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Hi!

Thanks a lot, it's always nice to hear that the pics (and the mistakes :) ) were of help! Here is some update on the neck, I have finished this stage a few days ago, but haven't touched a computer for a few days. I made a simple sanding surface to help me in the shaping the neck without dips or high spots and the results are really nice. It's in the pics. Length is roughly distance between the volute and the heel, with ends half rounded, with some 60 grit paper. After rough shaping, this made sure that its all straight.

I will fine tune the profile some more while progressing trough the grits, but it's basically done.

The locking tuners arrived in the mail, so I can drill the headstock, and various bits and pieces are on their way. I decided on 2 mini hums for this guitar, and since I was unable to source the cream rings for them, I will have to make them. Cream or ivory colored  plastic is not that easy to find locally, so I'm looking into all kinds of options...

38783438424_401b41d82d_z.jpg117 by Goran P, on Flickr

27715481369_f184238011_z.jpg118 by Goran P, on Flickr

38783438164_0a2bfac983_z.jpg119 by Goran P, on Flickr

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Well, back to building! Didn't have much time to spend in the shop, and additionally, it's time for the scary part - routing a huge neck slot in the finished and unsuspecting top...:unsure: I prepared a detailed plan for the slot and cut the neck to size. It will actually form one side of the vibrato route. I plan to route that after the neck has been safely glued in place, so that I can check the centerline.

So, routing is next, template is drawn, my new short routing bit is ready, and I'm a bit nervous about it :)

39583548122_3dde15b521_z.jpg120 by Goran P, on Flickr

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fingers crossed ;)

any specific reason for not having done the neck pocket before the top carve? That's how I'd think would be natural, though I never noticed what people are doing and have yet to attempt doing a carved top myself..

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Thanks! :)

Well, I prefer to have one continuous surface for carving, since it involves scraping, sanding and finger planes, and a large hole like this neck pocket, extending all the way to the bridge or the pup holes could force some mistakes, like dips near their edges etc. It might not be a problem, but I feel safer this way. This top is fairly flat, so fixing the routing template with some tape should not be a big problem.

Also, this is a one-piece body, so it could warp a bit. I will in fact clamp it down after routing just in case.

I do my LP tops the same way, even though they have a more pronounced carve, and the pocket is much smaller. There are other approaches, but I feel safer with this one. BTW, you should definitely try to carve a top!

I'll try to take a pic of my first try, semi hollow LP shaped monster :) Baseball bat neck, Bigsby, P90's...plays horribly, I should strip it and dress the frets, re-carve the neck etc.

Edited by gpcustomguitars
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Went well - here are some pics of last night's session:

Made the neck pocket template, rough routed with a wider bit, re-routed with the template and the bit with the bearing, and the neck fits just right :) Clamped overnight to make sure there is no warpage.

27891795769_59a81f6848_b.jpg121 by Goran P, on Flickr

38961228034_ef56dd72e3_b.jpg122 by Goran P, on Flickr

24801247397_04a8b53b75_b.jpg123 by Goran P, on Flickr

38961227914_821c5c189f_b.jpg124 by Goran P, on Flickr

24801247277_fe3087ea78_b.jpg125 by Goran P, on Flickr

27891795619_e9fe40925d_b.jpg126 by Goran P, on Flickr

24801247217_a65e3b25c5_b.jpg127 by Goran P, on Flickr

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...and some more work today - found my original templates, straightened a few details and first routed the top side, drilled trough, and routed from the back side. Prior to routing for the spring cavity, I want to decide on the best possible route depth. As I said, I'm thinking of replacing the claw with a brass block to add some mass. Also, that way I could make the route about 10mm deep only. If that goes well, I might attempt to replace the trem block with brass one too.

I'll try to scrape together enough MOP to hide the seams before applying the gold paste.

