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avengers63

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Everything posted by avengers63

  1. Now, all that being said, superthins are amazing. Here's why. On an acoustic, the strings are attached directly to the soundboard via the bridge. The strings vibrate when plucked. This vibration is transferred to the soundboard. The SB vibrates, pushing air through the soundhole, amplifying and projecting the sound of the vibrating string. There's a bit more to it than that, but that's the important basics. Electrics work a LOT differently, but the wood is still important. The string's vibrations are still transferred to the wood, which then vibrates a little. Not nearly as much as an acoustic, but enough to effect the sound of the string. This is what we call the tone of the wood. The wood doesn't amplify the sound, but it colors it so significantly we musicians have verbally gone to war over which wood gives the best tone. Obvious but necessary statement: the thinner the wood, the more it will vibrate. The more the wood of an electric vibrates, the more opportunity it has to color the sound. In other words, thinner wood = more tone. The wood will still "sound" like you expect. Mahogany will still have a big bottom end, ash will still have a growly mid-range, and maple will still be bright and snappy. But.... When the wood on an electric gets this thin, something magic happens. Everything just comes alive in a way I've never heard before. It's hard to describe, other than to say it just comes to life. Any muddiness you might expect from mahogany is gone. Ash is less angry. Maple goes from biting to jangly. The whole thing just opens up. If anyone has ever used a BBE Sonic Maximizer, it's kinds like that. You can't really describe what's happening, you just know it sounds 100x better. Also, the thing is light as a feather. It's just so damn comfortable to hold and play, it's like it isn't even there. You know how the strings feel when you go from acoustic to electric? They feel like rubber bands because the acoustics are so much thicker. It's like that, but with weight and comfort. It's actually so light you start to experience a little neck dive like a bass has. It's a good idea to have the bass horn a little longer for balance purposes.
  2. I haven't checked in for a while. I've been busy going bankrupt, moving, and losing my house. It really blows when you have to turn your keys over to the bank, literally giving your house away. Why no, I'm not bitter and angry at all. I have done a couple of experiments with what I was calling the "superthin". Here's what I learned. The thinnest mass-produced guitars on the market are the Iceman, Firebird, and Explorer. These come in around 1 1/4"-1 1/2" thick. I don't remember exactly. The body only needs to be thick enough to hold the hardware. The thinnest you can go is 3/4"-7/8" of an inch. In going this thin, with basically no room to spare, you MUST employ several techniques and conventions. The two bigggest are neck type and the control cavity. As you have -zero- room to spare, you either have to use pickguard-mounted electronics or surface-mount the back plate. You don't have the room to recess the 1/8" plastic cover without risking interfering with the controls, mainly the switch. Surface-mounting the hardware takes up your precious control cavity thickness with wood to mount the hardware in. The wood is more brittle than plastic, so you need about 1/4" of wood, leaving you a maximum of 5/8" depth in a 7/8" body. It needs to be 1/4" thick because using the knobs and switch puts pressure/torque on the wood. If it's only 1/8" thick, you can break it pretty easily. So all of this means you have no rood to recess the back plate and have to surface-mount it on the back of the body. This looks clunky, but it'd have to be done. HOWEVER... if it's all p/g mounted, the "bottom" can be 1/8" thick b/c you're never putting any pressure on the wood. In either case, you can't use a blade switch. It's just too tall. You'll also have to be uber-picky with the other electronics, hardware, and pickups. Any given whammy bar is out of the question. There's nowhere to put the springs, and the bridge block would poke out beyond the back of the body. Likewise a TOM/stop bar is out. They need too much thickness to mount. So you can ONLY use a top-mount Fender style bridge/TP. I'm sure you can find exceptions, but they won't be easy to find or be cost effective. A Bigsby-like vibrato would be fine, but this isn't the type of build suited for them. When choosing pickups, you have to pay attention to the mounting ears. You can only use pups who's ears come straight out of the base sideways. If they go down then turn out, that wastes your precious space. An effective work-around are surface mount pups. You can even recess them a bit if necessary. For the neck, you are also severely limited. The thinnest effective neck blank is 3/4". With a 7/8" body, bolt-on isn't an option. 1/8" of wood will NEVER hold up as a heel. A set neck might work as you'd have the sides to glue, not just the bottom. but I wouldn't trust it. So you have to go neck-through. While this doesn't eliminate the possibility of a neck angle, it does complicate things significantly. Not that it matters since you (basically) have to use a surface mount bridge. Body contouring is essentially not happening. You can do a little shaping/beveling on the edges, but a forearm contour or belly cut are out of the question. Not enough thickness to work with. Lastly, figured drop tops aren't happening without it becoming a major undertaking. I'll let you think that one through on your own. A veneered top would be fine. So why don't they mass-produce ultra-thin guitars? It's too much of a pain in the ass. Also, nobody would buy them. Or at least the market would grow so slowly as to make it not worth the effort. There is so much voodoo with players that a radically different construction would be met with suspicion for many years. Don't believe me? Headless has been a thing since Steinberger in 1979. It's been proven conclusively to be a better system in every conceivable way. But here we are 40 years later and it still hasn't been adopted en masse.
  3. For maybe the first time in my history, the wiring had -zero- issues. I NEVER get it right the first time. But to balance that out, the action is ridiculously high. Good thing I'm not gonna gig with it.
  4. Little by little..... And I'm now out of shielding tape. It turns out that I don't have the proper screws to mount the pickups. Alternatively, the route is pretty tight in the corners. So tight that I really don't think the pups are gonna move willingly. In other news, I don't think my 1/2" brad point bit can get any more dull.
