Jump to content

Entry for December 2019's Guitar Of The Month is open - ENTER HERE!

noviceluthier

THe "What mistakes to avoid" thread

Recommended Posts

First from-scratch fret job. When using the StewMac fret templates, start at the nut slot and work your way up the neck.

I made two mistakes (1) thinking that the grooves in the template were going to line up with the slots, and (2) I started from fret #21. By the time I got to the nut slot, I was out of room on the fretboard. If I had started with the nut slot, mistake #1 would have been obvious before the first cut.

Not only that, it happened on a 1-piece neck :DB):D I had to plane off the slots and glue on a separate fretboard (which now actually looks nicer).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mounted the tom bridge posts in my body today.

I measured several times & got the size & spacing correct but the depth was too shallow. :D

I set the base so that my body started 1" from the bit & measured the length of the post then added that to my 1" spacing for my desired depth setting on my drill press.

I checked it by moving the chuck to the top of the body and measured how far the drill bit lowered.

After I drilled the holes and got the posts in I noticed they didn't quite seat fully into the body because the tip of my drill bit (like most) had a 1/8" taper to the tip.

I can pull the posts and drill deeper but they are in REAL tight (I had to tap them in with a rubber mallet) so it's gonna be a pain.

I will now account for drill bit taper at the tip from now on.

I also realized that I need to pull the posts out anyways 'cause I forgot to drill a hole from the cavity to the post so I can ground the bridge. :D

Luckily, I can make these screwups right but I made more work than neccessary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Take your time!

Then make sure your templates are the right way around before you cut out the body and make sure the screws for the neck are not too long.

Don't answer the phone while working on your project

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Make SURE that your template is the PERFECT body style you want and that it looks good and that it's the right size and all.

Dont do anything too revolutionary on your first guitar!

If you find yourself getting even the littlest bit frustrated STOP

DO NOT attempt a finish until you have grainfilled EVERY peice of wood on the guitar and made SURE that it is PERFECTLY flat.

First run through EVERY step in your head and make the guitar from start to finish. I did this for like 4 months and I bleive it's one of the main reasons I did so well on my first. It was like I was doing something I had already done before.

Make SURE you dont rout too far down on your neck pocket!

Make sure that your tuners will fit on your headstock with the holes you drilled and that it will look good.

Also Dont rush hammering in the frets.

And MAKE SURE YOU MAKE A TEMPLATE WHEN DOING STRING THROUGH.

drill in from both sides to make sure it gets perfect.

O and dont forget the basic safety that so many of us dont do :D You need to wear lung pertection EVERY time you cut a peice of wood. Glasses are a must. Also when using a router I use a full face mask as I dont want the bit to break and rip off my face. That really makes me feel more comfterable near the router.

O and It's been said but, dont put on the one last coat of paint. The second the hair on the back of your neck stands up and you feel that you are about to do something stupid STOP. STOP right there. Go inside and dont do anything for atleast 24 hours. Think about what you were doing and every possiable way you could screw it up!

The second you are frustrated because it's not going well not only your project is in danger but your life and limbs are in danger! If your not 100% up to snuff STOP and wait till you feel better and more confident. Go watch some TV and have a nice glass of water and cool off.

Edited by Godin SD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
First run through EVERY step in your head and make the guitar from start to finish. I did this for like 4 months and I blieve it's one of the main reasons I did so well on my first. It was like I was doing something I had already done before.

Trouble with this though......that you have the feeling you have finished guitar already when it's still just unfinished project.

But yes, I must have built my project about 15,986.98 times already. ;-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

may have been suggested already but...

Make templates out of clear 6mm perspex and draw all the features and the centre line on the reverse so you can see through the template and see the wood. Its also easier to work than mdf and wont cause you lung damage if you breathe in its sawdust!

Protection is vital

Ears (Earplugs are cheap)

Nose & Mouth (face masks are available from DIY stores for pennies)

Eyes (Goggles or glasses. Not eyelids)

Fingers (gloves when you need them, especially on radial saws or table saws)

Hair (if its long, tie it back. I once caught mine in a drill chuck!)

clothes (wear overalls when handling stuff that will stain, burn or generally ruin your nice clothes)

Feet (Wood has a habit to make splinters. Sharp Tools like to stab you in the foot. Wear proper shoes)

And lastly, have fun. This is not a competition or a sport. Rushing it will ruin it. Enjoying it will make it all the more special.

