly position and then clamp tightly using a radius block as a caul.  Doing the latter would be a LOT easier on the bench rather than on a guitar...

Ref positioning, I would leave, say fret 2 and fret 12 out until the fretboard is on (where I know I can clamp the caul easy enough) and use the normal panel pin positioning for gluing the board on....

What do you reckon? 

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3 hours ago, ScottR said:

I always fret before setting the neck....but then mine have those long tenons and the clamping is mainly on the tenon.

SR

OK - that's decided me :)

 

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9 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

t's the difficulty of clamping the caul on the frets where the neck starts thickening towards the heel.  Nowadays, I run a thin bead of titebond along the tang, lightly hammer to properly position and then clamp tightly using a radius block as a caul.  Doing the latter would be a LOT easier on the bench rather than on a guitar...

Shape the neck after the fretboard is on? That way you have as many flat, square sections on the neck for your clamps as possible, and you can carve the neck to shape to remove the flat sections afterwards.

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Sorry - meant to say:

Shape the neck after performing the fretting. That way you have as many flat, square sections on the neck to use as 'backers' for your hammering as possible, and you can carve the neck to shape to remove the flat sections afterwards.

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1 hour ago, curtisa said:

Sorry - meant to say:

Shape the neck after performing the fretting. That way you have as many flat, square sections on the neck to use as 'backers' for your hammering as possible, and you can carve the neck to shape to remove the flat sections afterwards.

Sorry - I confused the issue.  Yes, an uncarved neck across the profile but it is roughly cut to shape from the side view.  No...that's probably no clearer :rolleyes:. I'll post a pic when I'm next on the desktop :)

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Well, of course after all of the debate about fret then set or set then fret and having gone for the former....what have I actually done?

Of course - I've gone for the other way - set then fret :rolleyes:

After making sure the top of the neck was properly flat, I chiselled out a recess in the top:

_MG_3962.thumb.JPG.989b27b66f49db3e858e0ca55efb503b.JPG

I then remembered the mantra that you can't have too many clamps:

_MG_3963.thumb.JPG.de712062217f05ff5f4823f3b026e1cd.JPG

 

...and that has got me to here

_MG_4029.thumb.JPG.6ba9235b2ebfb823888cf5866e9bbe9d.JPG

 

I'm quite pleased with the binding trick - it is certainly MUCH easier than full width, full length multiple veneers!:

_MG_4030.thumb.JPG.4764b2e008f7d752c04903df859b3cad.JPG

 

So next job is frets....

 

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7 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Well, of course after all of the debate about fret then set or set then fret and having gone for the former....what have I actually done?

Of course - I've gone for the other way - set then fret :rolleyes:

You must have remembered the reason you preferred to do it that way in the first place.:D

Like when I got tired of the beard I'd worn for a dozen years and shaved it off. A week later I started a new one after remembering every morning why I grew one in the first place.:P

SR

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Frets are in and basic body carve pretty much there.  Present weight is 4lbs 10oz

_MG_4045.thumb.JPG.d0ba7be832ac2d61a14e20d5cac06c1e.JPG

_MG_4046.thumb.JPG.f909c269464970e98b218e4c8a75ca57.JPG

Next job is neck carve :)

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1 hour ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Present weight is 4lbs 10oz

Wow, that's barely more than an air guitar.:)

I'm looking forward to seeing some finish on that top.

SR

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45 minutes ago, ScottR said:

Wow, that's barely more than an air guitar.:)

I'm looking forward to seeing some finish on that top.

SR

Yup - it should easily meet the sub 5 1/2 lbs finished target :)

I'm looking forward to the finish too.  I'm going to have another do with Osmo gloss (had some issues the first time I tried it)  However, it should look pretty close to the Alembic-esque recently finished...cut from the same billet:

_MG_3612.thumb.JPG.5fcafdafadd3ccec84a5a98d35a60673.JPG

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7 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

However, it should look pretty close to the Alembic-esque recently finished...cut from the same billet:

Which is exactly why I'm so looking forward to seeing it!:hyper

That one was a stunner.

