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Liquorice

Ibanez headstock shape ?

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Hello

I am building my first few guitars right now and as I make progress I sometimes get disheartened by many questions floating around and by lack of experience. I have already read a whole lot about guitar building and spent time reading on many forums including this one. I really like the atmosphere in here so decided finally to join in.

I like Ibanez style headstock and body shape, but sadly I don`t have any Ibanez guitars. So I decided to build a few guitars in the spirit of Ibanez and not exact replicas. I bet many others have battled with headstock shapes but I couldn`t find a good source for 7-string headstock. I have a dwg-drawing of 6-string ibanez JEM made by someone enthusiastic about guitars  but not totally sure about 7-string shape.

I took that 6-string shape and lenghtened it with one more tuner and redraw the rest of headstock by hand. Now this looks good to my eye, except that my neckblank has a brown middle laminate of wallnut and if you follow the centerline of neck to the end of headstock it doesn`t come out same point as it would in Ibanez headstock. So in other words headstock is balanced a little bit differently. I actually have one dwg-drawing of Ibanez Universe with headstock shape on it. It leans a little bit more on right side and looks shorter, too short compared to pictures because last tuner looks too close to the end of headstock. So i figured that it must be drawn from a picture with headstock leaning away from camera, that would cause headstock to shorten up a bit and to lean more on right. Thats what I noticed when looking at pictures and comparing them.

So the real Ibanez 7-string headstock is leaning more to right (front view) than my modified and stretched 6-string headstock. Was that universe headstock legit after all ? How long are those headstocks usually (6 & 7 string) measured along straight side of headstock ? Anyone have any first hand experience with this ? I quess there could be more potential Ibanez experts on that one other forum, but I like this friendly atmosphere better so that`s why I`m reaching out in here.

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Hi Liquorice, welcome to PG :)

I'm a first time builder too and I completely understand that disheartened feeling that you can get sometimes. I think you've come to the right place - I was new to this when I signed up here a year ago and in that time I've learned more from these guys than I could from a huge pile of books (hoping to finally finish my 'V' before Christmas!) Just keep checking out these guys' projects and see how they work and it'll answer questions you didn't even know you had to ask yet. But definitely keep at it, it's incredibly rewarding and addictive and those disheartening moments will become fewer and further between.

Regarding your Ibanez style headstock, are you using a CAD program to help you design your guitar? I ask as you referred to a 'dwg-drawing', I wondered if you were using AutoCAD or something similar (DWG being an ACAD file type)? If so could you plan out hole positions of the 7 tuners, the centreline of the guitar neck and body, and then sketch by eye the outline around the string/hole positions? the shape wouldn't be identical to the Ibanez that inspires it, but you can get the 'balance' right and I always think it's those little variations that make guitars inspired by others more individual.

If I've got the wrong end of the stick and you aren't using any CAD software, I'd recommend trying it. There are some excellent free programs out there (ie the awesome Fusion 360) that really help when designing intricate stuff like guitars.

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Hi, Liquorice.  Welcome to this great forum :)

I suppose my first question would be whether it is the functionality you are not sure about, or the look - or are you trying to produce an exact replica?

Functionality-wise, the two things that I personally would normally be thinking about are:

  • Can I achieve straight string runs?
  • Will it fit in a 'standard' commercial case or gig bag?

If it's a yes and a yes, I would then ask myself:

  • And does it look OK with the body style?

And if that's yes also, I would be a happy chappy :D

Generally, if I'm basing a build on an original, I aim to build  'in the style of' rather than exact replicas .  As long as it's not a commercial venture, the big boys wouldn't normally pick fights with home builders anyway, but it is worth remembering that logos are almost always trade-marked and, interestingly, headstock shapes often are too. 

And anyway, my aim would be to try and build something better than the original - so why wouldn't I want to put my own spin on the headstock shape? ;)

So, unless you really do want an exact replica, I wouldn't worry about it.  If it looks good and is going to function OK, then all is well :thumb:

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Thanks guys

I like to draw by hand and I´m using autocad to mainly printing some templates or other shapes. Working with autocad is pretty slow for me so I just use it as an additional tool. Dwg-file is CAD file and for future it would be best to start learning to draw with computers better, but I´m more pen and paper kind of guy. One of my building projects is going to be a drawing table with real old school architects rulers and aluminiun rails.

