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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
    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
  5. 8 likes
    Here's my polishing kit: micro mesh and an automotive buffer. SR
  6. 8 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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:
  12. 6 likes
    Kinda like an Airfix model. Picture overload
  13. 5 likes
    final update: it's in the GoTM contest for January!
  14. 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.
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 5 likes
    I started this a while back, and back porch lacquering was such a headache that I shelved it for over a year. I was about to sell all of my tools but decided to try some satin I had sitting around before giving up. With that said, I'm back at it on another project. Since these pics I've updated the tuning machines and set it up properly.
  18. 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.
  19. 5 likes
    Consider it finished. I have not wired the push-push pots yet, but it is working, set up. Sounds fairly good. Do you feel it too, the stress when you first string a new one up, trying to guess the character from the first string not yet tuned, and it slowly starts to show as you tune and set up? This one was good sounding right from the first strum, What a relief.
  20. 5 likes
    Time to sit back and watch the paint dry.....and the grass grow. SR
  21. 5 likes
    And finally the first shots of clear. SR
  22. 5 likes
    The limba/wenge guitar is in the happy hands of its new owner! The owner is going to work on a video and sound clips soon, though I can assure you that this is one mean-sounding guitar. As always, I'll post it as soon as I have it! Thanks for joining me on this journey...now on to the next one!
  23. 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!
  24. 5 likes
    Here is an update on the 7 string. All routed, drilled and i got the neck glued in tonight.
  25. 5 likes
    Something just as shiny but not quite as bright:
  26. 5 likes
    Have free time and make my basses
  27. 5 likes
    YOU GUYS. IT'S IN MY APARTMENT. And now for the good(?) part: I made a little video!
  28. 4 likes
    Hi again, I won't go into any major detail on this because I'm (slowly) drafting a 'Bedroom Builders - veneering without the tears' tutorial that is hugely overdue but will be finished soon-ish. I got approached recently by a member off the Basschat forum to see if I could make his entry-level Jazz bass lighter. I'll do this in photos up to present but happy to add more details if anyone wants them. It's a nice playing, nice looking £120 bass: ...but one that weighs heading towards 11lb It turns out to be solid Ash, despite it's price point. No point in messing about: It is always surprising how little weight is removed...but it all helps. This had got rid of 1lb 12oz once the thin basswood caps were on: Then out comes the iron...this is what the tutorial will be about: And on goes the red ink: And now you're up to date. Next will be the clear coats and veneering of the headstock
  29. 4 likes
  30. 4 likes
    I'm usually extremely busy at work, but as we've just turned out a couple of big projects I'm getting a bit of workshop time to myself. It could be crazy busy again next week, so I'm trying to get as much done as I can now. The CAD file is pretty much there, so I loaded up a chunk of 40mm MDF and started building the MDF prototype. I'm doing this to pinpoint any weaknesses or design flaws before I start chopping up nice bits of hardwood. Here's the back of the body with the electronics cavity. I drilled holes for locating dowels and flipped the body to rout the front. Here it is, fresh off the CNC. The back, so you can see the cavity and neck fixing points better. and finally, the whole prototype with the neck attached - I didn't get pics of the neck being cut. ...that nice MAC is the firm's, not mine Next step will be to see how all the hardware fits this prototype, make adjustments to the CAD model (I've already identified a few changes that need to be made), then hopefully onto a block of hardwood In the meantime I'll be trying to finish the bass design so I can start making that too. laters potaters Z.
  31. 4 likes
    My nut came today so after fitting it I put the whole thin together. I'm pleased with how it's turned out, did I make mistakes along the way? - of course I did, is it perfect? - no of couse not, can I do better next time? - thats the plan. I've learned a lot during this build mostly from you guys that build some amazing guitars and found the whole experience relaxing and enjoyable. Now I just need to set it up properly and learn how to play - I used to play a bit of folk (badly) way back in the 70's but have never played an electric guitar in my life but as they say " its never too late"
  32. 4 likes
    Thank you! Back to the neck: I start by cutting the back taper to proper thickness in a little router jig, which gives me a good reference plane to work from. Then, I move on to blending the heel and volute transitions. Finally, I do the traditional faceting/rounding process.
  33. 4 likes
    I think its way easier. It doesnt move after being glued to a thick piece. Wired up and ready to go. Dang this thing feels good. Threw in some black winters. sound pretty good. They have a really hot output but dont sound as hot as they are rated.
  34. 4 likes
    Decided to round off the edges the old school way - using my vintage spoke shave which was given to me over 30 years ago, it did need a bit of a sharpen but then was ready to go. Then it was time to use it to start shaping the body, ran my belt sander over it to get the rough shape and finished off by hand to get yhe final shape. Then the whole body was sanded using 120, 180 and 360 grit sandpaper after several hours of sanding my arms and fingers told me that they had had enough so after cleaning up went iI ndoorsand and thought it would be a good idea to make sure everthing went togrther. The weather forecast for tomorrow is dry so maybe the final sand.
  35. 4 likes
    Here is the back of the bubigna. I really love carving the heel and the horn like this.
