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norm barrows

The x-4

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The x-4.        build number 11.

The x-4 was a proof of concept that combined many of the design features that i had successfully tested to date.

The special features implemented were:

fire hardened neck.

t bracket hanger for nohead designs. lets you hang a nohead guitar on the wall. i found that a "shoulder block" behind the nut gets in the way when playing chords at the zero fret.  but a t bracket mounted behind the neck, that extends a bit above the neck, works fine.

neck and body sculpted as one unit for a smoother neck/body joint.

thin hard V neck profile (more or less perfected this 3rd time around - the red guitar, the x-1, and now the x-4).

x-1 style ergonomic body in thin minimalist style with bars instead of horns.   thin and minimalist for weight savings.  leg cutout at the bridge, no strap horn.

steinberger type nohead bridge for superior balance in a trem equipped guitar.

locking nut

locking strap

output jack located where it does not interfere with play, movement, balance, etc, and where an extension cord is not required for a wireless remote (like on a diagonal face mounted strat jack.    bad designer - no Twinkie!  )

good weight distribution.    no neck dive.    balanced -  both sitting and standing.

direct mount pickup

use of a zero fret  (just happens to be standard on a steinburger).

depth pick guard - a "pick guard" under the strings to keep you from picking too deep. functions similarly to the floyd rose "speed guide" guitar body.

Also, aesthetics would be a consideration for the first time in an experimental build, as i was working on finishing techniques.

And this was the result:

 

 

Front view:

IMG_20200225_123113.thumb.jpg.7500ed50894d5503b9742ee22e523b79.jpg

 

 

Back view  (sorry - its kinda blurry.... 😞

IMG_20200227_191216.thumb.jpg.5e63c38f48fddb00da133e86ab353f69.jpg

 

 

Left side:   ( the green thing is a can of turtle wax holding it up.    again - kinda blurry.   i'm new to phone cameras.   i'm used to a Nikon and 400 ASA high speed ektachrome.    but i took close-ups too.   this is just to give you a general idea of the look.   )

IMG_20200227_191938.thumb.jpg.91e9b88f1458039ccdb60fb75847a53a.jpg

 

 

Right side:

IMG_20200227_192231.thumb.jpg.cfe41016953f3da7a0458d15383a4451.jpg

 

 

The neck began life as a ~$30 ebay special.....

IMG_20200227_194217.thumb.jpg.c8fd34b7653b1e07102efcde05c735b2.jpg

 

The headstock was cut off, and the end modified to accept a wood shoulder block for hanging the guitar on a wall hanger, and for a steinberger type trem nut.  The   wood shoulder block was just above the original nut slot, and interfered with chording at the zero fret.   So i replaced it with a T bracket for hanging the guitar up.

IMG_20200227_192940.thumb.jpg.5706dec7e7c679ae88f55695f44126f3.jpg

 

This bracket was fabricated from aluminum bar stock.    Then it and it's hardware were squirted gold.   The unused hole is leftover from use in some previous build most likely.          As a test, I didn't want to use up fresh bar stock, so I went fishing in the parts box instead and came up with this.  I have since ordered 10 T brackets in chrome, and 10 in brass, for future nohead builds.

 

A closeup of the nut. The locking blocks and zero fret were squirted gold.   The inlay dots that came with the neck were "orange" - hence the low price.    but they actually look more copper than anything.     so its not bad for 30 bucks.     other than that,  they are fine 24 fret superstrat type necks.

IMG_20200227_192625.thumb.jpg.051232115ae6eb97f7a0b4a92c075ec2.jpg

 

The neck was carved down to a thin hard V profile using a shinto saw rasp.    This build was one of my first attempts to put a nice finish on a guitar build.  I'm relatively pleased with the results.

