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So I'm A Builder Noob, Right? Well...

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I need some advice from the guitar building elite :D

I'm looking to build myself a 7 string. Now, I'm a mad perfectionist, so I wouldn't worry about the fact that it'll be my first build..

So, armed with my Melvyn Hiscock book and my intermediate woodworking skills, I'm hoping to build me a 7 string. Am I an idiot for trying a 7 string as my first build?

Now.. I was thinking of buying this -- http://www.guitarbuildingtemplates.com/58Explorer.htm -- to start me off. I don't have the tools I need, but I have carpenter relatives who'll no doubt give me a hand and let me use their tools n' such.

This is where the hivemind of knowledge that is projectguitar and various other sites comes to help out a noob. Am I an idiot for trying a sevenstring as my first build? Is it even possible to use that template to make a seven string? I'm guessing I'd need to modify the neck in some way, so feel free to slap some sense into me

Thanks for any help guys.

Edit » Sorry if this is the wrong forum. ;o

Edited by Shanbo
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It probably wouldn't even be worth it to buy that template to make a seven string. I think you'd be better off getting plans instead of templates, and just for the body, like the explorer one here http://www.guitarplansunlimited.com/Body%20Templates.htm

Also that makes it so you can build a bolt-on, which would be an easier first time endeavor, or not build a neck at all. And you can modify the body to accept a 7-string neck.

You'll need to make your own templates either way, the plans just give you more flexibility and save you some money.

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If you've already read the Melvyn Hiscock book, you should be good to go. Just ask questions when you need to, and continue to be a perfectionist. Look through some of the seven string builds here, as there are a ton of them, and you'll get it figured out. My biggest advice for you would be to not buy anything until you need it. That goes for both tools and hardware. You'll find your needs and ideas may change a lot as you work through this project. Good luck, and make sure to post pictures as you go!


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I don't know, a 7-string might be idiotic... You could mess up the whole headstock drilling that 7th tuner hole!!

:D Just playin'

I agree with Keegan in getting a paper template for what you want, and making a few copies of different designs. The guy who runs the website that you linked to is very courteous. If you ask him nicely he might even make the design a 7-string for you! Keegan is right, you're going to have to make your own templates either way. If you have an Explorer already, you can trace the body and place the knobs and jack and that stuff; The body dimensions are the same except for the width of the neck.

If you don't feel comfortable building your own neck (I know I didn't) there are manufacturers who make 7-necks; you'll just have to make sure the neck pocket fits. It costs more money, but doing a neck-through build is easier, I feel, for a first-timer. That's what I did, at least. Good luck!

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My advice, is that if your a total noob to this, don't build your own neck. I just built my first guitar and just got a neck from www.warmoth.com Best decision I made in the project!

No harm in plugging Carvin, which gives you tons of options for their necks (anything they offer for full builds - but you have to call them!) cheaper than Warmoth's prices. Neck-throughs too! I used a Carvin neck on my Explorer neckthrough, and it's a fantastic piece!

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Welcome to the forums! :D

My first build was a seven, and I was a noob then. So I say go for it!

I also started by buying the Hiscock "bible" - believe the hype!!!

I posted this somewhere before, but....

re Hiscock's book:

1. Read it. All of it. Especially the parts you don't understand.

2. Read it again. Especially the parts you don't understand.

3. Ask relevant questions on here about the parts you don't understand.

4. See 1.

5. Consider buying a piece of wood.

....or something like that, I'm sure you get the idea by now!! B)

I too would advise you to draw your own plans. There are several advantages:

Experience of drawing plans - helps organise the mind and focus on details.

You can accomodate your own styles and tastes into your design.

Make your plan into templates.

Good advice from dpm99 there about not buying stuff until you need it!

Specifically regarding a seven string as opposed to a six-er, here are some things to consider:

Hardware you'll need:

7 string bridge, pickups, nut - all readily available, but needed for measurements for routs etc.

a 7th tuner (obvious I know, but they mostly come in sets of 6, so ask around and some sellers will make you up a set of seven)

ferrules, if you're using them! (Again, normally supplied in sets of six)

(My advice: buy all the hardware early, you'll need it handy for measuring at various points during the build. Many things are decided by other factors, such as heights and placements, so it helps to have as much of the bits to hand as possible!)

Also think about:

wider neck pocket necessary (if it's a bolt-on neck)

headstock design will have to accomodate a 7th tuner, and still look right!

Hope some of this helps!! :D


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