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Building My New Guitar.

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ok. so lately on the suggestion of a group of friends that i "need a new hobby besides making music" ive decided that i want to build a guitar.

ive built one before for a school major project.(it was a double necked lapsteel) so i have some sort of experience.

but i have this idea in my head, that i want to build a solid-body, neck-through guitar, similar to a gretsch white falcon II. (as far as i know, the white falcon is only single cutout, i want double cut out)

im thinking of puting this trem on it. bigsby b7

these machine heads gotoh vintage scalloped

as for the pick ups, i want to have a HH configuration, in the neck i want something that can get a nice jazzy tone, while for the bridge i want to get a garage blues crunch distortion/overdrive (although that probably has more to do with what pedals i use)

so any suggestions on what pick ups i could use would be a great help.

also for the neck, i have been thinking about building my own neck, but im not sure i could do it, mostly because i dont have access to alot of the tools i would need. so ive been thinking of getting this

as for looks, although i love a natural finish, with this guitar, i want to finish it with a white undercoat, then get a friend of mine to paint it psychedelic.

so what woods would you reccomend?

and finally, would anybody have basic measurements for a white falcon, or similar guitar?

just thought id ask, before i go down to the store and measure one up.

so anyway, to anyone who replies, thanks for the help, im getting excited about building this.

oh and one last thing, ive been trying to view the neck through tutorial in the other forum, but the pictures arent loading, is anyone else getting this or just me?

-chris :D

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welcome to project guitar :D

a gretsch white falcon ay?, u know they are archtops? which means they have bent sides and a carved top and back? i would not recommend making a archtop or even a hollow body for your first guitar due to the difficulty of it, but if you have your heart set on it then go for it, you just might have to fork out for alot of tools, and bob benedetto's making an archtop guitar book, ive got it right next to me (save money, borrow it from the library, i did)

i also would not recommend using a pre-made neck through, especially if you are going to have an arched top(well you cant use it at all really), because you are going to need a neck angle of about 4.5 degrees to compensate for the higher bridge/tailpeice and gonna need to cut a dovetail mortice and tennon, and making a neck isnt that hard, if you buy pre-slotted fingerboards, takes most of the guess work.

i would consider making a solid body flat top guitar, such as a tele, strat or rg type, or an lp, or somthing of a relatively simple deign,a neck through on ay of those would make your life even more simpler, cos then you only need to glue on wings, and rout for pickups and/or bridge

for wood of an archtop is not cheap as i am finding out, maple back and sides and the top is spruce or western red cedar. For a strat tele etc go for either a tried and true wood like ash, mahogany, bass wood etc or a alternative wood like amoora, (i made a through neck bass with that as the wings, sounds nice) png rosewood, that all i can really think of atm.

please dont take this the wrong way im not trying to deter you from making you whte falcon, im just suggesting you start with somthing easier to make, that requires less expertise to complete



ps. what part of oz you in?

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first off - black cat- i dont plan on making it the same thickness, that will cut down quite a bit of weight, and if i still feel it will be too heavy, ill size it down a bit

wheres the beef-

i know its an arch top, but i plan on making it flap top. i also said i plan on making it solid body, the reason i chose these was because i really dont think i could build and archtop hollowbody. (although i want to route fake f holes in it just for looks)

like i said i have made a guitar before, although it was alot simpler. it was a lapsteel, so i didnt need to worry about carving a neck, and fretting it.(although i did make fret marking with a wood burner)

and with the neck through part, not only will it be easier to build, but after playing some neck through guitars, i find they play alot easier at the higher frets.

so what woods would you recommend? they dont have to be attractive woods, because they will be covered,

but im looking for something reasonably light, and easy to work with.

and im from the western suburbs of sydney.


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I wonder how thin you could go though...on the other hand, there's no reason not to do a CHAMBERED solid body--you could take out much of the body wood, then cap it with maple. You'll end up with a quite manageable guitar.

Or try a monoframe idea. Have a look at aidlook's current build, that'll give you a good idea of a construction technique you could use. He's using a deep set tenon, but you could easily adapt that for a neck through --just attach wings and you're there.

Actually, you should look at TGWah's 12-string --that's essentially what you're trying to achieve right?

On my guitar, I routed out back chambers and capped the back with maple. Looking back, I should have taken out more of the body wood--the guitar ended up heavier than I expected (because of all the hardware). The next version I make (gotta have a 12-string) will use a monoframe construction. Something to consider because of the Bigsby--those things are heavier than you'd think.

