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Andyjr1515

Yew-topped SG-style Guitar

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With Tom's African Bass Mk2 getting pretty close, it's time to start thinking about the next full build.  And I'm a bit excited about this one.  

Does anyone remember this SG-influenced neck-through build I did a few years back for one of our band members, Pete? : 

xRFarI3l.jpg.982a641b0c60e4da9b464dabfd5f49c5.jpg

 

And those with REALLY long memories, anyone remember this own-design I built for myself in Yew?94.jpg.be901d244c4a362faeaab2ef1d0e690a.jpg



Well, both guitars are still in use.  

Pete & I are still playing (or were until the recent UK lockdown!) - him lead guitar and me vocals & sax.  And at one of the places we regularly play, another player - Matt - has started making pickups.  And for his first attempt at humbuckers I offered the Yew guitar above as the test bed.  So Matt has been playing that for the past few weeks.

Matt has drooled over Pete's SG for some time.  But he was also a bit bowled over by how good Yew can look once it's been carved and varnished.  So the new project is an SG-style guitar made for Matt....made with a Yew top.  And I just happen to have a book-matched set that has been languishing in my shed for years   :

_MG_0194.thumb.JPG.8750577eb1678377445ce83fb32840ea.JPG

 

And I'm excited because - although you have to be very careful routing and sanding Yew because it is pretty poisonous  - I found it a nice wood to work with...and this is going to look FABULOUS :) 
 

And, let's face it, it's not like I'm going anywhere else over the next few weeks...

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37 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

And I'm excited because - although you have to be very careful routing and sanding Yew because it is pretty poisonous  - I found it a nice wood to work with...and this is going to look FABULOUS :) 

I'm excited too!

38 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

And, let's face it, it's not like I'm going anywhere else over the next few weeks...

We are lucky in that we have something extremely worthwhile to occupy our time. I expect there will be a lot of guitars built in the near future.

Nothing like the baby boom that is coming around the end of the year, though.:P

SR

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1 hour ago, ScottR said:

We are lucky in that we have something extremely worthwhile to occupy our time. I expect there will be a lot of guitars built in the near future.

Nothing like the baby boom that is coming around the end of the year, though.

Neither is going to happen. I don't have a workshop and my wife is too old - for having babies, that is. Not going to change to a newer one.

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that's a noice looking sg there.  yew'l have a gotm for sure (see what I did there?)  seriously tho... I bet that would look really nice, sort of in the korina vein, but more prettier.  (prettier is a word)

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28 minutes ago, ScottR said:

You can be the exception that proves the rule.

Yay! I just became important! 🤗

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I think today is my last one on Tom's African bass until I get the hardware that he has ordered from the US (and which, I suspect, may be some time coming) so tomorrow I will be gathering together the timbers.

The plan is to maximise the number of pieces of timber I already have lying around and other stuff I already have at hand.

The guitar will be a through neck with the same basic construction as Pete's red one:
_MG_3121.thumb.JPG.532efbce273a79ce01428fc0f3758a22.JPG


I'll make it thinner than Pete's which will make the neck heel even more unobtrusive than this one.  
The control chamber cover will be matching Sapele in a recess for flush fitting with magnets.  

Matt will be making his own humbuckers for it and I'll be using as much hardware out of my 'bits box' as I can.

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Is there a build thread for the red one? It's a bloody nice looking axe 🤘

There seems to be a lot of deliveries getting through, my titebond arrived today, thank heavens. 

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1 hour ago, ADFinlayson said:

Is there a build thread for the red one? It's a bloody nice looking axe 🤘

There seems to be a lot of deliveries getting through, my titebond arrived today, thank heavens. 

Yes - I've just got some veneer from Germany that got to me three days from ordering!

Mind you, can't do the job until further notice because I can't meet the guy to pass the bass over  :)

 

There won't be a build thread for the red one here - I did it a good few years back, before I discovered this wonderful forum! 