About functionality or looks, I wasn´t trying to create exact replica because then I could just buy the real deal. I wasn´t worried about functionality either, not until now because it indeed looks like my design might be 20+ mm longer than factory neck and maybe it won´t fit in case ? Never had an Ibanez case in my hands so don`t know about that.

I dont have much first hand experience with different kind of guitar equipment, only from pictures. Never played live, only bedroom gigs. It would be so convinient to have a bunch of musician friends to test all kind of gear and take measurements.

Yeah I quess Andy you are right about putting something my own on my guitars, I don´t want exact replicas but in style of original. I do this same mistake often that im too obsessed about little details that I forget about the big picture. Quickest way to overcome shortsightedness is to ask another opinion.

Thanks for easing my mind. If I find myself making progress on my projects should I just post It here or always make a new thread ?

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Carry on with this thread by all means :)

Ref case, it doesn't have to be an Ibanez case, of course.  Most case suppliers give the main dimensions so its just a check that someone does a case that will be long enough (which is almost certain)

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Many guitar builders get to the point that the headstock design becomes sort of personal, a design element that says they built it. It is common to take design elements from different brands you like and add your own twist. And while there are some advantages to a straight string pull, it is by no means the only way to go. Guitars have been built and played with the strings crossing the nut from all manner of angles for decades. I guess what I'm saying is don't worry so much about breaking the rules. Guitars look like they have a very rigid formula that must be followed to make a playable instrument. But when you get right down to it, aside from scale length and the fret spacing that goes with it, there are many many options that will yield a perfectly playable guitar. And not too many rules that absolutely must be followed.

Have fun with it, and welcome to the forum too!

SR

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Thanks a lot Scott, i´ve already enjoyed every step on the way. Working with wood is so pleasing to me. And you know what they say about hobbies, "if it doesn´t take all your money then you have wrong hobby".

I was going to use locking nut with string retainer if needed. Neck angle somewhere around 12 degrees, so I wasn´t worried about strings lining up perfectly. Though it would look better if strings continued in a straight line from nut to end of headstock. I quess I just have to draw those tuners and plan the angle of straight side of headstock to match spacing of locking nut if i want straight and even spacing of strings. I believe tuning machine makers have recommended spacings for their tuner models so maybe start planning from there then.

 

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12 hours ago, Liquorice said:

Thanks a lot Scott, i´ve already enjoyed every step on the way. Working with wood is so pleasing to me. And you know what they say about hobbies, "if it doesn´t take all your money then you have wrong hobby".

I was going to use locking nut with string retainer if needed. Neck angle somewhere around 12 degrees, so I wasn´t worried about strings lining up perfectly. Though it would look better if strings continued in a straight line from nut to end of headstock. I quess I just have to draw those tuners and plan the angle of straight side of headstock to match spacing of locking nut if i want straight and even spacing of strings. I believe tuning machine makers have recommended spacings for their tuner models so maybe start planning from there then.

 

It's worth remembering that a locking nut means also needing a fine tuning mechanism at the fixed bridge/floyd-type trem end.  Again, for a 7 string, these start getting very scarce in terms of choice and often are quite expensive.  The alternative is standard nut and locking tuners (although many players don't even see the need for locking tuners).

We should all stress, by the way, that what we generally put forward in these kinds of threads are thoughts to consider or elements to dig a bit deeper into.  We rarely say 'you should do this' or 'do it this way' - and there are many things I personally share that I preface with 'I don't know if this is going to work so please don't assume I do!' :D  

What you'll find the folks around here can do - and willingly do - is to share the things that have worked for them, share the disasters (and we ALL have them) and share the 'conventional wisdom'. 

But as @ScottR wisely says, don't worry too much about breaking the rules.  It is, on the other hand, worth pondering why most builders tend to do similar things in certain situations - there's often a good reason ;)   

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Not too much progress has happened on my guitar projects, but I´m slowly getting back to it. Few other projects are on my list first. Even some of my christmas presents are still rough planks.

So many questions and so many things to do, but I wont litter one post too much because some questions might get lost in text wall. I was thinking how to embed pictures in my post. I don´t yet have any picture sharing account but I have used dropbox so I´ll just try that first.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ax3jbv9zscg2tx7/WP_20171218_12_18_18_Pro.jpg?dl=0

About that picture; It´s showing two of my 7-string ibanez style headstock templates. One on the left is a little shorter and one on the right is stretched 6-strings drawing.

