Entry for October 2019's Guitar Of The Month is now open!
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Hello. I'm new to the board, and glad I discovered it. I'm waist-deep into doing a full upgrade of my new NK headless guitar and was searching for a forum to memorialize my learnings, successes, failures and pictures for others who too might want to upgrade this guitar. I will provide more info in successive posts, but for now let me just familiarize the forum with the guitar itself. This guitar is a low cost headless model available on eBay and AliExpress: https://www.ebay.com/usr/guitars163?_trksid=p2047675.l2559 https://www.aliexpress.com/store/1847759 I bought it because I was searching for a compact, light weight, Strandberg-like practice guitar. I wanted a decent guitar that I didn't need to baby, that I could stick behind the couch or throw in the car if I was heading out of town and might have some down time. After researching a handful of candidate guitars, this one stood out among the rest because of it's near universal praise for being worth way more than it's $275-340 price. (Google "NK headless" and you'll find YouTube videos and reviews with this general conclusion). Pictures to follow (appears I'll have to size them down to upload).
Let's start from the beginning: why a headless? I've always like the small and confortable guitars like Kramer Baretta, Washburn Steve Stevens and Nuno Bettencourt, and finally Music Man. To have a small body the bridge should be positioned as close as possible at the end of the body. Consequently it must have a small headstock not to unbalance the design. In a headless the bridge is placed at the end of the body to be able to easily access to the intonation adjustment, and the headstock is so small that you can't see it. I've never been interested in the egonomic design guitars. A guitar should be confortable to play (I had a Jackson Randy Rhoads and I know what it means plays an unconfortable guitar) but it should be also nice, otherwise we'd all have a Klein. Design a guitar trying to make an original design is something very difficult. After the aluminum GL replica I decided to try to realize a new original guitar, this time entirely made of wood. I decided to create an asymmetrical design, a carved top, and ribs that I have always liked in Parker guitars. I start from two different design: a single cut and a double cut which share the lower part of the body. I derive from these two design the headless version: hence four different guitars. It took me about a year to get to this first guitar. I've had two body blanks: a poplar one and a flamed poplar one. I split them so you get two guitars with figured top. Once glued them I cut out the body. As you can see it came out a hole in the top. I have to fill it. at this point, however, I have to hide it with the paint. I decide that I will use a sunburst. I draw directly on the wood the curves which the will report to CAD. Here begins the most time consuming and hard work...
Probably the wrong time of year to be commencing a new build and thread being so close to Christmas, but what the hey - it's high time I get back into a build thread. Perhaps something a little different this time around, inspired by the Home Depot Challenge over at Sevenstring.org. This will be a build involving some budget componentry, hardware store timber and various eBay finds to see exactly what I can end up with by building using cheaper parts, off-the-shelf wood and a modest budget. It could be a pile of kaka. It could end up as a giant killer. Either way it shall be interesting to see what happens. I'm keeping all receipts too, so I'm curious to see what it all adds up to. Note that I'm not deliberately going out of my way to find the cheapest, nastiest stuff money (or lack of) can buy. It's more a about redirecting the focus away from exotic woods, premium hardware and expensive pickups to see what can be done within these limitations.
Hi all from Yokohama, Japan! I play (bad) bass for my church band, and enjoy my MusicMan Stingray a lot. It's got the piezo pickup, and can make a nice blend, but ... it's heavy! At just a tad over 11 pounds, my aged back has been asking for a bit of relief, so decided to try my hand a building a bass ... or two. A while back, I found this slab of wood on Yahoo!Auction, our equivalent of eBay. It was supposed to be a table top, but warped a bit, and the big knot in the center was not terribly attractive ... I was the only bid at about $30 including shipping. I had no idea what to do with it. Btw, it's called Chinaberry, or "sendan" in Japan, Melia azedarach, and the berries are mildly poisonous ... and gets birds high as a kite. And I had a Hohner B2B (Steinberger licensed headless "broomstick" bass) that is light, but the strap button location and full scale = neck dive galore. I also have a 5-string Steinberger Spirit bass with a horned body that is great, but never use the low B, so took some design cues from that and thought to re-purpose the Hohner neck and bridge ... and found that I could have TWO bodies from that slab ... why not? I am working on the headless one now, and will post some pics of my progress. The second one will be a short scale (30") with a Japanese Mountain Cherry neck ... still kind of in the planning stage Warning! I am a carpenter, not a luthier, or even a luthier wannabe. My idea of tools is a hammer with a pounding end and a "fixing" end, a circular saw, and a chalkline. I love working with wood, and this is a new challenge for me, but really not out to make drop-dead gorgeous instruments so much as solid-but-interesting players. If it happens that they are attractive as well ... Yay! Cheers, all! cj
So my current project ("nearing" completion which means a few more months at my current pace...) involves repurposing a Floyd Rose as a trem for a headless guitar. Anybody out there can tell you even before embarking on such a project that results will ALWAYS be sub-optimal if for no other reason than the lack of coarse tuners. But it was a fun project and I'm happy to be bringing it to completion. However, my interest in headless guitars is re-sparked and I've done some digging around. After my current experiment completes, I am considering firing up a "proper" headless project. Headless units are hard to find. Not sure if I'm allowed to link to e-commerce sites (especially ones selling inexpensive Chinese hardware) so I'll skip for now and hope that vague descriptions suffice. Here are what I'm able to locate as of right now: original Steinbergers are hard to find. Their latest guitars aren't trem-based, so even repurposing (for example) a Synapse means no trem. MusicYo licensed stuff seems to be out of production and unavailable right now. This USED to be the go-to cheaper option Hohner has licensed stuff which MAY be available if you order directly from their European site. Cannot order directly from their U.S. site The ubiquitous "Overlord of Music" headless bridge is found on eBay and other sites; it is cheap and cheaply made, but could present a viable option for a non-deluxe headless guitar. Seems similar to Steinberger stuff, and has integrated spring in a large unit A less ubiquitous unit bearing a stamp "Licensed by KD patent" is constructed differently and is less aesthetically pleasing IMO, but features roller saddles (partly offsetting the problems with the Overlord's all-pot-metal construction). Not seemingly Steinberger-compatible, but similar in construction with integrated spring and trem-locking feature An even less ubiquitous unit bearing a stamp "Licensed by patents" is more Floyd-like, with knife edge and studs and a good ol' spring claw setup (rather than integrated spring). I THINK this one would require additional routing (it is a full rectangle rather than a fat T-looking thing like a Floyd rout) but could otherwise been seen as similar to a Floyd but with worm-gear coarse tuners instead of fine tuners. Very interesting-looking! An AMAZING-looking but expensive selection from Coherent Sound In Light (some of the Sophia bridges are headless-capable but don't seem to include a nut assembly). We're talking $350-500 (or more) USD for the bridge. But looks fantastic I have experience with exactly zero of the above, and I'd be interesting in hearing more about the various options. Especially curious about #6 but I think I'd have to be able to provide a link so that users could say "Oh yeah, I've tried that one". Still curious about the Overlord of Music one because although it's expected to be a bit of a POS I'd like to know if it's at least "fine". I wouldn't want to install complete unworking garbage on a guitar (especially if it turned out to be a failed experiment) but I'm OK with "It does what it says on the tin." Of course, if you have come across other headless *trem* options (non-trem are somewhat easier to source and there's less to worry about) I would be curious to hear about your findings! Cheers!