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JayT

Build #2 vision/plan

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So as I find myself working from home (gives me an extra 2 hours a day building time without my commute --- a silver lining!) and waiting for first build to dry/cure I've decided on my next build design. I want to baby-step into something a bit less basic...

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It is basically a double cut version of my first design/build, with a lot more carvings/contours (the most enjoyable steps!), rear control cavities, and an angled head. Thinking 10°  scarf joint rather than 1 piece carve (I'm open to expert advice here! hint-hint) and same 25.5 scale.

Also I plan to use higher-end materials and hardware all around (I went super cheap-o on my first g0). Push knobs - no switch, locking tuners. Possibly a set neck rather than bolt on...not decided yet if that's pushing my skills (probably so). 

I hear stainless steel frets are difficult to work and hard on tools so I'm not going there, even though I'd like too. maybe next build.

I've refined the head shape, more curves...here's old (left) vs new (right) ... my first attempt at the truss rod access was a bit of a mess...the drill bit dug into the head face pretty far up so I'm going to try for a real clean hole (that's what she said) maybe it'll be easier with angled head?

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Also I'm not doing a nut slot (?) in the fret board...I had/am having a hell of a problem getting my current builds have a flat shelf and 90° walls for the nut to sit. I'm tempted to file down to the neck surface at this point...thankfully I back-burnered that as the finish is drying so I have time to contemplate what to do...but I digress...(will take any/all advice!)

I'm going to stain the high, flat parts of the body and leave the carved parts natural. Something like:

build002-colortest.thumb.png.f0b2588086af2158a4350e1c7d259399.png

For wood, I'm going to have a maple neck (since I already have material) not settled on fingerboard, something dark or dyed dark. Body probably maple with some nice top/bottom ... could I say pancaked? I like the look of Japanese/Tamo Ash but have no idea if I can get it...hopefully it'll end up looking something like:

build002-wood.thumb.png.495fccfb960a24c03eeb7b284e4c7a5c.png

With the top horn being a bit narrow and upwards pointing I'm thinking the strap button will have to go on the back (location #3 or #4 I guess) ...which I'm not crazy about but see no other viable option.

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Unless I really go off the rails and try something like Billy Sheehan does on his baritone 12-string guitar... 🤨

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I want the carve to tapper down really thin on the tail and arm contour, my buddy has an Ibanez that tappers front and back to about 1/4 edge...I liked the feel of that.

Thoughts? Advice? Thanks in advance!

Edited by JayT

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My thoughts are I love the way you are taking your first design and advancing it. I also like the idea of carving the arm relief and belly carve together and ending up with a fairly narrow edge. Perhaps because I always do the same thing, and it is indeed very comfy. I've never made it down to a quarter inch edge tho- usually more like a half inch. I'll be watching this one.

SR

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I can't but second what @ScottR said. Very nice, very interesting.

AFA the headstock angle, if you're making a laminated neck do it as one piece as it's the strongest. On a one-piece neck a scarf joint is as strong as one piece. (Did that make any sense?)

For what I've heard from fellow builders stainless frets only take more time to finish and eat your files. Other than those the procedure is similar to any other material.

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Ref the strap button position, there is another thing probably to consider first - the likelihood of getting neck dive.

There is a 'goldilocks' zone where the strap button is in line with 12th to 14th fret.  It is no coincidence that the strap button extender in your photo puts his front strap in line with the 13th fret.  Much beyond 14th fret and the risk of neck dive increases.  Your button positions 3 &4 I think get you closer to 17th fret.

Maybe you could consider moving the whole bridge/fretboard/nut an inch or so towards the tailstock?  I would have thought that would still give you decent fretting access to the top frets?

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On 3/20/2020 at 7:21 PM, JayT said:

With the top horn being a bit narrow and upwards pointing I'm thinking the strap button will have to go on the back (location #3 or #4 I guess) ...which I'm not crazy about but see no other viable option.

Positioned on the back like #3 but closer to #2, making sure there's enough meat. #2 looks like either the strap would have to twist around the sharp edge or the guitar would be too upright for playing.

@Andyjr1515 revealed things I didn't know about, good food for thought there! It's not stone carved, though, as the balance depends on the mass of the neck versus the mass of the body combined with the location of both strap buttons and fine tuned by the friction and width of the strap, the latter keeping the guitar in a desired position and spreading the weight on the shoulder. If you build several similar guitars weighing the neck and body separately will help uniforming the strap button locations.

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new design looks great.  is that olive or tamo ash?  on my 'someday' list for sure.  beauty against the turquoise. 

afa strap button... as mentioned it's better to be closer to the 12... but it also makes more/less difference depending on how heavy your headstock is.  lighter tuners and a smaller headstock make a big difference.  in your case the hollow cutout in the onk might work to your benefit.  then again you've got a fair amount of body real estate so it may not matter.