  5. Good gawd... I forgot how long it takes to properly lay out the peghead.
  6. Before I polish the finish, I'll be leveling and polishing the frets.
  7. I finally had time to buff up the finish. I'm out of Maguiar's, but it's just as well since I haven't oiled the back yet. Almost there...
  8. I got the neck 99% shaped today. The heel area still needs some real "by hand" love. Normally, I'd have all of the shaping done before attempting any finishing. BUT.... I start a new job next week. This screws with everything because I'll be on the road M-F, only home on the weekends. Clearly, this significantly cuts into my available time. I'll be using my "away time" to let the finish cure, then finesse the heel when I'm here. I'll be finishing the heel shaping before I buff out the top, and putting a towel down so I don't gouge it on the table. I'm also using poly on the top instead of lacquer. No, poly doesn't need that long to cure. but why wouldn't I let it sit when I have the opportunity. It's water-based, so I need to get some linseed oil into the top first, so it still has that "warm oil glow" we all love so much. The oil is still wet in these pics, but y'all get the idea.
  9. Interesting wood grain on that body. Is it getting a basic clear coat, or are you planning on coloring it somehow?
  10. Perhaps. But this is what I have on hand, and I'm a cheapskate.
  11. The binding route on the headstock was about 1/16" too deep. shit Well, nothing to be done about it now. On to damage control. I took some binding and split it with my beloved scrollsaw. This will give me much "shorter" pieces to mess with. All I could do was glue the pieces above the other and TRY and make up the height. Then I bathed the join with acetone and binding "sawdust", hoping to melt the shavings into a slurry and jam it into the line. Success was spotty. An error this glaring eliminates it from future GOTM contention. cest la vie Some judicious sawing, chiseling, and filing gave me a pretty decent shelf for the plastic nut. To be 100% clear, I don't actually use a nut per se. I use a zero-fret. This is a fret placed where the traditional nut would be. This makes any un-fretted strings ring with the exact same tone as the when fretted, making the nut material a moot point. The plastic nut then becomes a string guide rather than a true nut. [voodoo] So much is made of the nut material influencing tone. Once the string is fretted, the nut is out of the equation. Therefore a zero-fret makes a consistent tone regardless, eliminating the nut material question entirely.[/voodoo] Next up is gluing on the fretboard. Here's the mandatory "march of the hammers" shot.
  12. I got the control cavity and pickups routed out this morning. The c/c was was mostly freehand, but I have a template for the pups. That's all for outside today, but I brought everything inside to glue on the binding while watching TV.
  13. The best available solution was take a cutoff and glue it onto the flat spot. The other option was to steam off the veneer, add some wood, and re-veneer... and that wasn't gonna happen. It hasn't been sanded yet, but the pics below show the results. You won't see anything from 3 feet away, and it will be hard to see up close unless you're looking for it. So I got a late start today. The heat set in, and the end of my garage where the router table is was solidly in pure sunlight. Me sweating like squeezing out a sponge means I wasn't getting much done today. All I was able to do before pooping out was rout the body & headstock for the binding, put a roundover on the back, and hog out most of the pickup and control cavities.
  14. Meh. I know you're just joking, but I've always documented damn near everything in my builds. Several folks have shown their appreciation for my "warts and all" approach. I felt it important to show the "younger" builders that yes, you WILL dork up something, so how you fix it is just as important.
  15. I was in food service for 20 years. That, along with a curved spine, left my feet & back on the screwed-up side. The jack was always going to be in a curved oval jack plate.
  16. I hate getting old. I'm only 49, but I can't stand for more than a few hours now without being done for the day. Any, on to the pickguard. I traced the image, spray glued it onto some hardboard, finessed it into shape, routed, beveled, drilled, and the fucking thing is smaller than the original. I THOUGHT I had the image at actual size when I traced it. What's done is done. Even if I had the extra inch of length on the control chamber, there's no way in God's green Earth I'd fit all that crap in there. This is why plans deed to be kept fluid. It just went from an active pre-amp 3-band EQ to a generic 3-way/V/T. Life goes on. Part of the fun stuff - 99% of the routing to the template is done. Tomorrow I'll likely fer the pickup cavities and control chamber done up. Yes, the bottom is flat. IDK how it happened. I measured it and test fit it about 30 times before gluing it together. I have a cutoff with it in the clamps.
  17. Not really getting to work yet, just eager to see how the veneering turned out. The squeeze-out mess was a hellofalot better than I expected. All I needed was a little cleanup around the fretboard, which I already protected with bue tape. Nothing got under it, but it required some encouragement to get off. The only glue that leaked out onto the top will either be in the pickup route or under the pickguard, so no problem there either.
  18. I don't remember where I got them, but I use thin plastic rods for the side dots. I think they're 2mm. Super inexpensive. The hole isn't even 1.4" deep. A tiny drop of super glue, jam the rod into the hole, trim it flush.
  19. And I wholeheartedly approve of derailing the thread into a conversation.
  20. In a few years, we're planning on moving. Probably to Tennessee. I'm sure I'll have some of that sauna action waiting for me. But until then...... side dots in... gratuitous fretboard shot... frets in, beveled, and filed flush end of the "under the fretboard' wood taped off to prep for the veneering then evening up the edges of the bookmatched veneer cutting out the fretboard area on the veneer if a big piece of MDF, a 2x4 cutoff for the center, some other various cutoffs, and 12 F & C clamps can't replace a vacuum veneer press for a flat surface, then veneering a guitar is simply above my pay grade. That's it for today. Nothing on the guitar. It's shower time, then booze & old wrestling videos
  21. It's guitar building weather today.....
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