IMG_20200225_135415.thumb.jpg.2c168239d35d69d9fbe70b766cf727db.jpg

IMG_20200227_193007.thumb.jpg.a0efd58be478d58a283a799eb11e56ca.jpg

IMG_20200225_135437.thumb.jpg.fd7578acd04a5d1ec8373d5d05e7a640.jpg

 

 

The body came from the ruined x-3 build.  It was sanded down and re-finished.   The neck heel was shaped with a shinto rasp to be close to shape of the x-3 neck,  but a little extra material was left as a safety margin for strength.    Neck screws and ferrules, and jack plate are brass.  The other hardware is squirted gold.    I didn't have any gold hardware on hand.    The black wire is the bridge ground, and the yellow wire is the pickup lead.IMG_20200227_193124.thumb.jpg.32cbe3f436df0231d81a36b5f57abced.jpg

 

I love the flame sort of thing on the back of the body.   I never knew plywood could looks so good.   And BC grade at that.   The stain on the bars don't match because i used up all the Kena dye i had mixed up on the body, and was unsure what proportions i had ended up with when achieving that color.     Guess the lesson there is always mix extra just in case.   Like having some extra touch-up paint for your custom mixed paint job on your hot rod.  The bars and depth pick guard finishes are less glossy because i didn't feel like spending an extra week squirting them with lacquer.   

IMG_20200227_193059.thumb.jpg.a962e9e3d3e8664a227ad0221c367c1e.jpg

 

 

The block between the pickup and bridge is the depth pick guard - similar to the floyd rose "speed guide".  it actually does work.  The pickup is a LP neck humbucker type rated at 13.5K ohms.  It is solid mounted to the body.    Tuning knobs, trem spring adjustment knob, and whammy bar were all squirted gold.

IMG_20200227_192731.jpg

 

 

Once the basic guitar was assembled, i discovered it was neck heavy, due to the low mass of the minimalist body.   The possibility of counterweights being required was already anticipated.      It was simply a matter of how much, at what distance from the canter, and what material to use.    I had a 24 Lb lead brick.  government surplus - maybe from an old reactor pile? i don't keep it near the house  <g>.   I got it to bolt onto a guitar to test what effect mass had on tone and sustain.  never did that test. didn't have to.  Darral Braun already cut up a guitar for me on youtube.  Its not about mass, its about stiffness.  And odds are different woods transmit different frequncies better.   I still have to check into that.   

But i digress...

So i figured out i need about a pound of weight about a foot behind the guitar to make it hang and sit at the right angle for playing.  The smaller the weight, the longer the counter-balance arm had to be.  But a small weight meant a lighter guitar.  So it was a trade-off between overall length and overall weight - long and light? or short and heavy?    i decided to add just one pound, and go one foot longer.   The result is a final weight of just 4 lbs with strap.   For te material, i didn';t feel like sawing lead fromthe brick, so i found a piece of milky white quartz from my rock garden, and stained it with a single coat of poyshades bombay mahogany, to give it a translucent purple tint.  It looks kind of washed out in the photos with the bright lighting and flash.  Hot glue was used to attach it to the counter-balance bar.    I also discovered that a wrist rest bar was not needed due to the size of the trem system.  

IMG_20200227_192801.jpg

 

Specs:

neck: maple w/ rosewood fretboard. 24 fret. modded for steinburger nohead trem. T hanger installed.  modded forthin hard V profile.   just 20 mm thick, from the zero fret to the 17th fret.

Body 3/4" thick BC grade plywood.

Finish: Keda water based dye, mostly red with some blue.  Spray can lacquer.   Turtle wax.

Steinburger nohead trem - full float - lockable.

LP type bridge humbucker rated at 13.5K ohms.

No controls - just plug and play.    I've since come to the conclusion that a toggle kill switch is a good idea for pickups "hot wired" directly to the jack.   You can turn off the guitar to set it down without getting feedback, and you can use it as a momentary kill switch.

 

 

Next on the list for the x-4:    moving the zero fret down to the height of the other frets.  In this photo you can see the bit of wood under the steinburger nut where the original shoulder block was cut off on both sides. 

IMG_20200227_193544.jpg

 

And once i've lowered the zero fret, i then have to install the new individually height adjustable roller saddles.   i may have to move the trem down a couple of mm.   

I'm beginning to suspect that its desirable to have a height adjustable nut, neck, bridge, and tailpiece.    and a neck where you can adjust alignment and break angle.     of course, if you get it all correct from the get go, and nothing ever moves, no adjustability is required.IMG_20200227_193915.jpg

Edited by norm barrows

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x-4 upgrades.....

