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Gogzs

Thin-body neck through

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A bit of backstory. So, I played a little from 2006. to 2009. but then life got me. College, work, eventually moved abroad to run a startup and a bit over 3 years ago I moved back to my hometown, took a job as a software engineer, cut down my work hours as much as I could and enjoyed life a little more.

That's when I got back to playing a guitar and bought myself an Ibanez S521. I wanted a fixed bridge guitar that is comfy as fuck to play. The S521 was exactly that, but the sound was meh so I replaced the electronics and that's when I first bumped into this place. These days I've been on the edge of buying a new guitar, but everything I find that is thin bodied has compromises and costs 3k USD upwards. So I said fuck it, let's build something. 

As for woodworking, I have massive amounts of experience, I used a coping hand saw in woodshop class in elementary school, and woodglue once haha. As you can see, this will be one fun build :D

I started building this a month ago, and decided I should finally register here and post some progress. If it wasn't for this place, I wouldn't have even started something like this, so I'll share the fun with you folks :)

So first the wood:
qAbY1Pq.jpg

I decided the neck would be wenge/panga panga + pear. 5 piece with thick panga panga stripes + thin pear stripes in the middle. Rosewood for the fretboard. I ordered 1 piece of panga panga, 1 piece of pear (but actually got two, dude said it's because of the imperfections) and 2 pieces of rosewood, since I was afraid I'd fuck up during slot cutting, and combined shipping would reduce costs if I fuck up. At this point I didn't order the body wood, also to reduce cost if I fuck this up, to pull the handbrake and spend the rest of the money on a nice guitar. 

And now the build steps. It's been a while since I glued two pieces of wood together, and I wasn't sure how the panga panga will hold onto the pear, I decided to laminate just the two of them together and see how that goes. 

wOTyxr7.jpg

After that went well I glued pear inbetween two panga panga stripes:

vrIBSvH.jpg

And eventually everything together:
hfybLpe.jpg

So that part was rougly done, it was time to build a routing jig and flatten everything.
UALtSoc.jpg

Turned out better than I expected, not much sanding was required to get the routing lines out, they were really minor for such a ghetto setup.

HmbbzJD.jpg

Now the first step I was afraid of, routing the trussrod slot. Turned to be a much easier task than I expected. 

T0GkW4u.jpg

At this point I just needed a small chizzle to square the end off. The truss rod sits in flush with the wood and has no room to wiggle. 

Next step I was really afraid of was cutting the freboard to size and cutting the slots. After a lot of measuring:

wlYx2Yi.jpg

That turned out nice as well:

fSuYE5b.jpg

So now that I had the two scary precise parts figured out, I ordered the mahagany for the body and started cutting that one.

21rL70m.jpg

There you can see my beloved S521, and below it something that resembles more a cutting board than a guitar, but oh well :D
At this point, basically everyone that I know was like "This is as good as it'll get, put strings on and call it a day!!" haha. But screw them, I had a really detailed plan of how the guitar will look like, here's my super precise template:

zI4Y5Bj.jpg

Ok, maybe not the most precise, and not really a template. But you get the vibe. I'm going for a Stranberg like cutout at the bottom. I just love that about his guitars, I know it serves a purpose on his guitars, and it'll be pure aesthetics on mine, but the heart wants what the heart wants. 

RhK6KZ7.jpg

This was a really rought cut with the jigsaw, but enough to be able to get in there with the router. hQ7Skxq.jpg

The Strandberg like cutout is done, love how it looks, rest is still rough around the edges, but we're getting there.

7olBBzK.jpg

I'm using the other piece of rosewood as a routing template, since I cut them both to the exact same dimensions. As for the headstock, I really wanted to go with the tear like cutout on it, but once I started routing that out, I changed my mind, this is how it'll stay most likely:

0SGtm3l.jpg

I put the tuners on with double sided tape just to see where they will roughly end up at. I'll print some tuner templates to position and mark the drilling holes more precise.

ildAskT.jpg

I also started trimming down the neck to thickness. And that's basically what I've done in the past 4 weeks. I work on it 3-4 hours all together during the work week, and 4-5 hours during saturdays. 