I like flattop guitars too, but you might think about doing a carved top, not an archtop...I remember reading a thread where the builder carved both sides of a maple cap--so the underside of the cap was carved in the middle and the top side of the cap was carved near the edges. That'll get you closer to the look of an archtop.

HiTone's Fatboy takes that approach, I think...but his Classic is even nicer, if that's possible...

As for wood, well, I'd go for mahogany...but I'd always go for mahogany given a choice... :D

The B7 depends on which bridge you use --since it has the tension bar. I think the B7 works with tuneamatic-type bridges. The White Falcon has an archtop bridge, which stands taller than the TOM, and also because of the arch, doesn't need the tension bar.

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thanks for those links to other guys stuff, especially aidlooks, that seems to be what im looking at doing.

if i were to do that, would i need to start off with a thinner wood, since i would be adding the caps?

and also, how much would i need to leave to keep the body from imploding on itself length wise from string tension.

and if i were to build my own neck, would it be possible to use carbon fiber rods only? or is it better to have the adjustability of a steel rod?

as for the bigsby trem im assuming it would be heavy, after the weight of the tuneomatics i got for my lapsteel.

i wasnt quite sure weather i still needed a second part for the bridge if i used the b7.

oh and i forgot to add to my first post that i wanted to put in a pickup selector switch, just a 3 way switch. for bridge/both/neck

sorry for such a long reply, but what do you mean by a carved top as apposed to an arch top? im not really that knowledgable when it comes to these things.

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What you are after is actually the Gretsch White PENGUIN, the Falcon's solidbody counterpart.


And if you want to create a double cutaway out of that, Gretsch produced the G6131 series played by Malcolm Young of ACDC.

Anyway, those will give you some more insight on what you might like to build. As far as measurements and plans? The odds of even getting your hands on one just to look at it are pretty slim. You'll just have to do some measuring and scaling from pictures.

Edited by Southpa
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Well, a Les Paul is a carve top--they start off with a thick slab of maple, then carve that until it looks like it's arched. At least that's my understanding of how things work. I'm not sure how true arch tops are made--maybe they're hand carved also? Like I said, I prefer flat tops, so I haven't looked into that one too much.

As for the guitar imploding...if you go with the through neck, that's not a big issue. But I don't know how much of an issue that is anyway...plenty of Danelectros still around from the 1960s...and if ever a guitar was meant to implode, it would have been those!

Any bigsby just replaces the tailpiece, not the bridge itself. A lot of your choice of Bigsby depends on the dimension (the length of the guitar behind the bridge especially, but also the thickness of the body) and the slope of the surface --if there's no slope, then you'll pretty much need a tension bar, to give more of a breakangle over the bridge saddles. You might also look into the B5 (or B50), which works well on a flattop. Not the same look though.

This White Penguin sells for "only" $80,000!

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by the "how much wood" i mean after pick up routing in the center how much would i need to leave on either side to keep enough strength?

and also, are their any other companies you know of that make the bigsby style trems?

because im not sure i want to pay $160 aus for it. but in the end if it comes down to it i will.

the carved top could be an interesting thing to do, ill have to think about it. although i think ill stay with a flat top.

tonight i think ill start the fun of guesstemating and designing the basics of this thing.

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Look for the licensed bigsbys --they usually cost about half as much as the US made versions and are every bit as good. A USA bigsby would be the B7, a licensed bigsby will listed as a B70, etc. There are some knockoffs out there, probably made by the same company making the licensed versions, but they end up costing nearly as much as the licensed version --might as well spend a bit more to get that Bigsby name.

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well today i got to drawing out some to-size drawings, i used the neck of a guitar i have as a guide. the scale is something like 25-1/2"

then using my bass as to get a basic shape for the curves (i used one curve and flipped it for both sides, but its being altered) its starting to look more like part of the rickenbacker 300 series, which come to think of it makes sense, since the bass i used is a rick 4003.

but anyway i actually like this shape, so now ive got some sort of gretsch-rickenbacker hybrid.

right now, ive got it drawn on 3 sheets of a3 paper. i find it funny that the shape i drew, i measured up for bridge positions, and it turned out pretty good.

im also thinking now, i might put a jazzmaster trem on it. it turns out to be about half the price of the bigsby, although the bisgby requires no routing, but i think it could be a good choice.

each wing looks like it will be 13-1/2" long. (should i shorten it? whats the average blank length?)

and about 6" wide, although the neck will probably get wider as it hits the body.

right now im working on cuting away the treble horn, i htink i might just leave it at the 21st fret. i never really go that high.

im typing this as i go so im forgetting things ive already typed.

but now im stuck with the horns, no matter what i do, they dont look right.

this is gonna take a while

*puts a yes album on*

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