The zero fret shown in the previous post has been lowered.

The roller saddles shown in the previous post were 3 mm wider than the bridge.     sanding everything got me down to 1.5 mm too wide before i gave up and put the old knife edge saddles back in.   Note that the saddles are for a steinberger,  while the x-4 uses an "overlord of music" brand clone of a steinberger.   this may account for the rollers not fitting.    the rollers had to be positioned at the very bottom limit of intonation adjustment just to place the rollers where the old knife edges had been  - so perhaps its just as well they didn't fit.  If the rollers had to move away from the neck for intonation, i would have had to move the whole trem away from the neck some.

I started to install a kill switch on the left side of the guitar....

IMG_20200302_224413.thumb.jpg.f1d9a4d7ad995c20cd17dbd35f79fe2b.jpg

 

But discovered the humbucker is a four lead...

IMG_20200303_125042.thumb.jpg.66bab36b68f07efef4a3d636ab9b4272.jpg

IMG_20200303_125051.thumb.jpg.2151f9f583650cf4d97150d989c45d06.jpg

 

so i decided i need a 4 way selector for coil 1 (neck side split) , coil 2 (bridge side split), both in series (normal humbucker), and both in parallel (parrallel signle coils).    So i ordered a 5 way selector, then realized it wasn't what i needed (its a three way single pole with pairing).     Since then i've realized i forgot a possible combination (or two), one being both coils in series but one out of phase (flipped polarity),     i guess both coils parallel with one out of phase would be a 6th possible combo from a 4 lead humbucker.      so i need a six way double pole switch, or some combo of switches to accomplish all this.     As i recall from all my pickup testing there were 6 ways to wire a coil split humbucker.

 

 

Edited by norm barrows

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On 2/27/2020 at 5:15 PM, norm barrows said:

I had a 24 Lb lead brick.  government surplus - maybe from an old reactor pile? i don't keep it near the house

Really?

On 2/27/2020 at 5:15 PM, norm barrows said:

i didn';t feel like sawing lead from the brick, so i found a piece of milky white quartz from my rock garden, and stained it with a single coat of poyshades bombay mahogany, to give it a translucent purple tint. 

I seriously thought this was a potato by the pictures!

You seem to be on a mad tear building all of these (experimental?) guitars...going deep into exploring areas well beyond me. Wondering where all of this research is going...do you have a project in mind that'll incorporate all your findings/preferences? 

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50 minutes ago, JayT said:

Really?

 

i kept hearing about les paul and his railroad rail experiment.  So i was going to try bolting the lead bricks to the back of the guitar. i ordered the weight and bolts, but found a video that already did a similar test, before the parts arrived.  so i never used the weight.

the video was by darrel braun guitars. he took a jigsaw to a guitar to see if reducing body mass affected sustain.   it doesn't.     so increasing mass doesn't either.   steel railroad rails sustain well due to the nice regular lattice structure of steel.  stiff stuff, transmits vibrations well.   

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1 hour ago, JayT said:

do you have a project in mind that'll incorporate all your findings/preferences? 

to date that would be the x-4.  

steinburger for balance,    thin hard V neck profile,    minimalist "ergo" body.   light weight (4 lbs).   neck only humbucker - let the pedals do the rest. 

right now i'm designing a new control wiring for it that will have phase, coil select, series/parallel, tone, volume, and kill switch. perhaps dual vol and tone w/ coil blending.

but i've discovered a few things that make an "optimal" guitar seem not really possible. 

1. the aesthetic.     guitars designed with a certain aesthetic in mind preclude the use of "optimal" features.     you can't use a nohead trem if you're building a gibson moderne clone. 

2. player body type.   different players have different body types, short vs long fingers,  thin vs fat fingers,   slender vs beefy hands,  short vs long arms,  stocky vs thin build.   these affect how a number of things feel to different players.   things like fret spacing (scale length), fret size, scalloped fretboards, neck radius, leg cutout, belly carve, etc.

