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Building My First 7 String


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HEllo!

My name is Joshua

I am building my first 7 string guitar and I need help.

We are using black walnut, and carvin maple neck,

It is a neck-through.

We are gonna use a CNC machine, (thank God we can) So the actualy exicution of everything is no worry to me.

I need help with stuff like pickup, and bridge placement, the size of the wholes, and the hole in the back for tremolo and for all the electronics.

We are going to use this tremolo

http://www.hipshotproducts.com/cart.php?m=...etail&p=187

I think....

I don't wanna use a floyd or kahler, tired of all the hassel with locking, plus i am gonna use GHOST piezo later on, and they don't work on floyds or kahlers.

HA! I probably should have said it's the normal, soloist kinda body, with a little twist.

I think were gonna cut a indent kinda thing in the bum, like steineys (steinberger) with wings. So if anybody has any help with that also.

And I looked at the tutorial on the main page, "Building an electric guitar body," I have one question, Are the holes for the pots the norm?

Finally, I don't know if it matters, but i am gonna get some form of 7-string dimarzio pickups for it, I really need help on the placement, (Sorry i have already said this) on the pickups and the bridge, and the size and depths of the cuts.

THANKS SO MUCH!!!!

I will post pics when I get a lil farther along, right now the neck is on it's way, and the wood for the body is sitting on a disasembled lazy body in my shed :D this is gonna take a realy long time though, to completely finish, cause i don't have the finances realy for this at all.

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It's difficult to answer your questions. If you don't know where to place the pickups and bridge, you need to read before you start cutting wood. Melvyn Hyscock's book is excellent and explains everything.

See, the thing is, YOU decide where to place the pickups and bridge. And you decide this based on other factors in your design (scale length, neck joint, neck angle, etc.) So if you aren't at the point where you know how to determine this, you should read a guitar building book.

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All parts you order will always tell what size of hole needs to be drilled.

And I can't stress how much more you need to READ/RESEARCH if you're asking simple questions like bridge placement.

So before you do anything more, and especially before you build a ridiculously overpriced bridge, you need to spend more time planning.

BUT I'd be mean if I didn't spoon-feed you the answers you're asking for.... :D

http://www.stewmac.com/FretCalculator <-- for bridge position

"wherever you feel like it" <-- for pickup position

::EDIT::

Looks like we cross-posted, Geo :D I forgot to add the obligatory Hiscock plug.

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It is a neck-through.

We are gonna use a CNC machine, (thank God we can) So the actualy exicution of everything is no worry to me.

I need help with stuff like pickup, and bridge placement, the size of the wholes, and the hole in the back for tremolo and for all the electronics

I don't want to be rude or anything, but I think you're missing the point... You don't want to care about execution? In other words, you don't want to build a guitar right? Using a prebuild neck, and a CNC.. If you're so afraid of actually using your hands in this project, you'd better ask somebody to build it for you. What you want, is a custom guitar, but you're afraid to put your own hands in the making.

Programming the CNC will take some time. And CNC's are not perfect, especially when you test the programming for the first time. What if your programming is offset and screw up badly? Good-bye the prebuild neck that you paid 300$. Ever tried to unglue body wings form a neck? Give it a try and let me know. You can test your programming on a body blank, but how can you tell it will not screw when you enter the coordinates with the prebuild neck?

Sorry but I don't understand. Isn't it fun to build something with your own hands? To feel the wood, the smells, and to look at the final product and said; God, I did it! It's not perfect, but the next one will be better!

Before answering your build process questions, I must say that you should ask yourself why you're doing this. Are you doing it just to get a guitar? Or to learn how to build one?

Edited by MescaBug
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A CNC is a tool. And it won't deliver a finished, completed guitar. You'll still need to do hand sanding, fine tuning, fretboard surfacing, fretting, all that sort of stuff later on. And you need to understand the planning, mechanics, positioning, playing surface geometry, etc.

I also sincerely doubt a CNC is going to be faster than reading a book, drawing a plan, making some templates, and just building. It's great for accuracy (by all means, fingerboard geomtery, that sort of thing, even body outlines and such), but you need to have a solid understanding of what you're making: a guitar, not something that looks like a guitar. A musical instrument with a clealy defined purpose: to make music.

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I never said I don't care, I said I am not worried about it because I wanted people to help me with the stuff I need, I didn't want to be helped with tips on how to route.

Of coarse I care... I want the guitar to come out nice, I am a player, not necasarily a luthier...nor do i have any want to be.

