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Time To Start My Planning.


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Ok for a first guitar I want to copy another guitar as this would be less problematic for me than going nuts on a full all out design. What I want to do Is copy the 5150 guitar from EVH. Yes i know its been done many times but It is one Ive always loved and would like to attempt to make. I do plan on buiding everything from scratch.

This weekend I am going to a local hardwood supplier to look for some nice maple for the neck. I already have poplar for the body.

The questions I have for my planning stages are as follows.

1. How much different is the 5150 (Kramer Pacer Special) then a standard strat? I was planning on drawing an outline of my strat and transfering that over to mdf to make a template in case I screw something up bad.

2. Is there someplace that I can get a template for the headstock or should I just attempt to size it up in photoshop print it and trace that out?

3. I am not sure if I want to increase the nut size to 1 3/4. I know you are looking for 1/8 inch or so from the string to the edge so If i had to increase this size would I have to make it wider all the way to the heel? Ill have to read some more into this. I have large fingertips. :D

4. Were the original necks fitted with a truss rod adjustable from the head or heel side?

5. I would like to make a one piece neck but If i have to I can cut off the top of the neck to rout a channel in for the truss rod and then reglue it, I will. What would you think would be the best idea? I am not scared of trying. Its the only way to learn.

Im sure ill have many more questions but Ill start with these.

FYI im planning on using a SD custom custom and OFR. It seems the Custom Custom is a good choice for sound close to the 5150 album and Live Without A Net recording.

I am open to all suggestions from the vast wisdom from all those that have done these projects before me.

I have a friend whom builds cabinets and has a huge workshop so I am not worried on the tool portion of this. We are doing this as I always liked the guitar and we want challange ourselves. I Do have Melvyn Hiscocks book "How to Build an Electric Guitar"

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Making a clone will be harder than a "similar" copy. Either way you need to draw the guitar out full size to have plans to work with.

1. I honestly couldn't tell you.

2. You can try re-sizing pictures, but it is best to draw the full size plan for your entire guitar. This way you can confirm your tuners will fit, string will line up the way you want them to based on nut slots and tuner layout etc...

3. If you increase the string width and spacing at the nut(leaving the bridge string spacing the same). Yes, your neck will be slightly wider. You need to draw out your guitar full size. This will allow you to locate your bridge and string spacing as well as your nut and string spacing. Then you can connect those two points with lines(string locations) add a bit of space on either side of the strings and this will give you your neck width.

4.Don't know.

5.I don't really understand your question fully. If you are talking about a scarf joint vs no scarf and routing for your truss. I make my scarf joint (neck blank still square). Then route for the truss rod slot. No scarf I route the truss rod slot with the neck square also (no real difference in procedure). Same with the access at the headstock or heal (although I generally drill back to the slot if it is at the headsock).

Peace,Rich

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1. the body is not the same as a strat the waist portion is differant and the neck seems offset to the body

2.photo shop it do the same with the body just scale it to size

3.i prefer a wider nut for the same reason you do (stubby fat fingers) and the heel will be determend

bye the bridge saddle spacing more than the nut

4.heel

5.use a seprate finger board as its easier than a solid neck and you can buy one ready made

slotted and radiused

i had way to many karmers back in the day and hated all but the Nite Swan (that was awsome ) wish i still had it as they are hard to come by (try to find an aztec and youll see why im still kicking myself)

there are templates available here

http://www.guitarbuildingtemplates.com/Baretta.htm

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1. How much different is the 5150 (Kramer Pacer Special) then a standard strat? I was planning on drawing an outline of my strat and transfering that over to mdf to make a template in case I screw something up bad.

one thing that I love about making guitars, is it doesnt have to be exactly like what inspired you. I think the address is www.guitartemplates.com for MDF templates of some standard designs.

2. Is there someplace that I can get a template for the headstock or should I just attempt to size it up in photoshop print it and trace that out?

that template site may have it, but your headstock doesnt have to be perfect either, as long as the nut/scale/bridge/neck pocket matches up

3. I am not sure if I want to increase the nut size to 1 3/4. I know you are looking for 1/8 inch or so from the string to the edge so If i had to increase this size would I have to make it wider all the way to the heel? Ill have to read some more into this. I have large fingertips. :D

It most likely wouldnt be a whole 1/8 but the spacing will need to be changed if you plan on keeping it 1/8 throughout. the gap will shrink the closer you get to the nut.