3. old school vs new school method of achieving tone.    "old school" relies on different pickup types and locations, and volume and tone controls, combined with overdriven pre-amp and/or amp circuits to achieve a particular tone.    "new school"  typically uses a bridge pickup, with volume and tone pegged, a pedal board, and the clean channel of an amp with lots of headroom.

4. the variety of guitar tones out there.    its hard to build one guitar that can do it all.   tele single coil bridge sound ==AND== EMG81X active bridge humbucker  sound in one guitar?     

  

Edited by norm barrows

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9 hours ago, norm barrows said:

steel railroad rails sustain well due to the nice regular lattice structure of steel.  stiff stuff, transmits vibrations well.   

Funny, just this morning before really waking up I thought about the sustain and stiff stuff, this is  what I came up:

As the "winter" grain is harder and denser, it should transfer vibrations better which most likely is the reason why acoustic tops are very tight grain slowly grown wood. This we most likely can agree on?

As you know I tend to compare technical stuff to more common household stuff. Thus, I compared the fast grown "summer" wood to foam rubber which we all know doesn't transfer tone at all. In spalted wood the similarity is even closer. Trying to figure out what kind of material would allow styrofoam or such to be used for the shape on a neck made me wake up to my daily chores so that was the end of those ponderings. Aluminium plates sandwiched with polyurethane foam? Now that would be both stiff and lightweight but Mother Nature does it so much more pleasingly!

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9 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

As the "winter" grain is harder and denser, it should transfer vibrations better which most likely is the reason why acoustic tops are very tight grain slowly grown wood. This we most likely can agree on?

i saw this type of stuff in that guqin luthiering video.  he was talking about rates of growth and spacing of growth rings.  Right down to using wood from tress from a specific side of the mountain (northern exposure - lower light, slower growth - closer rings).

this is the stuff i have yet to research.    for now i'll take your word for it.    so rings are slower winter growth then, eh?   ok, got it.   i was wondering about that.        

9 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

As you know I tend to compare technical stuff to more common household stuff.

analogy is perhaps the most powerful tool there is for understanding and communicating concepts.

9 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

Aluminium plates sandwiched with polyurethane foam?

yes, a fair analogy.   probably exaggerated, but it gets the point across.

stiffer parts of the wood will transmit vibrations better.     less stiff - not so well.

but "stiff" may not be an accurate term (although i suspect it is),      we may really mean "strong" or "dense", etc.  or they may all be the same thing   (dense = strong = stiff ). 

wood is made up of cells of cellulose i believe.    similar to a coral reef being the dry skeletal remains of living coral, wood is the dry cellulose cell walls of a dead plant.

well wood is about half cellulose it appears....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellulose

 

wonder what the other half is....

 

Edited by norm barrows

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35 minutes ago, norm barrows said:

stiffer parts of the wood will transmit vibrations better.     less stiff - not so well.

but "stiff" may not be an accurate term (although i suspect it is),      we may really mean "strong" or "dense", etc.  or they may all be the same thing   (dense = strong = stiff ). 

This brings to mind the reported strength of the "Bowery Pine" guitars, this pine being harvested from the original trees in what is now NYC (I think?) then heated/cooled for hundreds of years in roof truces or whatever. The necks built from this pine don't require truss rods...pretty interesting documentary on these out there as I'm sure members here are aware.

But ever since I saw that I've been keeping my eye out at the building I work in as it was built in like 1880 (once a mill) ...and that's pretty old over here in the US even though across the pond its hardly historic :) they're always renovating something here. I snagged some old hand railing posts from a hidden storage space that I think I can use for 2 or 3 necks but don't know how to identify the wood. 

Edited by JayT

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7 minutes ago, JayT said:

This brings to mind the reported strength of the "Bowery Pine" guitars, this pine being harvested from the original trees in what is now NYC then heated/cooled for hundreds of years in roof truces or whatever. The necks built from this pine don't require truss rods

sounds like a case of long drying time.     long enough to be come stable.     then largely sealed from the elements by finishing the guitar neck.       no moisture means no movement.