24801247127_c2fd0534f8_b.jpg128 by Goran P, on Flickr

38961227654_a3716e3328_b.jpg129 by Goran P, on Flickr

38961227474_b40bdf4c90_b.jpg130 by Goran P, on Flickr

38961228304_b2d1a33806_b.jpg131 by Goran P, on Flickr

38961228224_c01fb0ae02_b.jpg132 by Goran P, on Flickr

27891795459_aa09ea6b33_b.jpg133 by Goran P, on Flickr

39670406931_d22bb574a5_b.jpg134 by Goran P, on Flickr

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goran- It may be the pics showing something that isnt there- but- is your body starting to split at the lower horn and bottom of the neck pocket? That may be a trick of light in the photos- but it looks like your body is starting to split. If so- that sucks. (i have had it happen before with some really dry alder)- If it did happen- I would get some CA in that crack quick. not sure if you are going thru temp/humidity swings like we are here in the south. Hoping that is not happening to you- great work so far. Its really shaping up. 

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Yes, the crack is there since the start of this build. Didn't expand any so far luckily. I was planing to flood it with warm epoxy later on, but I took your advice and flooded it with CA from pocket side first. Put some masking tape on the other side of the crack, and will repeat from outside later. Thanks for the advice again, better safe than sorry :)

I would also like to flood the seams with epoxy, and cover them with 2 MOP lines, I think I could have enough small pieces to put together.

After the cracks, reapplied the black dye to the fretboard sides, and glued in the neck with PVA. This will stop any warping the body might attempt after routing out such a large neck pocket, which was one of my concerns.

I found a really nice video on relicing with a part on aging plastic parts. I found a piece of white pickguard material, so I might experiment a little to get a more ivory/cream color. Made 2 cardboard props to help me figure out the pup locations and whether I can fit them on my piece of plastic.

24822048837_f531f203dd_b.jpg135 by Goran P, on Flickr

24822049007_01257875a3_b.jpg136 by Goran P, on Flickr

25818411678_f2c226f73e_b.jpg137 by Goran P, on Flickr

25818411148_ae2799d0ca_b.jpg138 by Goran P, on Flickr

Next puzzle to solve is the minimum depth of the spring cavity route - the body is 41mm at it's thickest, and with tenon depth being 24mm, I would like to keep it to 10 mm, and perhaps do 3 separate routes for the springs, or one narrower route. The cover will not be recessed.

 

 

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I think I have the puzzle solved, preparing to route it out. The springs require 9mm in diameter, and since I want 3 only, I can get away with using 2 center holes on the block, and the 5th (where the arm is, with 3 center pins on the claw. That has significantly smaller footprint that the standard cavity. Routing later today I hope.

Also, finalized my cardboard pup rings, and used them to draw out the prep for laser cutter. I will go with milky white, 5mm thick, and do...something to it if the color is too off :) Sawing these out by hand seems a bit too much, as I would probably crack something a number of times.

Neck one has that extension as to avoid the cutout area of the lower horn.

39032427114_5317c38cd5_b.jpgminihumrings by Goran P, on Flickr

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4 hours ago, gpcustomguitars said:

Sawing these out by hand seems a bit too much, as I would probably crack something a number of times.

I know I would. (crack something if I cut it out by hand).

Are you planning to have an exposed neck tenon, or am I missing something?

SR

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Yes, it will be exposed as this is going to be a goldtop. I'm planning to saturate the glue lines with epoxy, or to inlay two lines of MOP between pickups to prevent the lines to show after a while. I should have enough small MOP offcuts, but I'm still not sure how it would look - goldtop + MOP?  The neck, sides and the back will be dyed light brown.

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Yet another routing session last night. Managed to clean the electronics cavity route and did some more CA saturation/filling in spots, more to go. I managed to route out the spring cavity using an improvised jig, I hope this will work as intended. The claw block cavity is 10mm deep, and the rest is 9mm. It might seem silly, but I want as much wood around that tenon as possible.

