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I have been lurking around here for a while, marveling at the REALLY cool stuff that many of you make.

Ever since I started playing 25 or so years ago, I have always daydreamed about building my own guitar.  My first guitar is a Mexican Strat that I still have and love.  I tend to prefer Les Pauls and still own three (71 Custom '54 Reissue, 83 Standard Tobacco, 96 DC AAA)

 

I have an uncle that lives in North Carolina that makes furniture and he has a warehouse of wood in storage.  When I got married, he build my wife and I a pie cabinet out of Black Walnut.  It's so beautiful, I asked him if he had any scrap lying around that he could send me that I could use to build a guitar body.

A few months later I got this in the mail...

 

45764451265_dbcb9fdd5a_z.jpg

 

45764451335_a70c6a97d1_c.jpg

 

Im terrified to mess up this blank!  I guess I'm mostly terrified to mess up the neck joint as my plan is to bolt up a strat neck to it and I want it to be right.  I dont really care what the shape is, just as long as the neck fits properly.

 

My goal is a carved, PRS style body with Humbucker, Single Single or Dual Humbucker.... not sure yet.

 

I do need advice as to how I should go about this as this is my very first attempt building a guitar and I REALLY dont want to mess up the work my uncle put into this!

 

 

Thank you!

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right on brutha!  welcome!  The gents in here will def get you going in the right direction and will be along with the advice soon.  Since I still have my training wheels I won't offer any, just wanted to say "welcome" and "cool wood".

cheers

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10 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

right on brutha!  welcome!  The gents in here will def get you going in the right direction and will be along with the advice soon.  Since I still have my training wheels I won't offer any, just wanted to say "welcome" and "cool wood".

cheers

Im not used to men commenting on or admiring my wood but I have the feeling that's not the first time that's happened on this forum

 

😆

 

and thanks for the welcome!

  • Haha 1

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it's a good thing that wasn't ash or i'd have said "sweet piece of ash". haha!

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22 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

it's a good thing that wasn't ash or i'd have said "sweet piece of ash". haha!

post #4 and we are already on to dad jokes

 

😀

 

I have a feeling that I'll fit right in, here!

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hehe, you mama so fat.... just kidding. 

since the pros haven't chimed in... I'll pass on some amateur advice!  you prob want to get whatever neck you will attach it to before you do anything.  once you have that, you need to build templates. lots of tutorials on template making here and on youtube.  I would go watch a bunch of them. 

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Welcome, I would suggest buying yourself some decent PRS routing templates and just make your own neck, thats how I started last year (no prior woodworking experience). Neck building is not that difficult if you take your time and research the steps. If you're worried about damaging that blank, just get yourself some cheap sapele or meranti etc and build a prototype. The most intimidating part about neck building I found was cutting fret slots, if that's the case then just order yourself a pre-slotted fretboard.

Back to PRS vs Strat, be aware that you would have to modify the PRS body design at the heal significantly to accomodate a strat neck and it might not look very PRS'y afterwards. You could get yourself some strat templates and just build a strat body, but there is no guarantee that the template for the neck pock is going to be an exact fit with your existing neck. 

Good luck and welcome to the obsession :D

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Welcome!

It looks like you are getting good advice already. I'd join in with start with your neck, however you decide to acquire it, and then do a few test neck  joins before cutting to your actual body. I usually do my test cuts on pieces of pine 2x8s.

Plan out your body construction, pick-up routes, wiring channels, control cavity and so on before making a cut. If any of that makes you nervous, build a plywood body first just to get a feel how everything goes together.

SR

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not to discourage you from building a neck... (you can do it!) but just wanted to point out an option you may not have considered: you can get a prs style bolt on neck from warmoth... kind of spensive, but if you watch their 'ready made' selection you can probably get one for under $200... I've built a few guitars from their necks and while a bit on the heavy side they are def quality.

http://www.warmoth.com/Guitar/Necks/Warmoth/Warmoth/ChooseConstruction.aspx

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3 hours ago, mistermikev said:

not to discourage you from building a neck... (you can do it!) but just wanted to point out an option you may not have considered: you can get a prs style bolt on neck from warmoth... kind of spensive, but if you watch their 'ready made' selection you can probably get one for under $200... I've built a few guitars from their necks and while a bit on the heavy side they are def quality.

http://www.warmoth.com/Guitar/Necks/Warmoth/Warmoth/ChooseConstruction.aspx

I would probably go this route for my first go around.  I have two young kids, so as much as I want to do this entire thing on my own, I just dont have tons of free time lying around.  Im going to be stretching it thin enough as it is....

I dont have to have the PRS style neck or not - I just like the look of the carved PRS body.  I would be fine with a bolt on, strat style neck.  That would even be preferable as I could easily swap the neck out if need be.

 

Once I get more comfortable, I could go for a dedicated neck

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6 hours ago, ADFinlayson said:

Welcome, I would suggest buying yourself some decent PRS routing templates and just make your own neck, thats how I started last year (no prior woodworking experience). Neck building is not that difficult if you take your time and research the steps. If you're worried about damaging that blank, just get yourself some cheap sapele or meranti etc and build a prototype. The most intimidating part about neck building I found was cutting fret slots, if that's the case then just order yourself a pre-slotted fretboard.

Back to PRS vs Strat, be aware that you would have to modify the PRS body design at the heal significantly to accomodate a strat neck and it might not look very PRS'y afterwards. You could get yourself some strat templates and just build a strat body, but there is no guarantee that the template for the neck pock is going to be an exact fit with your existing neck. 

Good luck and welcome to the obsession :D

Thanks for the advice!  I dont really have to have anything PRS, I just like the look of a carved, PRS style body.  I think that would showcase the wood better as well.