The plan is to keep the headstock this as long as possible so I can clamp it down to the table/use double sided sticky tape while routing. Next step is finalize the body shape, route out the cavity and pickup holes (will be a HH configuration), get the headstock to the right thickness, shape the neck, thin the body down to Ibanez S-series level thickness, and wrap it up in wipe-on poly (this is the plan for now, but if someone knows a better technique please say so, I wanna keep is simpleans as wood natural as possible). 

Cheers guys, thanks for all the tips (not in this thread, but on the forum in general). Hope you like this one :D

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Hmm, seems like the first half of the post doesn't render well on chrome/edge (works in firefox). Hope some mod can help out with editing the post if I messed something up. Thanks. 

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I can't see any issues with your post from here. Windows 10 - Chrome/Firefox/Edge all display your post identically.

Oh, and welcome to the forums BTW.

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wow some impressive and ambitious stuff for someone with apparently little background - good for you.  comeing along nicely.  I can see everything fine so... "It's good"!

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Looks fine, both the post and the guitar! I really like your body template, it's a hundred times thicker than the one I made for my current build...

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Welcome Gogzs!

This is looking good enough to wonder if you might be down playing your wood working experience just a little. I'll be enjoying watching this come together and just a word of advice.... be prepared to become addicted to the madness that infects the rest of us!:D

SR

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Welcome! You are building a bass? Is there any angle on the neck?

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Nah, no downplaying of my actual wood working experience. I do a lot of things with my hands in my free time, but mostly electronics/hardware related, and some mechanical stuff related to my old Volvo. But I did read a ton of build threads on this forum in the past 2 years, so I kinda knew what I was getting into... 

I bought the router, table saw, japanese saw and a bunch of clamps just for this project. I had a feeling I'd get addicted like you said, and you're right. I already have ideas for 2 more guitars, so the tools won't go to waste haha. 

Off to the local hardware store today before it gets shut down as a corona virus safety measure. I need some drill bits for wood, sanding paper and one of those files that has saw-like teeth or something like that. Cheers everyone, thanks for the nice welcome :)

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14 minutes ago, komodo said:

Welcome! You are building a bass? Is there any angle on the neck?

Building a 6 string guitar, but there are only 4 bridge saddles on the bridge cause I had to take 2 out so I can mark the holes. I don't think there will be an angle on the headstock, it'll stay flat, I have to remove 6-7mm more from the top, and a lot from the bottom. I didn't feel like angled would go good with this one. 

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7 hours ago, Gogzs said:

Hmm, seems like the first half of the post doesn't render well on chrome/edge (works in firefox). Hope some mod can help out with editing the post if I messed something up. Thanks. 

I can only see the first half, 2nd half is just blank .... Using mac/chrome

But from what I can see great job!

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56 minutes ago, JayT said:

I can only see the first half, 2nd half is just blank .... Using mac/chrome

But from what I can see great job!

I was looking into it a bit from a web-dev perspective, if you get your browser width below 979px, everything will render fine. I think the length of the post might have messed it up, I'll make sure to keep the further updated shorter :)

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How do you set your browser width? Just by windowing it narrow enough? I always have full screen width, 2560 px. No issues.

 

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On 3/18/2020 at 6:45 PM, Bizman62 said:

How do you set your browser width? Just by windowing it narrow enough? I always have full screen width, 2560 px. No issues.

 

Yeah, either narrowing it down or F12 and then with the dev tools :) 

Anyway, as my country has been put into lockdown mode due to corona virus, and most of the fun outdoor places have restricted movement, I spent the whole saturday working on the guitar, and here is what got done:

Managed to get the headstock into final dimensions, now I need to drill the tuner holes. Made some really sketchy angled rails for the router, to get the neck to proper thickness and it worked out nice. Cleaned up the body contours, it's the final shape now. No odd surfaces can be felt on the sides if you drag your fingers along, it's all smooth and curvy. Got some preparation work done on the transition from neck to body. I will keep that area simple and smooth. Here are some pics, enjoy!