I guess you guys don't realy understand..... I am not worried about the excicution because I don't need to worry about slipping...and destroying the whole thing...

Also I probably won't mess up with a CNC (unless something freaky happened) because...

for 1. building a bunch of scrap builds first, and were using mastercam, which has a program that will show you what your doing before you do it.

2. I am building it with someone who has been doing this kinda stuff for 22 years...

3. if the drawings are right, which they will be, because we'll make sure before we do it, the worst thing, aside from some freak accident, is that it gets set at the wrong place. But that won't happen Check reason 2.

Finaly, Yes, I am building this to have a guitar. I mean ya I wanna do it by hand, and I am going to, but the reason i want to do build this guitar is because I want the options that I can put on it that wouldn't be available from any guitar unless i had a huge check book.

I mean it's gonna be a neck through, seven string with a non locking floating tremolo.

If I wanted to do this for learning how, I think I would start on something easy.

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Ummmm, you would be so much better making a couple of s*itter instruments out of cheaper wood or scrap so you get the mechanics correct before jumping in the deep end. You'll not get the results you're thinking of in your head, plus you'll not learn a damn thing doing it this way around.

By the way, the whole learning to make an instrument process is EXPENSIVE. Much moreso than buying an expensive instrument in the first place. If you really want to make an instrument with "the options" then learn to make a functional instrument without "the options" and learn from there.

Not trying to dissuade you, but you're going about the objective the wrong way around. Like a boxer learning - you don't pick your first fist as a n00b with a commando or a champ. (Crocop!!!)

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Joshua,

I wish you the best of luck with your build(s).

I don't want to seem negative, but I think that most of the people here are telling you correctly.

There is a huge difference between using a CNC for a body blank and using it to carve around an existing and expensive neck.

I you are hell bent on using a CNC then CNC the whole thing, not just the wings around the neck.

Also keep in mind that this form is MOSTLY comprised of people who are hobbyist builders who build guitars for the sake of building.

For many of us myself included it's not the goal we love, but the process. So you will encounter a bit of hesitation from a lot of us when a first time builder wants to take a lot of shortcuts into building. (Not that CNC is a shortcut, it is an art form all to itself, but you don't have any experience with that either)

If you just want a custom guitar built without having to do any work, call a luither.

If you want to build a guitar because you would enjoy the process of taking a bunch of un-cut wood and turning it into a work of art, then slow down.

Read some books on building. Try to understand why we do the things we do. Learn the balance between what is nice to look at and what is functional.

And finally, a honest word of advice.

Your first 4-5 guitars will be ugly and have many mistakes (CNC or not).

This is a hobby that takes time, money, blood, loss of relationships and patience.

If you really want to learn to build guitars, try this:

Return the neck and other parts you have ordered.

Buy a Saga kit and fully assemble it.

This will teach you the fundamentals of assembly

Next

Buy a body blank and neck blank from Stewart McDonald.

Build your own guitar BY HAND from blocks of wood. This will give you a better understanding about:

Shape, Weight distribution, ergonomics, PLANNING, Electronics design, the world of fretting and intonation, finishing and the sense of a job well done.

Then

Build another from scratch.

Then another

Now, if you still like the idea of building a guitar, go talk to your CNC operator buddy and work on it together.

I hope this does not discourage you from building, but this stuff take lots of practice and time to get right.

You will find that this can be a great community for serious builders.

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I ran a CNC mill, CNC lathe, engine lathe and Vertical knee mills for years and I can only think of a handful of times that I ever managed to hit all tolerances in the first shot when setting up. I didn’t make guitars on a CNC and I’d be confident to say that it would almost be impossible to use a pre-constructed neck blank with wings glued and hit the mark on all measurements without extensive trial and error. The key would be to make sure that 12th fret is located in the EXACT same axis and the center line of the guitar is exact. Just trying to set zero would be difficult. It would be easier if you just had a body/neck blank because you just need to make sure that you have enough raw materials and it’s basically lined up correctly. The finished neck is going to make this really difficult.

This is what I would do personally.

You have the neck blank and you are using walnut (which is really forgiving.) If you use a kahler, you don’t have to have any neck angle with the carvin neck blanks. Just use a router and a template to cut out the wings and then glue them onto the neck blank. Seriously, it will only take you about 2 hours (even being a novice.) Use the stewmac calculator for bridge placement.

The kahler bridge comes with a template you can use for the cavity and you can get pickup templates from Stewmac for a few dollars. You’ll have a custom built guitar and you’ll learn a lot in the process. Also, with a kahler you really don’t have to use a locking nut as the bridge will generally react like a Fender style fulcrum. If your nut is high quality (and carvin nuts are nice) you won’t have any tuning issues.