  • Left one has centerline on the center of stringlines, so stringlines might match nicely. Tuner posts are not perfectly spaced though and it looks in my mind that last tuner is too close to end of headstock. Shape leans more to right than other model.
  • Right one is too long and centerline doesn´t match with stringlines.

Just so that if anyone finds those plans online and is planning an Ibanez style build then these are my discoveries. I have compared these with pictures of real headstocks and none of them seems to match perfectly. Anyways what I finally decided to do is to build them both with minor changes and then see witch one I like better.

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You don't need a picture hosting account on here. Just drag & drop your images onto the panel below where you type your reply (the bit that says "Drag images/files here to attach, or choose files... 
Accepted file types jpg, png, gif, rtf, mp3, zip, pdf, dxf, dwg, tcw, wav · Max file size 500MB")

That will upload your image and display it as a thumbnail. Then click on the little plus sign on the thumbnail to add the image to your post

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Hard to tell exactly from the photos, and probably because it misses a part between the nut and a retainer bar, but the one one left should have the tuners rotated clockwise more than they are now.

Looks like the string pull on thickest strings would end up getting inwards, to the centerline. I once threw away a nice flamed maple neck (finished and fretted) because I didn't consider that doing the wider nut would do that. It was functional, but looked too weird to me, and I couldn't accept keeping it like that. You should always draw the outer strings also (at least), to know what would it look like in the end, the centerline is not enough if you are gonna experiment with photos, nut width, etc.

Here's one of my blueprints, (based on Ibanez, not exact replica) but keep in mind that the nut is a bit wider, and the tuners measurements are for the ones I used in a project.

If the nut was narrower, the tuners would be rotated a bit clockwise in the drawing (or counterclockwise for non-reverse headstock). Also, if tuners had larger knobs, you would need more space between tuner holes, which would also end up with rotating them clockwise (or counterclockwise for non-reverse headstock), and a few mm longer headstock.

In the end, small alterations in design doesn't have to mean in wouldn't be functional. I lost probably hours tweaking this one to my liking, and it probably could be even more precise, but it works great for me.

If you want, I can help you with your blueprint, just send me your neck-to-be specs.

Mods, if the picture is inappropriate, please delete, thank you.

headstock.jpg.34ea407716f074f825805bcf9264b5ca.jpg

 

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17 hours ago, Neven said:

Hard to tell exactly from the photos, and probably because it misses a part between the nut and a retainer bar, but the one one left should have the tuners rotated clockwise more than they are now.

Looks like the string pull on thickest strings would end up getting inwards, to the centerline. I once threw away a nice flamed maple neck (finished and fretted) because I didn't consider that doing the wider nut would do that. It was functional, but looked too weird to me, and I couldn't accept keeping it like that. You should always draw the outer strings also (at least), to know what would it look like in the end, the centerline is not enough if you are gonna experiment with photos, nut width, etc.

Here's one of my blueprints, (based on Ibanez, not exact replica) but keep in mind that the nut is a bit wider, and the tuners measurements are for the ones I used in a project.

If the nut was narrower, the tuners would be rotated a bit clockwise in the drawing (or counterclockwise for non-reverse headstock). Also, if tuners had larger knobs, you would need more space between tuner holes, which would also end up with rotating them clockwise (or counterclockwise for non-reverse headstock), and a few mm longer headstock.

In the end, small alterations in design doesn't have to mean in wouldn't be functional. I lost probably hours tweaking this one to my liking, and it probably could be even more precise, but it works great for me.

If you want, I can help you with your blueprint, just send me your neck-to-be specs.

Mods, if the picture is inappropriate, please delete, thank you.

 

 

Thanks Neven for a great point, I was a little afraid of proceeding because of fear of ruining my headstock. When rotating tunerline do you redraw the whole headstock ? I think I can now draw my own plan with your example.

When I was glueing scarf joints on my necks everything went well but at some point those headstocks shifted a little and had to be separated. I was affraid of reglueing those necks and sure did learn a lot about glueing wood. I was also a little too eager to jump on to next stage and shaped those headstocks already in rough shape. Then I decided I wasn´t satisfied with my work and cut those headstocks out of necks. Soooo that means that I just now have to make my plans using those preshaped headstocks.

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29 minutes ago, Liquorice said:

When rotating tunerline do you redraw the whole headstock ?

Yes, you have to make adjustments to it also, because you "have to" follow the angle of tuners in regards to centerline. But with using computer it is not hard to do, I'm using CorelDraw, and it is pretty easy to adjust curves, and you can use the original photo as a background image, so you don't wander to far off. Sometimes it is enough to just move the tip of the headstock a few mm, end it ends up hardly noticable in overall design, but it suits the purpose.