 

Maybe I can do a standard strat body template and modify it slightly to get the carved top....

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26 minutes ago, Eatpasta said:

Maybe I can do a standard strat body template and modify it slightly to get the carved top....

You start with any solid body style and carve it up to your heart's desire! There are no rules......well maybe a few. You have to leave enough meat to join the neck and mount the pickups bridge and house the electronics.

Carving and contouring are pretty much my favorite things about building.

SR

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53 minutes ago, Eatpasta said:

I would probably go this route for my first go around.  I have two young kids, so as much as I want to do this entire thing on my own, I just dont have tons of free time lying around.  Im going to be stretching it thin enough as it is....

I dont have to have the PRS style neck or not - I just like the look of the carved PRS body.  I would be fine with a bolt on, strat style neck.  That would even be preferable as I could easily swap the neck out if need be.

 

Once I get more comfortable, I could go for a dedicated neck

there is also the eastern rout: https://www.ebay.com/i/183345045062?chn=ps

can't say I'd recommend it but... on the bright side you'd likely get to learn some things about fret leveling!  Possibly even fretBOARD leveling! 

just note that if you go the strat neck rout... not all of them have the same pocket dimensions... so they may or may not be interchangeable later.  I think you'll be fine whatever way you go and like the idea of a prs carve on a strat body.  You are in good hands there... just look at the carve examples from scottr and adfinlayson, and many other forum members here. 

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3 hours ago, mistermikev said:

there is also the eastern rout: https://www.ebay.com/i/183345045062?chn=ps 

can't say I'd recommend it but... on the bright side you'd likely get to learn some things about fret leveling!  Possibly even fretBOARD leveling! 

just note that if you go the strat neck rout... not all of them have the same pocket dimensions... so they may or may not be interchangeable later.  I think you'll be fine whatever way you go and like the idea of a prs carve on a strat body.  You are in good hands there... just look at the carve examples from scottr and adfinlayson, and many other forum members here. 

Eastern rout? 

 

and holy hell, that neck is only $70.... could it possibly be any good?  Are any of these eBay necks and blanks any good?

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1 hour ago, Eatpasta said:

Eastern rout? 

 

and holy hell, that neck is only $70.... could it possibly be any good?  Are any of these eBay necks and blanks any good?

eastern - I just meant chinese.

I've never bought one of those, it's just not my thing so I can't really recommend it. 

Supposedly all cnc cut.  I suspect the quality of wood isn't great so could be fine or could end up with a ski... just depends if the one you get was dried well.  I've seen reviews on tdpri that boast "it's good" but have my doubts as that can mean dif things to dif folks.  Several have said they need fret dressing and possibly leveling but you might need some of that with any neck. 

In the end, you'd have to decide for yourself if it was worth the roll of the dice.  Might end up building a replacement later!

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13 hours ago, ScottR said:

You start with any solid body style and carve it up to your heart's desire! There are no rules......well maybe a few. You have to leave enough meat to join the neck and mount the pickups bridge and house the electronics.

Carving and contouring are pretty much my favorite things about building.

SR

Yep, on most of my guitars, I've started with a flat body shaped to a template, then I just draw with chalk where I want to carve and just crack, I usually carve the back too :D

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15 hours ago, mistermikev said:

eastern - I just meant chinese.

I've never bought one of those, it's just not my thing so I can't really recommend it. 

Supposedly all cnc cut.  I suspect the quality of wood isn't great so could be fine or could end up with a ski... just depends if the one you get was dried well.  I've seen reviews on tdpri that boast "it's good" but have my doubts as that can mean dif things to dif folks.  Several have said they need fret dressing and possibly leveling but you might need some of that with any neck. 

In the end, you'd have to decide for yourself if it was worth the roll of the dice.  Might end up building a replacement later!

roger that - noted!  If I can, I'd like to use as high quality components as I can afford.

 

I've played for too many years to suffer crappy equipment....I dont think anyone here got into guitar building to say "boy do I love building shitty guitars....!"

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1 hour ago, Eatpasta said:

roger that - noted!  If I can, I'd like to use as high quality components as I can afford.

 

I've played for too many years to suffer crappy equipment....I dont think anyone here got into guitar building to say "boy do I love building shitty guitars....!"

hmmm... not so fast, maybe your on to something there, I think I found my niche!

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2 hours ago, ADFinlayson said:

"Badly made, great pickups" that's my niche. Get your own :D 

I live walking distance to Seymour Duncan and have a good friend that works there, so I have the pickups part of the program covered.

The rest of it however....

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6 hours ago, ADFinlayson said:

"Badly made, great pickups" that's my niche. Get your own :D 

I have copyright/proof!

you have friend at seymour???  that's pretty cool.  Reminds me of a song by johnny cash regarding a cadillac!

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20 hours ago, mistermikev said:

I have copyright/proof!

you have friend at seymour???  that's pretty cool.  Reminds me of a song by johnny cash regarding a cadillac!

My wife actually got to know him pretty well as she went to see Brad Paisley not that long ago and sat next to him,  We were hanging out with said friend that works at SD.  Because Santa Barbara is such a small town, she now runs into him and chats with him

😁

Ironically, that happens with Brad Paisley around here too

 

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You mean your wife runs into seymour duncan?  for a min there I thought you might mean your wife runs into/chats w  johnny cash's dead body... that'd be creepy!

 

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1 minute ago, mistermikev said:

You mean your wife runs into seymour duncan?  for a min there I thought you might mean your wife runs into/chats w  johnny cash's dead body... that'd be creepy!

 

Yeah, that's less likely than running into Seymour as he is alive and moving about

😎

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