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Explorer/firebird Hybrid

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Hey guys.

I've been lurking the board for a month or so and since I just started up a guitar project I figured I'd better register and write about it to get some feedback.



Neck: Maple

Fingerboard: Maple, possibly walnut inlays.

Body: Walnut

Pickups: Humbucker size, possibly SD P-Rails

Bridge: Hardtail, string through

Black hardware, natural finish.

Here's how I envision it: (note that I at first envisioned Chrome hardware and P-90 pickups and didn't bother to change in the pic)


(The inspiration for the inlays is from a multiscale guitar from this forum where someone (can't remember who it was-sorry) drew chalk lines on the fretboard to illustrate where the inlays would go). I've also gotten a lot of inspiration from Xanthus' V guitar, so.. thanks :D Thanks to everyone here for that matter, for making a great forum. I've read almost every build thread until page 30 and they all helped me get more inspiration

The progress so far is that I've bought the wood and ordered some of the hardware, and also glued up the neck laminate. Will probably get more work done this weekend. I would have posted a pic of the walnut, but it's blurry and you can't really see anything.


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Hi sebbeklang, you're my new favorite member B)

Glad to see you're taking the plunge! Man, is it ever a rush. You'll see what I mean :D As far as your wood choices go, just be forewarned that maple and walnut are bright-sounding woods. Then again, there are people who like really bright guitars, so what do I know. I like the design choices you're doing, but I feel the body may be just a bit too large for the headstock. Is this drawing 100% to scale?

Let us know how you find the P-Rails. A lot of people have been talking about getting them, but I don't think anyone actually has...

Please ask away with any questions you have (provided you searched the forums first :D) and we'll be glad to help!

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Yeah, I'm sure it'll be a great project.

I was going for a bright sound since my other guitar (epi les paul) is pretty much the opposite. Maybe it'll be too bright, we'll see :D

Your concerns on the headstock, is that just a design issue or will a small headstock have any other consequences?

The picture is mostly to scale, but it's not final. The neck should be narrower and the head should be further away from the neck if that makes any sense. But I agree that the head looks a bit small. I'll play about a bit in illustrator when I get time and see if I can get it better :D

The nut on the image is not to scale, I think I'll wait until I get it home so I can make a physical mockup before I make any final desicions.

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got some of the hardware today. turns out gotohs cosmo black isn't as black as I thought it would be, but since both tuners and bridge are cosmo black and pickups and pickup rings are black it'll probably work out just fine. the jack is black as well, but since it'll be located on the side i figure it will look neat.

tomorrow is planing day, i'll have to get my laminate flat and nice, it's about half an inch of manual planing :D

then it's off to a friend to get access to router and band saw and then I think we're going to see some real progress.

No fun pics so far but I might get some boring ones up tomorrow or sunday

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So the top of the neck/body is planed and I made a mockup using the hardware I have so far. Tomorrow I'll try to get it a little more smooth and also saw the head angle.

I will probably make it 10 or 15 degrees, which one do you prefer? From what I've read it doesn't make a world of difference and I think in both cases I'll be able to lay the guitar down without hitting the tuners. unless someone convinces me otherwise, I think I will go with 10 since the rest of the body is straight

maybe also sand the walnut before i cut out the shape, i think it might be a bit easier to get a rectangular piece of wood plane than a funny shape. please correct me if I'm wrong ;D

then I think I've done everything I can before I get my hands on the larger varieties of power tools. Except drilling, which I might wait with anyway.


Image 1

by the way, here's my idea of how to wire it. any comments are welcome:

2x SD P-rails.

1x master volume

2x tone

one 4 way switch for selecting pickups: bridge-both in parallell-both in series-neck

two push/pull splitting the pickups: rail-series humbucker-parallell humbucker-p90

one push/pull shifting the phase on one pickup

the only function i feel i'm missing is to use for example brigde rail and neck p90 together. maybe i could use a 6way switch and include phase shifting and use the remaining push/pull to change which coil is active when splitting, but i'm not sure that's possible and also it would be difficult to use the switch. do you think it would be a useful addition to the proposed amount of options?


Edited by sebbeklang
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FWIW: Duncan's website has a bunch of P-rail wiring diagrams available.

Aside from the series/parallel issues, I'd think it'd be easiest to have a 3-way mini toggle for each pup and a separate phase switch. Then again, I hate doing the wiring, so the fewer things to mess with the better.

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  • 2 years later...

Ok, so I've been quite busy for the last two years and have not had time for this project. The other day I got a sudden urge and started it up again. I hope you don't mind the necropost :D

I've decided to go with a pickguard instead of the original pickup rings, for a variety of reasons all of which ultimately originated from mistakes.

I did buy the SD p-rails, but they ended up in my epi les paul instead and they'll be staying there for now. I have some generic budget pickups to use for this one instead, at least initially.

Right now I'm working on the frets and some holes for the pickups. I'm also rethinking my fret inlay idea, mostly because I don't have a lot of good equipment. Maybe I'll just do dots instead.


(the strings are rolled up and taped to the body)

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Yesterday I got an idea about inlays on the fretboard: binary dots. I would use black and white dots (i guess pearl/abalone) to represent the fret number in binary. Three, for example, would be two black dots (11). Five would be black/white/black (101). It would actually be symmetric all the way, except for 19 (10011 or 010011), provided I use leading zeros for the 12th fret.

The full list (1 = black dot, 0 = white dot):










There would be a lot of dots. Would that look stupid? I imagine it's comparable to block inlays in 'amount of inlay', but I don't know if I've ever seen more than three dots on one fret. Now I would have up to six.

Also: pickguard almost done. I guess I should bevel the edge as well.


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This weekend I managed to get the frets strapped on. I also couldn't resist slamming on all hardware and test a bit. The verdict? Definitely playable, at least. I'm really happy about how it turned out.

I also managed to learn about why you use pilot holes for screws. The hard way. One for the rear strap button, one for a tuner. The strap button wasn't supposed to be centered, so I'll just move it a small bit and try again (with pre-drilling this time). Haven't decided how to fix the tuner screw-up (heh). I'm glad it wasn't a screw in the bridge, that would have been a real bummer. I'm also glad it only took two screws for me to realize I was doing something wrong.


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  • 9 years later...

I very much appreciate that you took the time to show the finished product! Sometimes these just take some more time than expected...

HINT: If your guitar is of open pore design and you get wax into pores, simply use a brush (clothes/shoe brush type) to polish the pores. If it works for waxing shoes shiny, why shouldn't it work for other live surfaces? That's what I thought in the same situation and the result was shiny!

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