Quote

When I was glueing scarf joints on my necks everything went well but at some point those headstocks shifted a little and had to be separated. I was affraid of reglueing those necks and sure did learn a lot about glueing wood.

Been there... When gluing scarf joints, I use a bit wider blanks for neck and headstock. I set them up dry first (without glue, using clamps). Then I drill a few 2mm holes in the waste area (that would be cut off as excess later) and put 2mm nails in them to keep the wood from shifting in gluing process. Just as you would use pins when gluing fingerboard to neck. 4 pins is enough to keep the wood from shifting, just be careful to put them outside of the lines, and to take the nails out before proceeding to bandsaw or whatever tool you are going to use after. I tried lots of different methods so far, but this one works quick, and I don't have to worry about shifting anymore, if I plan carefully. I, as many, learned a lot from mistakes I have done before, and learned to (more or less) foresee what might happen if I do things one way or another. And that goes mostly because I spend a lot of time thinking and imagining the building process in my spare time (for example, when I go to sleep, instead of counting sheeps, I'm imagining the routing, or sawing or whatever step I'm planning to do next, and thinking of ways I could use to do it).

Don't let mistakes throw you off. We all made them, and still do. They are a big and important part of learning process. The bigger mistake, the better lesson learned.

 

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I had two screws on the side of my scarf joint, apparently it wasn´t enough. To me it seems that absolutely hardest thing in any woodworking is making good glue joints, it needs a lot of planning and drytesting and quick hands. I was planning to use in next gluejoint some kind of bolts that go through the whole thing and then just lift them out after clamping.

About fretboard gluing, I haven´t done that yet at all. I was thinking about it ofcourse and planned to pin fretboard from locking nut screwholes and from body end, there is extra wood that I can  cut off.

Can´t wait to take some photos and showing off my mistakes;)

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Neven you seem to have worked a lot with ash, I have few ash bodies also. I´m not totally sure what kind of scratches will show in finished guitar body, because I haven´t finished that kind of wood yet. It seems that specially endgrain parts are showing those scratches pretty easily. Finish is going to be some kind of clearcoat, I have a bottle of truoil so maybe start with that.

Ofcourse advice from anyone willing to share is taken with gratitude.

I have sanded and then scraped to see what it looks like and then sanded again and so on... Is this method going to take me anywhere ? Can I finish on scraped surface or does it have to be a little coarse from sanding ?

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44 minutes ago, Liquorice said:

 I was planning to use in next gluejoint some kind of bolts that go through the whole thing and then just lift them out after clamping.

imho, no need for bolts and stuff, you don't need that much, and they can get in the way for clamping. As I wrote, I use just 4 nails, in equally sized holes (it is mportant, because if the holes are a bit larger, it would be enough for a joint to slip, and if you are using laminates which you want aligned, a little slip means a lot). 2 nails are not enough, 4 is ok if they are placed strategically (not to close to one another)

Quote

About fretboard gluing, I haven´t done that yet at all. I was thinking about it ofcourse and planned to pin fretboard from locking nut screwholes and from body end, there is extra wood that I can  cut off.

.For fingerboards, in my practice, it's quite ok to do it the same way as for scarf joints. I put 4 nails through the fretslots, close to the truss rod (watch out for the depth, not to go through the neck.  4-5 mm in neck is enough to hold it from moving, and it won't show off when you finally shape the neck. The frets will hide the holes for nails later on. Example on the picture, 18th fret, and also 2 nails around frets 2-3.  

P1000784.thumb.JPG.e382dcac2f7f927f06e4fe211f775dab.JPG

Also, very important to me, for having a seamless glue line as a result, is to spread the clamp pressure evenly. I use 2 flat maple pieces (the nails come between them), set to the neck outline. If I would use just clamps without additional boards, I could get glue pockets between fingerboard and neck, which would end up showing with untidy glue line.

20151210_184925.thumb.jpg.b890dd968a0b32915d4cef2108264e2c.jpg

 

 

Quote

Neven you seem to have worked a lot with ash, I have few ash bodies also. I´m not totally sure what kind of scratches will show in finished guitar body, because I haven´t finished that kind of wood yet. It seems that specially endgrain parts are showing those scratches pretty easily. Finish is going to be some kind of clearcoat, I have a bottle of truoil so maybe start with that.

