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  1. 10 likes
    The instruments we make tell a story. The materials we use, the designs we come up with, the music we imagine our new instrument playing, and even the reason we decided to make the instrument are all elements of the story. I think this is one of the big differences between mass-produced instruments and hand-crafted custom instruments. The first are made for a market, the second are made to tell a story. Reading each of the different build threads going on here with so many different ideas coming to life tells us something about the builder. Even if we aren’t aware of it, the decisions we make in our build are driven by who we are and the story we are trying to tell. I think @mattharris75’s beautiful April 2016 GOTM winner illustrates this well – it’s a fantastic instrument on it’s own, but when you know the story behind, you understand the instrument in a whole new way. When I started making this bass, I didn’t know what story I was telling. I just knew I wanted to build a 5 string bass for myself. I wanted a versatile bass that could produce many different sounds for many different styles of music. I wanted to feature some nice natural materials – pretty, but not precious. And I wanted to pull in some elements of the world I’m seeing here in Japan (without, hopefully, being cheezy). The story of this bass is my story – it’s a snapshot of me right now. It’s autobiographical. Some things are completely obvious – made in Japan by an American, the koi inlay, etc. But the core is a subtler view driven by both the kind of player I want to be and where I’m at in my life. This bass is diverse, flexible, adaptable – all things I strive to be. It’s not that I don’t know who I am, but who I am is someone who wants to be many things. I played my first gig with the new bass last weekend. The gig was with a blues band literally on the banks of Mt. Fuji. I think that first gig – rocking out to one of the great American music forms while the sun set behind Japan’s most recognized icon - is a fitting end to this build thread. My wife reminded me during some of the more challenging parts of this build that “it’s not done until I say it’s done”. Finishing a build isn’t just checking off the last item in a checklist. It’s not even playing the first gig with an instrument. An instrument is finished when story the instrument tells is complete. And I’m happy to say that this build is complete. Here's a photo I snapped a few minute before we started playing: Now with that out of the way, there are a few other loose ends to wrap up about this build. First, I’m really happy with how the bass plays and am having a ton of fun making music with it. My G&L feels like a dog compared to it. That said, there are a few rough spots that I continually see. I don’t think anybody else will ever notice them, but they I can’t help but see them. Oh well… Those of you that followed closely may remember that I talked some talk about a mystery solution to resolve tear out. The plan was to create and inlay a traditional landscape scene (silhouette of Fuji and Torii gate) over the area of the tear out. I started it but never put it in place. It both ended up feeling too “precious” and amateur for what I wanted. But it did inspire the koi, which has ended up being the most distinctive and eye catching feature of the bass. So we can give the tear-out credit for leading me to the koi inlay. I saw a PRS Dragon for sale in Tokyo yesterday for $29,000 – it was certainly beautiful and clearly the dragon inlay (and not some playability or tone) is what makes it ‘special’. I was surprised to find leveling and finishing the frets to be one of the most rewarding steps in the process. It was certainly tedious, but there was something magic about seeing it all come together with just some very tiny adjustments. I sprung for a nice leveling beam and there’s definitely something inherently satisfying about using a quality purpose-built tool to complete a task. Finally, thank you all who have followed along, liked a post, made a comment, and answered a question in this thread. And a special thanks to @Prostheta, @curtisa and @ScottR for the continual feedback, insight, and support. This website is awesome. Now, on to build #2! Here's a blurry shot of the bass's debut performance at the Fuji Roadhouse, and once of it resting after the gig.
  2. 10 likes
    Hey everyone, I'm finally back at home after this weekend's event Everyone involved had a great time and the auction went very well! I just realized I never showed pics of the entire package up for auction. The guitar was bundled with a Gator vintage brown case and Couch Cadillac brownburst strap. The cool thing about this strap? It's made from original vinyl used on 70's Cadillac roofs. The event was held on a gorgeous property out in Jupiter, FL. The weather was amazing, it couldn't have been a better setup. So here's my little table. And after the auction, one of the bands wanted to try the guitar, so of course I let him have a go. He loved it! I must say, I'm impressed with the versatility of this pickup set. From the cleans and high-gain stuff Anthony did in my previous clip to this guy's country-style setup, the DiMarzios really handled everything well. Oh! By the way.... the guitar ended up raising $3500 for the foundation
  3. 9 likes
  4. 9 likes
    True!... a sharp gouge is just fun. I've been carving the heel, that was a quick job. I will try to make kinda volute in the heel... Still needs some refining, but the big part is done. Sorry for the square neck profile, I need to clear out the surroundings before proceed with the neck carving. Have a nice weekend!