I think I remember correctly that it was my first fretted full build.  Beginner's luck and all that ;)

 

 

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2 hours ago, ADFinlayson said:

Is there a build thread for the red one? It's a bloody nice looking axe 🤘

There seems to be a lot of deliveries getting through, my titebond arrived today, thank heavens. 

I tell a lie!  I apparently did a retro-summary thread.

It's here 🙂

 

 

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I just had had another listen to that sound clip Andy, I had wondered where it was hiding.

Gary Moore has nothing on the Two Fifths!

SR

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20 hours ago, ScottR said:

I just had had another listen to that sound clip Andy, I had wondered where it was hiding.

Gary Moore has nothing on the Two Fifths!

SR

Well, we're more like "Two Fifths of Bu**er-all" at the moment  😉 

It's one bright thing I suppose about the lockdown - the great British public may be exposed to Covid-19, but at least it doesn't have to be exposed to Two Fifths for a few months 🙂

Anyway - a bit of progress. Got the timbers out today.

 As I had hoped, I have: the Yew; the Sapele for the back wings; a lovely piece of quarter-sawn mahogany for the neck.  I’m pretty sure I also have a piece of bubinga somewhere that I can use for the centre splice on the neck. And I’ve also found all the original templates from Pete’s build!

_MG_0320.thumb.JPG.c862e758f4ae5b6b49c40cf36e94d621.JPG

 

 Assuming my supplier is open, I will order a length of ebony for the fretboard and headstock face-plate on Monday – but that won’t hold up the start of the build. 🙂 

I’ll also have a broddle in my bits boxes over the next couple of days.  I’m almost certain I have a tune-o-matic roller bridge somewhere and I may even have some locking tuners.  I’ll see.

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If you ever wondered how they bookmatch….  (Assistant in bulk DIY store,"It's tree wood, sir.  You can cut it, sand it, glue it drill it - just like plastic")
_MG_0324.thumb.JPG.fa48e55c2fb86c23434d42220264dba6.JPG



Well - I broddled around in my bits box and the number of things I've bought and never used invested in over the past few years is a bit eye-watering.  Certainly, these will do fine on the build - and even with a choice of roller ToM bridges! :
_MG_0322.thumb.JPG.c7b980eeeb1eb0ae4add4dcd6bf137d9.JPG


And I even found a full set of chrome locking tuners!  Except, I then realised they were 6-a-side and not 3+3.  Never mind - I'll probably go for some of the splendid lightweight ones one of the UK suppliers developed for themselves.

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2 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

(Assistant in bulk DIY store,"It's tree wood, sir.  You can cut it, sand it, glue it drill it - just like plastic")

<_<

:(

Don't know whether to laugh or cry.....

SR

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It was a cartoon I saw 50 (50!!!!) years ago.  Still makes me laugh 🙂

 

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In between some domestic stuff, managed to start the thicknessing of the Yew and the Sapele.

While you clearly have to flatten the top, for bookmatched wood you need to minimise the wood removal from the bookmatched face - just a few mm and you already start losing the match - so most of the removal to get it to the correct thickness is off the backs.


And with Yew - there's no messing about.  Hat, goggles, respirator, gloves.  Every bit of a yew is poisonous except - I am told but do not take my word for it - the red fleshy bit of the berry (which is the bit that looks the most poisonous).  The seeds are especially poisonous.  And poisonous doesn't mean it make you sick.  This is meet your maker poisonous.  And so, with the tiny bits that throw off out the thicknesser, despite decent extraction, it's the full PPE approach.  As it is ingestion or inhalation that is the particular risk, same precautions will be done for any routing and sanding.

Does look nice, though:

_MG_0327.thumb.JPG.d61de2dd6782023f3716e5c759ede462.JPG

 

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I had a single length of beautifully cut mahogany left over from multi-part bass neck build.  I always buy bass-length because of my slightly quirky way of doing things.