Ofcourse advice from anyone willing to share is taken with gratitude.

I have sanded and then scraped to see what it looks like and then sanded again and so on... Is this method going to take me anywhere ? Can I finish on scraped surface or does it have to be a little coarse from sanding ?

I did work with ash. If scratches show in finished body (no matter what wood it is), it means it wasn't sanded right. You should sand gradually from coarser to finer paper grits. I have a small wood planer/thicknesser, so I don't need to do a lot of sanding to board faces (guitar front/back). For sides, I used a sanding drum on a drill press; and recently I acquired a spindle sander with different size drums, which should help me a lot. I start with 100 grit until I remove bandsaw trails and get to shape, and then switch to 150/180/220/280 or so by hand, until I remove marks from coarser drum sanding. I rarely use scraper at all, somewhat on neck shaping.

If by "scratches" in ash you also mean wood pores, sanding alone won't get you anywhere. Ash has pretty wide pores, and if you don't want them to show in the finish, you have to use some kind of pore filling process. No bare wood sanding will ever take them away.

This is what ash without pore filler would look like after painting (perfectly sanded):

duvell_q_winter_heather_6_007.jpg

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WP_20180101_19_09_40_Rich.thumb.jpg.55773b4e8eb19630ac7e273ecf00ea9d.jpgWP_20180101_19_10_23_Rich.thumb.jpg.56a2ff9789acff8f1b82ff481c46e915.jpg

 

Little hard to see, but those scratches are mainly on inside curves of both horns. The hardest part to sand ofcourse.

I didn´t secure my routing template with enough doublesided tape when routing this body. It was first of few bodies I made. It came out smaller than my template on the hornside but bottom is what it was meant to be. This body can´t be 7-stringer what I have been talking about because of smaller body but it´s going to be a guitar anyway.

There are some dents and holes from too eager routing but I´ll leave them as is, too hard to fill and can´t sand shape any smaller.

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To do the insides of curves, I've found it easiest to use an off-cut of "D" profile quadrant wood trim, wrap some 600 grit aluminium oxide paper round it, then take your time. It's quite therapeutic :D

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2 hours ago, Norris said:

To do the insides of curves, I've found it easiest to use an off-cut of "D" profile quadrant wood trim, wrap some 600 grit aluminium oxide paper round it, then take your time. It's quite therapeutic :D

Yeah I bet it is, I got a taste of that while making templates out of thick plywood. And I have already sanded off routing marks from few bodies. It´s hard to tell what is sufficient enough, and if they are going to show in a certain angle only. There were also a few dents on my template which left few really shallow waves on the bottom part of bodies. Picture would tell more than words ofcourse but I think those kind of imperfections can be hidden with surface finish.

 

Edited by Liquorice
typo

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I was planning my guitar projects, and while looking through my old photos there were few from my building process. Usually I just focus on the task at hand and not taking photos, but this time there were few somewhat successful ones.

Planer.thumb.jpg.0d5457c2e819fd4e70f72448fd5dae30.jpg

My routerplaner setup mostly aluminium, sledge would be great to build from aluminium too, but would need some kind of slippery plastic bottom.

nekk.thumb.jpg.bf49e639aacb4a63de7552c90c34e2bd.jpg

3-piece neck blanks, somewhat curly maple and wallnut middle. Headstocks will be needing "earpieces" .

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I bought this long piece of ash over two years ago, and back then I had no idea what to do with it other than guitars. I noticed from far away that in that ash-pile there is a blank big enough to make one piece bodies, so that I had to have (they sold only whole blanks). That blank was 2,5 meters long so it was cut in 5 pieces.

I have two bodies with pretty straight grainlines, so to me those two doesn´t look that exciting. There was this idea floating that maybe I could put a flame veneer on top of these plain bodies (two pairs of veneers), but now I´m not so sure. Gluing those would be a pain, but i could always use routing templates as a clamping surface. Maybe glue one half at a time ?

First.thumb.jpg.a6f608f5ae4d0babe2644b25910046d3.jpg

Then there are these other two with nicer grainlines and very clean edges from routing (made improvements in my routing technique). These won´t be having any veneering done but I have black grainfiller so maybe I´ll try that on one of these.

Second.thumb.jpg.50623fd439c88725a12a4ec558f66b0b.jpg

Fifth body was split up and made in to a top and a bottom. By the way have you ever had to explain your compulsive behavior to yourself ? Like; I had to make these because they were looking at me.

 

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