Still to rout is the electronics cover recess and the pups, I'll get the jigs laser cut from plexi along with the pup rings...

27997928119_30bd3b2696_z.jpg139 by Goran P, on Flickr

39066563214_b0b93b3e9d_z.jpg140 by Goran P, on Flickr

39066562924_7288694be4_z.jpg141 by Goran P, on Flickr

27997926919_d2bb0c8b7e_z.jpg142 by Goran P, on Flickr

27997928489_b74526f175_z.jpg143 by Goran P, on Flickr

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Nothing much to show for now, just this one pic of the pup rings I had laser cut. I also made the routing template in the same session. It has the ring part for routing the actual cavity and the insert part for routing the two dips for the adjustment screws. I think I will be able to get away with routing basic pup cavities to 10-12mm depth, leaving about 12-14mm of the tenon intact.

So, I have to rout the pup cavities and the cover recess on the back. In the meanwhile, I've been sanding (on the kitchen table in the evenings), filling cracks and wormholes, resanding, refilling etc. It's looking better and better, but still a lot of sanding ahead until I can dye the back, sides and the neck some sort of light walnut/mahogany brown.

The pup rings are really white, but I won't do anything about that until assembly time. I would like to see how will they look on rubbed gold top as they are. If needed, I found a really nice method using yellow dye, acetone and alcohol to dip parts in and then repolish.

New tablecloth :)

39160273634_13e44d9be1_z.jpg144 by Goran P, on Flickr

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4 hours ago, gpcustomguitars said:

New tablecloth :)

I wonder how many of those you are going to go though if you keep finishing on the kitchen table....:D

Are those pickup rings acrylic? Be sure to show us the process you use if you end up needing to change their color, that sounds interesting.

SR

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:D Well it only gives my wife an excuse to buy more... I have a rubber mat I use, and we use the kitchen table for crafts and stuff for school and kindergarten all the time, so it's completely legal. And sanding is already unpleasant, no need to add winter cold to the experience :)

Yes, white acrylic sheet, 5mm thick. The process I mentioned I found on YT, it was a part of a relicing/ageing process on a LP. Not my thing, I make mine pre-dinged and scratched :) but the work itself was nice to watch, great attention to details. Search Dr.Nitro, if it's OK to mention it here?

The theory is that the acetone softens the surface, alcohol slows the softening, and the dye can mix itself in the softened surface and stay there. Works fine on YT, I would like to try it myself.

 

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After a lot of sanding I applied 2 coats of gold paste. Still one to go, mostly to touch up some highs spots that have popped out after the second coat and require yet more sanding.... My pickup routing template worked perfectly fine as intended. I taped it permanently to the 8mm MDF, and routed trough with a bearing equipped short bit. As I had the corners cut too sharp, MDF has four ledges in the corners, due to the difference between the acrylic corners and the bit diameter, which holds the acrylic insert perfectly fine for routing two screw pockets.

So, first drilled 2 pilot holes fi12mm to 24mm depth, routed the pup cavity to 12mm depth, and routed the pockets flush with a 6.35mm straight bit. Went fine, and reasonably quick. I should drill 2 holes for pup wires before the last coat of gold (which is really durable, I've level sanded it and it's a tank. Also, dries in seconds), and route the cover ledge, which I completely forgot about in the last session.

39063759495_d048cdb8ae_z.jpg145 by Goran P, on Flickr

28182276599_9cf168efa9_z.jpg146 by Goran P, on Flickr

39063759155_b4a8530fd8_z.jpg147 by Goran P, on Flickr

28182276229_909e15acae_z.jpg148 by Goran P, on Flickr

28182275929_31583bb02d_z.jpg149 by Goran P, on Flickr

28182276029_38c08708b5_z.jpg150 by Goran P, on Flickr

39063758515_a3973d139a_z.jpg151 by Goran P, on Flickr

I have lent the fretless bass to a guitar playing friend for a while, his band is about to record their second record, and they would like it on 2 or 3 songs :) We joked about a guitar version of it for a while, so I used a quiet part of the day to come up with this:

38990443445_a338ddcc79_b.jpgnove gitare1 1 by Goran P, on Flickr

Any obvious mistakes in my thinking? Should balance nicely and be pretty light, but I was hoping to make it more sitting-friendly, and allow some thumb space for people who play that way.