Edited by Digideus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad this thread has risen to the forefront again, lots of valuable info here for new folks to read. You really have to think about the order of things that need to be done. Some are obvious and some not so obvious and others might not matter depending on what you have to work with. Think about what needs to be done a lot in your spare time and if you have ANY doubts then hold back until you got it right in your head.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Know what sized your pickups are BEFOR routing, i didnt and had to make mine bigger. Know what finish you want, and exactly how you will get it, i got my head ripped by my tech teacher for not knowing what i was doing.

And the most important thing i have learnt, second years at high school are pricks, they cost me a nice korean strat knok off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have not build anything yet. not even a template. and since i joined, i have read threads and whatnot, for at least half hour a day . trying to learn as much as i can, so that when i start i will hopefully have an easier time. not easy time. but i will know a few tricks here and there. I think knowing as much as you can is important. I am trying to learn from others mistakes. hope it helps make my mistakes fewer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a great thread! I would try to add something, but the limited experience, and thus limited mistakes I have encountered so far have been addressed already. I am paying careful attention to what is said here so I can make as few of the valuable but frustrating mistakes in the future as possible.

Currently, I am learning the value of templates, and planning it out ALL the way before making a cut. But I have learned from my mistakes, and don't plan on repeating them, so I am a better builder for them!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

where do i begin??

1)get the parts before u begin even a template for the body.

2)use a depth stop for the screw holes on the heel of a bolt on neck. even if it's a piece of tape wrapped round the bit. i actually broke thru the ebony fingerboard of my warmoth-made neck. since it was already ruined (so i thought), i chucked it and snapped off the headstock. that's when i realized that i could've just gotten a new fingerboard and frets. doh.

3) ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a steady source of income before and during a project. $$=good.

4)If you aren't going to paint it yourself, find a buddy to do it cheap. i'm currently being ripped off by the guy that's gonna paint (or is painting) my RR3. i paid him $100, then found someone that would do it for $75. oh well, pizza and beer fund for the guy, i guess.

5) Measure twice, walk away to think, measure some more, stare at it, cut once.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I built my first guitar recently. I had it well planned out on paper, measurements for absolutely everything I could think of. However when building I realised i still didn't have enough measurements.

some of the measurements to know:

String spacing on your trem

depth to route pickups and neck pocket

I thought I could shape my neck comfortably to my hand but I found this hard without the strings on it so in future I will use calipers and have the depth worked out before I begin.

I routed freehand. NEVER AGAIN!!!! I was disappointed in the results so in future i'm gonna put the effort in to make templates. Lazyness never pays!

Fill the grain. I just sprayed the paint without filling the grain and the paint work looks b*****ks.

I have since met a new friend through work who can do airbrushing. I'll hopefully get mine done labour free in future. mmm just thinking bout the beautiful sunburst now!!!! :D

Be very careful when making the fret slots. My guitar ended up very slightly out of tune the further up the neck I travelled. The reason for this is that I measured each fret from the previous fret. I have since learned to always measure from the nut. That way only one fret would be out of tune if you make a mistake.

Finally, I am glad I made so many mistakes. Building my guitar was a journey of disappointment and frustration but in the end there was an enormous sense of achievement, even though I know the guitar is not perfect. It has made me more determined to make the next guitar simply because I know I won't make the same mistakes again!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm surprised this thread hasn't been pinned yet. Should be the first thing newbies get to read... so much good advice! As a newbie myself, it's appreciated.

Thanks guys.

Pete :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thinking you have all the tools you need/want. There's a big mistake. :D Every time I turn around, I'm needing to buy something I hadn't accounted for.