  5. 9 likes
    Hello, our first of two instruments for guitar months !!!! Model '' Black Crow""* Bolt-on* Mahogany body * Top Spalted Maple Satin Finishes ( Black Opium* 5 piece neck, Maple, Venge with Spalted Maple Book-matched Head * Black Wood Fretboard (compound radius) whit lumi side dots & 12 Fret Logo Inlay * Scale length: 26,5¨ * Nut : Schaller Locking nut * 24 frets Sintoms * 2 APG Custom PickUps * 5 positions Schaller P Mega Switch * Tuning Machines : M6 Schaller * Bridge: Floyd Rose 7 ( Germany ) * Finishes: Oil * Neutrick Jack * Jack,Neutriik NJ3FP6C-B, metal housing and gold contacts * Wood Knobs Custom Made by Nugz Blacky * Strings: 10" - 56 More photos : https://www.facebook.com/NugzBlackyCustomGuitars/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1020078578058048
  6. 8 likes
    Here's my polishing kit: micro mesh and an automotive buffer. SR
  7. 8 likes
    YOU GUYS. IT'S IN MY APARTMENT. And now for the good(?) part: I made a little video!
  8. 7 likes
    I've been having too much fun building..kinda forgot about this whole internet thing :-)
  9. 7 likes
    HAD A BABY!!!! It's a boy! Keegan Ash Deagle! 8 lb 10 oz. So far moma bear and cub are doing awesome! still has his days / nights mixed up... but getting there... In other news, I was able to get the frets in and start prepping for the back carve... hoping to get a little time to work on that today... almost ready for finish... then I have to find a place to hid the thing for a few weeks till X's birthday. also found a local place to buy 1 amp slo-blo fuses. my AX-84 high gain Frankenstein amp is blowing the fuse as soon as it's plugged in... the only things connected before the standby switch is flipped is the power cable / fuse / standby switch. you'd expect to find a short in there... but the multi meter reads none... so I basically have to start de-soldering items until I find the culprit... hopefully it's jus the switch and I can order a new one easily.
  10. 7 likes
    And that about catches y'all up to where I am at at the moment. Except for this new build Me and the lady just found out started a little while ago. I think this will be the best one yet!
  11. 7 likes
    Here's the finished product... almost. Still gotta get it fully wired, but all the appearance parts are done and the finish is rubbed out and waxed up. Purpleheart/curly maple pickup rings, knobs and switch tips. Hope you like it! Oh yeah, almost forgot - she weighs in at 12.6 lbs.
  12. 7 likes
    And here we see the Quilted sapele super strat in its natural habitat. Here it hides in a batch of green mint plants, waiting to ambush its prey. It has been known to hunt solo, and also been known to shred its prey apart once caught. Most people figure it is at the top of the food chain.
  13. 6 likes
    Not updated in a while but I've been busy. Top jointed and glued on. Initial routing done. I didn't use a template for the neck pocket but used the laser and two bits of wood to make a temporary guide, with two layers of tape to make a tight fit. Pickup cavities done and first pass at my body carve is done. A lot more work to do carving but for not much noticeable change. Just cleaning contours and smoothing now. Oh and decided on my f hole shape and mostly finished that. Needs refining but v pleased with the results so far. Also need to chop the section of neck out for the pickup. That's making me nervous! Measured lots and drawn it on and feels like v little wood left. The part under the pup will be 9mm thick. I guess the sides will help there. Eek!
