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ZekeB

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Hi,

I'm new to the forums and I've been watching it for over a year now and I'm going to try and tackle my 2nd guitar design.  Before I start pulling the trigger on materials I wanted to see if I might be able to pick the brains of more experienced luthiers out there.  My biggest worry is that I'm setting my guitar to not be acoustically pleasing.  From the characteristics of the materials and practices I've read I think it may have a lot of low's and mids.  I don't need twangy snap but I do want it to be sharp enough for lead and good cleans.

I know this is a matter of perspective but what I have so far isn't really traditional and I know there's folks out there who have experimented more.

Anyways here's my main specs and design so far.  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Mako

Neck - 5 piece laminate - maple, wenge, mohogany

24 frets

Set Neck

Body will be a carved flamed maple top on Mohogany body (considering possibly Basswood as well)

HSS Tom Anderson Pickups and wiring

Will have a Schaller Non tremelo hard tail bridge (no tremelo cavity cut)

 

I think those are my main attributes.  Here's the design.  Thank you guys in advance.

image.thumb.png.6a0a0280ffa3d21395288f9a44d61465.png

Here's more of the conceptual vision:

image.thumb.png.21c6d88743115feb1a1f8c410093b2c1.png

 

 

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You are choosing classic body woods. Between that and the fact that the woods add subtle qualities to tone--the signal chain carries the vast majority of the load, you should experience no tonal problems at all based on your material choices.

And it ought to be a fine looking guitar as well.:)

SR

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Awesome.  Thank you, Scott.  I'll post a pic when its complete.  Just finished my final dimensions and task plan.  Thanks again!

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You didn't mention scale length. If it's 25.5" I would think it to be everything Scott said. and if anything have a sharper slightly brighter attack.

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Yes it will be 25.5".    Slight changes made.  The neck and body will be honduran mahogony.  Just bought the lumber and carved a prototype out of some cheap oak.  Will have a 3/4" top with about 1/2" of carving room. 

First hand carve and a lot of mistakes were made including the infamous splinter between fingernail but I really enjoyed hand carving it.  Something really special about shaping it by hand.  Anyway, I'll post some pics soon as I get that far.    

Thank you guys for the help.  Really great source of information 

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I do have another question regarding putting an angle on the top face.  When I carved it seems pretty full all the way through and I've heard that having a little angle to the neck helps playability.  This may be just subjective but I wanted to get your guys opinion on the matter.  Do you guys have a preference in angle of the body to the neck even if the bridge doesn't need the angle?  Here's an illustration of the two ideas.

image.thumb.png.970fb114531e6fcbcfe30c74393b6d1c.png  So basically you would just plain down the top piece to a very slight angle.  thanks guys.  

Edited by ZekeB

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Dunno about playability, but I personally wouldn't add neck angle unless the height of the bridge demanded it.

What you're showing in the drawings is what I'd call 'pseudo' neck angle, where you're tapering the back of the guitar upwards to meet a heel with reduced thickness. The front of the guitar and the neck are on the same plane.

It could be achived either way - by tapering the front of the body.and cutting the neck pocket to the same angle, or by leaving the front/neck pocket flat and tapering the back. If looks are important, consider how your maple cap and body will look in profile when undertaking either variant.

If you were to introduce true neck angle the neck would be angled backwards relative to the plane of the front of the guitar. Judging by your choice of bridge in the mockups, I'd suggest in this case a true neck angle isn't required.

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I'm going to go with your advice.  The model feels really good.  I don't see any reason to make things more complicated.  Thanks for the input

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So I've got the wood.  Really is beautiful.  Got it from NorthRidgehardwoods.  I'll definitely use them again.  Something I had not thought of was routing the control channels before gluing the cap on.  This is my first build and after seeing how nice the wood is really makes me think twice about the plan.  Its not your typical Lowe's lumber.  Anyways, here we go.

Image may contain: indoor

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I normally route the wiring channels into the main blank before attaching the top, but it does require some planning to make sure you put them in the right spot first. You appear to be designing everything in CAD though, so you should be able to plan ahead to get them located in the right spots. A 6-8mm straight channel between all three pickups and another channel at the lower-left corner of the bridge humbucker location leading to the control cavity would suffice. Or three individual 6mm channels between each pickup and the control cavity if you prefer.

PS - if you'd like to turn this into a build thread, let one of us mods know and we can move it into the 'In Progress' section for you :)

 

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I prefer to rout wiring channels prior to gluing on the top as well. To me, it is much simpler than trying to bore through the pickup routes with a long shafted drill bit.

SR

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On 5/20/2018 at 8:33 PM, ZekeB said:

Yes it will be 25.5".    Slight changes made.  The neck and body will be honduran mahogony.  Just bought the lumber and carved a prototype out of some cheap oak.  Will have a 3/4" top with about 1/2" of carving room. 

First hand carve and a lot of mistakes were made including the infamous splinter between fingernail but I really enjoyed hand carving it.  Something really special about shaping it by hand.  Anyway, I'll post some pics soon as I get that far.    

Thank you guys for the help.  Really great source of information 

@ScottR is one of the master carvers round here, I reckon. But even at my level I fully agree with you - the carving is one of the most satisfying parts of guitat and bass building in my view.  

I like the look of your design and look forward to seeing it progress :)

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Taking an extra day to modify the size of the body to be a little larger.  After making the model it doesn't feel very ergonomic while sitting down.  Also allow me to have a larger control cavity to counter the heavier weight and enough room to work in.