4. Were the original necks fitted with a truss rod adjustable from the head or heel side?

I dont know about that model, but for adjustibility's sake Id do it on the headstock side. you can leave the strings on while making a adjustment, witch is the tension the rod is facing anyway. Otherwise you have to remove the strings, remove the neck, make a adjustment, put it all back together, restring it, check it, then when the guitar is back under full tension it could be wrong.. then youd have to do it all over again

5. I would like to make a one piece neck but If i have to I can cut off the top of the neck to rout a channel in for the truss rod and then reglue it, I will. What would you think would be the best idea? I am not scared of trying. Its the only way to learn.

im not sure I follow here.

to route a truss rod channel, I made a template out of a 4" x 1/2" x 2' with a 1/4" width to it. and some centerline markers. I line up where I want the rod to go, drilled a pilot hole with my drill(id use a press if I had access to make sure it were square) then used the edge guide on my router with my template.

now Im not using a angled headstock so I didnt need to make a scarf joint. but thats the only reason I could see to "cutting the top off"

FYI im planning on using a SD custom custom and OFR. It seems the Custom Custom is a good choice for sound close to the 5150 album and Live Without A Net recording.

I am open to all suggestions from the vast wisdom from all those that have done these projects before me.

I have a friend whom builds cabinets and has a huge workshop so I am not worried on the tool portion of this. We are doing this as I always liked the guitar and we want challange ourselves. I Do have Melvyn Hiscocks book "How to Build an Electric Guitar"

We used the Custom in my friends ibanez, pretty versitile PUP

as far as the book goes, read it, over and over, untill you understand everything.

I read over it when I get stuck some times.. but honestly this forum has enough info and help that I dont need it much..

I definatly will when it comes to finishing and electronics though.

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1. the body is not the same as a strat the waist portion is differant and the neck seems offset to the body

2.photo shop it do the same with the body just scale it to size

3.i prefer a wider nut for the same reason you do (stubby fat fingers) and the heel will be determend

bye the bridge saddle spacing more than the nut

4.heel

5.use a seprate finger board as its easier than a solid neck and you can buy one ready made

slotted and radiused

i had way to many karmers back in the day and hated all but the Nite Swan (that was awsome ) wish i still had it as they are hard to come by (try to find an aztec and youll see why im still kicking myself)

there are templates available here

http://www.guitarbuildingtemplates.com/Baretta.htm

I was under the impression that the Baretta and the Pacer Special were different body styles? I know the pickup cavity for the 5150 wasnt slanted but if thats the only difference than I might just order that template. Ive seen that template before just didnt think they were the same.

Also the reason i was going to try to do a solid neck was that I think they look nicer. I would rout the back so that I can insert the truss rod from the rear. If I do it from the front it would be a lot easier to put the rod it. I would probably still put a skunk stripe on as I like the look anyhow. For the price of a precut maple fingerboard (around $13 for the maple) It would save me work but I was hoping to attempt much of this from scratch. Although that being one of the most sensitive things to work on buying it might be nice.

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Ok im seeing some confusion up high on my one question about truss rod routing. So since some have read ill just put my edit here.

This question was really about putting the truss rod in from the front or rear. If I do a solid neck and just route the back side and put in a skunk stripe I wont need to put a seperate piece of wood on for a fingerboard. If for the sake of doing things easier I want to put it in the front as Melvyn Hiscock talks about then I would have to cut the channel in there and put a new fingerboard on.

What is suggested?

I thought that a solid neck would be more challanging to build as I would have to cut all the frets and radius it myself, but I guess I could buy a precut fingerboard for the frets and just glue it on over a routed out slot for the truss rod. Would be easier that way.

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ok, as far as for your first, Id hate to see you shape the neck and uncover the truss rod.

you would have a better chance from the top

second, slotting is IMO pretty dificult. I bought the preslotted board for my first neck(witch I ended up making to thin) and now im using the stew mac blade and slotted ruler. but I plan on doing a few, and it will eventually pay for its self.