  14. 6 likes
    The controls will be hidden from the front and accessible at the back. I will have a powered piezo/mag pre-amp cum mixer and then, as a minimum, a blend and master volume. I might be able to incorporate a tone too if I can find a suitably small stacked pot. This is where they are supposed to fit: Bearing in mind that I still have to scoop 5mm or so from the back, it doesn't leave a lot of depth. Because I'm working towards the top - probably a thickness of 7mm max, I've gone for Forstner and chisels again. I've done the knobs chamber - now you see them: ...and now you don't: Then started on the main chamber. I reckon I've got another 3mm to go, with a lot of tidying of the carve too! Mind you - at least I got the cable channel in the right place With apologies to Scott for the poor carving so far: Talking of carving, you will have deduced, no doubt, that once the back is scooped and shaped, the control chamber cover will need to be carved too!!
  15. 6 likes
    The better I get at sharpening and using chisels, the more I use them in preference to the 'you-can-destroy-everything-in-seconds' router. The slot here will be where the tuner block butts up against the body wing. I'm pleased with this feature - it really does mean the tuner block isn't going to go anywhere and is not reliant on the fixing screws at all for strength . This is basically how the block will fit: The pencil marks shows the positioning of the neck. Not that there will be a rebate at the top and the bottom of the body. You can see the top one here - the top wing is glued and the bottom wing not yet glued: The top rebate is where the full-length fretboard will slot into and the similar rebate at the bottom is where I will carve up to the neck to create the back curve. You can see also here the slot where the strings, attached to an upside down tuner block attached to the rear block, will come through the neck and through the fretboard. Next is to sit and think and plan and think again. I need to make sure ALL of the control run slots, etc, are properly thought through and in place before I glue that bottom wing on!
  16. 6 likes
    the part I guess I am still not sure about is the bottom of the fretboard between where the neck angle starts and the bridge- its almost like (in my mind) the bottom of the fretboard would be flat until that neck angle- and then it would (if it was to be snug to the body and not overhang the body) have to angle forming a triangle from the neck angle to the bridge (I think?)- very interesting. you have my interest peaked big time on this. As far as your body radius- have you sorted out how you will do that? I had to do a 25" radius in a Turner Model One copy I did a few years ago- here is a pic- I laid out mdf board- held a 25" piece of string down at a center point off the board- took a pen and swiped the radius across the boards. made a "ghetto style extremely large" fretboard radius jig and went to town. that was a ton of fun. and clean up was easy with a little sanding and it came out great. (the jig was turned 90 degrees before use )
  17. 6 likes
    So here is the first casting of the "quilted" acrylic. I strafe-coated the topography - gold from bottom, silver boro from top. The two tone effect is not lighting - its actually gold on one side of the "quilt billows" and silver on the other side.
  18. 6 likes
    Like is said in a post, I was working on my shop. I am almost done. I got some green shelving for the great price of free from a friend. When I was starting to organize everything my wife said why dont you put all the big tools in the middle so it gives you more room. Which was surprising. I am still not done but its really looking like a proper shop and really has came a long way. I still have more to do, but I thought I would share and also will start on the templates this weekend.
  19. 6 likes
    Todays idiocy done. Loads of trimming and a bit of scraping to do but it worked ok. I was pretty nervous about bending the ebony binding with the veneers glued to the bottom, but no scorching or delamination. Couple of small voids resulting from the tape I used not having enough tack, but nothing that's not fixable. About halfway through I worked out which order the veneers should have been glued to get a better transition through the neck to the headstock. hohum. Not 100% sold on bound headstocks, but it looks a bit neater than it was. At least I know that if it needs to be done, it can be done.
  20. 6 likes
    Sushkov Guitars #0001 The Saracen This is the very first guitar I built in my new shop in Prague last autumn though not my first build in general. Specs: Mahogany body & neck American walnut top, pickup covers and headstock veneer Rosewood fingerboard Set-neck guitar construction with archtop Custom low output pickups with AlNiCo IV and AlNiCo V bar magnets. HipShot Grip-Lock tuners Dual-action truss-rod SINTOMS extra hard NiSilBer frets 2.5 mm Tonepros Tune-O-Matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece Rare soviet paper-oil capacitors 2 Volume + 2 Tone pots with wooden knobs matching top wood 3-way pickup selector switch.