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Don't get put off by us all reworking the ideas you have in your head D.O.B - just assimilate this information into your plan and go about it the right way, but don't expect you'll get it right the first time. Nobody does unless they have years of built up woodworking or engineering knowledge. CNC is just another tool amongst many, not a solution as you'd think it would be.

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See that's that kinda stuff I need to know......

I have to have a recesed bridge to avoid having a angled headstock? I didn't know that....

But actually the neck does have an angled headstock.... I donno...maybe I confused you.... I am using this neck...

https://www.carvinguitars.com/products/sing...php?product=NT7

It's is a prebuild neck... Ya I figured you thought I was building the neck when you were talking about fretting....

....I feel like there is alot of hostility here....Maybe I should explain myself better.... I am in high school and I am building a guitar with my woodshop teacher... He has extensive woodworking experience, and extensive CNC experience...22 years....

The only thing we are using the CNC for is the routing of the wings and the cavitys for pickups and bridge and electronics...I don't see that i could do anything else with the CNC...

I understand if any of you are frustrated, I know how you feel, I feel the same way when a noob trys to pickup a guitar and look like an expert...

But i am not arrogant... I am not a fool... I do know quiet a bit about guitars.....I understand that the guitar will not be perfectly the way I want it... and I understand you frustration in the "shortcuts" I am taking by using a CNC and a prebuild neck... but I am doing these things for two reasons....

1. I want a guitar with the options that other guitars don't have... and no it isn't anymore expensiveto build it... It's alot cheaper... well about $500 dollars cheaper... that's alot to me....

2. I do want to learn about building guitars but I know that I am challenged because I have not done this before... that's why I am buying a neck and using CNC...

If I should buy a kit and then just assemble that first...isn't this somewhat better in the realm of learning

I know that the art of luthering (sorry if that's the wrong Suffix) is a sacred art to many people and it is very honered...I understand that....

and I have no intention of dishonoring it... I just want to learn about guitars and get the guitar that has the features I want.... because it's really frustrating not having the creative tools you need available to you....

So I ask that if anyone has anything they can offer as help to please help me.....

there is no way I am doing this guitar without using a CNC and a pre built neckthrough carvin neck....

I hope that I didn't offend anyone and I hope I can receive some sort of assistance.... I appreciate everything everybody has help me with SO MUCH!

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Don't get us wrong. We are in no way trying to discourage you. And nobody here is frustrated as you said. :D

It's just that, judging by the questions you asked, you definitely don't have a lot of knowledge about guitar building. Sure you can know a lot about guitars, but building is a totally different thing. And starting with a CNC is a very bad idea...

Example; we are not talking about the headstock angle. We are talking about the neck angle, that is, the angle at which the neck is, relative to the bridge. On guitars with high bridges like Tune-o-Matic, non-recessed Floyd, a neck angle is necessary to compensate for the bridge height. If not, you will have a very bad action. Strings will be like 1/2" over the fretboard.

This is one-in-a-million very basic things you have to know. It's not only related to guitar building, but in guitars in general. This information can be found in any decent guitar building book, like Melvyn Hiscock, and Martin Koch.

Also, don't forget that the Carvin neck is a 25" scale. If you didn't noticed... I don't know what kind of guitars you're using, but that can be a concern.

Again, I don't want to be rude. But that's proof that you are not ready to start yet. Please do some reading. Build something out of cheap wood. Familiarize yourself with the building process before hacking that nice Carvin neck.

Anybody here will be very glad to answer any questions you got. Just throw them.

Good luck dude,

:D

Below: Picture of an angled neck.

Sivusta.jpg

Edited by MescaBug
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What Mesca said basically. I would recommend reading Melvyn Hiscock's book for sure (it was my springboard) but moreover - use the resources you have here on other people's build threads. Check out small pro luthiers sites as a lot of them have in-process pictures which demonstrate the design and build process brilliantly.

We do wish you the best, and all we want to do is get you set on the right path so you make better design/build decisions. Once you're heading in the right direction, everything snowballs!

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The carvin neck does not have built in angle as it relates to the fretboard and body blank. The angle you are speaking of is the headstock angle. Also, using a 25" scale on a seven string will be some what problematic when it comes to getting a good tuned down sound. Seriously, get a book read it, understand it and then build from hand first. Then you will understand what we are all saying.

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...If you use a kahler, you don't have to have any neck angle with the carvin neck blanks.