  36. 4 likes
    I've not updated this build in a while simply because most of my work focus has been on writing for the site! Oops. Guitar builders that don't build, eh? So anyway. The next job in the queue has been to edge sand the body wings to 240 grit and confirm that the outlines are "good" prior to binding. Any faults in the outline translate straight to the binding channels, so that is pretty damn important. Two channels were cut using the edge guide on my Makita palm router; one for the main tort binding and the second for the two fine purfling lines. The binding was arranged in order and "glued" at one end using only acetone; the binding dissolves in acetone, so it "creates its own glue". A few q-tips/cotton buds were used to liberally soak the wood, apply the binding/purfling and then wick a little more acetone top and bottom. Masking tape tensioned across the binding keeps it secure whilst the acetone evaporated. After 24hrs of drying, the binding was scraped back using a card scraper and a Stanley knife blade with a hook turned. Aside from a few stray fibres having torn out from the spalted top being "replaced" with binding squeezeout, everything is clean as a whistle. Next! Oh yes, the corner at the upper horn was heated with a hair dryer to soften it before easing around the tight corner. This alone took 4-5 minutes to patiently get right.
  37. 4 likes
    Over and out: And for @KnightroExpress 's benefit, some obligatory roxxorz: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/24052640/HM7 Test.mp3 Regarding the Fishmans, cleans were neck + bridge on voicing 1, distorted rhythm guitars were bridge pickup on voicing 2 and the various leads/melodies were either neck or bridge on voicing 1. Ended up redoing the nut. Despite the fact the strings were unlikley to pop out of the shallow slots I wasn't happy with the way it looked. In hindsight, if I'd planned it better I think I would have tried a zero fret with these string locks. Their proximity to the back of the nut makes fettling the nut slots quite time consuming, as you can't just slacken off the string and pop it off to one side to fine tune the slot with a file. Every time you have to tweak the slot depth the string has to come off altogether and then the string lock needs to be removed from the headstock to give you enough room to use a slotting file.
  38. 4 likes
    Fretboard on after a silicone dabbed into the truss channel. Surprisingly fits without overhang. I was starting to think Id cut the neck too narrow. One thing I did do was take the binding a bit thin around the nut on the bass side. I don't think it'll be too noticeable. but something to watch out for future builds I guess. The cream in the neck binding makes all the fettling after gluing that much more obvious. I'll shape the nut next and get it in situ and work out how to open up the truss channel cleanly.
  39. 4 likes
    So here's stage two, in which we've gotten some painting done and taken delivery of a few machines.
  40. 4 likes
    thanks. Me too. nervy trip to the bandsaw today. This was a bit outside of what it could cope with really, but I ended up with two faceplates. The next build is going to have the headstock on the right way around.
  41. 4 likes
    I think we have a winner! It's the best finish I've pulled off yet. The flaws are pretty minimal. I will say that the primer, silver flake, and top coats don't melt into a seamless lacquer even though they are all lacquer based. Primarily the sliver and primer create a weak point and I had a pretty nasty chip when sliding the switch into the body. Am I going to show my lackluster patch job? Heck no! I like this angle too much!
  42. 4 likes
    I like shiny things.....I tend to take a lot of pictures of things I like. SR
  43. 4 likes
    Just spent the whole day wet sanding and buffing the body. My arms are so sore right now. I'll leave it for a few days before assembling. I'll do the neck tomorrow. The mahogany was a pain to wet sand. I probably didn't grain fill enough and I had a few shiny low spots which I couldn't level out. I could continue wet sanding and level them out but I risk sanding through and I think the latter is worse. I already accepted it isn't perfect but it's good enough for me!
  44. 4 likes
    At last, a demo of the limba/wenge guitar! Prepare to rock and/or roll.
  45. 4 likes
    Here is the mostly finished product. I haven't set it up or tested the electronics yet and it has some wicked string buzz. I'm also going to change the pickup ring to a simpler design and maybe out of maple instead of Ebony. The knobs are just temporary as well, still not sure what to go with there. Overall I'm pretty happy with my first guitar. A big thank you to everyone on this site for the direct help as well as the inspiration and problem solving on so many threads for answering questions I didn't know I had yet. Now for #2.
