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Some Questions About Building


Chapov
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So me and a friend of a family (who is a carpenter) are planning on building a guitar.

The specs will be:

Soloist shape

Floyd Rose

2X Hum's and one single coil

Mahogony body with a yellow to green flamed maple top

Now, I have read many guides but I still have some questions:

1. I saw some 27 fret guitars and I want mine to have 27 frets. What scale length should I use?

2. if Scale length = distance from bridge to nut, how do I meause a scale length for a floyded guitar?

3. Is it possible to have a flamed or quilted fretboard?

Thanks for the help

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So me and a friend of a family (who is a carpenter) are planning on building a guitar.

The specs will be:

Soloist shape

Floyd Rose

2X Hum's and one single coil

Mahogony body with a yellow to green flamed maple top

Now, I have read many guides but I still have some questions:

1. I saw some 27 fret guitars and I want mine to have 27 frets. What scale length should I use?

2. if Scale length = distance from bridge to nut, how do I meause a scale length for a floyded guitar?

3. Is it possible to have a flamed or quilted fretboard?

Thanks for the help

1.) Do you really think you need 27 frets, and the scale depends on what scale you want the guitar to be.

2.) You already answered your own question

3.) Yes, but you will have to put a finish on it to seal it.

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I do want 27 frets and I want to use a standard E tunning, what scale length should I go with?

The thing about #2 is that, how do you know exactly where the strings will be conneted to the bridge? or it should be a pretty close estimate ( around .5 inch?)

Also

Where would be the best place to put the pickups? ( which I will wire from scratch BTW)

and do you have any pics of a flamed fingerboard? I ouldnt find any online...

I actually have some more questions:

How much should a blank piece of wood cost?

Any easy to use mock up progs?

Anything else I need to know?

Edited by Chapov
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Read Melvyn Hiscock's book Make Your Own Electric Guitar before you go much further, and certainly before you lay a blade to a piece of wood. It'll answer those questions and questions to which you won't know you need the answer until you get stuck.

Here's a pic of one of my guitars with a flamed maple fretboard:

mapleburlbolt.jpg

Edited by Rick500
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First of all, let me say I haven't so much as laid hands on a guitar making tool, so everything I say is purely academic. If someone says something that contradicts my advice, they're probably right. Anyway.

I do want 27 frets and I want to use a standard E tunning, what scale length should I go with?

It shouldn't make a huge difference between most of the standard scale lengths, but if you're going with a H-S-H pickup configuration, a long fretboard is going to leave you very little room to squeeze all of your pups in. For instance, if you go with a 25.5" scale, you're going to have just 5" between the end of your fretboard and your bridge saddles. A longer scale will buy you a tiny bit more room, however you'd have to extend out to a ridiculous scale length like 30" to even get 6" between.

If you want to play around with scale length calculations, Stewmac have this handy Fret Calculator tool. Not that I have any particular experience in this department, but what I'd do would be to draw/mock up the three pups and work out what the minimum amount of room you need for them is, and then work out your minimum scale length from there.

Just as a bit of reference, here's a good front on shot of a 27-fret with a Floyd. Not sure what scale length it is, but you can see how cramped an extra bucker would be. Of course, all of your complications would disappear if you opted to use minibuckers or stacked coils.

Where would be the best place to put the pickups? ( which I will wire from scratch BTW)

I've heard it's a good idea to try and get them under a strong harmonic point. The "standard" is to have the neck pickup about where the 24th fret would be - with around the same distance from the bridge to the neck pup as the fifth fret is from the nut. It works out somewhere around 6 inches on most of my axes. For the bridge pickup, about the same distance you get from the nut to the harmonic just under the second fret. That one works out at about 1.75" on average.

But there is no "right" answer as to where you locate your pups. You'll get different sounds from where ever you put them, it all depends on exactly what sort of sound you want. I find in this respect it's best to imitate a guitar you already like the sound of, unless you're trying to achieve something drastic.

Anything else I need to know?

Grab Melvyn Hiscock's Make Your Own Electric Guitar. It talks you through the process of designing a guitar, what considerations must be taken, and has a few example builds that it steps you through.

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+1 to what Rick said and G. There really should be quite a bit of research done before even thinking about buying the wood. Trust me, you will want to know these things before starting otherwise you'll probably end throwing away time, money and probably some nice wood as well. You should definitely get that book and spend some time searching this forum for some answers, the search function will help you with that.

BTW-In guitar building terms rounding or estimating out to .5" will cause you major problems, most measurements will need to be very precise. For example when doing your fretting, the position of your fret slots will need to be measured out to thousandths. Like the distance between the 26th and 27th fret on a 25.5" scale would be .319" and this needs to be accurate. Even your overall scale length needs to be much more precise than estimating within a half inch. All this can be found in a book and researching forums and such. Just be patient and start researching, there's more to it than you would imagine. Everything from the condition of the wood to setting neck angles and scale lengths. Best of luck and enjoy the forum. There is a ton of info all throughout the site and a book will get you on your way. J

Edited by jmrentis
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Very good advices have been handed out here. I would also like to add one: Start with something simple. I know that you might think that you will only build one guitar and that you are going to build your dream one and don’t wanna waste time on building a guitar to learn the trade. OK, here’s the deal. You have to learn how to walk before you learn how to run! Your first guitar will not be your dream guitar. Maybe your nightmare. Most of us can testify to the fact that our first guitars were hardly playable. I see a couple of problems with your plans

