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New member uncloaking. After making some modifications to guitars I own, I'm dipping a first tentative toe into the world of guitar building. I have no experience with or access to big scary tools like bandsaws and routers as yet, so the body and neck are a kit I bought off the internet.

The kit

The body is allegedly mahogany, but it's paler and yellower than any mahogany I've ever seen and soft enough to drive screws into without drilling pilot holes. The top veneer is pretty, but about an atom thick. The neck is a glue-in one, and is a nice piece of maple with a scarf joint. The hardware and electronics are cheap rubbish so I've ordered better parts from various sources, including this piezo bridge I'll try and figure out how to wire.

Piezo bridge

Headstock shaped with a coping saw, a rasp, and plenty of sandpaper.

Headstock shape

Neck glued, hardware and electronics added to see how everything lines up. The tailpiece is a Duesenberg Les Trem II - I have one in my Les Paul and I really like it. The neck pickup is a Gibson 61 humbucker. The bridge pickup is a custom-made humbucker-sized P90. Despite the tapered headstock, string pull is not straight, so I've added a String Butler, which has rollers to redirect the strings to the tuners after running straight across the not.

more fitting

Since that photo I have replaced the cheap black plastic nut with a Graphtexh TUSQ XL one, and discovered that the piezo bridge is way too high. Most tune-o-matic style bridges are recessed on the bottom for the thumb wheels - this one is flat on the bottom, so the whole bridge sits above the thumb wheels, who when I put strings on the strings are horribly high above the fretboard. The bridge that came with the kit is a sensible height. But having gone to the trouble of working out the wiring, drilling some extra holes for the controls, and buying some small knobs so there's room for the extra pot, I'm not ready to give up on my piezo plans. I've found and bought another piezo bridge on eBay that does have the thumb hole recesses and looks like it fits the same posts and is compatible with the preamp I have. All is not lost, just delayed a little.

Planning on finishing with oil, to bring out the grain on the top veneer. Have ordered a bottle from Crimson Guitars but it hasn't arrived yet.

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ScottR    1,355

Ah, a barefoot magician, a man after my own heart. 

Welcome!

It certainly looks and sounds like you know what you are doing. I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out,

Any chance of getting a shot from the back so we can see what your yellow mahogany looks like?

SR

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Took me a while to figure out what you meant by "barefoot magician", wondering if it was some kind of guitar-builder's jargon - then I noticed my foot in one of the photos!

I'll take a photo when I get home. The back of the guitar has got a bit dented, despite my efforts with towels and other soft furnishings. After I've oiled it I may have to give the back a harder varnish finish to protect it.

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ScottR    1,355

I end up barefoot during a lot of my building sessions....and what we do is magic. And it seems to be almost impossible to post without capturing a foot at some point or another.:) You just got it out of the way right off the bat.:D

Cheers!

SR

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ScottR    1,355

I've seen light mahogany before but nothing like that. Sap wood maybe, but there is not enough sapwood generally to get a guitar body out of. Must be a "generic" mahogany.

S

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Mr Natural    238

yes- welcome and you are awarded bonus points for a foot shot without even knowing it was a "thing" here. :D

 for those dents- you might want to try and steam them out- that with a little bit of sanding might all but eliminate them. perfect learning opportunity! if you dont have a steam iron- you can simply put a damp folded (several layers) paper towel and touch a soldering iron to it- get that steam into the dent. you will be surprised how it works- especially if that wood is a bit soft. 

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charisjapan    113

Welcome!

I’m relatively new myself and on my first scratch build guitar ... after a kit guitar and a short scale bass.

Do try the iron thing ... I just did on my Limba 6 build, and it works on anything short of a bona fide gash.

cheers!

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Strung the guitar up with the bridge and tailpiece that came with the kit, and I'm still not happy with the action. The bridge is still a bit too high on the high E side. I thought about extracting the bridge stud, redrilling it slightly deeper, and hammering the stud back in. Instead, I filed the rim of the bridge stud down a millimetre or so with jewellers' files, restrung, and the action is much nicer. It does mean I have one black stud and one silver one, but I can live with that.

