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Neck Scalloping


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I was getting myself primed up to have my first attempt at scalloping a neck myself. I'd read Brian Calvert's article on it numerous times. I started looking at what tools I would need, the main one being the Dremel Contour Sander. To my horror I have discovered that this great article explaining every move to scallop a neck is based on a tool that has been discontinued and is virtually unobtainable.

I'd appreciate some suggestions as to the best way to follow Brian Calvert's Blackmore scalloping instruction without the benefit of a Dremel Contour Sander!

Edited by scottishstrat
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I was getting myself primed up to have my first attempt at scalloping a neck myself. I'd read Brian Calvert's article on it numerous times. I started looking at what tools I would need, the main one being the Dremel Contour Sander. To my horror I have discovered that this great article explaining every move to scallop a neck is based on a tool that has been discontinued and is virtually unobtainable.

I'd appreciate some suggestions as to the best way to follow Brian Calvert's Blackmore scalloping instruction without the benefit of a Dremel Contour Sander!

you just sand it by hand. not that hard. files don leave that big of marks.

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You CAN get the sander, but you cannot get the little plastic contours to go with it without buying the whole kit, and those things wear out relatively quickly.

I did a 22 fret neck in about 6 or 7 hours with an assortment of files and rasps that I got for about $10 at Menards.

Edited by thebhef
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Yes, I have seen a few for sale in the States, however, I am not in the States! I can assure you I cannot find one in the UK. Even the contour sanding grips suggested by Bizzar_Guitars would be great but again, can't find them in the UK!

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I can assure you I am not hung up in the wrong century :D I regularly buy from the US and would if I could find the Dremel sander as they are not to be had here, even on Ebay etc.

The suppliers you listed in your earlier reply:

toolsforless - do not ship outside the US

Amazon - do not ship outside the US

mytoolstore - minimum international order is $150!

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Good lord, The topic is fully covered. You have your answer, and are done with the task.

1. Brian's tutorial is fine, the tools are available. If the tool is more difficult to get, or may cost more because of your location so be it. Has nothing to do with the tutorial. Nobody should expect a person that makes a tutorial to evaluate the global availability of tools, as they are only trying to show you their method for accomplishing a task.

2. If you want to make a tutorial using a different set of tools. Super! That is a great way to share and help others as Brian did.

3. With regards to the legistics of aquiring tools, materials, shipping, availability and what not. Look up the lists of suppliers in the reference section, and be sure to add new suppliers that you run across. This will help everyone when looking for these things.

Peace,Rich

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To add more, all you need to do is follow the basics of the tutorial, the tools used is irrelevant to say the least. What is a contour sander but a mechanized tool to sand a specific shape. Get your hand tools out, and make your own contour sanding pieces. Thats what I did before i got my hands on a contour sander... granted it makes life so much easier, but it is not impossible to make the task without it! I did my first one with a set of round files and pieces of PVC pipes for the bigger frets, with a lot of sand paper.

DSC01083.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v195/Maiden69/DSC01080.jpg

This is wood working, not rocket science! :D

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Hi Rich, when I realised the Demel tool was a major problem I knew it was, more than likely, going to be a file and sandpaper job. All I was looking for was suggestions about tools to use etc, the debate re international shipping etc is incidental! It is strange that Amazon US lists the contour sander, Amazon UK doesn't, even tried emailing Amazon UK, don't have them.

Like the idea about the PVC pipes, I like little prompts like that! Various diameter PVC pipes, MDF to make a "handle", epoxy resin and we're in business! Who needs a Dremel Contour Sander!

Edited by scottishstrat
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Hi jaycee, somebody else from the UK :D

Yeh, a sanding we will go! Not doing it on the neck on the guitar, have a spare so if I do cock it up it's not a total disaster!

I found this on the net, anybody know if this is close to the scalloping on Blackmore's strats? Tried asking "Dawk" Stillwell, Blackmore's former guitar tech who did Blackmore's scalloping but he hasn't said (won't say?) yes or no!

Blackmore Scallop?

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i find a rat tail file and sandpaper more than adequate for scalloping frets 12-24.

i use different sizes of dowel with sandpaper stuck on them for frets 1-12.

OR ALTERNATIVELY

the scallops on frets 1-12 do not actually need to go from fret to fret. If you start from the just behing the fret and only go a 3rd of the way back you can use the same tools you needed for the rest of the neck.

this has the advantage of still letting you fret notes normally for chords with a slight change in technique and you still get mad vibrato from the scallop just behind the fret. . . but it definately doesnt look as gracefull as a well done full scallop can!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well guys, here it is, the result of a lot of filing and sanding. Digging a file into the neck for the first time took some balls!! For my first attempt at something like this I think it's gone reasonably well? It's a graduated Blackmore scallop. The dimensions of the scallop were taken from a Fender Japan Blackmore Signature Strat (that and studying a hell of a lot of photos) but the scallop on the Blackmore Signature Strat was "toned down" considerably so on this I have exaggerated it a bit to get closer to the original. The story is that Blackmore sent one of his guitars to Fender Japan when they were designing the Signature Strat, they took one look at the scalloping, had kittens when they saw how deep and uneven it was and decided to "sanitise" it to make it easier to play and machine for the production run.

1800771806_742d8827e2_o.jpg

1800771802_d19a870562_o.jpg

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The above pics are of the finished neck, the one below was taken while I was working on it, just finished between the 8th & 9th fret, the deepest point in the scallop, 2mm at high E and 1.4mm at the low E. Included it because it gives a better idea of the graduated scalloping, starts shallow at the nut, deepens up to the 9th fret then shallows again to a uniform 1mm across the neck from the 14th fret onwards. Up to the 14th fret the scallop is deeper at the high E than low E.

1733682536_c9495a410f.jpg

Up to now I have been playing a Malmsteen scalloped neck (uniform scallop right down the neck) on my Blackmore Strat clone, we'll see how this one goes. As well as the scallop the neck is now sporting a graphite nut, roller string trees and waiting for a set of Sperzel locking tuners. Haven't swapped it with the neck on the guitar yet, more work to do on a tremolo and want to look at some shielding, want to do everything in one when the guitar is in bits.

Anybody got any thoughts on shielding, don't know whether to go for the messy "radar" paint or the "patchwork quilt" copper tape?

By the way, regarding the Dremel Contour Sander? Who needs it! Did all of it with the selection you see below along with wet/dry and final polishing with steel wool before cleaning/conditioning. The miniature files are part of a set I had from my modelling days and although not essential did prove useful.

1811121707_507f35b201.jpg

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  • 3 months later...
Just a thought (I have never scalloped a neck or really looked into it) using the pvc idea you could find a way to attach it to your drill/drill press and have and electric cylindrical-contour sander.

That's the way I do it - put a dowel with sand paper in a drill. Doing it this way allows you to sand with the grain and is much quicker than doing it by hand.

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One of the benefits of doing it by hand with dowels wrapped with sandpaper is:

1: precision

2: less wood being removed at a a time, minimizing risk of accidentally slipping & causing undesired results or irrepairable damage, such as nicking/chipping a fret, wood tear-out, etc...

Unless you're going to place the neck into a fixed/clamped position & let a CNC machine do it, or the type of fixed scallop machine such as I saw while visiting Warmoth, slower & careful is a better method.

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