I have a hamer steve stevens that has very small horns and the strap is not far fwd... but 1.75" of mahog and a floyd rose trem ensure zero neck dive!

afa straight slot... I built a simple little jig for doing this.  I just used premium pre-cut stock from home depot since it tends to be straight... and built a little platform with two legs.  I used shims between the platform to keep the fretboard level to the platform.  I clamp the neck to it  then just a 1/8" straight bit that follows the edge like a template.  probably other/better ways but it was easy and worked great for me.

 

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On 3/20/2020 at 5:41 PM, Bizman62 said:

AFA the headstock angle, if you're making a laminated neck do it as one piece as it's the strongest. On a one-piece neck a scarf joint is as strong as one piece. (Did that make any sense?)

I've read that scarf joints are stronger than one piece ... due to the grain length If I understand what you're saying by "laminated neck" You mean a piece of laminate glue to face of headstock? Although I think that ship has sailed as I already re-sawed and planed the thick piece of maple I have so I can get 2 necks out of it (one guitar & one bass)

IMG_5766.JPG.1436cfa46ad1811bbbc9866d50a1ce30.JPG 

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On 3/25/2020 at 2:15 PM, Andyjr1515 said:

Maybe you could consider moving the whole bridge/fretboard/nut an inch or so towards the tailstock?  I would have thought that would still give you decent fretting access to the top frets?

Yes I would -- this is a good idea, I've decide to shorten that tail/body length too. Thanks to the idea!

On 3/25/2020 at 3:57 PM, Bizman62 said:

If you build several similar guitars weighing the neck and body separately will help uniforming the strap button locations.

Some kind soul on here (sorry, not sure who) tipped me off on not really worrying too much about it until the build is finished (minus button installation)  then use duck tape and a rope to test different locations. Low tech, easy to adjust and worked like a charm!

On 3/27/2020 at 11:44 AM, mistermikev said:

is that olive or tamo ash?  on my 'someday' list for sure.  beauty against the turquoise. 

Tamo is what I used for the mockup - got the grain pattern from some online picture. I like it very much but I think this'll depend on if my local lumberyard has it in stock & at a usable size. I'm open to something else as long as it's pretty.

On 3/27/2020 at 11:44 AM, mistermikev said:

I used shims between the platform to keep the fretboard level to the platform.  I clamp the neck to it  then just a 1/8" straight bit that follows the edge like a template.  probably other/better ways but it was easy and worked great for me.

Excellent tip, thanks! So you do this after radiusing the fingerbard? Why not do it pre-radius and avoid the need for shims? 

--Also I've refined the body dimensions, shorting overall length by just over inches. Originally the tail length was same as my previous builds but after playing them for a while I think this is unnecessarily long.

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And on top that I'm incorporating the orginal/longer design into a bass build. I've thickened up the horns a bit, lost most of  the contours and made a few other tweaks...but basically the same. My son took back the the only bass I had and I miss playing that more than I thought :)

this is what I have so far with that idea:

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Since I already made cuts on neck materail maybe I should add this to the "in progress" forum :)

 

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29 minutes ago, JayT said:

Excellent tip, thanks! So you do this after radiusing the fingerbard? Why not do it pre-radius and avoid the need for shims?

would be trivial to do before a radius, but in my case I bought radius/slotted board so... this is how I did it.

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1 hour ago, JayT said:

If I understand what you're saying by "laminated neck" 

By laminated I mean a blank that has been glued from at least two thinner strips, preferably something in between. People also talk about three/five/seven piece necks meaning the same. Like if you took the pieces you just sawed, placed them face to face so that the growth rings are mirrored and maybe put a skunk stripe in between for desired thickness.

By a scarf joint being as strong or weak as a single piece I meant that both are weaker than a multi-piece neck. The grain direction in the glue joint isn't optimal although the fretboard adds strength to it - it's angled end grain. Also, if you just take a log and carve a neck out of it there'll be some pretty short grain in the neck break angle. In a multi piece neck the directions of the pieces counteract each other in case of a shock not to mention the several glue surfaces which have no direction at all.

If the body and neck are of commonly used woods and the proportions are traditional, finding the balanced locations of the strap buttons with rope and tape indeed is a valid method. However, should you ever find out that you can't balance a guitar, knowing how much the body and neck weigh separately would help with the next build. Or, with a bolt on neck, knowing the weights would allow for swapping the parts to better matches.

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@Bizman62 I see now what you mean by laminated- thanks! Great info - But this'll be 1 solid, scarf jointed neck.

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