  46. 4 likes
    Truss rod routed.... help from my son..,
  47. 4 likes
    Presenting the Koi Bass. This is my first build. Those that have followed along in my build thread (thank you!) know that I'm an American living in Japan. I got the bug for a new 5 string bass while exploring Ochanomizu, the "guitar district" of Tokyo. I tiny voice somewhere in the back of my head suggested I build the bass instead of buy it and I was off. This build brought me all over the Tokyo region exploring many parts of the city where few foreigners ever tread in search of supplies. It has been a lot of fun and a tremendous learning experience. And while I cured my bug for a new bass, I've developed a new and stronger bug in building them. Here's the build thread: http://www.projectguitar.com/forums/topic/48283-5-string-bass-build-its-gonna-be-huge-in-japan/ Anyway, on to the bass. It's a 34" 5 string with neck through construction. I started with a drawing on my computer inspired by the work of some of the modern Japanese builders I'd seen in Ochanomizu, made a template out of of MDF, and worked from there. The body is mahogany with quilted maple front and back Headstock has matching quilted maple top I cut the cavity cover out of the back wood so it matches the grain. The neck is made of 7 pieces sandwiched together - 3 maple and 4 walnut. The bass is finished with 5 coats of Watco Danish Oil - the neck feels soooo smooth! The fret board is rosewood with 24 frets Electronics are EMG J5 pickups with the BQS preamp (volume/blend/high/stacked parametric mid/low) Tuners are hipshot ultralight Bridge is a hipshot A style Side markers are glow-in-the dark And bass's namesake, the koi... it's a 13 piece mother of pearl and abalone inlay I hand cut out to swim over the 12th fret. Obviously this is where the bass's name comes from, but the word "koi" has a few meanings besides "carp" - it also translates into "intention" or "purpose", and can mean "the feelings of the ancients". Here's a little video I shot of myself goofing around this afternoon with the bass. Finally, I want all of the lurkers and dreamers here to know that YOU CAN DO THIS! Thanks! Aaron
  48. 4 likes
    I know, right? This month is so phenomenal that I simply can't choose between any of them. @verhoevenc, "Model2J" Always a pleasure seeing what's firing off the table, Chris. Everything you product has something very very different about it, yet has a distinctive classiness that's become stylistically recognisable. @boroducci, "FatStrat" Clean, consistent and perfectly in line with what one would expect from a modern Fat Strat. Soundwise, that split really keeps it in line with its originals nicely. A lot of split coils just sound like half a humbucker (@Dylanpickups - that was a perfect way of phrasing it) however this manages to keep well within both fields. "Fokin pickups". @Hackett Customs, "Rapscallion" Five-string basses will always catch my eye. Especially when people keep in something that reminds us that we're working with trees....not entirely George Nakashima-level live edge, but a subtle and conclusive reminder of wood's origins. Everything made end-to-end! I'd have to pick her up and give her a whirl, man. You got me with basses. @Guitaraxz, "Grey Thunder" Whoa, now that is BOLD. How anybody can make a grey guitar bold is a challenge in and of itself, but wow. Looks like a straight down the line no-nonsense player. I love workhorses. @Chris G, "59ish Les Paul" The backstory of this one from beginning to end was a great journey Chris. There's not much you can say about a Les Paul that doesn't get said every day, but the fact you pulled this off to that standard as your first build inspires me with confidence that your second and subsequent ones will be a magnitude of difference better. You managed to capture what is important and take it through the finish line. That only deserves respect, man. @KnightroExpress, "Voyager MS6 'Project Balrog'" Again, a great backstory during and after the build! Most of what I can say has already been said many times in the build thread. This guitar will provide many people with happiness and be a symbol of generosity and camaraderie for years to come. @Original, "The Dook" I love the name! Makes me think of Drinky Crow. Again, I love that you've gone the extra mile and fabricated parts in order to make something that isn't off-the-shelf or "Lego-like". Even though it was just the pickup casings, it does set it apart. That's a mighty look to it too. Aesthetically it looks "tonally powerful" to the eye. @pan_kara, "Etna" It was smouldering for a long time, Piotr! The cracked and crazed carving on the top is a perfect way to set it off against the theme you decided on. plus the gun-metal/matte finish around the guitar only adds to the "char" and "hot" look. The V of the end-grain is a neat little bonus too! @Mikagi, "Bodra" Whoa, that came out of the blue! I've spent a lot of time going through your Facebook photos and clearly you have a LOT of experience under your belt and a lot of ability to match. Mastodon dropped by eh? Sweeeeet. I'm hoping to make my own archtop 5-string bass in the next year or so; if you shared your thoughts it would be very very welcome.
  49. 4 likes
    Hi folks! Miran of Mikagi Guitars from Croatia here, joining the contest with my flagship model named Bodra. The one in the photos is a semi hollow that I built a few months ago. I've standardised the model so this is pretty much how I make them these days. I change everything up a bit every few months or so, just to keep things interesting and creative and I'm always looking for new ways to improve the design with attention to the smallest of details. Okay, so as I said, this particular one is semi hollow, however I do make them in hollow body version as well. The idea behind the instrument is to blend traditional sound, feel and design with some more modern construction features. The guitars feature carved maple top and bottom plates. Sides and neck are made of mahogany. For the fretboard I usually use ebony, macassar or rosewood (12 inch radius). I prefer to use open gear tuning machines, like the Schaller GrandTune or Grover Sta-Tite. The electronics are the best part -Wizz premium PAF humbuckers, one of the greatest PAF clones out there. Sounds like a charm! It's finished in sunburst, nitrocellulose. Feel free to check out the Mikagi facebook page for waaay more photos of the build Good luck to everyone!
  50. 4 likes
    Haha I know what you mean, I liked the orange a bit more than the cherry tone it turns into. Here's a little video we shot while I was applying the oil. The transformation is fun to watch