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beltjones

#'s 2 & 3 - 50's-ish single cuts for my son and me

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My son just turned 8 months old, so I figured it was time to build him his own guitar. At the same time I'm going to build one for myself as well. 

The blank on the left is for the boy. It's purpleheart, tigrillo, and wenge. The one on the right is for me, which is four pieces of book-matched bubinga. 

aEuvZjX.jpg

My son's is going to be a 24" scale, 22 fret single cut with Spanish Cedar wings and either a Peruvian walnut or curly maple top (I haven't decided which) and a curupay fretboard. It will have a single bridge pickup (an SD pearly gates humbucker I have leftover from another project) with a volume and tone control wired 50's style.  I had to order a shorter truss rod for it, so while I'm waiting for that to arrive I've been making progress on the other one. 

zt9g3uF.jpg

This one will have P90s also wired 50s style with black limba wings and a curly maple top. It will have a 25" scale and 22 or 23 frets on a katalox fretboard. 

Thanks in advance for all of the help I'm going to need with these builds...

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On 5/28/2018 at 9:15 AM, beltjones said:

My son just turned 8 months old, so I figured it was time to build him his own guitar

That's a perfect age to get him started.:)

What's unique about 50's style wiring?

SR

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I'm not an expert on wiring, but with 50s wiring the tone caps are connected to different lugs on the volume caps than modern wiring. The result is that turning down the volume pot doesn't bleed off treble like it does with a modern volume pot. 

I need to be better about taking pictures. Today I cut fret slots on both fretboards using my 5 minutes MDF fret slotting jig, and I started working on body shapes. 

I ALSO realized that I totally fouled up the black limba body blanks I had planned to use. So now I need to think about whether to try to save them or just head back to the hardware store to see if they still have that 5/4 piece of mahogany they had last time I was there.

JNxyxAO.jpg

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9 hours ago, beltjones said:

I'm not an expert on wiring, but with 50s wiring the tone caps are connected to different lugs on the volume caps than modern wiring. The result is that turning down the volume pot doesn't bleed off treble like it does with a modern volume pot. 

 

This, plus your tone pot is far more useful in combination with the volume pot for dialling back how much you're hitting the front end of the amp. Excellent for people who like cranking valve amps into their power amp sweet spot and controlling the breakup at the guitar.

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I made more progress today. I used my 5 minute, $1 MDF truss rod routing template to route the slot in my son's guitar.

YqaW4HF.jpg

d0MOwzL.jpg

Then I cut the angle on the headstock. 

NZadUqu.jpg

Then I prepped the Peruvian walnut / Spanish cedar for the body of this guitar...

N0dfYuo.jpg

Then I cut them out on the band saw and glued them up. Later I'll get the neck blank shaped up and glue on the body wings using dowels to locate them.

Yc64wg6.jpg

 

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When I last used Spanish cedar, it had cinnamon clove type smell when sanded and dented every time I sneezed on it.

Are you seeing anything like that?

SR

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8 hours ago, ScottR said:

When I last used Spanish cedar, it had cinnamon clove type smell when sanded and dented every time I sneezed on it.

Are you seeing anything like that?

SR

Oh yeah. In addition to about a million other hobbies I'm also a cigar smoker, and this is what the inside of humidors are made of, so every time I go to the garage it makes me want a cigar. I'm just doing my best to not ding up the cedar too much, and hoping that once I get some tru-oil on it it will harden up a little bit. What do you think?

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Here's my progress for today:

I was drilling the access hole for the truss rod adjustment nut as shown in this picture here:


NZadUqu.jpg
Well it turned out I mis-aligned it a little and when I did a test I couldn't get the allen key into the rod. No problem, so I grabbed the drill and wallowed out the hole a little bit. That, my friends, is when I did a really stupid thing. Somehow I managed to remove a bunch of wood from the bottom of the wider part of the truss rod route. It should have been about .40" deep, and I drilled a bit of it .609" deep. At first I figured "Big deal, the truss rod will go in there, the fretboard will get glued on, and no one will ever know." Then I did the math and figured out that the fretboard is .3" thick, and that means the smallest I can shape the neck at the nut is .909" before I open up the truss rod cavity from the back. I don't like a big baseball bat neck but I could live with one, but this guitar is for my son, and it has a short 24" scale length, and a big old traffic cone neck isn't going to work for him. Crap. 

Then I did another stupid thing and figured while I ponder the mistake above I could shape up the neck blank on the band saw, the after effects pictured here:


CQTAG6B.jpg
Then it occurred to me that if I hadn't just cut the neck blank to pieces on the band saw I could have just shifted the nut down about an inch and a half, made a couple of quick re-routes to move the truss rod down toward the heel, and my problem would have been solved. 

I figured in order to could either remove wood from the top of the neck blank, or from the fretboard. So I went with the path of least resistance and used my home-made router sled to plane the fretboard down to .200" thick. After removing a big of wood when I radius the fretboard I should be able to comfortably carve the neck down to about .850" or so and not worry about punching through to the truss rod route. 

It is a very thin, fenderish fretboard now though.


1tiD2lp.jpg?1
To finish up I grabbed the body wings and mocked up how the guitar is going to look. Not bad. It will have a single humbucker in the bridge and two controls. No top on this one. It should also be quite a bit lighter than the last one, which is good. I also want to leave it plain enough that maybe he will want to build a fancy one with me some day, and also so that one day when he's 13 and screams "I hate you dad!" and smashes the guitar I won't feel too bad about it. 