SR

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When I build guitars and basses for other people, I get them to send me the profile measurements and shapes for their favourite neck.  While every guitar has its own feel, the objective is to at least create a familiarity in the playing of the new one.

With my creeping hand arthritis, this is particularly important for this guitar, which is being built for my own use, because I have guitars now that I can no longer play.  So out comes my most comfortable neck and my £2 Wilko carpenters profile gauge and a bit of old notepad cover and I have my profile templates :
_MG_4062.thumb.JPG.0ff020197b6fe7353b9ac73a94b51b3d.JPG

Each to his own, but for neck carving, my preferred tools are spokeshave for rough bulk removal and the humble cabinet scraper for the main carve:
_MG_4054.thumb.JPG.6a37e9067b41c8f5586173ac0ffc0fd5.JPG

You can see the size of the shavings from the spokeshave - brutal stuff.  So that really is, for me, just about taking the corners off.

Many/most of the experienced builders here already use cabinet scrapers, but if you never have trust me - they are the cheapest and most wonderful discovery to any guitar building enthusiast!  But don't take my word for it - just :

  • Buy a set (often just a few £'s /$'s in retail park DIY stores for starters)
  • Learn how to re-burnish them (they will come already burnished for initial use)
  • Try it!

They act like a mini plane.  These are the type of shavings from this morning:

_MG_4056.thumb.JPG.575f7b1221e694377b1298f2e6f423b0.JPG

They can remove wood remarkably quickly - but very, very controllably.  This avoids every neck-carver's nightmare - taking too much off!  You can literally creep up to your target shape and size.

Final tool I use, just for the awkward bits round the volute and neck/body join is a fine curved micro-plane blade (mine in UK comes from Axminster).  Wearing gloves, I use the microplane two-handed handle-less, a bit like a scraper.  This gives me maximum control:
_MG_4057.thumb.JPG.5662e21da47f6b32a54fd132b0c7eeff.JPG

I will spend the rest of the day finishing this off, but between washing up the breakfast pots and coffee time - and including re-burnishing the cabinet scrapers - the neck went from a 3-4mm oversize rectangular block to this:
 _MG_4061.thumb.JPG.29323f832104a373481a0cdfa19fa68b.JPG

 

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OK - a recap of the objectives of this build (which, because this build is for me, I can try all sorts of things on and not worry too much if they don't work):

  • To try to prove or disprove the appeal, through a concept build, of a guitar design that would appeal particularly to: older players (ie, old arthritic sods like me); younger players; women players
  • Make it lightweight and well balancing.  Heavy guitars can be problematic to the above categories of players
  • Keep the overall look and materials traditional enough to nevertheless appeal to at least some of the notoriously conservative 6-string fraternity and to introduce improvements of playability without it being seen as 'whacky'.
  • Make it play and sound like a 'proper' electric
  • Fully exploit the thin body profile - used as a key mechanism to reduce weight - both aesthetically and functionally

Well - ref meeting those objectives:

  • Weight.  Currently sitting at 4lbs 4oz.  Weight to add - headstock wings; pickups; tuners; bridge.  Target weight 5 1/4lbs
  • Balance.  With the strap button destined to sit between the 12th and 13th fret, unlikely to pose difficulties
  • Overall look.  OK - its not a Les Paul or a Strat so will alienate a decent proportion of players.  But, personally, I think it does nevertheless look like a guitar :D
  • Materials.  Again, the use of figured woods will alienate a few more.  But it is, at least, made out of tree wood.  No plastics or composites in the main construction
  • Make it play and sound like a 'proper' guitar.  Here, I will lose a few more experienced players.  It certainly will SOUND like a proper guitar.  But it will be light.  And some players - who are used to the weight - like the 'gravitas' provided by that weight.  However, I also know personally at least two regular gigging guitarists on the edge of having to give up due to the weight of standard ranges....
  • Fully exploit the thin body profile aesthetically and functionally - this comes next :lol:

 

 

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OK - fully exploiting the thin body profile.