  21. 6 likes
    @2.5itim @curtisa Guys - I contacted the guys at Hipshot and they confirmed that there was an error of 0,27" in the offset. You got it more or less right on the head with 0,25". Bill passes on his thanks for snagging this and hopes that it didn't cause any inconvenience. Hipshot should be correcting their dimensioning in the meantime.
  22. 6 likes
    The idea had been floating around for a few years and I tested it as working a long time ago, however it was Andrew that made it happen as a permanent jig. Currently working on the impractical super deluxe version:
  23. 6 likes
    Kinda like an Airfix model. Picture overload
  24. 6 likes
    Sorry, been slacking on posts. Been getting a lot of work done, but not much to take pictures of. Here it is with test parts: r. And here is the black SS, refinished
  25. 6 likes
    Nitro spraying is all done, now a month or so of patience while the nitro dries completely. The pic is taken with a flash so it looks a bit brighter than in real life: And here's the TR cover on the headstock:
  26. 6 likes
  27. 6 likes
    Allo! I first started posting pics here a LONG time ago with an 8 string guitar that I built. At the time, there were no production 8 string guitars and the only way i could get one is to get it custom done or do it myself. It turned out....ehhh. I didn't really know much about scale lengths required to accomodate an 8 string's low F#. Fast forward to today - I built the 8 string that I was supposed to have YEARS ago. I couldn't be happier. 30 Inch scale 25 frets, 12 - 25 scalloped zirocote fretboard swamp ash body and headstock figured roasted maple and purpleheart neck Hipshot hardware graphtech nut Petrucci 3 way Bareknuckle Aftermaths w/ gold bolts\
  28. 5 likes
    It's a beautiful sunny spring morning here in the English midlands and I couldn't resist a couple of piccies... Another couple of "flow" coats on - unfortunately not quite as clean this time and introduced a small curtain on the backside of the lower horn. It might polish out, but might need knocking back and going over again. I'll ponder it. The front is looking pretty darned spangly though!
  29. 5 likes
    ...and funerals, where the dead can no longer hear them and the living are already crying. SR
  30. 5 likes
    They were commonly used on the field of battle, which often led the opponents to kill themselves instead of listening to the racket they make. It is however, a long way to the top if thou doest want to rock and roll.
  31. 5 likes
    well KEA my build is basically the opposite of your super-clean ones but do build more! Last week after fretting I did a quick alignment check by locating the outer bridge saddle holes and checking that the strings run parallel to the fretboard edges and that I can set intonation ok. All appears to be fine so I can continue So now the neck, heel, volute etc. So far I build almost only bolt-on guitars so I don't have the process down for carving the heel. ok, this is kind of in the direction I want it to go, but not exactly. The transition from the neck to the body starts pretty early. I took a look at my Mayones Regius to compare, and there the neck retains its profile pretty much until the cutaway actually starts. It's a slightly different thing since there only the back is rounded over, but still. This is a bit closer: I need some tools for the future, probably at least a good quality rasp. Right now its going rather slow, but I'm getting somewhere. The volute is almost done, the purpleheart/maple accenting came out pretty cool: and the heel: Now I think I'll smooth the body a bit and shoot some primer, with this blotchy mess I cant see anything. Plus the super soft pine all over the place freaks me out, I fart and it dents. Oh well.
  32. 5 likes
    Messing around with fretboard blanks and a few off cuts. The flame is quite strong on this maple. Not sure if ill use it for this guitar, but I quite like. Reminds me a bit of the pavement on Copacabana
  33. 5 likes
    Everything went (mostly) as planned and I successfully surprised the guys with their new piccolo basses last week between sets at a gig. They seem pretty happy. Here's a shot of the the instruments before they were handed off: A ground came loose in the blue guitar, so Sean didn't get to play it plugged in until Friday night when I brought it to a jam session. Here's a video of him playing it literally for the first time (don't judge him for his singing or me for my camera work!): I am so stoked to be give these guitars to my bandmates. We all know that there's magic that happens when you turn a pile of wood and metal into a musical instrument and hear it make sound for the first time - the saying "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" definitely applies here. There is even more magic when you take that newly minted instrument, place it in the hands of a skilled musician, and hear them make it come to life. Full pictures and write-up to come...
