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Your "oh ****" Moments

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Im pretty sure everyone has had some of these moments. :D

On my first build (Now Complete!) I had quite a few of these. When...

I over routed the neck pocket, so there was too much space between the Bottom Heel of the neck and the pocket. Sides still fit great. After the initial "Oh ****" I filled it with some filler and moved on.

Whenever there was routing tear out. That really got to me.

When I realized the paint I used on the neck was REALLY runny stuff, and afterwards when I saw that I painted it in a way too dusty area. Tiny little specks everywhere... B)

When the neck fit into the pocket, and I saw that It had a back bow. I had to make a wedge for the pocket.

And OBVIOUSLY there were more. B)

How have your "Oh ****" moments gone? :D

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I once was cutting the headstock on my otherwise finished multi piece laminate neck to thickness and my bandsaw blade went dull and started cupping (unknown to me)

So the middle of the headstock was less than 1/4" thick...I almost cried...set it down and went to bed...in the morning I planed it all down to 1/4",added a cap to it,and made it work as a painted neck.



On my Exploder I was drilling the recess on the back of the neck to rear mount my locking nut...drilled into the truss rod adjustment cavity...this was a finished and fretted 9 piece multi-lam set neck...again I almost cried...but I set it down and in the morning I ordered maple dowel rods from woodcraft and plugged the holes and re shaped the volute so that I could add an extra Bubinga veneer to the back(already had one on the front),and I top mounted my locking nut..now I always top mount.


As a rule I set any goof up to the side instead of impulsively burning it or whatnot..I can almost always figure out how to make it invisible.

On my first neck through I glued the neck in before I planed and shaped it...I ended up setting it aside for a year before I turned it into a set neck..




I guess what I am saying is that I learned more from salvaging and finishing the project than i ever would have learned had I destroyed it on impulse or given up..

I have only had to destroy one guitar..my first scratch build..it was tore up from the floor up..sounded shrill,fret job was lousy,fretboard was too thick,neck was too thick,body was too thick..and it was all maple and cherry...I finally got tired of trying to put lipstick on that pig and I just busted it up with a hammer...but I did it in a constructive manner so as to test my glue joints...it was a good learning experience so now I know that neck joints are never as weak as you think they might be..that was the least contact surface I ever used on a set neck,and it still held up to a few good hits with a 4 pound sledge right on the joint before giving up the ghost..

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On my first build (the 5 string bass) I broke off not 1, but 6 screws in the body before I finally got it through my head that maple and mahogany can hold a thread in a wider hole. I still fuss about it.

I built a corvus

On my most recient LP build, I had an expensive piece of black limba that was to be cut with a band saw into 2 neck blanks. The person who cut them returned them to me in less than favorable shape... I still have the pieces, and I'm still deciding on weather to throw them out, send them to moth to make pens out of, or to cut them into strips to use as laminates when I get a band saw.

I also figured out that a chisel and a drill aren't the best tools for making pickup cavities (as seen in my RG-RR build)

So far, out of 5 builds, I haven't made a flawless guitar. I'm gonna call it practice, and build a few more!

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I like the thread,and I think the placement is fine.

The exploder or the beast?I only posted the headstock of the Exploder...

Either way I don't mind,but it would be more rewarding for you I think if you only used it as a base to start from and make it your own...The exploder is an explorer with sharper corners,a deeper cutaway,and a trimmed down body...the Beast is a BC rick beast shape,but hand drawn and refined from a picture of a real beast off the 'net...the headstock shape is mine,but it is inspired by the batwing headstock of Moser,except that the "full" version has extra small points inside the center cut,and I just have not ever made the full version yet because I only recently got a scrollsaw...soon hopefully i will start making the full version.

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Oh yeah, thats a BC rich Beast. Its been awhile. :D

Explorer... Exploder... Lol.

On my next build, I may have had another moment.

I cut out the neck/fretboard area of the neck off a piece of mahogony, but left the headstock as a block for the time being. I want to make this an angled Headstock, and I don't know if Ill be able to do that now though.

Im hoping it'll work, but Ill see what happens. Also, thanks westheman, you made me realize something.

For a flat headstock, like a fender, I can just flip the neck to the side, and bandsaw it out to the proper thickness. Last time I routed it down, and to fix the right angle that formed, I had to spend a few hours sanding and "Dremeling". There was terrible tearout. I had to fill some of it, and was forced to paint it because it looked ugly.

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Well,it's really something i do quite a bit..I just take a shape I like and I refine the parts I don't like..that usually means I reshape the cutaway for better access,thin the body,deepen carves,and make the entire thing smaller and more "nimble"...

To be honest I just think that most "functionally sound" shapes are taken..everything else just kind of blows functionally...so I just refine them to suit me better...Something I think makes a better guitar than just trying to reinvent everything.

But I do have an offset V shape that I think is pretty original..just a matter of making it "work" now.

