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gpcustomguitars

Custom headless guitar with a head

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I was recently asked to make 2 identical bodies, template being a headless shape, to be used with common necks based on Ibanez specs. The bodies would be cherry and walnut. I wanted to tweak the shapes he wants a little, and we settled on this:

47802396962_25f22de35b_b.jpg001-ZS0000 by Goran P, on Flickr

Colors will be different, but it's a starting point.

Made a template for the bodies:

33977185158_3a48978692_z.jpg01-ZS000 by Goran P, on Flickr

33977185018_4651e7cd0b_z.jpg04-ZS003 by Goran P, on Flickr

47065055174_c69b3f3996_z.jpg05-ZS004 by Goran P, on Flickr

47802362282_87342968b2_z.jpg08-ZS008 by Goran P, on Flickr

47854481571_bef0082d9e_z.jpg09-ZS009 by Goran P, on Flickr

32910434937_2b7700ba93_z.jpg010-ZS010 by Goran P, on Flickr

40887818373_eaf5c32598_z.jpg011-ZS011 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

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One piece walnut root body blank:

40887818103_b6d1ee282c_z.jpg013-ZS013 by Goran P, on Flickr

One piece cherry blank - it has a slight bit of center of the log, radial, decided to try to preserve it as a feature:

33977184968_17def09da5_z.jpg03-ZS001 by Goran P, on Flickr

Starting the routes:

32910434777_3f578cb773_z.jpg014-ZS014 by Goran P, on Flickr

47854481451_9d7e5f5852_z.jpg015-ZS015 by Goran P, on Flickr

40887818293_56a67ea89f_z.jpg016-ZS016 by Goran P, on Flickr

47065038684_0cc13698e8_z.jpg017-ZS017 by Goran P, on Flickr

47854481371_2a80ca7038_z.jpg018-ZS018 by Goran P, on Flickr

Last 10mm of thickness were cut roughly on a model saw, and then routed to spec form the other side.

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and then sanded on the oscillating sander...at this point I decided to concentrate on the cherry body first.

33977169428_b3d7ecf54d_z.jpg019-ZS019 by Goran P, on Flickr

40887817953_83caae9706_z.jpg020-ZS020 by Goran P, on Flickr

47854481281_3df293e178_z.jpg021-ZS021 by Goran P, on Flickr

and the edges were rounded

47854481241_11527826fa_z.jpg022-ZS022 by Goran P, on Flickr

Then, I drew the edges of the slope

40887818203_083838f1ca_z.jpg023-ZS023 by Goran P, on Flickr

and the arm rest area

40887817833_c2837321a0_z.jpg024-ZS024 by Goran P, on Flickr

and proceeded to cut them with firstly marking them more visibly with some marking tape.

47854481101_5ebfd5bb20_z.jpg025-ZS025 by Goran P, on Flickr

Then some chiseling to bring it down to 15mm from the bottom

40887817703_49b4b00959_z.jpg026-ZS026 by Goran P, on Flickr

47854480991_5ebfd5bb20_z.jpg027-ZS027 by Goran P, on Flickr

soaked the heartwood with some CA

47854480961_b0754aefe2_z.jpg028-ZS028 by Goran P, on Flickr

and started sanding

47065038464_0c1d95aab8_z.jpg029-ZS029 by Goran P, on Flickr

pencil line shows where I intend to place the jack

40887817573_25bc49f51c_z.jpg030-ZS030 by Goran P, on Flickr

and planed the armrest.

47854480861_a64a4c9e91_z.jpg031-ZS031 by Goran P, on Flickr

Now it's up to date, more pics to follow.

 

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there is a line that continues from the fretboard to the body on the purple one... but i don't see that on the green one... not sure due to the color... but I like that feature. 

also... I like the idea of using wormy wood. Idk why... just kind of don't see that a lot, but it looks kewl. 

some nice stuff there... great work. 

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Just a mistake in my drawing - it will be there on the actual bodies. I'm planing to Inlay either a 1mm aluminum strip there, or a 2mm cream/white abs strip, mirroring the radius of the fretboard inlay.

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This is my fretboard stock, canadian walnut, dried as a log in my shed for a few years now, freshly cut:

47802362372_ec2449221d_z.jpg06-ZS 006 by Goran P, on Flickr

40887818463_c7f3fa6730_z.jpg07-ZS007 by Goran P, on Flickr

the pics are not doing it justice, it's more purple-brown in person

47065038884_b52fdfa9e0_z.jpg012-ZS012 by Goran P, on Flickr

there are knots and irregularities there, but I'm sure I'll manage to pick a fretboard and electronic cover.