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dont set your sights too high, design something thats achieveable and not stupidly difficult to make. The next one can be better/Harder

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

em,i've read the first three pages through,eyes so sore now lol,i have learned a lot,and i have a contribution...gasp!a noob as something to say!

never think u can make everything,for your first ever project,it easier to copy a guitar,even trace it and either do an exact replica,if you are planning to do more in the future,it wont really matter if you have two p-bass's or wateva,cause that was just a practise,or you could trace a bass you already have,and modify it,i traced a p-bass for my design,and my bass,after 3-4 days of tweaking,it looks nothing like a p-bass,and is in good proportion.buy most of your parts eg,neck/fretboard,or just by a pre made neck.i guess u gotta start small,then by you 3rd,fourth,or maybe fifth guitar/bass.u will have confidence to make absolutly everything,and more(fretlights,custom inlys etc.)

and my last piece of advice,never mention vinyl sealer to westheman,he will rip ur b@lls off and slap u in the face with them till you skip home to mumy lol,no offense...well.hope i hav'nt wasted ur time,but just start small,guitar buildings for life,not just for summer :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
and my last piece of advice,never mention vinyl sealer to westheman,he will rip ur b@lls off and slap u in the face with them till you skip home to mumy lol,no offense...

My advice...

When posting here on PG, don't post advice unless you are certain that you have the correct answer or at least a link/contact to where to find the correct info.

This way, people in need of info won't be mislead or have to wade through info that's useless to them and cause headaches or even a ruined project.

In other words, don't post an answer if you're unsure about the subject.

Also, try to keep posts relevant to the topic or start a new thread.

and finally...don't believe everything you read; research, research and research. :D

:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm only a Newbie, just started my first project, but after having made my first couple of routing templates I would give this advice:

STAY AWAY FROM MDF!!

I tried to make a routing template for a neck pocket, and found the stuff totally unworkable. Try to shape it with surform and/or sandpaper, and it just turns into mush. The best surface I could achieve was fuzzy and unreliable - the bearing of the guided router cutter just sank into it. Lucky I was only practicing on scrap!

Later I tried it with a nice sheet of ply-wood, with much more pleasing results - easy to rout and sand, with a nice finish. Now I've got a nice neck pocket template - it's a perfect fit for the neck heel and the surface that will contact the router cutter bearing is nice and solid. I'm v pleased with it as a first attempt, I just wish I hadn't waster an evening messing about with MDF - but as this thread is all about, mistakes are part of the learning process.

It's true - mistakes are another way of saying "I am wiser today than I was yesterday!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm only a Newbie, just started my first project, but after having made my first couple of routing templates I would give this advice:

STAY AWAY FROM MDF!!

I tried to make a routing template for a neck pocket, and found the stuff totally unworkable. Try to shape it with surform and/or sandpaper, and it just turns into mush. The best surface I could achieve was fuzzy and unreliable - the bearing of the guided router cutter just sank into it. Lucky I was only practicing on scrap!

Later I tried it with a nice sheet of ply-wood, with much more pleasing results - easy to rout and sand, with a nice finish. Now I've got a nice neck pocket template - it's a perfect fit for the neck heel and the surface that will contact the router cutter bearing is nice and solid. I'm v pleased with it as a first attempt, I just wish I hadn't waster an evening messing about with MDF - but as this thread is all about, mistakes are part of the learning process.

It's true - mistakes are another way of saying "I am wiser today than I was yesterday!"

Wouldn't really say that - MDF is lovely for me, can get a nice smooth edge with little effort - a surform isn't too hot an idea for MDF, I just band/jigsaw it to rough shape and then sand smooth. Works fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MDF stands for "Medium Density Fiberboard." It's the wood you see at home depot or lowes with no grain. It's essentailly sawdust and glue shaped into a board. You can get it really smooth too(assuming you're using the right technique), so it can be good for templates.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ditto on the MDF workability. It's awesome stuff for templates. You must have used old, water damaged rotting stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ditto on the MDF workability.  It's awesome stuff for templates.  You must have used old, water damaged rotting stuff.

Yes, I've noticed a number of posts from users who have good results from MDF. I found it OK for machining (it takes a router cutter and leaves a smooth finish) but when I tried to sand it it just went fuzzy and soft, and when I later tested out the template on scrap the guide bearing just sank into it.

The MDF I used was not brand new, I salvaged it - it looked and felt solid enough, but even so maybe it could have been damp. Or maybe MDF is good for many things but sanding it is a no-no? Like one of the earlier posts that said it's not a good idea to use a rasp.

Anyway, having read all these helpful posts I'll give MDF another chance - with some brand new stuff fresh out of the wood-shop!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...