Eager to start but I'm sure it'll pay off.  

image.thumb.png.67be291a99fb24ccb27a65122c081266.png

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On 2/18/2018 at 6:23 AM, ZekeB said:

Hi,

I'm new to the forums and I've been watching it for over a year now and I'm going to try and tackle my 2nd guitar design.  Before I start pulling the trigger on materials I wanted to see if I might be able to pick the brains of more experienced luthiers out there.  My biggest worry is that I'm setting my guitar to not be acoustically pleasing.  From the characteristics of the materials and practices I've read I think it may have a lot of low's and mids.  I don't need twangy snap but I do want it to be sharp enough for lead and good cleans.

I know this is a matter of perspective but what I have so far isn't really traditional and I know there's folks out there who have experimented more.

Anyways here's my main specs and design so far.  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Mako

Neck - 5 piece laminate - maple, wenge, mohogany

24 frets

Set Neck

Body will be a carved flamed maple top on Mohogany body (considering possibly Basswood as well)

HSS Tom Anderson Pickups and wiring

Will have a Schaller Non tremelo hard tail bridge (no tremelo cavity cut)

 

Hi Zeke. I missed this thread, however I'll put my own two cents in. Nice design, I'm looking forward to you realising it!

I wouldn't put too much worry into "how it will sound". If it's well-built, it will sound good. My first point in this area however, is that you're considering a choice between Basswood and a Mahogany (we'll get to Mahoganies in a moment). These are two very different materials. Basswood is regarded as being very easy to carve and shape, if somewhat soft and tonally a little bland. Not all Mahoganies are built equally. Genuine Mahoganies (g. Swietenia) are different to African Mahoganies. In my experience, Khaya (also just called African Mahogany most of the time) and Sapele have different properties to their genuine cousins (very distant cousins at that). Superficially they appear similar, however the one you use or have available may have an effect on the overall tonality of the instrument. I find Khaya to be most pleasing as an alternative to a genuine Mahogany whilst Sapele has more accentuation on the low and high end.

What is important is that you have a lot of mass in the body, and the upshot of that is you are heading into Les Paul sort of territory, especially with the wood choices of Maple top/Mahogany back. The neck will sound a little "faster" in terms of the attack with the Maple and Wengé. I'm a fan of combining Khaya or Sapele with Wengé myself. Every neck I've made like that has been a joy. The Maple will tighten things up and make it a lot brighter. I take it that the fingerboard will be Ebony? Again, a little more brightness.

Overall, excellent. It looks like a fantastic guitar in the making.

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Hi Prostheta.  Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences with the timber.  I made a few changes and have gone with the honduran mahogony in part with exactly what you were talking about.  I'm also going to use honduran for the neck as well.  I'm shooting for the theory that my nice 3/4" thick maple top and ebony will give me a nice big tonal spectrum.

I'm thinking about sticking to a 1 3/4" so that'll leave an inch of mahogany on the back.  You think that will be sufficient?  

I'm going to resaw a piece of the mahogany to be the control cavity cover too.

 

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2 minutes ago, ZekeB said:

Hi Prostheta.  Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences with the timber.  I made a few changes and have gone with the honduran mahogony in part with exactly what you were talking about.  I'm also going to use honduran for the neck as well.  I'm shooting for the theory that my nice 3/4" thick maple top and ebony will give me a nice big tonal spectrum.

I'm thinking about sticking to a 1 3/4" so that'll leave an inch of mahogany on the back.  You think that will be sufficient?  

I'm going to resaw a piece of the mahogany to be the control cavity cover too.

 

My personal view, after quite a bit of experimentation, is that the thickness makes pretty much imperceptible difference to the tone.  On the other hand, it certainly adds to the weight. 

Personally, I wouldn't be too restricted in my designs to a nominal thickness based on the two big US players in the market and instead concentrate more on the functionality - depth for neck attachment, hardware and electrics installation.  If that ends up at 1 3/4" then fair enough, but I would have that as the answer not the target.

And I'm not suggesting at all that this is suitable for your build, but my last two builds have been 1" thick (including the Guitar of the Month still there at the moment on the opening page)

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That's a beautiful guitar andy.  I'm relieved to hear you can be a little lax on some dimensions.  

I'm inspired by your knobs too.  Time to Rev up the lathe.  Think I have some padeuk and some ebony from my last project. I going to attempt that.

Have you ever made homemade pickup covers?

 

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Up to a point. Thin-ness on the other hand is very discernible. The three-four thin instruments I've made were all very alive acoustically. Surprisingly so. Thicker bodies seem to sound "slower" to me, but there's always exceptions to the rule in almost every case. I can only talk from how things have transpired for me.

1-3/4" is less than a Les Paul, so weight shouldn't be too crazy. The option of cavities is there of course, whether they be for weight relief or adding resonance.

One thing I do always look out for on set neck designs is the amount of meat left after the heel sculpt and the neck pickup rout. It should be fairly obvious that the neck pickup rout should only be as deep as it needs to be.

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Other than scale length and fret spacing, there really are no rules to electric guitar building. Everything else is aesthetics and comfort....and a signal chain.

And strings...you can't play without strings.

SR

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9 minutes ago, ZekeB said:

 

Have you ever made homemade pickup covers?

 

I have, but a little bit under duress - that is, only when the future owner specifically requested them.

I did them on this single cut bass commission :

 

395@2x.jpg.56e79a044e19d404813350fed4666be8.jpg

While they are magnetically transparent, they restrict the height the pickups can be raised and, to avoid fingers clicking on them, add a bigger distance than would normally be used - especially on the bridge pickups.  These are made from camphor (as with the top) and ebony, with a thickness of sub 1mm on the top.

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52 minutes ago, ScottR said:

Other than scale length and fret spacing, there really are no rules to electric guitar building. Everything else is aesthetics and comfort....and a signal chain.

And strings...you can't play without strings.

SR

Haha, I agree strings help quite a bit.

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