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Jimmydavies

First build- custom telecaster

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Hi all, Jimmy here.

Just wanted to share my first build with like minded people and try to mooch some tips also. I have a background in engineering and have done DIY woodwork projects before but this is somehow another level kind of scary.

So it's a solid yew body with metalic copper resin throughout. I've swapped out the rear pickup for a split coil humbucker and making my own ashtray out of copper along with the control panel. It will have an ash neck with a (I've never seen one before) bookmatched yew thretboard. With a single resin inlay, design to be confirmed.

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The design and material choices make me wonder if you've been watching some YouTube vids by a tattoo headed bloke... 

So far awesome!

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Haha, yes I have been watching crimson guitars alot. Only going with the ash neck as we had a big off cut from work so i managed to get 2 neck blanks from it to play with.

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Fantastic work,

New member here planning first build.   

As a woodturner I love using Yew but it certainly has it's challenges.

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I like the fact that there is no epoxy through the center area... not because of tone/strength, but it just looks better to me.  nice work.

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Cheers guys.

I've wood turned a couple of knobs for the pots out of the off cuts of the yew and it can change dramatically with a few cuts of a peice you think it totally solid.

I wouldn't do one with resin down the centre, once all the hardware is on you pretty much lose all the visual effects from it if you do.

I chose it the way it is due to the curve in the grain matching the cut away. Just satisfying.

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Some decent progress this week after a couple of weeks away.

Managed to get the back machined flat, cut out to final size, and all pockets milled to size.

Planed the neck blanks down and found they have a light and dark side, almost like a watermark and I like it, should be a good looking neck. Also planned and glued the fretboard and have 0.5mm milling cutters ready for machining the slots.

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looks like a million bux.  nice work.  I support the choice to keep it tele/singlecut!  bravo.

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Cheers guys, plan is to have a natural oiled finish with either Danish oil somthing alike as I dont know if the resin would react to laquer or a flash coat.

More progress today though. Neck cut to size and truss rod in. Fretboard cut and only broke 3 0.5 milling cutters so win win today.

Also, the masking tape and super glue trick is a game changer for me. Unbelievable what you can achieve,20190815_184120.thumb.jpg.003af564231a5c50827aaf977f160ce9.jpg20190815_184251.thumb.jpg.84faee811ca5e333f221ec9bf8ce12b2.jpg 100x better than a vacuum bed.

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Cheers guys, that router is my favourite machine in the whole workshop and we have cnc lathes and 4 axis milling machines.

I have a question though. I'm a bit stuck with my neck/ neck pocket, the drawing I've got says 19mm neck and 6mm fretboard, but pocket is 16mm deep, I dont realy fancy a 3mm gap between the fretbaord and the body. So does it make a difference if I take a tad more out the pocket so the bottom of the fretboard sits flush with the body. I'm not sure what to do as I've seen pictures of both ways.

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There's one single thing to take into account when making your neck pocket deeper: Your bridge has to match that, meaning that the bridge has to be about 2 mm higher than the straight line drawn along the fretted fingerboard.

There's several ways to achieve the result you want. Either get a shallower bridge which can be difficult. Or route the bottom and the end of the pocket in an angle. The image below shows how a neck break angle matches with the bridge height.

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So I'm making my own bridge out of copper and using black saddles of one I bought. If i lower the rear mounting holes for the adjustment screws and skim the bottom of the saddles for more vertical adjustments,  I should be able to make that couple of mm. I think I'll have to draw it up on cadcam and double check if it can work.

It will be a humbucker bridge, this is just one I made before I decided for a split coil humbucker.

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Also bear in mind that the pickups have both depth and height. Having the cavity deep enough for the strings not to touch the pickup is no issue, but with a very shallow bridge you'll loose the height adjusting range for the pickups. Having them below the surface is not a good looking option.

More importantly, if you have a straight body with only the fretboard being above the body level, you'd be having very little clearance between the strings and the body, only about 6 to 8 mm. If you add a pickguard, that would take half of it away. There'd be no space for the strings to vibrate and you'd be hitting the body with your pick while playing.

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49 minutes ago, Bizman62 said:

Also bear in mind that the pickups have both depth and height. Having the cavity deep enough for the strings not to touch the pickup is no issue, but with a very shallow bridge you'll loose the height adjusting range for the pickups. Having them below the surface is not a good looking option.

More importantly, if you have a straight body with only the fretboard being above the body level, you'd be having very little clearance between the strings and the body, only about 6 to 8 mm. If you add a pickguard, that would take half of it away. There'd be no space for the strings to vibrate and you'd be hitting the body with your pick while playing.

I'm not having a pickguard but 6-8mm clearance is a little to close for comfortable playing, think Ill to stick with the normal height then and do a flush profile of the fretboard to the neck rather than an overhang. Thanks for all your info Bizman, much appreciated.

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Bit more done today after work, just need to get the press brake set up to fold the bridge up.

Body still needs sanding down after topping up some little bits of resin that had chipped out from machining.

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More achived today, feels I'm getting closer now. Sanded the resin back and looks sweet now, made mk2 bridge as mk1 was a little to long so wasnt achieving the 648mm in the position I liked, did a trial finish on the copper, 320grit orbital sander and just 1 coat of gloss sealant, happy with how it looks and will stop the copper from dulling. Also got the fretboard glued on aswel.

I think I'll be gluing the neck in once its done as I'll m not keen on screwing it in, hopefully it will all go well.

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Fretboard trimmed and headstock radius sanded, not happy that I had taken the slot a tad to far but I'll make a copper cover in the shape of Thors hammer.

had to deepen the the neck pocket 1mm but it's taken a small amount of a side which has made the neck pocket not as tight now so I'll be gluing the neck in for sure now.

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Not being happy with the occasional element in your build is not a bad thing, it's a sign of perfectionism and will just mean your next build will be better than your last. This though is looking both unique and fantastic 👍

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So when I was putting the radius on the fretboard I noticed this little nick. not quite sure how to go about fixing it, it's not massive and it's on the bottom of the neck but it's still visible and can feel it. Any help appreciated.

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