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  1. 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.
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  2. 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
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  4. 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
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  5. Here's my polishing kit: micro mesh and an automotive buffer. SR
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  6. 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!
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  7. 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.
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  8. 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.
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  9. 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.
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  10. @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.
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  11. 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:
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  12. Kinda like an Airfix model. Picture overload
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  13. 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
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  14. 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
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  15. 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.
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  16. 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.
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  17. 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.
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  18. Time to sit back and watch the paint dry.....and the grass grow. SR
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  19. And finally the first shots of clear. SR
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  20. 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!
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  21. 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!
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  22. Here is an update on the 7 string. All routed, drilled and i got the neck glued in tonight.
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  23. Something just as shiny but not quite as bright:
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  25. Thanks, folks! You have all been very patient, but you will be pleased to hear that, at last, we come to the end of the saga (or almost the end) So Tom arrived for the final tweaks: To put on his preferred strings To adjust the action To reshape and slim the neck profile to his preference To look at the jack plug housing alternatives and me just swop them round ...and he didn't want anything changed. To be accurate, he didn't want anything changed yet. He was chuffed to bits with it and, although agreeing that the neck probably did need a reshape, wanted to use it in action and drop it back to me when he was clearer about what final shape he wanted. My surprise was that he also wanted to keep the acoustic strings on it! That was in August last year and, although we are in pretty regular contact, he still hasn't brought it back In October, his facebook page showed this: This was last month with Tom with a festival notable at a music festival in Brixton, London: ...and here he and it is in action on stage with an african drummer, playing an african drum, almost certainly made from the same wood!: ...and, I noted with a smile, still with the same acoustic strings on... This hobby doesn't get much more satisfying than that Thanks for your patience and encouragement along our epic thread journey Andy Andy
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  26. YOU GUYS. IT'S IN MY APARTMENT. And now for the good(?) part: I made a little video!
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  27. 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
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  28. final update: it's in the GoTM contest for January!
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  29. I take some 400 grit 7X 3M paper and cut a couple sheets to fit a foam sanding block. Then I rub the faces of those sheets together. This knocks the sharp edges of the grit off and leaves paper that cuts more like 600 or 800 grit. But the spacing of the grit is still 400 and the bottom line is it barely loads up with sanding dust at all. And it does not leave deep sanding scratches. It does do a nice job of gently leveling orange peel, thick areas, dust nibs and the like without cutting so fast you worry about sanding through. So......after: And back to hanging and curing for another week. SR
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  30. I usually start building during summer holidays but this time it was a winter start I bought a swamp ash body blank at a guitar show in Stockholm, Neck and fretboard blanks were already in my possession: No access to the band saw at my summer house, Japanese saw it is instead: Routed the lines, shaped the headstock: Fretboard gluing, clamps-r-us: Well, there it is. No visible glue line: Ordinary dot inlays this time around: Shaping the curve between fretboard and headstock: Starting the neck shaping with files, knives, spokeshave, scrapers...: Headstock starting to look ok. The neck is also fretted now, forgot to take pics...: Swamp ash body blank and drawing of the body shape: Cutting the body with an electric jigsaw (no band saw, remember?) and then sanding it to shape with sanding drums on an electric drill: Rounding the body edges: Rasps, knives, scrapers etc again, Body contours!: Made two pickguard designs: Chose the larger one, made a few in different materials. The metallic one is sheet aluminium that i machine turned with a brass brush attached to a Dremel: Clear nitro as a primer/pore filler: Mary Kaye white nitro from a spray can: A little masking..: ... and Sonic blue nitro spray can: I really wasn´t going to do the little fiddly details on this one... Didn´t hold my promise. Logo time. Aluminium, flamed maple, red dye: Dying the neck: Many layers of Tru-Oil: Tuners on, not much left now: And done: ...and another little detail, a switch tip to match the body and pickguard:
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  31. Hi In my single-cut bass thread, I mention my usual method of gloss-finishing my basses and guitars, which is wiping on. I recently did a thread on another forum, so forgive me for cutting and pasting, but it is a technique that is probably of interest to any of those of you who might be stuck for facilities or equipment but still want to produce an acceptable (but not perfect....of which more later) finish. But before I start, just a few of the common-sense health and safety precautions: use varnish and thinners in accordance with manufacturers recommendations, especially relating to decent ventilation, skin contact, flammability, etc . Be aware that cloths soaked in thinned varnish can present a particular fire risk (including spontaneous combustion in the right circumstances). Once used, let them dry flat and preferably outside. The products illustrated are using the UK terminology, but the materials are general household products found in most DIY or Decorators retail outlets. I use a wipe-on technique for varnishing, using standard old-fashioned household polyurethane varnish. I don't have anywhere satisfactory indoors to spray either cans or spray-guns and needed to find a method that I could in in a spare room rather than having to wait for a dry, still, insect and pollen-free day everytime I wanted to finish a bass or guitar (a long, long wait often in the UK!) There are a few plus's and minus's: It will never look quite the same as a well applied and properly buffed spray finish It isn't as tough as a commercial poly finish - but it is tough! You can put a couple of coats on per day (One 1st thing in the morning and one in the early evening) For a wood or veneer finish it produces a very acceptable result For a plain colour (just done one in the finisher's nightmare - gloss black), it takes a number of tips and tricks to get it OK (but refer back to point 1!) There are some important differences - the main being that you DO NOT buff to a final finish....in fact you CAN NOT buff to a final finish. The technique is different because the chemistry is different. More on this later.. The kit I use is simple: Ronseal Hardglaze or Rustins Clear Polyurethane gloss varnish; White Spirits (I think this is referred to as clear mineral spirits in other countries?) to thin it; hence the jam jar; rubber glove; cheap, disposable microfibre cloths. I am still using the original 'high volatiles' varnishes - simply because I haven't experimented enough with some of the more modern low volatiles ones. That's a summer project for me... I'm sure you have, but if you haven't yet discovered micro-fibre cloths, it's worth doing so. They are: Generally dirt cheap (except the specialist ones, see below) I think these were just a few £ in the cleaning goods section of a local supermarket. COMPLETELY dust free and lint free - but never cut them otherwise there's bits everywhere Soft and fluffy, very absorbent for the varnish I use one more type of micro-fibre cloth, a particular type, as the best 'tack rag' I've ever used. It's a window-cleaning cloth and I think it cost about £6 ($10). My dust bugs issues have vanished since going from decorators sticky tack rags to this: The technique is simple: thin varnish with about 30% white spirits don rubber glove wipe over surface with micro-fibre 'tack rag' take corner of cheapo micro-fibre cloth dip in thinned varnish, squeeze out excess wipe on This is a heavily figured veneered top after about 5 coats (over 2 days)...note that I'm doing it over a CARPET!! Actually, I forgot to put the newspaper down but got away with it. It only drips if you major-ly overcharge the cloth: Although I said above that it's not the best way for a plain sprayed colour, it still isn't terrible...a guy from one of the UK forums persuaded me (under duress and suitable cautionary words to manage expectations) to do him a gloss black body...the most challenging of any colours: There are some important tips and tricks, like with everything. I'm sure there are others, but these come to mind: Wipe with a good quality 'tack rag' (see above for my recommendation) to ensure the surface is dust free. Try to keep dust to a minimum! Remember spray finishes dry within seconds...this takes an hour or so and plenty of time for the dust buggies to land and sink in Apply multiple thin coats. Maximum 2 per day (one in morning and one in evening) Flatten with 1000 grit, used wet, every 6 or so coats After 5-6 days, there should be sufficient thickness. Let it cure for at least 3 -5 days Flatten with 1000 grit used wet (if necessary) and finish with 2000 grit used wet Ensure varnish is properly thinned...maybe go up to 40% thinners at this stage. Dip the microfibre in the varnish and squeeze it almost all out then apply a VERY light coat. Let it dry. Apply a second VERY light coat and, if necessary a third. Don't buff - nitro coats 'melt' into previously applied coats. Poly applied like this doesn't do this so buffing will simply wear away the shiny top coat and expose the sanded under coat Leave at least 1 week (2 is better) then polish with good quality, low abrasion auto polish (Macguiers Ultra is a good one) Hope this helps - if you try the approach let's see how you get on and don't hesitate to contact me Oh - and by the way, it was this present camphor and alder build in Build Diaries that sparked off the interest: Not bad for a pot of household varnish and a cheap rag done in the spare bedroom? Andy
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  32. 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"
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  33. 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.