IMG_20171111_162137.jpg

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All the woodwork, or at least all the woodwork I can foresee, is done. I've drilled a channel for the wires from the piezo bridge, and a hole for the piezo jack. Now, the first coat of Crimson Guitars finishing oil. Hoagy is starting to come to life!

Before:

23561442_10154767879516184_8444806344734082593_n.jpg

After:

23561460_10154767879626184_276034507299637232_n.jpg

And to be honest, it looks golder in real life. And before anybody says anything, don't panic - the used tissues went straight into a bucket of water out in the yard.

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Andyjr1515    528

It's looking good from here :)

I think a kit is a great way of easing into building - and there are some really nice kits around.  I agree that I've also never seen mahogany that colour, but as long as it does the job.

Also the veneer looks really nice and well applied.  0.6mm is the standard thickness for veneers so this is a decent jobee :)

 

 

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ScottR    1,355

I see you share @Andyjr1515 's propensity for using the wife's in the house spaces for building and finishing. Do you wait till she is out, like he does, or are you just adept at dodging low flying toasters?:D

SR

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ScottR    1,355

That's a trick question.....and it answers mine. Unless you are like my buddy @pauliemc over in Dublin and marry a rocker chick, then the answer is: of course not. At least for the first several years. Once you've been married long enough (to start getting on each other's nerves---er, I mean to be completely comfortable with each other), they start looking forward to you having another room (garage, closet, shed, back porch, or as we sometimes see here, balcony) where you can go and spend extended periods of time building guitars (staying out of their hair).

It's a worthy goal.:lol:

SR

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There's goo news and there's bad news.

The good news is, Hoagy is finished and assembled.

23621531_10154774940311184_8452908973360943776_n.jpg

The finish is a mix of Crimson Guitars finishing oil, a little cedar Danish oil around the edges for a slight burst effect, and a final coat of shellac, and I think it looks splendid.

The bad news is, the electronics have not gone quite so well. A tap test seemed to confirm everything was working, so I strung up. All of a sudden there's a loud buzzing noise, which stops when I touch a metal part so obviously there's a grounding problem, and the output is rather muffled. Also, two of the wires from the piezo preamp are broken. It seems to be a sealed unit so I don't think I can fix it. A replacement will have to be ordered.

Also, the combination of the shallow neck angle and the way the strings exit the Les Trem tailpiece means the break angle over the bridge is almost horizontal. The strings feel much floppier than I'm used to, but I expect I could get used to that.

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ScottR    1,355
19 hours ago, Patrick Brown said:

I think it looks splendid

I do too. Was it a good learning experience?

SR

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It has been, yes - and as a learning experience it's not finished yet. I have to figure out what I've done wrong with the wiring still.. I hope at some point to do a scratch build, and I've learned lots I can apply to that in terms of wood working - and I might conclude that it's better to stick to the woodwork and let somebody else do the wiring ;) 

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ScottR    1,355

Yeah, wiring was the last thing I got sorted too. And it may be sorted because my tastes have shifted to simpler controls. My first build had the most options of all, but I learned that I rarely use anything besides the pickup selector switch and the volume knob.:P

SR

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Yes, you can definitely get too complicated. I have a Les Paul Standard with phase reverse and coil tap switches, and a Les Paul LPM wired with the pickups permanently out of phase, and the LPM is my working instrument. I like the fact that there are independent volume controls for each pickup, so I can set two sounds and switch between them for different parts of a single song, but I don't remember when I last used the tone controls, and I don't miss the coil taps or the in-between in-phase sound at all. I think when I do my scratch build I may abandon tone controls. But I would like to have a piezo option.

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Andyjr1515    528

Any joy with the electrics?  It usually, when I (frequently) have similar issues, turns out to be something to do with the earthing (grounding) or a dry joint somewhere.  Do you use a multimeter to check for earth continuity. Also, follow the wiring diagram carefully.  It's easy to miss a wire!

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