OTOH, truss rods give you control over neck relief.  which may need to change with changes in hardware, or to suit a given player.  

I'm beginning to detect a pattern:  adjustable is good, except where it compromises tone or sustain.

Edited by norm barrows

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2 hours ago, norm barrows said:

wonder what the other half is....

Water.

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1 hour ago, JayT said:

this pine being harvested from the original trees in what is now NYC (I think?) then heated/cooled for hundreds of years in roof truces or whatever.

There's two reasons, one being the long drying time as @norm barrows suspected. The other is simply that a few hundred years ago they didn't use forest fertilizers, also the climate was colder (Little Ice Age), both of which made wood grow slower.

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x-4 upgrades:

in our last episode <g>, the x-4 was about to get some sort of electronic upgrade.

 

Here's the new control scheme i settled on, and the piece of brass plate i will fab it from...

IMG_20200309_215820.thumb.jpg.fcaa10beb782008636a02bfe4872c76e.jpg

 

 

Here's the guitar right now, with the kill switch i was installing on the left side...

IMG_20200309_215943.thumb.jpg.51fb7728dbe89e7ca059072bff6f5913.jpg

.

The new control plate will go about like this....

IMG_20200309_220046.thumb.jpg.bab18c317a931109153c042b208b64a3.jpg

 

So the controls will be on the top edge of the guitar when playing it.

The pickup is a coil split humbucker.  each coil will go though a phase switch, then into a volume pot, then an on-off tone pot. then they go to a series parallel switch, then a kill switch, then the jack.   

The kill switch arrived today,  so i thought i had everything, but i just now realized the on-off tone pots have not arrived yet.

 

Do you work on a build, doing what you can, before all the parts come in?

"let me know in the comments below, click, like, and subscribe, patreon, blah,blah,blah"   <g>      sorry - couldn't resist.    been watching too much youtube

 

 

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Well...    I assembled the new control panel,  but the knobs are  bit too close...

IMG_20200310_164045.thumb.jpg.d147cdba2eedee9274d9a89456c8c594.jpg

 

And any wider, and the panel will start digging into your ribs.

Guess i'll need a larger control panel, and will have to hang it off the lower right side of the body, where controls normally are.

Lesson learned: you need more than one inch on center spacing for pots.  1.5" might do it.   My Cozart 12 string tele style uses 1.5" centers.

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How many tries does it take to make a control panel?

I made a new control panel from 1/4 lauan ply.    Stained it,  lacquered it,   sanded it to 2000,  waxed it    The i realized i needed a different control layout!

So i made another panel.   Stained it.   lacquered it.   Then i tried heating it to speed the lacquer drying.    bad idea.    It got too hot and discolored the wood.   I tried sanding back, but a plane would be required to restore a uniform colored surface for re-staining.

So now i'm about to cut yet another panel from my sheet of lauan.

The new control panel will have a master volume, a kill switch, a series parallel switch, and a coil split pot.

The coil split pot is a test.

It will not have tone controls.   I've come to realize that a tone pot is essentially a lossy variable treble cut circuit.   As i recall, the cap size controls the cutoff freq.  put a huge cap in and set the cutoff to near zero Hz!   And the pot controls the amount of cut  - from just a trickle to 100%. but never zero without an on/off switch.

So if i was going to put tone controls on board a guitar, i wouldn't implement a lossy treble cut,  I'd just put in an EQ and be done with it.

And odds are, that's what i'll do.   Mount the 7 band EQ from the x-1 build on the  x-4. 

I also realized that a passive pickup + EQ is rather similar to an active pickup, but less expensive. 

 

The original brass control plate, the stained and lacquered control plate, the plan for the new control layout, and the discolored control plate.

IMG_20200315_134617.thumb.jpg.607835efcc9a51511e1a8004201b7886.jpg

 

Edited by norm barrows

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Staining the panel...

I used Keda wood dye.   Mostly red, plus some black.    Like most black dyes, its actually very dark blue.   The mixed dye was very strong.    A foil trough is used, to allow the piece to be totally immersed in the dye.      The piece was gently wet sanded cross-grain with 220 using the dye, to aid absorption.   Dip for a moment, then quickly wet sand both sides.  Did that three times, then a final dip for a moment.