 

Edited by gpcustomguitars

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Interesting concept- headless with a head.

I love the way you always choose pieces of wood that most would leave behind, and turn them into gorgeous guitars. It's like you start closer to the tree than the rest of us.

SR

 

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Well said, @ScottR.

Wood is a natural material but all that is sold as guitar wood is categorized as A, AA, AAA...

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On ‎5‎/‎15‎/‎2019 at 11:25 AM, gpcustomguitars said:

This is my fretboard stock, canadian walnut, dried as a log in my shed for a few years now, freshly cut:

47802362372_ec2449221d_z.jpg06-ZS 006 by Goran P, on Flickr

40887818463_c7f3fa6730_z.jpg07-ZS007 by Goran P, on Flickr

the pics are not doing it justice, it's more purple-brown in person

47065038884_b52fdfa9e0_z.jpg012-ZS012 by Goran P, on Flickr

there are knots and irregularities there, but I'm sure I'll manage to pick a fretboard and electronic cover.

 

I like the idea of a headed headless.  I think there are a number of advantages of the headless system - but visually, I just can't get used to the sudden nothingness at the end of a headless headless! 

 

Your Canadian Walnut figuring is VERY close to the English Walnut I used for one of my recent re-bodies :)

_MG_8460.thumb.JPG.a9cfff7a83e5dbe9b55a461e0fe1dd00.JPG

It's a beautiful wood to work with and, like you, I think the fissures and flaws add to the look rather than detract :)

 

I very much look forward to seeing how this one develops!

Andy

 

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Thank you all for the kind words! I was trying to come up with a suitable thread name, and I think this was fitting :) Usually guitars get modified to be headless, not as much the other way around.

Regarding my wood choices, I happen to have a huge batch of cherry, along with some other stuff, near to 5m3 of seasoned wood. It would seem wrong not to use it, so I try to overcome any inherent flaws in the material, which is also rewarding as a learning experience. Also, any irregularities in the wood do give it some character, which I prefer to actual figured wood. Most of my stash are trees that were cut down and rough sawn when I was present, and I've air dried it all in my shed.

Andy, very nice work as usual! Yes, that does look pretty close, does it have a bit of purple hue in person?

I was not able to do any work for a few days now, but I'm preparing one jig to route them all (neck pocket, both hums) which could get done during the weekend. With shaping the back of the body  and the electronics cavity routed after that I should be done with shaping the cherry body and start sanding.

 

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Finally had some real time to work on this yesterday, I'm also including a few photos from the previous session.

First, used some of the fretboard offcuts to make the electronics cover

47117070594_798f0af3e7_z.jpg032-ZS032 by Goran P, on Flickr

and roughly cut a suitable piece for the fretboard. It had one small knot which I'd like to use as a feature if I can, but first, some CA to stabilize it.

47117070564_7c603a97e5_z.jpg033-ZS033 by Goran P, on Flickr

and started the routing jig for all the front cavities:

47117070484_9901096f1a_z.jpg034-ZS034 by Goran P, on Flickr

Printed out life sized neck profile

47854395652_67612d9ea5_z.jpg035-ZS035 by Goran P, on Flickr

and picked one of my 1" maple blanks to cut some lams.

47906437071_1b63fde464_z.jpg036-ZS036 by Goran P, on Flickr

had to use a jigsaw, as my bandsaw is not available at the moment, some burning of the edges, but everything is oversized for now

47854395602_0676dfba33_z.jpg037-ZS037 by Goran P, on Flickr

46990373555_f7d694d1c8_z.jpg038-ZS038 by Goran P, on Flickr

humbucker routes I've managed to cut almost perfect just by electric coping saw, almost no need to touch up with a file.

47854396112_96e24a57fc_z.jpg039-ZS039 by Goran P, on Flickr

My flattening jig, works really fine

47854395502_8d80024981_z.jpg040-ZS040 by Goran P, on Flickr

and first 3 lams, maple/cherry/maple add up to 50mm out of 58 needed, so I'll add 2 lams of canadian walnut used for the fretboard. Looks nice I think. I'm using the piece with some features I wouldn't be able to work around for a fretboard, but can avoid when cutting a neck profile.

