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Rizh    5

Hey everybody, I'd like to share my first build with you guys before I finish it (and maybe get some advice on the way)

 

So I've been meaning to build my own guitar or bass since I was 17 years old, but it's a bit scary at first. I then decided I wanted to try it, 4 years later, but got disappointed when I failed at finding wood. Then I saw a video of a guy building a guitar out of plywood -neck included- and I thought it was a good way to start (also considering I don't have the tools to work with other kinds of wood). As a fan of the band Muse, I decided I wanted a replica of a Manson guitar.

 

I got the plywood from Home Depot, 12 mm thickness, and I planned to build it on 3 layers so it would get a total depth of 36mm for the guitars body.

I printed a full size image of the guitar 21106908_1695766473801389_87171204329446

I'll post more to this after school.

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Mike.Mara    48

I can see why you'd rather make one than buy one... Those signature models are pricey!

I've been interested in building a plywood guitar myself (body anyways). There's no reason not to, quite a few companies have used plywood in the past!

Best of luck on your build! Look forward to seeing how this one turns out!

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Rizh    5

Thanks! Yes they are pricey and I have the feel that the Cort model doesn't do justice to mansons.

 

Here I'll leave photos of the process

21106908_1695766473801389_8717120432944685265_n.jpg

22154401_1695766487134721_891278966612087747_n.jpg

22228424_1695766523801384_6149815294483088939_n.jpg

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Prostheta    1,257

Hi Rizh! I love working with plywood....maybe not for a guitar body (super heavy!) but it's a great engineered wood product. Making jigs from plywood is just as enjoyable as making instruments, sometimes....

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charisjapan    115

Hey @Rizh

Looks like a great project.  I also got into building so as not to pay 💰 for the guitar I could not afford ... but soon ended up with my own design instead. But you seem to know what you want, and that's great.

One suggestion ... since your guitar is a three-piece "sandwich," consider chambering the center piece.  As has been mentioned, plywood is heavy, so cutting out some of the unnecessary areas of the middle piece will lighten the body, and might even add a bit more musical quality ... plywood can be a bit "dead" with the added glue.

Just a thought! :)

Cheers

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Rizh    5
1 hour ago, Prostheta said:

Hi Rizh! I love working with plywood....maybe not for a guitar body (super heavy!) but it's a great engineered wood product. Making jigs from plywood is just as enjoyable as making instruments, sometimes....

Yeah haha I wasnt aware of the weight of plywood, the body is as heavy as a les paul's

 

25 minutes ago, charisjapan said:

Hey @Rizh

Looks like a great project.  I also got into building so as not to pay 💰 for the guitar I could not afford ... but soon ended up with my own design instead. But you seem to know what you want, and that's great.

One suggestion ... since your guitar is a three-piece "sandwich," consider chambering the center piece.  As has been mentioned, plywood is heavy, so cutting out some of the unnecessary areas of the middle piece will lighten the body, and might even add a bit more musical quality ... plywood can be a bit "dead" with the added glue.

Just a thought! :)

Cheers

Yeah I've always found manson guitar's bodies attractive, even though they are similar to a Telecaster, which I dont like that much. I didnt take the weight into account and I "routed" it (with a drill) that way so it would be easy to slip a cable to and from the killswitch. The layers are already glued so yeah haha but I'd have definitely taken your advice.

 

Later Ill post more pictures and specs

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Rizh    5

Specs for the guitar:

- 2 Mystery Chinese Humbuckers: I got 2 humbuckers on eBay, and they have two wires each, which confused me at first but then I saw that I could wire them the way single coils are wired (Right? Correct me if I'm wrong haha) $8.50

-Two 3-way switches; one for tone and one to use as a killswitch. $2.90

-Two A250k switches for Volume and Tone 99 cents

-22 fret Strat Maple neck with rosewood fretboard from eBay: Because I dont feel ready to try to build a guitar neck, and I don't have the necessary tools $25.37

-6 Tuning Machine Heads from ebay: I bought 6 inline right machine heads but received 5 right ones and a left one, so it will look different. $5.14

-Home Depot 12mm Plywood (0.61meters by 1.22meters) $8.80

-Hardtail Fixed Bridge $13.80

Total cost: $65.50

Tools that I had available: Power Drill, HackSaw, Metal File, Dremel Tool and I borrowed a Jigsaw at the very end only to cut the body.