With luck, I would be able to incorporate the headstock angle and the neck angle in the one blank to be able to flip one blank over and get the mirrored end grain pattern when the two are put together.  There will be a 6mm centre splice of harder wood between the two in the finished 3-part assembly.


For anything to do with through-necks, I always start with the physical bridge in my hand and draw the thing full-size, with the adjustment ranges of the bridge so that the angles are going to be right:
_MG_0332.thumb.JPG.785700cf47ff4fbfaf976885f8e7ac2e.JPG


You can see here why I buy the bass length.  There is then enough extra length to allow for the extra depth each neck side is going to need for the neck angle (looking like 3 degrees) and the headstock angle (I always use 10 degrees).  I wouldn't have had enough depth of blank to do this if it had been a guitar-length blank of this particular width (which is sold to be part of a multi-splice arrangement).


Cut between the two sides:
_MG_0334.thumb.JPG.1ceb1b08ce0316b18e7d84ff9f78ecf9.JPG



And checked that my 'upside down & back to front' stuff was correct in terms of end grain.  And luckily it was     A bit difficult to see with the saw marks, but hopefully you can see the V of the mirrored grain which should, in theory, give good stability of the finished neck and avoid twist, etc..
_MG_0336.thumb.JPG.4aaeec69d373d56687e5ded6fbefb278.JPG


And then back in the shed to see if I've got anything suitable for a centre-splice.  

As always, thanks for looking and your encouraging feedback

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It's been a productive day.  Amazing how much you can get done when you are ordered by your Prime Minister to stay at home.  And it's amazing how much you can procrastinate about the decorating when you know you probably have thirteen more weeks of the same (so its rumoured) with a guaranteed no-one coming to visit in that time for any other reason than one where the decorating won't really matter anyway...

Got the Yew and Sapele to their final thicknesses, the Yew cut out and also found a 6mm splice of Purpleheart for the neck!


Here's the Yew, ready for final jointing (that will be just a skim on the handplane) and gluing together:
_MG_0341.thumb.JPG.d78a2b3aaf61289a2911a986d3271e2e.JPG

Those who have seen my previous build threads will know that I'm a bit weird in that I will file and sand the top to its final outline and use the top itself as my routing template for the body once it has been glued on.  

My logic (and remember I simply tell you what I do and absolutely not that this is how it should be done) is that way, for the finish rout of the body outline, I don't then have to let the router blades go anywhere near those decorative horn tips because - for me, at least - that is the road to misery 😉


Tomorrow's job will be to assemble and glue the neck blank...

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Once again I found myself being narrow minded, I thought you were going to use the natural horns for the horns, instead you cut the "wolf's eyes" off. Hadn't I seen those I'd call your choice perfect. Just makes me think how many options have to be omitted just because there's only one guitar one can build out of a single piece of wood.

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1 hour ago, Bizman62 said:

Once again I found myself being narrow minded, I thought you were going to use the natural horns for the horns, instead you cut the "wolf's eyes" off. Hadn't I seen those I'd call your choice perfect. Just makes me think how many options have to be omitted just because there's only one guitar one can build out of a single piece of wood.

It's the tragedy of figured wood that, once you place the guitar template over it, you realise that most of the REALLY interesting bits are outside the template area.  And many of us would agree that the few remaining ones are going to be where the bridge is or pickups have to sit! 😉

So yes - it would have looked spectactular uncut hanging as an art piece on a wall.  But for the SG shape, the SG horns simply wouldn't reach the 'wolfs ears' or the wood around the 'wolfs eyes' which are, of course, just holes.

Then, pulling the template down a few cm, you realise that the second pair of knots would sit where the guitar waist is going to be and therefore they would be cutaway too.

And finally, you don't want to have thin sharp bits of the carve (ie the SG horns) in the middle of a knot, because it is unstable and would almost certainly snap off when being worked on.

