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A Few General Questions

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Hi, I'm new to this forum and also quite new to building guitars. I have made one guitar previously, and against all ods it works perfectly! Pure luck imho, because I generally fumbled through the process. Please excuse spelling mistakes, because I'm from the Netherlands.

So now I'm planning to start a new project, and I want to do it in a more structured way. Also I want to know more about building guitars before I start.

Question 1. (excuse the amount of text :D )

First of, the placement of the pickups: I plan to make a guitar with just one pickup in the style of the Gibson Les Paul Junior. I know just enough about pickup placement to know that the neck pickup sounds a lot warmer then the bridge pickup. Personally I prefer the warmer tone of the neckpickup or the setting in between the two pickups. The single pickup in the LP junior is placed at bridge position, what is the exact reason for this? Because gibsons usually have a pretty warm tone. I actually have no idea what the LP junior sounds like. I wonder if there is any reason against shifting the pickup more towards the neck position.

Quetion 2. (This might be a stupid question)

I might actually build two guitars, one on which I would like to try fitting it with a floyd rose trem. What's the difference between a floyd rose, floyd rose 2 and floyd rose 3? What brand floyd rose is better, Schaller or Gotoh?

Question 3.

I have an idea for a different way of attaching the neck to the body. Excuse the terible paint images, I plan on making 3d cad models of the idea in the future, and have better sketches but no scanner.



My question is: is this possible?

(edit) one more question :D

Is the difference in tone/sustain/whatever between for instance a solid mahogany body and a solid mahogany body with a maple top substantial?

Edited by Dirge for november
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Q1. The further toward the neck the pickup is placed the warmer the sound will be. If you always play on the neck setting then put i there, don't put it in the bridge just because the les pauls have it there. The reason they have it in the bridge is the majority of players out there will stay on the bridge pickup more than the neck, but since your building the guitar for yourself you can do whatever you want.

Q2. I have no idea.

Q3. I built a guitar like that once (when I had no idea what I was doing), sure it's possible, but there really is no reason to do it that way and it's harder than a standard neck pocket. I'd stick with the normal bolton/set neck.

I won't even get into the tonewoods question as that is highly debated. It's really hard to make more than general observations about what wood combinations will sound like. I think you'll be happy with either setup, but if you like the look of a flame/quilt maple top than go for it.

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Some thoughts:

First of all welcome. Please feel free to ask questions. But remember that most folks here will appreciate is you do a search before. The topic of the wood has been discussed over and over and over again. It mostly comes down to personal opinions. My opinion is that generally for your first couple of guitars the level of building skill are not high enough to make it possible to differentiate between the difference in sound/sustain if you build with of without a maple top.

Secondly I’m all in for some experimentation. But for the first couple of guitars I strongly recommend sticking to the tried and tested solutions. They have survived for some reason. Mostly because they work! Make some more “standard” guitars first and then test your ideas when you have honed your skills a bit. I only wish I could live by that myself…

Thirdly I’m wondering if you have some basic understanding of guitar construction. If you have, please forgive me for the next couple of lines of ranting: Get yourself at least one good book! That will explain a lot of things and might prevent future mistakes. I always recommend Melvyn Hiscocks Make Your Own Electric Guitar. It covers the basics.

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Hey, about the third part: I have that book, but somehow it goes into detail in the parts I need least and is totally shallow on other parts, I did get allot of basic understanding from the book though but nothing beats individual knowledge imho. Also I

Learned a lot from projectguitar!

As for the second part: I always have the urge for new solutions, for a big part because I study industrial design (which also has allot to do with innovation). And by now I've learned that especially on tried paths there is always room for improvement, for people automatically create their own tunnel vision. (not talking about you or guitars at all) Sometimes the problem needs to be looked at from a different (noobs') point of view. But besides that I totally agree with your point on getting experience with tried methods

As for the first part: (sorry about working backwards :D)

Excuse my lack of knowledge, but what's the difference in experience between glueing a top on (with the right kind of glue/method) for the first time and after you've done it a couple of times?