I started by scaling a front image of the guitar to a kind of real size. I dont quite remember how i did that. After that I started drawing the outline and marking the places where screws would be. Then I cut the three layers apart with the hacksaw, which took 3 days haha

Then I started "routing" the cavities on each layer, I did it by drilling holes into them and then cutting them with the blade (just the blade) of the hacksaw and finally I tried to file the edges.

1.thumb.jpg.b8da4a481f7d3874642d5fb5c27ea4d3.jpg2.thumb.jpg.1d6893d0873341ebab5194c20c7fd65c.jpg

 

59d59bdd74064_Guitar(7).thumb.jpg.62e5159440b9847992f5cfadf19bfd18.jpg

 

After reading a lot about this, I realised that the control cavity is way too big. I think it may cause some noise but I'm not too sure.

 

I've done more than this, I'll post more tomorrow, but I'll take this chance to show you my wiring diagram.

I'm not entirely sure how the diagram of the switches work, but to synthetize; before wiring the volume to the output, I would solder it to one position of the second switch, so the other two positions would act like a kill switch. Am i right?

wiring.png.2b1a072d222bd72e570b18e12dbdfcd8.png

 

Cheers x

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curtisa    467
22 hours ago, Rizh said:

I'm not entirely sure how the diagram of the switches work, but to synthetize; before wiring the volume to the output, I would solder it to one position of the second switch, so the other two positions would act like a kill switch. Am i right?

The way you have it wired will connect the volume pot to the output jack for two of the three positions on the 3-way switch, and disconnect it for the third position.

The problem with making it a connect/disconnect is that on the "disconnected" position it will be effectively the same as unplugging your lead and leaving it hanging in mid-air, ie very noisy. The better solution, and the way kill switches are normally installed, is to have the kill switch wired to short the output of the volume pot to ground.

Wire the middle lug of your volume pot direct to the output jack and then use the two leads on your kill switch to connect across the two lugs on the output jack instead.

 

22 hours ago, Rizh said:

wiring.png.2b1a072d222bd72e570b18e12dbdfcd8.png

You're missing a ground connection between the case of the tone pot and the case of the volume pot.

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Rizh    5
13 hours ago, Prostheta said:

I doubt it'll cause noise.

That's weird, I thought I saw something about a relation of the control cavity size and undesired humming or such. Thanks! 

 

Hey @curtisa, thanks a lot! I really know nothing about wiring even though I've managed to figure things out in the past like when I built a fuzz pedal that didn't work (certainly a story for a different day)

So, that wiring diagram is a bit confusing to me, I've made it different for me to understand haha

59d6ef68e45d6_Copyofwiring.png.9d5a6774f7760458bb0fbafb59928216.png

 

Do you guys think it would work? It seems to me right now that it would... but what do I know haha

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

So; I then proceeded to route the rest of the middle layer. The reason I cut it that way between where the killswitch would be and the pickups is because I thought It would be hard to get a cable to that place when everything was glued, but I think the final weight may not be worth it haha.

3.jpg.beb4e2908610eb52cc8c24172de0e669.jpg

 

The lines around the body are how I planned to cut it with the hacksaw, crazy, but I didn't have the jigsaw at that moment so ...

 

Top and middle layers 'routed'

4.jpg.ed12a0a31421c746d851e5a7bcb79a61.jpg

That pickup there made me feel like I was getting something done; so encouraging!

Dremel tool used to get some space for the knobs:

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It looked beautiful. 

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Then I was so eager to get it all glued so I did it without considering that it still needs the output cavity and without  caring that the neck pocket would be only 12 mm deep, whilst I planned it to be at least 15mm; never rush your work, my friends.                                   

8.jpg.53728aa2781d0baa31fe63b48630f3f5.jpg

Yes, only two clamps, but what could possibly go wrong?

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curtisa    467
57 minutes ago, Rizh said:

That's weird, I thought I saw something about a relation of the control cavity size and undesired humming or such.

Nope - there's no relation between cavity size and susceptibility to hum pickup.

 

58 minutes ago, Rizh said:

Do you guys think it would work?

It looks a bit unusual, but yes, it will work. You'll get sound when the three-way switch is all the way over in position 1 and no sound for positions 2 and 3.