3Olt4E9.jpg

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It happens, and you learn. Every after all this time, I still make mistakes from impatience. Well, I SAY learn.,..😉

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15 hours ago, beltjones said:

Oh yeah. In addition to about a million other hobbies I'm also a cigar smoker, and this is what the inside of humidors are made of, so every time I go to the garage it makes me want a cigar. I'm just doing my best to not ding up the cedar too much, and hoping that once I get some tru-oil on it it will harden up a little bit. What do you think?

I pore filled mine with Z-Poxy and left a thin layer of that on the surface, rather than sanding it back to bare wood and filled pores. Then sprayed lacquer over that and it has been as durable as the maple top. Tru-oil will definitely help, but it is not as hard as other film finishes...still pretty hard though. The thicker the film you build up, the more protection you'll get (says captain obvious :P).

As far as your needs for a thicker neck, you can make that feel much thinner by taking more material from the sides of the neck carve and leaving it thick only in the very center, sort of a flat V profile. Add some fretboard roll-off and it can be a very comfortable neck.

SR

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If the Tru-Oil route is the one chosen, definitely start with a flood and go for the long-haul finish. Slow, but better all round. No doubt about it.

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When I started building these two I told myself I was going to take beaucoup pictures so I would be able to show my son how I built his guitar in time for his first birthday. 

Well, I have failed in that, but I have made some progress. 

The neck blank is cut down and the fretboard is radiused.

eKsbrEc.jpg 

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I haven't actually installed the fretboard markers - that's just blonde sawdust filling them at the moment. I'm trying to decide between mother of pearl, green abalone, or black abalone. For this one I'm thinking mother of pearl because the purpleheart laminate neck is already pretty colorful. 

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I'd agree about MOP. It's quite likely that abalone will be more black in sections than the fingerboard itself.

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Fretboard is radiused, dots are glued in and sanded back, and frets are hammered in and beveled. Now I'm carving the necks. 

NYVc7uU.jpg

Previously when I carved the necks the temperatures outside were very temperate, maybe even cold by Houston standards. These days it's hot as hell and humid as the bottom of a lake, and man, ten minutes into neck carving I'm drenched in sweat. On the last (first) guitar I enjoyed every minute of working on the neck, with these two I have to bring a spare shirt to the garage when it's time to work on them. On the plus side I LOVE how that curupay fretboard looks, and in time it will turn a very warm brick-ish red/brown when exposed to UV light. Here is a preview:https://www.woodworkerssource.com/blog/wood-conversations/curupay-unlike-any-other-wood/

That leads me to an issue. The one on the right has a 25" scale, the one on the left has a 24" scale, and my slotted straight edge is for 25.5" and 24.75" scales. After I finish carving the necks, and it's time to level frets, how do I make sure the fretboard is perfectly flat? I'm thinking about cutting a few new slots in the my existing slotted straight edge with the band saw. Does anyone have any better ideas?

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I have taken the aluminum yard sticks you can get at lowe's or home depot and just notched them. Not the thin 48" ones but the thicker aluminum 36" ones. They hold up pretty well- and you can sort of check them right at the store for straight edge as they should have a 48" straight edge there in that area for $40+. if you drop them- they will dent-and lose their edge- but for $7 or whatever and a few minutes with a dremel/bandsaw whatever -it works good enough. 

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On 5/29/2018 at 9:22 PM, beltjones said:

I'm not an expert on wiring, but with 50s wiring the tone caps are connected to different lugs on the volume caps than modern wiring. The result is that turning down the volume pot doesn't bleed off treble like it does with a modern volume pot. 

I need to be better about taking pictures. Today I cut fret slots on both fretboards using my 5 minutes MDF fret slotting jig, and I started working on body shapes. 

I ALSO realized that I totally fouled up the black limba body blanks I had planned to use. So now I need to think about whether to try to save them or just head back to the hardware store to see if they still have that 5/4 piece of mahogany they had last time I was there.

JNxyxAO.jpg

I love how you have the template on there.  Is that done using some type of glue?  Very cool.

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It also makes the tone pot more usable. Really though, vintage wiring shines more with cranked amps and you control the amount of crunch and breakup with the instrument.

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3 hours ago, ZekeB said:

I love how you have the template on there.  Is that done using some type of glue?  Very cool.

Yeah, just regular old glue stick.

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Well, I finished these two. I completely dropped the ball on documenting anything, but that's mostly because my time was so constrained when building them. I don't even have a decent completed picture of the guitar for my son. 

Here are the specs: Purpleheart, tigrillo, wenge, tigrillo, purpleheart neckthrough. Curpay fretboard, 24" scale length, Spanish cedar "back" and peruvian walnut "top." Gotoh locking tuners. Bone nut. Jescar "wide medium" .047x.104 stainless frets, cut back tele-style bridge (my favorite style to play on), and a single SD Pearly Gates in the bridge, with 50s style wiring. 

9r2XnBA.jpg

Here's the other: 

4 piece Bubinga laminated neck-through with Kluson tuners, a bone nut, Katalox fretboard (I'm obsessed with this wood for a fretboard - it's like ebony and rosewood had a baby), 25" scale, Jescar wide-medium stainless steel frets, Wilkinson P90 pickups, maple top, and black limba body.

XOfnjQL.jpg

4EzTujI.jpg

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2 hours ago, ScottR said:

Very nice!

I was hoping you'd come back around.:)

SR

You might be frightened to learn that for my next build I have purchased gouges. 

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15 minutes ago, beltjones said:

You might be frightened to learn that for my next build I have purchased gouges. 

Not at all. Those wickedly sharp things will be in your hands.<_< Just make sure you locate the pointy end before you reach for one....and never, ever try to catch one before it hits the concrete if you drop it.:blink:

Seriously, I've seen your work--you'll be a natural. And I'll think you'll love how calming and relaxing they are to use.

SR

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