  34. 5 likes
    And here we are.... managed to finish her up JUST in time for the gremlin's birthday in about 2 weeks. Still needs the intonation set and the pickup heights tweeked but other than that she's as ready as she's ever going to be.... I'm not 100% happy with the water based poly / finish but not much I can do about it at this point in time. either way, should be one hell of a happy gremlin.... cuz shit yeah... it's Spider-Man....
  35. 5 likes
    Part three: The neck! This was a real pain in the... You know what! It was all done with a Stanley No.7 and a bandsaw. (Apart from the headstock angle... That was my No.4.) Neck side: Truss rod slot cut... In hindsight I probably should have moved the nut slot back so it wasn't directly in line with the nut... Next time I'll try to remember that... It looks like that planing was done badly... I thought so too, but it's straight as... Well my straight edge... It just has a really funky grain and figuring to it that makes it look wobbly. Neck rough cut... So close to test fitting... (And yes the body is like me... A little overweight, but I'm working on it ) I got so carried away with the rest I forgot to take pictures, But one more... Where the neck and body met on the first day, sorry about the quality but... It really is starting to look like a guitar now!!! Low lighting makes everything look kinda yellow but hey... It was a long neck making day and the sun had disappeared by the time I got this taken. There's a LOT more to do, more shaping, more routing and every woodworkers favourite past time... Sanding. But this is it so far, Thank you for taking the time to look at this project! Mike.
  36. 5 likes
    Exploder MS8 progress! Body rough cut and cleaned up in the drum sander: Routing the body outline. First step uses a spiral upcut bit with guide bushing, second is a very short template bit, final is a downshear flush trim. Some dude is in my shop, cutting out neck pockets. It worked out ok. Roughing the pickup and control cavities: Routing complete, now on a boatload of sanding. Next time: on to the neck. Thanks for looking!
  37. 5 likes
    Alrighty gentlemen. Had some progress happen this weekend. I've been avoiding gluing the fretboard on for quite a while... had some issues on my last build and it didn't go 100% to plan so overcompensated this time around... wound up with a 10000% straight neck tho... so I think i'll do it this way again.... Also finished the round over on the back side of the body + the binding channel on the front side... the arm contour was a complete hooker to do. I don't have one of them fancy jig's that follows the contour so I wound up marking the channel with a pencil and routing the channel in steps (you can see via the burning) then I cleaned it up with a chisel... my old school tool skills... are... well... severely lacking... so im rather proud of myself on this one.... sadly, I may run out of time on this build... gremlin #2 is due any day now... that's likely to put a severe hamper on my progress... as long as I fnish before may (his b-day) i'll be aiet... but figured I couldn't leave you all in the dark about my super secret finish..... took our little guy out to a fabric store here in town and let him pick out some fabric.... glued down with super 77 and filled with weldbond and leveled (Im trying desperately to avoid epoxy due to the fumes). all that's left is to clearcoat over with some waterbased polyurethane that I bought.... should look absolutely SICK once completed..... and it's spiderman,... so the little guy's gonna lose his nuggets....
  38. 5 likes
    I last had a thread up for my first prototype archtop guitar. Since then I've completed one other and have started on a 4th. This one will be a little bit different than the previous three, which are really jazz boxes. With this one I'm aiming to achieve a more balanced a full sound, as opposed to the focused mid-presence that my previous archtop guitars have had. To that end, here are the specs: -16" lower bout, 2.5" sides with x-bracing -No cutaway -Port Orford Cedar soundboard -Claro Walnut back and sides -Mahogany neck with bloodwood centre laminates -Ebony fretboard, 25" scale, 22 frets, MOP blocks -Ebony/redwood burl headstock overlay, tailpiece and finger rest -Pickup not yet decided - between a piezo transducer in the bridge and a Kent Armstrong 12 pole floating humbucker -Gotoh Stealth tuners -Ebony bridge with bone saddle -Arm and fretboard access bevels -Bloodwood binding with black/bloodwood/MOP purfling To set the scene, here is my second archtop and the concept for this guitar:
  39. 5 likes
    final update: it's in the GoTM contest for January!