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Rizh    5
2 hours ago, Prostheta said:

Let's see!

Lets hope it turns out good!

2 hours ago, curtisa said:

It looks a bit unusual, but yes, it will work. You'll get sound when the three-way switch is all the way over in position 1 and no sound for positions 2 and 3.

I thought it that way because i didnt understand that part of 

 

5 hours ago, curtisa said:

use the two leads on your kill switch to connect across the two lugs on the output jack instead.

If i can figure it out I'll try it, because I'd rather have two positions with sound

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Rizh    5

Lets keep going!

After 2 days, I released the wood from the pressure. Put some hardware on just to see it

9.jpg.fc7325bc7505cdf6c856fa847300f287.jpg

 

After some time I got a jigsaw so I decided to try and cut the body shape.

10.jpg.ba854f913e74744f478f30c88b984891.jpg11.thumb.jpg.d8c866814517d171d2a2ca15c0711813.jpg

 

 

It then took some days for the neck to arrive, and when I got it I tried to fit it inside the neck pocket, it is such a tight fit!

12.jpg.67d3b40d3f829e618a26860c05298ad3.jpg

I then installed the bridge, by making holes for the screws with a screwdriver and a hammer

13.jpg.d97049ca45aaf9e381af8cc469ff548f.jpg

 

And here we are! This is the point I'm at currently. I have two issues:

1) Neck pocket is too high. I'm considering adding some height to the bridge by any means I can... I did a thing that might not be the best choice. I put some coins beneath the bridge so it stays higher. How much of a bad idea could this be?

2) I tried to make a hole for a 3 way swtich, but it accidentally broke. I'm considering following my girlfriend's advise of repairing it with epoxy clay. What do you guys think?

59d9c711eff43_13-copia.jpg.d960bc0dd6e9b926f4578eb423a06d19.jpg

 

That's it till now! Thank you.

 

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curtisa    467

You could add a fourth layer of plywood to the body to effectively make the neck pocket deeper. That'd also have the advantage of covering the splintering around the selector switch hole to give you a second shot at drilling it cleanly.

1/4" thick plywood should be fairly easy to obtain, which is probably pretty close to how much deeper the neck pocket would need to be.

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Prostheta    1,257

It's a bit of extra weight, but by this point that is like rain in the sea. :lol:

Is it not possible to deepen the neck pocket? I'm guessing that a router is not part of this game.

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curtisa    467

My first electric guitar was a cheap Chinese Strat copy. Body was all plywood, but I don't recall it being overly heavy.

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Prostheta    1,257

Same with my Japanese 80s Hondo Strat. My memory of its weight wasn't of it being very heavy, however most plywoods are cross-grained Birch which is more or less the same as most Maples.

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Rizh    5

I thought 1/4" would be too much, but considering the neck's heel is about 21 milimeters high (not including the fretboard) i think it will suffice.

 

And I dont have a router or anyone who can lend me one, so I think that would be maybe too much of a trouble to get.

So new plans; I'll wait till I have money to get that plywood. Do you guys have any ideas for getting the holes from the top of the body to the new plywood? I'm afraid I'll get them wrong. 

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curtisa    467

It can still be done with a drill and chisels if you take care as you go. You already have the neck pocket and pickup cavities cut out, so all you have to do is match what is already there.

@Andyjr1515 doesn't use a router much when creating cavities - have a look at his thread to see how he routes without a router

 

12 hours ago, Prostheta said:

Same with my Japanese 80s Hondo Strat. My memory of its weight wasn't of it being very heavy, however most plywoods are cross-grained Birch which is more or less the same as most Maples.

Hondo has more street cred than the "Torch" I had. I remember getting the shock of my life when I chipped the corner off it one day and found plywood poking out underneath the paint. I dunno what I as expecting to find underneath the surface of a sub-$200 guitar??

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Hi!

First of all, great first project! I especially like that you have worked around the tools you don't have by using alternative material that works well with the tools that you do.

Regarding your problem with the depth of the neck pocket, one way of uniformly deepening it without router would be to score the inside outline of the pocket with scalpel, exacto knife or a chisel, and to use the plywood to your advantage once again :) Use the chisel to peel off a layer of plywood or two, that gets you reasonably close to desired depth. Some riflers and a good flat double cut file should make the surface nice and flat, and/or get you to the exact depth.