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  34. Got it strung up for a test run. This thing plays and feels dang good. Even though i made the neck a little thinner than i would have liked, it still feels great. Put the pickups in today but didnt wire them. Hopefully tomorrow.
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  35. 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.
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  36. Here is the back of the bubigna. I really love carving the heel and the horn like this.
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  37. 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.
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  38. 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.
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  39. So here's stage two, in which we've gotten some painting done and taken delivery of a few machines.
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  40. 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.
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  41. 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!
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  42. 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.
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  43. I like shiny things.....I tend to take a lot of pictures of things I like. SR
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  44. At last, a demo of the limba/wenge guitar! Prepare to rock and/or roll.
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  45. 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.
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  46. 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
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  47. 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!
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  48. Sneaking in a mid-week progress report here. Getting close to the end (so I'd better solve my finish issues soon!). Yesterday I got my pickup cavities routed and began sanding. Here are the photos: Hogging out material: Routing... this machine still scares the pants off of me, but I'm definitely gaining confidence with it. Testing fit: And after a first pass of sanding (and cabinet scraping to get into the tight spots - I could almost say that I carved this bass with from a block of wood with cabinet scrapers). This afternoon I'm going to begin smoothing out all of the rough spots around the instrument. There are many...
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  49. Ok, time for some more fun stuff. As much as I love the precision work that defines so much of a guitar, I really find myself in an enjoyably meditative state when I get to freehand carve the body and neck. So, massive pic dump: I've still got quite a bit of blending and smoothing to do, but I like the look and feel so far. Thanks for looking!
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  50. Tuning an acoustic top is really, really hard to relate to another human being... especially on a first build. However, something you said already has me thinking you're on the right path: what you said you were listening for as you carved. I call that "flutter". That wavering, responsive je ne sais qoui that a well-carved top has. However, I can give you some pointers regardless. The first of which you've already done wonderfully: 1- Keep everything in front of the X fairly stiff. There's not much the top is doing up there and stiff is good IMO. So it looks good that you haven't scalloped in front of the X, and you left your UTB chunky. 2- My biggest recommendation for you would be to make your brace carves more triangular. Stiffness increases linearly with width, but exponentially with height. Therefore, if you look at the edge of a brace down it's length you'll get almost as much strength out of something that has an arch-like profile (think the shape of praying hands almost) as you will with a squared profile. The only reason you need braces as think as people say is because you want a good glue surface. So get in there and taper! Lose that extra weight. 3- Don't think you're done tap tuning until you have your bridge plate on. You'll glue that thing in and go "holy hell everything has changed!" Remember, your other braces are fairly small, spread out, and made of light wood. A bridge plate, although thin, is a HUGE and heavy "brace" (usually maple, rosewood, something dense). I think you'll find that once you put your bridge plate on and get back to tapping you'll find you can get away with a much more aggressive scalloping scheme right behind the X. Here is a great picture for reference about what I'm talking about: Photo credit to the man that taught me everything I know about acoustics, one of the most under-rated and under-known builders, and most accomplished voicers I know, Todd Stock of Greenridge Guitars. Hope that helps, Chris
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