1. Floyds are a complicated thing to mount/rout for/adjust. Nothing for a first guitar. I still do not use them.

2. A 27 fret fretboard means you will have to cut the fret slots yourself. Not a task to take lightly. There was a noob here about a year ago. I actually helped him with some CAD designs and a lot of questions. He made a decent body and a neck that locket like it would work. Then he went of and cut the fret slots very inaccurately using a hack saw on a un-radiuses fretboard ending up gluing the frets in… it was a total mess. He should clearly got himself a ready made fretboard

3. Winding your own pickups is a great idea, but not for your first. IF the guitar turns out a bit sour you will have no idea what’s causing it. Wood, hardware, build or pickups. You might then spend 100s of $/£/€ for new pickups and the guitar still sounds like crap. I had 15 years of guitar building experience until I started winding pickups.

So what I would like to propose is this. Get yourself a book. Hiscock’s book is great and he frequents this forum from time to time. Get a radiuses fretboard with the slots cut (27 frets if you find one, else 24). Go for a simple design like a tele or a LP junior or in your case Soloist shaped with a fixed bridge. Buy pickups. This way you will end up with a guitar that you might actually like to play. After you have gathered some experience, try to replace the pickups (by all means wind them yourself), or exchange the fixed bridge for a Floyd or something like that. THEN you go ahead and build that dream guitar of yours

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If you absolutely have to have a 27 fret board, you are going to have to decide if you are going to make the neck and board from scratch or if you are going to try and get a preslotted board. There are a few people on this forum that offer slotting service at a very reasonable price and do a nice job. Read through the tutorials on this board, get Melvyn's book, and possibly even a few of Dan Erlwine's books. Go to the Stewart Macdonald website and look through there section of free info. Learn as much as you can before you even buy the wood.

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Yes, a 27-fret fretboard is possible and not so difficult. You'll still need to cut a couple of the frets yourself, but that's less difficult than having to do the whole thing yourself.

You'll need to order a preslotted vintage Gibson-scale (628 mm) fretboard from LMII ---they'll send you a board with 24 frets (plus a zero fret if you want to keep that). There will be a good 6 cm or so at the end of the board --plenty of space to add the extra frets.

In fact, I was able to extend mine to 28 frets. I didn't do it myself--I provided the measurements to a friend with a steadier hand than mine.

The board I bought was ebony --so you'll have to confirm with LMII that other wood-type fretboards provide the extra space at the bottom.

Of course, the problem with the vintage Gibson scale is that those frets get very tiny--in fact, starting from the 15th fret or so they get pretty narrow for my fingers. By the time you get to the 28 fret, well, forget about it, you better have needles for fingertips. Maybe with high gain it's not such a big deal though. I needed the extra frets just for the symmetry of the guitar design.

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Of course, the problem with the vintage Gibson scale is that those frets get very tiny--in fact, starting from the 15th fret or so they get pretty narrow for my fingers. By the time you get to the 28 fret, well, forget about it, you better have needles for fingertips. Maybe with high gain it's not such a big deal though. I needed the extra frets just for the symmetry of the guitar design.

its definately a big problem with having extra frets but it can be partly compensated for by using narrower wire at that end. Some banjo wire would do the trick, maybe from the 22nd onwards. however, having different sized fretwire does make the levelling process slightly harder and anything thats increases the difficulty of somebody's first fretjob should probably be avoided.

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Thanks for all the help!!!

So this is my plan.

I ordered like 5 different books including "Make Your Own Electric Guitar".

I am going to read them ( a few times each) and then give them to my carpenter friend who will also read them a few times.

I think I will end up building will be a black soloist w/ 24 frets,2 hums and a TOM, but we will start the design in a long long while.

out of curiosity though

how do you measure 0.319 cm? is there a special ruler that shows you the distance up to the third decimal place?

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Chapov, it’s nice to hear that you are listening. The design you have settled for is much easier and straight forward. I’m pretty sure that the outcome will be much more to your satisfaction.

The base for metric measurement isn’t cm, its meter (m) and millimetre (mm). Most rulers are available in mm. 0.319 cm = 3.19 mm. Then there are cheap digital callipers available that can measure down to 0.01mm (although the accuracy is often like 0.05mm!!!). I guess that before the digital callipers those measurements were “OK let’s cut a bit past the 3 mm mark but not that far away…

Me, I use the stewmac fret slotting box with their templates

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Some people also get or make templates on their computers using the specfic distances, which can be used precisely. Then you would just print it out as a template for cutting. If you check out the stewmac fret calculator you can see why being precise is important, it gives an example that shows that even being off 10 thousands and improperly scribing the lines you can end up with your last few frets up to an 1/8th inch off, which is a big deal. Much of that error though is speaking of marking from fret to fret, which is the wrong way, its best to mark from the nut to the fret for each one, may be more of a pain, but it is more accurate. StewMac Calculator Best of luck and glad to hear you are grabbing some books, it will help and I am willing to lay some money down that like someone above suggested, you won't only be making one instrument. Once you get all the concepts down you will realize how many cool ideas and woods you weren't able to use on the one build and will end up making a bunch. Again good luck. J

To get that number I posted earlier and the note about accuracy, just calculate something in the stewmac calculator. I had done the example with 27 frets and a 25.5 scale in inches on an electric guitar. Those inputs will give that number I posted. Along side of the output you'll see the little *note* about accuracy. Best of luck.

Edited by jmrentis
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