Hope this helps!

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Rizh    5
19 hours ago, curtisa said:

It can still be done with a drill and chisels if you take care as you go. You already have the neck pocket and pickup cavities cut out, so all you have to do is match what is already there.

@Andyjr1515 doesn't use a router much when creating cavities - have a look at his thread to see how he routes without a router

 

Hondo has more street cred than the "Torch" I had. I remember getting the shock of my life when I chipped the corner off it one day and found plywood poking out underneath the paint. I dunno what I as expecting to find underneath the surface of a sub-$200 guitar??

Thanks for the post! Andy is a total artist with his guitar builds. I think that's the way I made the pickup cavities at first. 

4 hours ago, gpcustomguitars said:

Hi!

First of all, great first project! I especially like that you have worked around the tools you don't have by using alternative material that works well with the tools that you do.

Regarding your problem with the depth of the neck pocket, one way of uniformly deepening it without router would be to score the inside outline of the pocket with scalpel, exacto knife or a chisel, and to use the plywood to your advantage once again :) Use the chisel to peel off a layer of plywood or two, that gets you reasonably close to desired depth. Some riflers and a good flat double cut file should make the surface nice and flat, and/or get you to the exact depth.

Hope this helps!

Hey thanks! Your idea is pretty good and I think prefer that option. Only thing that worries me is that the neck screws (which I don't have yet) could go past the fretboard.  Maybe I could add the extra layer of plywood on the back? 

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Well, I understood that you layered 3 x 12mm, so you could add another layer of 4mm or even 6mm and it should be in the standard range. It would help to know some of the measurements, ie neck thickness without the fretboard. You could shorten the screws or get shorter ones, stainless ones are nice and you can get them in non-guitar related places, but you would need to have enough body thickness left int the neck pocket.

I'll assume that the neck without the fretboard is around 20mm, so you should have around 36-20=16mm. That should be enough, but additional 4mm on the back wouldn't hurt. You could lighten the body with some contouring if that's an issue.

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Rizh    5

So, I've tried to cut a 3mm shim to add a neck angle (which I was scared of because the neck would be angled forwards, and not behind the body as it's usually done) but I can't seem to find a reliable way to test it without drilling the neck to test it with a neckplate. (Which I still don't have).

The 3mm shim only works if I keep the bridge higher with the coins beneath it haha. I think this method might have some bad consequences, like maybe the whole thing would be fragile for some reason, or that I could have intonation and tuning problems, specially when applying a little force to the neck.

I tested it with the high E and B strings and it seemed okay.

20171013_153341.thumb.jpg.2c52fe04e2c4b14422804cb4498c5613.jpg

Left: 3mm wood shim Right: WIP of a 5mm plywood shim so I can use it without adding coins beneath the bridge

On 9/10/2017 at 8:14 AM, gpcustomguitars said:

one way of uniformly deepening it without router would be to score the inside outline of the pocket with scalpel, exacto knife or a chisel, and to use the plywood to your advantage once again :) Use the chisel to peel off a layer of plywood or two, that gets you reasonably close to desired depth.

I found out how hard it is (to me) to peel off the layers with an exacto knife, maybe I dont have the right method haha. Also I only have a huge chisel, which i dont think would be useful for a precise work.

 

On 10/10/2017 at 2:57 AM, gpcustomguitars said:

Well, I understood that you layered 3 x 12mm, so you could add another layer of 4mm or even 6mm and it should be in the standard range. It would help to know some of the measurements, ie neck thickness without the fretboard. You could shorten the screws or get shorter ones, stainless ones are nice and you can get them in non-guitar related places, but you would need to have enough body thickness left int the neck pocket.

I'll assume that the neck without the fretboard is around 20mm, so you should have around 36-20=16mm. That should be enough, but additional 4mm on the back wouldn't hurt. You could lighten the body with some contouring if that's an issue.

The neck w/o fretboard is 21mm, so 6mm plywood on top would be ideal. I'm waiting till sunday so I get the money to buy it.

 

So I've been avoiding this method but ultimately seems like the perfect one. The thing that worries me the most is making the holes in the right place in the new top. I'm trying to think a good method to do it but we'll see in the future! See you guys on sunday!

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