IMG_20200315_174358.thumb.jpg.15ff8ab4e1853b5ff315cd7380e96fcc.jpg

 

 

This is the piece once the sanding slurry had been washed off with dye, or brushed off with a non-absorbent material, such as gloves or a plastic bag.    A non-absorbent material is used so as to not remove stain, just surface debris.  At this point, its is very similar to how it will look once finished with lacquer.

IMG_20200315_174743.thumb.jpg.f2a68d68008398973f9af6660f0d5455.jpg

 

And while that dries, i guess its time to mock-up "The Rose" and see what the new hardware finishes look like with the guitar.

 

Edited by norm barrows

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Lacquer applied - note the two marks left by the wire stand it was drying on.  I don't think i let it cure long enough.   I squirted a few coats on one side, with maybe an hour between coats, then waited. It was dry, but still "soft" when i flipped it over and squirted the other side, then set it down to dry.  I tried paper, plastic, a small wood stand, painter's tape and a wire hanger, everything stuck to the first side.  Setting it on edge worked, but it tended to run.  finally i made a wire stand for minimal contact. but even that left minor marks , as seen below....

IMG_20200318_204658.thumb.jpg.30c5bf79402564709700d2b21d6eae32.jpg

 

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Now that the panel is ready, i sat down to work out the wiring.    I quickly decided i didn't like the coil split pot idea.  a 500K pot is not the same as an on/off switch.  

Then it occurred to me that coil split is basically a choice between "bright with hum", and "not so bright without hum".

and parallel is "bright with no hum, but not as loud".

So i hooked a pickup to an amp, and tested it.

IMG_20200319_114939.thumb.jpg.ca4fa960a1bc013085fb8f6bff675707.jpg

 

the setup:

ebay LP style neck pickup. primary coil: 3.56K ohms.   secondary coil: 3.0K ohms.

i held the pickup over the stained wood piezo for the tests.

The pickup was alligator clipped to a wireless transmitter. the receiver unit was plugged straight into the amp.   

The amp used was a fender champion 40, clean channel, with volume set at 3.5, treble set at 7, and bass set at 8.

Parallel was as bright as single coil, but not as loud.  increasing amp volume from 3.5 to 5 made up the difference.

A battery charger was used to test hum cancelling. The pickup was moved close to the charger until hum was heard through the amp.

 

 

results were as expected:

The single coil was bright, but began to hum at 18 inches from the charger.

The coils in series were not bright, and did not hum until 3 inches from the charger.

The coils in series with one coil out of phase disabled humbucking while still not being bright.

The coils in parallel were bright, but not as loud as the other configurations, and cancelled hum.

The coils in parallel with one out of phase were bright, not as loud, and did not cancel hum.

 

 

coil split seems to boil down to a choice between "bright" and "nohum".      but "bright" and "nohum" at the same time would be nice.     so now i'm wondering if it might not be better to forget coil split and series mode, and just do parallel. 

different control setups result in different tones available.     but more tones to choose from is not necessarily a good thing.     they must be meaningful choices.     why have 57 switches and 64 tones, if 61 of them suck?

and if you have an on-board eq, then you can go series only, and adjust to get parallel tone, or vica versa.

and then its down to the quick change issue for live play.   is parallel important enough to warrant extra circuitry just for live play quick changes?     i suppose each player would have to answer that for themselves....

Perhaps the thing to do is have a target player type in mind when designing the guitar, similar to video games. 

Time to think about it some more.

versatility or simplicity?

Edited by norm barrows

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i decide to go for both simplicity and versatility.

a double pole triple throw on-on-on switch can be wired "series / parallel / coil split".     so that will combine a 2 way on-off coil split switch and a 2 way series/parallel switch into a single 3 way switch.

the wiring is not complex, so why not?

so a double pole triple throw on-on-on switch  in gold is now on the way for the x-4.     parts should arrive next week.

Glad i didn't drill the new panel yet!

 

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Continual improvement...