O71dsyL.jpg 

Some odd reflections on the ibanez, and the top of the work in progress headstock looks a bit odd due to shadows...

W1DK9jF.jpg

17mm at the 1st fret, 19mm at the 12th. Add a 5mm thick fretboard, and it'll be up to my likings (2-2.5mm thicker than the ibanez).

2D9NNgd.jpg

Some chipped and bumped corners, most of those places will disappear when the body goes on diet.

bfKUF7B.jpg

Placed a nut I had just to see how it'll look. Wrong nut tho, too low for my fretboard. Either put a shim under or order a taller. 

Also, does anyone know if the panga panga will stay as colorful once I put on wipe on poly? I really love how the grain looks and wanna keep the finish to a minimum. 

Have a nice weekend folks!

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Welcome generally, but a special welcome for another thin-bodied builder :)

This is looking really good.  Especially the machining of that neck heel and nut/headstock joint!  You maybe a rookie woodworker but that is a pro-finish if that's pretty much straight off the router.

If you wipe a small area of the panga-panga (or any wood) with a damp cloth (squeezed out - not sopping wet) then that will be close to the colour it's going to be with a clear finish on it.

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I spent the last 4 days building a second fretboard, I had an idea for the fret markers that was kinda hard to pull off with the frets already solid in place. The idea was to use the same pear wood that the two stripes are made from to make it look like the stripes are showing through the fretboard. 

Turned out better than I expected so it's now glued onto the neck. I also set one fret in, the rest are just resting lightly in the slot, just to get a better feeling how everything aligns and if the fret markers look right (they do irl).

At some point I had the bridge screwed on and one string put on. Everything lines up perfectly, I can't believe I came this far actually haha. Ordering the electronics tomorrow, so it comes by the time I finish the fretboard and gather the courage to route out the pickup and pot/switch cavities. 

IsTVxZH.jpg

Still left to do: carve the neck and remove a lot of wood from the body, specially the mahogany wings, they will lose 40ish % of their mass.

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Welcome @Gogzs!

Nice read and familiar story, I am sure your build will turn out great by the looks of it so far. 

Impressive first build! 

 

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Thanks for the encouraging words, hope it turns out like you said. 

I finally got around to carve the neck, one of the steps I was afraid of even tho I read a ton of posts on these forums stating that it's super fun/satisfying. And I can only agree with those statements haha, it's the most fun I had since we're in lockdown mode due to corona. 

yiJ51UX.jpg

I am beyond satisfied how it turned out. 2.5mm thicker than my Ibanez, will remove an additional mm from it, a bit too much for my liking, but that should be easy now that it's pretty much done. 

I also set in all the frets and just roughly filed them down, all tuners are in and the nut is where and how it should be pretty much. 

PPKC0SW.jpg

Next stop, cavities and body diet. 

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49 minutes ago, Gogzs said:

I am beyond satisfied how it turned out. 2.5mm thicker than my Ibanez, will remove an additional mm from it, a bit too much for my liking, but that should be easy now that it's pretty much done. 

Yes - I also always do the final tweak of the neck at the end.  Actually with it fully strung up and can actually play it and just use a cabinet scraper to shave the final excess off while being able to feel how it is going to be to play. 🙂

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Nice! 

@Andyjr1515 that's good advice! Somehow when it's strung up I feel I can not go at it with tools anymore, but hey, why not!

 

 

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12 hours ago, 10pizza said:

Somehow when it's strung up I feel I can not go at it with tools anymore, but hey, why not!

I used to have similar feelings but last summer I took one of my builds and reshaped the neck. For some reason my necks always have a flat back like a classical guitar no matter what and that one was more of that ilk than others. I managed to get quite a lot of material off the roundovers of the neck. It was nice before but it's much better now.

There's a saying that you should live in a house a year before doing major renovations. The same principle applies to guitar necks as well, play for a while to find out how much you'd like to carve off.

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