Well - one of the niggles I've always had about the two icon models of the Gibson Les Paul and the Fender Stratocaster (and don't get me wrong - I love both of them and believe them to have been utterly inspired and inspiring) is what happens to your fretting thumb when you reach the upper frets.

So - heck - at worst I can still use the wood on the BBQ....

This is where I'd got to:

_MG_4061.thumb.JPG.29323f832104a373481a0cdfa19fa68b.JPG

The thickness at the heel is still only the same as a Strat neck....without the body attached!  But it could and should be better.

With 'normal' playing style, your fretting thumb still reaches full body depth before you reach the highest fret.

So out came the rasp file:

_MG_4072.thumb.JPG.24f0e0adc6f9732c9034cdec33a74edc.JPG

Which, after some careful 'creeping up on it', became this:

_MG_4076.thumb.JPG.b100c246bf87f300c5efcfb10aaa1c02.JPG

And - with some lumps and bumps still to sand out becomes this:

_MG_4082.thumb.JPG.109d8bda7d91c4b02edb51f3da94c90a.JPG

 

Functionally, it could go deeper, but from a playing point of view, you now don't feel at all on your thumb that you have reached  the heel up to and including the top fret.  And, to the traditionalists - well, not too whacky?:

_MG_4080.thumb.JPG.9badda78a9913dc31f9a977c25aa5259.JPG

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That's a clear list of objectives and ones which I completely agree with Andy. Why stick to building clones of traditional stuff that doesn't work for the player or has some poorly thought out design?

That neck carve looks great, nice one.

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On 1/7/2018 at 10:15 AM, Andyjr1515 said:

Again, the use of figured woods will alienate a few more.

Those folks  are a prime target for alienation.:lol:

My neck joins are never complete until my thumb is happy too. Well done. Folks who prefer a traditional guitar should just go out and buy one.

SR

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So to the headstock.  I will be replicating the headstock from Tim's Alembic-esque build - it is a sister build, after all.  First I've added a couple of wings from some neck wood offcut:

_MG_4083.thumb.JPG.3f6d3d0b91843b9503d17d47de462b3e.JPG

 

Then I managed to coax my little bandsaw into cutting some thin slivers off some camphor-laurel offcut - one for the headstock plate and one for the control chamber cover:

_MG_4087.thumb.JPG.746e2977b482fe95e8b7c0eb5dfd4a68.JPG

 

This is broadly how the finished shape will look:_MG_4086.thumb.JPG.90333e5067a1920866a06b3539f1d713.JPG

 

I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder but, to my squiffy eyes, I think it looks quite pretty :)

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I dig :)

And totally agree about guitars being lighter. Having made a couple of bantam-weight instruments in the last couple of years I can't imagine going back to the big heavies anymore.

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So far so good.

Here's the cut, plated and inlayed headstock:

_MG_4113.thumb.JPG.a24df41b0ee3fc8818a0a60707d7d9fe.JPG

Then to the control chamber:

Before I start routing out the bottom of a control chamber, I like to drill at least a couple of the pot holes just to give myself a second check of thickness in addition to the rather splendid Crimson caliper measure.

The only concessions so far on electrics ref the very thin body is going to a barrel jack and a switchcraft angled toggle three-way.  The chamber will be plenty deep enough for the pots and the mini toggles.  Both the 3-way and the barrel are on order so I won't drill all the holes until I have them here, but at its most basic, this is what I'll have (conventional 3-way in the photo):

_MG_4117.thumb.JPG.ae9974542f321d8d77de2e6a36478684.JPG

Almost certainly, I will add a second volume pot to go: vol; vol; master tone; split neck; split bridge.  Looking at this and the specs of the parts on order, it should all fit fine

I was happy to drill the holes for the first two pots to give me that extra reference point for thickness before getting out a bearing-bitted router out to deepen the chamber:

_MG_4120.thumb.JPG.cf309e8928eab3dcdfca60cb80724a9b.JPG

 

This leaves me with 3mm at its thinnest and 5mm at its thickest.  I could go a touch thinner for most of the area, but I shouldn't need to - so won't until and unless I do need to.

And that brings the finished body weight - including the hatch - to just a touch over 4lbs :D

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