Thanks for the feedback!! and as for the search function, my bad I'll use it better next time!


I found a technique somewhat similar to my idea, except that it's a bolt on instead of glue (what I planned on using). The discription they give seems pretty positive (but of course it's promotional :D )



Edited by Dirge for november
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I suggested the book as you have no idea of how many people come into this forum and ask question after question without getting the basic knowledge down first.

The problem with most people (generally speaking, I don’t know anything about you personally) studying industrial design (and you have no idea how many of them that come into this forum with an urge to redesign or revolutionize the electric and/or acoustic guitar) is that they have a tendency to try to fix things that isn’t broken. And without some experience from more “traditional” solutions they do not realize that stuff are designed the way they are because most “new” things that are being suggested have already been tested and rejected. And they have been that because the traditional ways are better and/or guitar players are way too conservative to accept a new solution. The ideas that really work and improve the sound/feel/economy (don’t underestimate that last part) of a guitar sticks and get incorporated in the “traditional” way of doing guitars. Take one example: Some 20-30 years ago carbon fibre reinforcement in guitar necks was not accepted. Now it is being used more and more because they

1. work

2. isn’t too expensive

3 doesn’t interfere with playing techniques

4. make it possible to use wood that wasn’t suitable without reinforcements

5. …..whatever

The same thing goes for active electronics. They were a BIG no no when they arrived. They where sterile sounding, had too high output, etc etc. They have now carved themselves a nice in the guitar community because a lot of the same factors listed above.

I thought about suggesting the BC rich neck bolt on system but as my main point is that it is better to learn the basics I didn’t. The BC rich version has been around for some years now I believe but it still hasn’t taken off yet. Wonder why…

I wasn’t clear enough about the top/no top part. What I meant was that for the first couple of guitar you *usually* have bad fretboard to neck joint, poorly seated fret, misaligned bridges, bad intonation, ill-fit neck pockets, bad solders or a whole bunch of other problems (I know that I had). All of those will change (degrade) the sound much more than the addition of a maple top. That is why you need to have built a few guitars to get them good enough to notice the final difference in sound from a guitar with/without a maple top. But as Daniel said: If you are going for the look of a beautiful maple top, by all means do it.

Back to the original idea you had. I see a few problems with it;

- You will have to glue the neck into the body first. Then you have to glue the fretboard in place. It will be a bit hard to get sufficient clamping pressure on the fret board due to a carved neck heal and it might be hard to reach in over the body with the clamps.

- You will have a much harder time adding a neck angle.

- You will also lack any adjustments in neck angle. Compare it to a bolt on and you see that it is very easy to shim a bolt on neck to adjust to minor problems with neck angle.

- For the first (second) guitar it is a real bonus to be able to remove the neck for fret work. That is not possible.

- You will use up more tone woods (minor problem)

On the other hand errors on the neck mortise route will not be visible from the front, and covered by your body when being played. And it will of cause make it possible to carve the neck heel much more comfortable for the player.

But by all means go for it if you believe that you can pull it off and that you will have enough benefits from it to justify for the disadvantages. Only my 2 cents…

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Okey, Thanks.. I understand a lot better now. And the neck part was just an idea I wanted to throw in to get some feedback. I see the problems it causes now.

My previous guitar luckily didn't have to many of the problems you noted mainly because I cheated. I bought the neck as it was second hand (to save money, and I didn't dare making the neck myself yet). One of the problems I did have was that my neck and pickup cavities weren't in line, but I fixed the problem eventually.

This project is going to be a lot more difficult as I plan to do a lot more myself, for instance building the neck. Although I do plan on buying a pre fretslotted fretboard. The project is also going to be more complicated because I want to try and build a guitar with tremmolo instead of a fixed bridge.

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Back to the tone question regarding the neck pocket, imagine the difference between a standard set neck and a neck through, yours would be somewhere in between. But there is already so little difference between the set and the neck through that I seriously doubt you will hear any audible difference.

Add to that the fact that it's harder to do and you will soon realize why 99.9% of guitars use a "standard" neck joint. The reason it's standard is because it works, and it works really really well.

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