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When creating a custom body shape ???

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Hello All,

After reading the responses from my previous post regarding using Koa, I decided to take the advice of the experienced and start off with an alder blank. I agree with you folks, that it would be a shame to ruin some beautiful and expensive wood on a first attempt.

I do have a couple of questions and would greatly appreciate any help offered by anyone on this site.

1. When creating a custom body shape, how much does weight come into play in order to keep the guitar balanced? I've checked out a few custom builds and every once in awhile, the neck ends up being heavier than the body and the guitar will be awkward and unbalanced when on a strap.

2. Has anyone used a body blank from Warmoth? I noticed that they offer blanks routed in whatever pickup/tremelo configuration I would want or dream up. I may start off using one of the these and then craft my personal design with a good percentage of the wood working already done. Since I am just learning some basic routing techniques, I am probably going to use Warmoth. I just would like some input from anyone that has used them in the past.

Once again, I appreciate any and all responses.


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Warmoth is a great place to start. I'm glad you took the advice.

Most Of Warmoths guitars are based on alredy tried and true styling. I always look for a long horn on the top of the guitar. With the strap pin located on the longer horn it is most always a well balanced guitar.

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I thought I'd mention an alternative to Warmoth, USA Custom Guitars.

Tommy and several of his crew used to work at Warmoth and in my opinion (having bought body & neck blanks from both), I think they are very close but it was Tommy's customer service that pushed USACG over Warmoth, IMO. Good enough customer service for me to drop his name whenever I can. :D

Between Brian at Universal Jems and Tommy at USACG, I've found the only sources I need for guitar parts/accessories. I don't think either one carries finishing supplies but between the two you'll be able to get everything else you need to build with.

LoL B)

I sound like a commercial! :D

I've played neck-heavy guitars as well and have found that my fretting hand spends as much energy or more holding the guitar up than it does playing which is annoying and tiresome. Along with actual neck to body weight, balance can be made, like www mentioned, in the placement of the strap pins.

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I was going to mention USA Custom Guitars, but they don't do all the styles that Warmoth does. If I had a choice I too would use USA Customs. Tommy the owner is a top notch guy. As VanKirk stated the service is really good, plus I think USA's necks are the best. And they will make a custom for you, Hence their name.

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I'll try to say a few word about your first point - the balance:

There might be different opinions here -but for me, the balance is as important as a good neck when it comes to playability. You just can't play as fast and precise on an unbalanced guitar as you can on a well balanced one.

I am lucky as I allways am designing my guitars in a 3D CAD system and easily can find, and place the center of gravity (COG) before starting to cut the wood!

If the guitar is made only for stand-up playing (like a flying-V) this is easier, the COG just has to be in the halfway between the strap hangers, when the guitar is hold in a normal playing angle.

Remember that a COG moved closer to the bridge actually will force the head-stock away from you, making the need for stretcing to reach the lower frets for chording, but also making it easier to play solos in the upper end of the fretboard. (How many guitar designers attach importance to this when building guitars???)

If you are going to bulid a guitar for sit-down playing as well, you have to take more considderations. the thigh recess must be placed so that the neck will be in the preffered position (and height) - then the COG must then be vertically above recess. Then the strap hangers must be equally spaced from this vertical line. This is normally deciding the length of the upper horn.

It could be an idea to "feel out" different guitars in a store and find what suits best!

Good luck with your project!


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Pekollio, Are you buying a blank to cut it out yourself or are gonna order a body already cut and routed for you? The main reason I'm asking is that you usually have to have a body shape in mind before you can have them route any body cavities and neck pockets etc. I imagine you already have some idea what you want or you wouldn't be here but It's alot cheaper to order the blank and cut and route it yourself.

You should have access to either a Bandsaw or router bits to cut around a template.

On designing your own body shape, get yourself a large sheet of paper, and start drawing out a shape you want to create. Erase as much as you like until you come up with what you want to be your ultimate dream guitar, Then get that blank and draw it out on the wood being careful to match up the center join with the center of your design. Sorry to drone on. I don't even know what your answer is yet.


Edited by PerryL
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