Maybe that's a function of the Carvin blanks, but the two guits I have with Kahlers (not sure of the model, the original ones from the 80s), both require a slight neck angle - about 1.5-2 degrees if I remember correctly.

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Joshua,

Don't get discouraged.

You are just getting some advice you were not planning on.

That does not make it bad advice.

If anything ALL of us want our builds to be perfect and awesome.

But what you need to learn (as the rest of us are/did) is the perfect build takes time.

I dont care if your woodshop teacher invented the CNC, you simply will not get it right the first time.

What we don't want to see is someone not get it right the first time and throw their hands up in the air and say that this guitar building thing is impossible.

If you are just hankering to cut something on the CNC, just make a body by itself.

Don't ruin your neck!

Besides, if you are doing this in woodshop, there are dozens of other tools you can use.

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Thanks very much!

I don't think it was bad advice, I just didn't see it as that much advice, I thought it was more... "Your doing everthing wrong..."

If I doing things wrong I hope I can learn how to do it right....

The stuff mesca bug said was realy helpful...

So I absolutley have to use a floyd...? The neck i was planning on getting was a floating trem... what causes the floyd or kahler trems to be able to work with non-angled necks and not start style trems....

Maybe I can do something diffrent... I was going to build the guitar as an exchange of doing the normal projects instead in my woodshop class.... but we have enough wood to build about three guitar bodies... and I was planning on building another guitar after this guitar... A six string bolt-on... maybe I could do that in my class...? just do the body...

I realy want my seven string to come out great, but I don't realy wanna wait cuz i have been waiting for years....

I am planning on getting the book...melvyn hiscock book... is this the best book...?

Does anybody know anything else that might help...????

Edited by dreaming of berk
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Melvyn's book is a fine tome, but if you can afford it then get them both! You'll find that comparing and summing your information (along with what you have available here) helps you to develop so much quicker.

For what it's worth, I bought Melvyn's first of all, then a couple of of Dan Erlewine's books on setups and the like.

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Thanks very much!

I don't think it was bad advice, I just didn't see it as that much advice, I thought it was more... "Your doing everthing wrong..."

If I doing things wrong I hope I can learn how to do it right....

The stuff mesca bug said was realy helpful...

So I absolutley have to use a floyd...? The neck i was planning on getting was a floating trem... what causes the floyd or kahler trems to be able to work with non-angled necks and not start style trems....

Maybe I can do something diffrent... I was going to build the guitar as an exchange of doing the normal projects instead in my woodshop class.... but we have enough wood to build about three guitar bodies... and I was planning on building another guitar after this guitar... A six string bolt-on... maybe I could do that in my class...? just do the body...

I realy want my seven string to come out great, but I don't realy wanna wait cuz i have been waiting for years....

I am planning on getting the book...melvyn hiscock book... is this the best book...?

Does anybody know anything else that might help...????

I'm not saying that you are doing everything wrong, I'm saying don't put the cart before the horse.

I guess what I want to know is...do you want to have a custom guitar more than you want to be a builder?

I know what its like to want that special guitar.

I know how easy it is to tell yourself that if you had the tools, you could make it.

The catch is that NO ONE makes a perfect guitar the first time, and we would rather see you make many inexpensive mistakes and keep on learning, than one BIG mistake and give up.

If you want to be a builder hang on to your thru-neck.

Save it until you have plenty of experience with building.

Melvyn's book is great.

It has plenty of sage advice, as well as step by step instructions.

This forum is also a great place to discuss your ideas.

If you just want a custom guitar made the way you want it, find someone on this forum to build it for you, because no matter how much you think you know about it...there is always something more to know about building.

For example:

The subtleties of joinery, How are you going to do your joint work and not destroy the neck?

Grain direction, How are you going to keep your joined body from warping?

Pickup configuration and placement, Where are you going to get the best electromagnetic feed from?

Noise, How are you going to cancel out noise from a pickup that's too hot?

Trussing, how much pull will different string gauges have on the neck, and how will you correct it?

Weight displacement, How are you going to make the neck and body balance?

Intonation, How will you set the correct scale length for the neck you have and make your trem work with it?

I'm not saying that you can't build it, I'm saying just do some more research on the topic before you make a mistake that you cannot afford to undo.

Practice on cheap scrap wood in the shop first.

If it's an issue of not having time during class, arrange to come in after school, because nothing will ruin a new build like a rush job.

Once again, I hope I'm not discouraging you, I just think that you are getting a little ahead of yourself.

Take your time, you have the rest of your life ahead of you. :D

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