46990373285_6f88bfb001_z.jpg041-ZS041 by Goran P, on Flickr

47854395812_4f3b90e162_z.jpg042-ZS042 by Goran P, on Flickr

Neck pocket part of the jig I've routed flush:

46990373175_e11afc181f_z.jpg043-ZS043 by Goran P, on Flickr

...and realized that I need a bit more material between neck pocket and hum cavity, it would probably be prone to breaking. I'll make the fretboard hang over the neck for about 5mm.

47906437031_4c0abc8368_z.jpg044-ZS044 by Goran P, on Flickr

That's it for now, I should cut the 2 remaining neck lams in the next session and glue the neck up. The truss rods are in the mail, I've also ordered some fretwire.

BR,

Goran

Edited by gpcustomguitars

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Finally had some time to cut the remaining  lams (day before) and glue them up (yesterday). They'll be in the clamps until this afternoon, cant wait to see how they will clean up. I'm planing to level the fretboard surface on the router jig shown earlier.

I've been working on some more headstock designs as he wants a few more options, so there'll be a update on that as well, and we are also talking about a few other inlay options as well.

 

47923161576_41bb2d8f1e_z.jpg045-ZS045 by Goran P, on Flickr

47923160501_79236c0c55_z.jpg046-ZS046 by Goran P, on Flickr

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Just a little update - I have planed the surface flush by hand (a big victory for me, getting somewhere with my learn-to-plane policy :) ) and used the resulting surface to route the back to uniform thickness of 19.5mm for now.

47942217898_12e06cdacd_z.jpg047-ZS047 by Goran P, on Flickr

47942217983_09b5523172_z.jpg048-ZS048 by Goran P, on Flickr

the headstock was also planed by hand and routed to 12mm thickness, as the plan is to add a 3mm headstock plate.

47942200032_4b9453fb1b_z.jpg049-ZS049 by Goran P, on Flickr

47942237956_5657f4fffe_z.jpg050-ZS050 by Goran P, on Flickr

and had to see how it will look with the fretboard wood:

47942237916_6abc30004c_z.jpg051-ZS051 by Goran P, on Flickr

47942199942_ea5a61ebe7_z.jpg052-ZS052 by Goran P, on Flickr

47942217873_0b1b2d8275_z.jpg053-ZS053 by Goran P, on Flickr

we might have a definite winner in the headstock design department, so more pics to follow!

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Finally, some updates! We decided to go with this headstock:

48007417748_1aa24251da_z.jpg054-ZS054 by Goran P, on Flickr

I've glued a printout to some mdf, and proceeded to thickness some cherry offcuts to 3mm:

48007493722_3507240a6c_z.jpg055-ZS055 by Goran P, on Flickr

and made the A/B sides to cut i on the scroll saw. Then, with tin snips, made a alu strip 3.5mm wide, bent it by hand and tried gluing it to the wood with CA, but I was not so sure it will hold properly, so

48007493607_e042c29cc0_z.jpg057-ZS057 by Goran P, on Flickr

48007408296_63efc0772e_z.jpg058-ZS058 by Goran P, on Flickr

I cleaned it up and reglued with some epoxy and a few clamps :)

48007493517_478a1fde06_z.jpg059-ZS059 by Goran P, on Flickr

Then, roughly cut the mdf template, still have to sand it to line

48007493457_3d7bea965d_z.jpg060-ZS060 by Goran P, on Flickr

Doesn't look like much out of the clamps, but

48007408181_77b25257ff_z.jpg061-ZS061 by Goran P, on Flickr

some sanding later it's looking a bit more interesting.

48007493367_d4343325c5_z.jpg062-ZS062 by Goran P, on Flickr

48007408076_cb0e175b4b_z.jpg063-ZS063 by Goran P, on Flickr

Then, used the recently made jig and started on the neck pocket. The route was actually finished on my  router-press :)

48012212216_5f4dda7147_z.jpg064-ZS064 by Goran P, on Flickr

48012212266_7c5cbc71ef_z.jpg065-ZS065 by Goran P, on Flickr

and then routed the humbucker cavities:

48012212181_5fabf60164_z.jpg066-ZS066 by Goran P, on Flickr

Finished the yesterday's session by gluing the next needed template:

48012298797_7d3bb0bcb3_z.jpg067-ZS067 by Goran P, on Flickr

Now we have to finalize the fretboard inlay design...

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