  40. 5 likes
    So I carved the top to a cylidrical section. Radius is about the same as the scale length, 27". Readjusted the neck pocket depth and angle four times before satisfied. Now just to decide knob and jack placement. I like the volume knob right under the center of the bridge pickup, but for most people it stands in the way of strumming. On the last photo there is a pencil line of a planned back contour, but I guess it might be comfortable even without it.
  41. 5 likes
    Thanks Chris (x2!) The first build out of my new shop is done! Better pics and a demo video soon. Specs Body: Chambered swamp ash w/walnut top Neck: 7pc maple/rosewood laminate Fretboard: Indian rosewood, Jescar 58118SS fretwire Hardware: Hipshot hardtail and staggered open gear tuners Pickups: DiMarzio Air Norton/Air Zone
  42. 5 likes
    This will likely get a few more coats during the week and then it will hang and cure whilst I travel around the country a bit over the holidays. And finally a few shots with some low angle natural light from the setting sun. Whew, that was fun! SR
  43. 5 likes
    Let's put some engineer theories to practice... ^^ According to the clamping pressure scheme that Prostheta shared earlier, and making use of a 40mm thick caul with the shape of the body, every clamp should cover about 80mm diameter around it, so I've made a circled template and start covering all the surface, marking the exact location of each clamp. That was cool because you don't have to spend time figuring where the clamp should be, which makes all the process a lot easier and faster. 27 clamps were needed for this operation. I got a clamp skyline. Hope it's ok, if I get a gap somewhere I will kill myself.
  44. 5 likes
    Wow it has almost been a month since I buffed it out. I was working on the bass and was also waiting for a hard case but thanks to Auspost that hard case is lost and I don't know where it is. I was holding out for the hard case before assembling but enough was enough so I bought a gig bag locally instead. I think I have too many hard cases anyway haha. Of course I'll be getting a refund. So I hereby present to you, my second build. I will take better pictures with my DSLR on a better day of course. I just spent the last 2 days trying to wire it together, only to find out the problem was with the pot, not my wiring! Specs: Hardware: Gotoh SG318 tuning machines Kluson modern string retainer Wilkinson 5+1 contemporary tremolo Electronics: Seymour Duncan JB (trembucker) in the bridge Seymour Duncan Jazz in the neck 5 way super switch wiring: 1. bridge, 2. bridge (north) + neck (south), 3. bridge + neck, 4. neck (north) + bridge (south), 5. neck 500K audio Push pull volume pot, with a blower switch to bypass all electronics and send the bridge pickup straight to the output jack, plus treble bleed mod. 500K audio tone pot with Fender's grease bucket tone circuit. Sorry for the blur pics. Will take better ones soon.
  45. 5 likes
    And finally the first shots of clear. SR
  46. 5 likes
    Phew! After a few long, dusty nights, I'm finally done sanding! We're up to P600 here, which is where I like to be before applying oil. I'm hoping to get the oil process started this weekend, stay tuned for some cool finish pics!
  47. 5 likes
    Here is an update on the 7 string. All routed, drilled and i got the neck glued in tonight.
  48. 5 likes
    Have free time and make my basses
  49. 5 likes
    I've just completed this build. I call her the Siren. Maple/mahogany laminate construction 5 piece set neck Curly maple top and fingerboard Hipshot Grip-Lock open gear tuners Hipshot fixed bridge Dimarzio Evolution(bridge) Ibanez V8(neck) vol/vol controls, awaiting a 3 way toggle. I started building a little over a year ago, but I didn't really get much traction until earlier this year. I was building a Les Paul copy, when I hit a snag and decided to focus on something that I had drawn up. I'm glad I did. She plays surprisingly well. After working so hard toward this goal, I half expected to muck up the end result, but nope! She plays and sounds quite good. I'll be playing her on stage here Sept 20th.
  50. 5 likes