So the only way is to use a full-size reverse template - the white card one here:

_MG_0320.thumb.JPG.03750d4431fdf5c6e49463e77c5c5c14.JPG

And place that on the actual wood, trying it all the way from bottom limit to top, and then turning it round 180 degrees and doing the same the other way up to find something that is going to place as many of the figuring bits in the right places 🙂

 

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On 3/28/2020 at 11:46 AM, Andyjr1515 said:

In between some domestic stuff, managed to start the thicknessing of the Yew and the Sapele.

While you clearly have to flatten the top, for bookmatched wood you need to minimise the wood removal from the bookmatched face - just a few mm and you already start losing the match - so most of the removal to get it to the correct thickness is off the backs.


And with Yew - there's no messing about.  Hat, goggles, respirator, gloves.  Every bit of a yew is poisonous except - I am told but do not take my word for it - the red fleshy bit of the berry (which is the bit that looks the most poisonous).  The seeds are especially poisonous.  And poisonous doesn't mean it make you sick.  This is meet your maker poisonous.  And so, with the tiny bits that throw off out the thicknesser, despite decent extraction, it's the full PPE approach.  As it is ingestion or inhalation that is the particular risk, same precautions will be done for any routing and sanding.

Does look nice, though:

_MG_0327.thumb.JPG.d61de2dd6782023f3716e5c759ede462.JPG

 

Oh! MY LORD!

That's wicked Andy!

SR

 

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10 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

It's the tragedy of figured wood that, once you place the guitar template over it, you realise that most of the REALLY interesting bits are outside the template area.  And many of us would agree that the few remaining ones are going to be where the bridge is or pickups have to sit!

So very true.

The reverse template is something that every builder should at least be aware of. I've made a couple of those for other builders for finding out the most effective way to use the interesting properties of the wood and avoid weak spots just like you did. A transparent one with the bridge and pickup locations might be even better but not available for all. Paper is cheap and you can find it everywhere.

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That's going to look gorgeous 

I've hopefully got the perfect storm coming. Furloughed (paid to do nothing for the next month at least) from Wednesday, Mrs Norris still at work at the doctor's surgery. I might just get that guitar finished 🙂

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48 minutes ago, Norris said:

That's going to look gorgeous 

I've hopefully got the perfect storm coming. Furloughed (paid to do nothing for the next month at least) from Wednesday, Mrs Norris still at work at the doctor's surgery. I might just get that guitar finished 🙂

Every cloud.... 🙂

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To my fellow builders, particularly the ones just starting out on this crazy journey:  

If you don't already use hand planes and you are in lockdown, then one of the best things you could possibly do with the time is to watch a few videos on YouTube of how to set one up and adjust and use a hand plane and, crucially, how to sharpen the blades.

And I say that as one who, until my late 50's, had only ever used my handed down Stanley plane the way my father had and, no doubt his father before him - to smooth out the lumps and bumps in poorly home-plastered walls!   

And that was because the possibility of actually cutting wood with them - even soft woods like pine - was, quite simply, fanciful  😉 

And now, for me, planing a piece of wood ranks as one of the most pleasing and satisfying parts of the whole building process.

_MG_0342.thumb.JPG.9a93ec5e69696bdf403d7631bb834a13.JPG

So what was I planing this time round?

Well - having found a piece of leftover purpleheart 6mm splice, it was time to assemble the neck blank.  Before I did that, I wanted to make sure I could maintain a flat surface that the fretboard would eventually glue to, so I put the two mahogany halves together, lined them up and just skimmed the combined top full length with the plane to square it up.

Then glued, assembled and clamped it all to within an inch of its life and I have my 3-part blank:

_MG_0346.thumb.JPG.f13e82eeba38d6fc3f8d9ce3dc986f7d.JPG

Next jobs on the neck blank will be:

- Routing the trussrod slot

- Thickessing to final width

- Cutting the plan and side profiles on the band-saw, ready for the bottom wings to be glued on (after, of course, checking the sizes, re-checking, checking the checks, walking away and then coming back to check again )

 

Stay safe and thanks, as always, for looking.  🙂

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