The pickup will be moved to the bridge position, where it will have less magnetic effect on sustain.     I have seven humbuckers to choose from, including one lipstick.     I'll use the hottest.     If it is four wire, I'll install a series/parallel/coil split switch.     I'll also install a master volume and a kill switch.      The master volume lets you crank up the amp, then control volume from the guitar.     The kill switch is just for the kill switch effect.     Master volume can be used to tun the guitar "off" when you set it down.   The hottest coil will go towards the bridge, and will be used for the coil split, and as the first coil in series mode.  If both coils are the same and one has screws, the slugs coil will be considered the "hottest" - slugs "supposedly" have better tone.   It will get a plastic pickup cover or no cover at all.   A metal cover will not be used, to improve treble response.

Moving the pickup means moving the depth pickguard block. A hammer and chisel was used to gently tap it loose, similar to removing a bone nut.  The block is secured to the front of the minimalist "body"  with a few drops of CA glue.   It seems to have some dried turtle wax embedded in the grain.   I'll clean it up with some naptha, then perhaps give it another coat of lacquer before re-installing it. 

A proper T hanger bracket will be installed, as well as an allen wrench holder for the Steinberger trem wrenches.

BTW - did I ever mention how much I hate auto-focus?    <g>.

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Edited by norm barrows

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All dressed up and no where to go...

 

 

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The  winner of the humbucker contest.  This is the pickup that was already in the x-4.  It was the hottest except for the lipstick.    But the lipstick had a metal cover which looked hard to remove, and has a rather unique quacky/spanky tone to it - very strong in the midrange compared to both single coils and humbuckers.     So this was the hottest regular humbucker.    Its the bridge pickup from a set ordered for the "Red guitar" build, and tips the scales at 7K ohms for each coil.  Since its a four wire, it will get the double pole triple throw on-on-on series/parallel/coil split switch.    I removed the screws and unsoldered the metal cover from the base plate.    This allowed me to remove the gold metal cover.    I have plastic covers on order.   I could also leave it uncovered.   Either way, a gold paint job is called for.     And i'm out of gold paint!      So here it sits, all shiny and wiped down with naptha, ready to squirt, - all dressed up and....    no where to go.       

That's ok, the new red paint for "The Rose" just arrived!

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Latest improvement....

T bracket hangers are out, and peghole hangers are in.

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The T brackets screwed into the center of the back of the neck, where there was not much material due to the truss rod.   This meant using very small short screws.

The new peg hole style bracket wraps around the back of the neck, behind the nut area.  Screws on either side secure it to the sides of the neck where there is more material - IE its "beefier" as they say in hot rodding.  This allows the use of longer and larger screws, resulting in a more secure joint. 

The bracket is located high enough to not interfere with fretting near the zero fret.   The wrap-around design allows easy access to the truss rod and allen lock screws located at the end of the neck.

A single peg hole is used, so all you need is a nail, no hanger, no rope, etc.  The hole is large enough for use with a large nail with a head on it.

 

Edited by norm barrows
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Back from the paint shop.....

Turned out I wasn't out of gold paint after all.   So the pickup got squirted, and is ready to install. 

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The depth pickguard block is back in the paint shop again.  It wasn't so much that it had wax in the grain, as it simply wasn't very flat.    I tried sanding it - but of course i cut through the clearcoat.  So i sanded the whole top relatively flat, then re-stained.   It's now getting fresh coats of lacquer.   

While i was at it, i polished up the body under the depth pickguard and pickup with some fine grain sandpaper, and restained a couple of spots were the clearcoat had been sanded through during initial assembly.  All of this will be covered by the depth pickguard and pickup again, but i decided i might as well clean it up as best i can while it was apart. There was still a thin film of CA glue from where the depth pickguard had been before, and the lacquer needed to be scuffed a bit before gluing the depth pickguard back in at the new location. 

Once the depth pickguard is lacquered, I should have everything I need to finish re-assembly, with the pickup moved to the bridge, the depth pickguard re-finished and moved to the neck position, the metal pickup cover removed, slugs towards the bridge, the new hanger bracket, the allen wrench holder, the new control panel, and the onboard EQ (from the x-1 build).

 

 

 

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