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Entry for March 2018's Guitar Of The Month is under way!



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About beltjones

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  1. First Build, so many lessons learned

    That never occurred to me. I routed it last night and got lucky, apparently. I hope there isn't some paper-thin area, I'll have to check it thoroughly. I got lucky a second time as well. I couldn't route deep enough in the switch cavity, so I had to finish with the forstner bit. I've used forstner bits a bunch of times, and I even used one to hog out material from the pickup cavities, so I've used a forstner bit on wenge. Well, something about the grain pattern on the wood in the switch cavity made it so I applied almost no pressure but the bit dug in and pulled itself through the wood at an incredible rate. I released the trigger on the drill immediately but still drilled about 1/4" into the wood in about a half a second.
  2. First Build, so many lessons learned

    Ok, I made the recesses a little wider and deeper, and fixed a wee bit of off-centeredness in the middle position.Next I need to reduce the thickness of the top to about .300" in the control cavities. Right now it's about .5" in the control cavity and about .7" in the switch cavity. I can either use a forstner bit at each pot/switch position, or I can route the whole cavity down to the correct thickness.Using a forstner bit would be fast and easy, but routing the whole cavity would make for a little reduction in weight, which would be nice.
  3. First Build, so many lessons learned

    Ok, so the dipshit on Amazon who sold me the bad template replaced it with one he said was good, with correct center lines. So I did a simple test - if the center lines are true, then I should be able to lay out the template on a cross and outline it, and then flip it around and outline it again, and basically trace over the same line.Here is the original:Here is the replacement:And here is what I did today - I'm trying to do PRS-style recessed knobs, but I think I need to do it again with a slightly wider and deeper route.
  4. First Build, so many lessons learned

    As my father always told me, it's better to be lucky than good.
  5. First Build, so many lessons learned

    That's probably because it's not book matched - I bought a ~3.5' board and cut it in half.
  6. First Build, so many lessons learned

    Never mind. Sort of like how Tolkein said, "The tale grew in the telling," this guitar is growing more complicated in the building. I'm going to do some PRS-style recessed knobs, which means I get to use my favorite tool again - the router.
  7. First Build, so many lessons learned

    Ok, phase 1 of the carve is complete. I kind of like how steep the carve is at the waist of the guitar, but I want it to be a lot more gradual at the belly. I think I'm done with the grinder at this point, which is nice because it's like the router in that every second I use it I'm worried I'm going to slip and mess the whole thing up. I'll just use a random orbital sander with some 80 grit paper to blend everything together. Then I'll probably sand it up to about 220 or so to make sure it's in good shape and I like the contours.The things I'm thinking about are the controls. I originally specced it for one volume, one tone, and the switch, so I made the control cavity big enough for those three components. Then later I decided to put the switch in the bottom horn, but I still made the control cavity big enough for three components. So I'm trying to decide whether to do volume/volume/tone, V/T/T, or maybe V/T/Kill switch. What else would be cool? (I already have a couple of push/push pots, I'm thinking about using one as a coil split and the other as a direct out).After that it's time to do the carve on the back (just a basic belly cut), and then I'm going to bleach the wenge before I glue the fretboard on, which I expect I'll do over the weekend. By this time next week it's going to look a hell of a lot more like a guitar.
  8. First Build, so many lessons learned

    Oh, and I sort of evened up the route for the pickups. I feel a lot better about it now.
  9. First Build, so many lessons learned

    Saturday I was marking locations for fretboard side dots with an awl when I slipped and stabbed it into my thumb. Sorry, no pics.Sunday I finished marking and drilling fretboard dots and I started on carving the body with a sanding disk on an angle grinder.I only "carved" for about 20 seconds before my son needed me and I gave up for the day. I got some more carving done before my battery powered angle grinder conked out. Those things can really burn through a battery! I'm going to do a similar carve on the other side, then do the bottom, then blend everything, then reassess and decide if I want to make the angle of the carve a little less severe.
  10. First Build, so many lessons learned

    I've read through that thread front to back at least 3 times and never noticed.
  11. First Build, so many lessons learned

    Thank you so much for sharing. I'm following your latest build closely - this makes me feel a lot better. It also makes me feel worse because I figured it was possible to eventually get good at using the router.
  12. First Build, so many lessons learned

    I lurked here for about six weeks before I finally signed up, then I made this thread because I wanted to pick the the collective brains of all the experienced people here. If someone else can learn from my mistakes, awesome. What I didn't expect is for you guys to talk me off the ledge. Ok, I'll be taking a conservative approach with re-routing the pickups any further. I figure I can complete most of this build and "fix" the pickup route much later if necessary. Ok, now I'm going to go search the forum for how y'all do your wooden pickup rings. Thanks everyone!
  13. First Build, so many lessons learned

    Ok, first the messed up template. I'm going to call it out of center by 3/64ths. Now the messed up guitar. I went ahead and routed the bridge pickup because regardless of how I fix the neck pickup route I'm going to have to do the same for the bridge pickup. Somehow I also slipped with the damn router when doing the bridge pickup. If you look closely at the left side you will see where the router bit somehow dug in a little bit. I didn't even feel it happen, and I was a pattern cutting bit, so I'm not sure what I did wrong. I think in the future when I need to route something on a guitar I'm going to find a homeless guy with a "will work for food" sign and have him do it, because I clearly can't be trusted. Some ideas for fixes: #1 is to do what yall suggested which is just shift the template and even it up on the other side. (More routing - a recipe for disaster), or route the other side AND make some pickup rings out of contrasting wood (probably some flame maple I have), or here's what my hubris is telling me to do: route out two rectangles in the shape/ size of a pickup ring around each existing pickup cavity, and then take the flame maple and plug the holes. Then re-route the pickups into the maple, so the pickups will still be direct-mounted to the guitar, but it will kind of look like there are maple pickup rings around them. The odds of me pulling that off with any kind of success are close to zero, but at this point I kind of want to go for it. Oh, and I used the router with a rabbeting bit to remove some material before I start the carving process for the top.
  14. First Build, so many lessons learned

    I'm so mad I haven't bothered to take pictures yet, but I will. I ordered a humbucker routing template from Amazon because I figured it would be cleaner than anything I could make. Well, the center line on the template was about 1/16" off, and of course I didn't notice until I routed the first pickup. I'm contacting the seller and telling them to check their CAD files and get back to me. For once I didn't mess up with the router and slip, and the template I purchased was jacked up. This is my luck...
  15. First Build, so many lessons learned

    Ok, I got it out. I first plugged in the soldering iron, and while it was heating up I whacked the screw once or twice with a center punch and a hammer. Then I grabbed a bigger forstner bit and hogged out more of the cavity-to-be. That allowed me to get in there with the regular vice grips (as opposed to the needle nose) and I was able to twist it out without using the soldering iron.