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Thumb space is the first thing I thought of looking at that.

I do like your pickup templates, very clever.

SR

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Depends on the player. Thumb space might be an issue for some but ask Tosin Abasi. He seems to donok with a neck pocket that goes to the 12th fret on the bass side!

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Really digging the pickguard, and the relationship it has with the body profile and components.

This guitar has a little bit of a Rickenbacker vibe to me

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Thank you all! I don't use a thumb much at all for fretting, perhaps a F# when playing a Keith Richards-like D chord, so I don't immediately think of it. I'll probably tweak it some more, and perhaps make one during the summer. I think I have most of the parts needed already.

Managed to drill the wire holes nicely for both pickups, trough the 12mm hole drilled for the jack. Ground hole from the spring claw was easy then. Exit points nice and where intended :)  Also, finally got around to routing the ledge. I drew the shape, scored it with a marking knife and used a Dremel in the routing jig with a straight 3mm bit. Some sanding to do to clean it all up.

39950027972_a09dca22d2_z.jpg152 by Goran P, on Flickr

39950027812_9765e1a290_z.jpg153 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

Then I made the body of the claw - brass stock, 20x10mm. The cavity is 10mm deep so it should sit flush. Still some drilling to do. When I buy some larger stock I'll attempt the trem block too.

39950027602_f389af8567_z.jpg154 by Goran P, on Flickr

39950026992_ecb26d6690_z.jpg155 by Goran P, on Flickr

39950027642_f328038d29_z.jpg156 by Goran P, on Flickr

39950027242_176175c993_z.jpg157 by Goran P, on Flickr

And a nut cut, just for a pic for now. I've cut that one before, synthetic, but I'll cut a cow bone one too.

39950026762_6d651f34c9_z.jpg158 by Goran P, on Flickr

Edited by gpcustomguitars
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Some more work on the claw. I might make v.2 with different layout of holes, but I think this one will be OK, if I don't break it when I drill the adjustment holes.

I made 2 cuts first, then drilled trough, and finished the cut with the round file. I'm planing to have the claw screw trough to the neck when adjusted, so that the vibration transfer is maximal.

25223062747_ebd571a1d0_z.jpg159 by Goran P, on Flickr

40062154292_7e80f3866c_z.jpg160 by Goran P, on Flickr

40062154712_e149773ae1_z.jpg161 by Goran P, on Flickr

40062152192_50c795e819_z.jpg162 by Goran P, on Flickr

40062151832_bcc14b5f8a_z.jpg163 by Goran P, on Flickr

40095128071_8941abce76_z.jpg164 by Goran P, on Flickr

40062151262_fd5929cfd0_z.jpg165 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

It was already dark, so the pics are ...... , but I did manage to get 3 coats during the day. Scars on the back are pretty obvious, but I'll see if that bothers me enough to do something like veneering or not, probably not. All the holes and cracks were nicely filled, but the downside is that the dye cannot be applied evenly.

25223060977_d7cae5cdca_z.jpg166 by Goran P, on Flickr

40062150672_b0d10b4098_z.jpg167 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

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I think I have a better version of the claw, with better access to adjustment screws. First idea was not very user friendly, and I can't assume I'll be the only one to play/adjust this guitar.

26239505908_0f0056d5ec_b.jpgclaw by Goran P, on Flickr

The adj.screws should have hexagonal heads, for better access between the springs, but we'll see. Perhaps not needed...I will have fun making another one :)...and will use the drill press this time :)

Edited by gpcustomguitars

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