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1. the body is not the same as a strat the waist portion is differant and the neck seems offset to the body

2.photo shop it do the same with the body just scale it to size

3.i prefer a wider nut for the same reason you do (stubby fat fingers) and the heel will be determend

bye the bridge saddle spacing more than the nut

4.heel

5.use a seprate finger board as its easier than a solid neck and you can buy one ready made

slotted and radiused

i had way to many karmers back in the day and hated all but the Nite Swan (that was awsome ) wish i still had it as they are hard to come by (try to find an aztec and youll see why im still kicking myself)

there are templates available here

http://www.guitarbuildingtemplates.com/Baretta.htm

I was under the impression that the Baretta and the Pacer Special were different body styles? I know the pickup cavity for the 5150 wasnt slanted but if thats the only difference than I might just order that template. Ive seen that template before just didnt think they were the same.

Also the reason i was going to try to do a solid neck was that I think they look nicer. I would rout the back so that I can insert the truss rod from the rear. If I do it from the front it would be a lot easier to put the rod it. I would probably still put a skunk stripe on as I like the look anyhow. For the price of a precut maple fingerboard (around $13 for the maple) It would save me work but I was hoping to attempt much of this from scratch. Although that being one of the most sensitive things to work on buying it might be nice.

the Pacer was just a lower line than the Baretta which at the hight of kramers peek was top of the line

both had various options including the slanted pickup (though most Barreta's had a single humbucker)

and i'm not saying how you should build the neck just suggesting. that you must decide for your self

just thinking for your first build it would be easier and give you some experiance before

going full tilt. as far as wich end for the truss rod adjustment if you don't want it at the top but

want the easier access you can try somthing like this

http://www.warmoth.com/guitar/necks/anatom...tion=sideadjust

i cant remember who sells them but they are availible

also checkout this site for more info

http://www.vintagekramer.com/baretta1.htm

Edited by spazzyone
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Spazzy no i dont mind a head adjustment . I was actually hoping to put it there. Just a standard truss rod from the front. It doenst have to be exactly like the pacer. I had seen the warmoth one and that was a considedration for me.

Desopolis I understand what you are saying about hitting the truss rod. Yeah I really dont want to uncover it if I can help it. However I do expect that this project will give me many a headaches and that is part of the fun. Trying to work through them and figure it out. It would probably be smart for me to not do to much in one shot though. I thought about just doing the body and buying a neck but I would actually like to build a good chunk of it myself. I think it would feel more like i accomplished something of a challange.

Now to decide if i think i should buy that template from the site or just copy the shape of my strat and work off that.. :D

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1 and 3/4 is the width,

11/16 is less then 3/4 inches

wait..

you mean towards the tuners... no, its not 1 and 3/4

1 and 3/4 is the width of the nut from each side of the neck

Sorry if Im sounding confusing. Ive never played an electric guitar with the 1 3/4 neck width at the nut. Seems kind of wide for an electric. Ive only played on 1 5/8 and 1 11/16.

I guess im saying does it seem right to make it with 1 3/4 nut width?

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how much did you like the feel of the 1-11/16"

then compare that to the feel of the 1-5/8"

your only talking a 16th from 1-11/16" to 1-3/4"......it can feel like a huge differance though

weigh the pros and cons of what you like

did you ask if they can make the template to the width you like

and if not trim it yourself

if you can handle building the neck itself than thining the template should not be so difficult

just some food for thought

Edited by spazzyone
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  • 2 weeks later...

+1 on the guitar template site. I ordered a 60s strat template, and it is very good. Pretty fast delivery, too!

If a neck with 1 11/16" nut feels fine to you, I don't see any reason going to a 1 3/4" nut.

The neck on Ed's 5150 had the adjustment at the body end. A lot of people complain about a heel adjusting neck, but i've never had to adjust a lot of necks, even with the high humidity where I live. Most Kramers used a 2 3/16" heel, which is pretty standard (Fendres uses it).

I'd suggest a two piece neck for a first time build.

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