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I built a corvus

That's something to be proud of, sir! We're in an elite group.

In one of my current builds, I drilled for the tuner holes, then didn't like the placement. It was a mental chore deciding how best to hide that one, but it's turning out all good in the end.

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On my Exploder I was drilling the recess on the back of the neck to rear mount my locking nut...drilled into the truss rod adjustment cavity...

I did that on my Chandler Jackson style neck. Part of the problem was not using a drill press and so the drill bit with the hand-held drill kind of went on a misguided path somehow. I then used JB weld glue to fill where where it went through, then was able to redrill and not go through the cavity. Over 20 years later and I have never noticed a problem from it yet, although it's a scar on my perfectionist attitude. Some other guitar projects that I smashed to pieces also remain a scar. Out of sight, but not out of mind, at all.

I had to scrap a made from scratch maple fret-board (sized the board and slotted myself), cause things went a little too slow and problematic when using titebond (did the following ones with epoxy and avoided the problem) But that maple one, was my very first board replacement.

On one of my earliest fret-jobs, I sanded through the fret board into the heel end truss-rod nut hole. Luckily, it was my own guitar.

I guess I thought the more "fall away" the better or something. I'd really like to go back just to observe how that went so wrong, it's still a mystery.

All those really bad ones, that make me want to smack myself in the forehead when thinking about them, are from my late teens/ early 20's.

Worst that happens these days are some minor super-glue run-off accidents and stuck 'half way there' truss rod added washers (but I think I'm at the point where the slightest hint of a problem makes me mod them to be more easily removable)

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I dont think there is a mistake i have not made.

made 2 guitar bodies without knowing what scale length was

made my first 5 guitar bodies without templates (HORRIBLE LOOKING)

cut/drilled on wrong reference lines

made necks to thin

made fretboards too thick and too thin

every finishing problem there is

not making sure teh collet on the router is tight, causing the bit to slide out too far and the bearing to go under the template, making a mess

not compensating for my bandsaws less than 90* table to blade (cuts more near the table, and towards the inside, making very crooked cuts)

thinking i know what im doing (many times)

trying something new (dont ever do something new without tests and full planning)

Sanding sealer is NOT lacquer... everybody tries to say it is, but it is not. Lacquer burns right thru it and melts it.

using pine for a guitar body

re painting a PERFECT Jackson rhoads RX10 body for no reason, then turning it into a scrap because i dont know what im doing (long time ago)

Try do make something unique or "first ever" type guitar. Just dont do it. Ther are reasons most guitar styles have stayed the same forever... crazy or stupid designs just dotn work.

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Mixed up the fretboards on 2 guitars I was building at the same time.

Put the 25.5 on the 24.75 & vice versa.

Didnt spot it till they were inlayed, fretted, wired up, sprayed & buffed. heavily inlayed swell.

only spotted it when I was stringing them up, the number of frets got my attention :D

2 les pauls left in for a re-fret & a floyd to be mounted on one of them. I put the floyd on the wrong one.

forgot to put hardener in the poly before spraying a Jem. then wondered why it was still wet the next day.

used a non UV resistant clear over a realy nice blue quilt, It faded out to nothing in a few weeks.

let go of a rhodes V before checking it was properly on the hook for spraying.

Ended up in hospital from not wearing a respirator when sanding materials I knew I was alergic too.

Lots of other little stupid things to add to this. But these are definitly my most absolute braindead kokups.

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I like guitars better when they have had a mistake and then been fixed, I have no idea why :D except that it may reflect a strength of character in the builder.


Dude that is a seriously cool guitar, but what happened to brown wooden guitars yuk? Never mind, when it's that shapely you get a leave pass :D

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That guitar was years ago...before I got tired of seeing plain brown wood...

That piece of crotch mahogany was a rare find at my local wood shop..got the whole piece for under $80 and I made two tops from it..the other top was much less figured,and it ended up on the guitar I destroyed.

That guitar may look good,but it is the most uncomfortable shape ever...those points stick you no matter what you do.

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Alright... here goes. Most are documented in my build threads but since I don't document every build there are probably 100 more.

Tear out on almost everything I built last year. I also had tear out on 2 tele bodies that basically ruined the builds.

th_P4250201.jpg th_dscn0578.jpg

Dropped the SG off the bench and broke the horn


Drilled tuner holes with 1/2" bit I was using for the recess... twice. Had to plug the holes and redrill


Router bit vibrated loose and came through the back of a tele neck.


And of course the drill bit through the back of the guitar on the Marylin while drilling the pickup cavity. Had to patch it... cause it was a neck through.

AND I cut through into the trussrod cavity right behind the nut. Had to patch it...cause it was a neck through.

On the V I am building I got into the veneers while cutting out the input jack... and split the top while drilling the neck pickup route.

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MDF body, cut out shape with a jigsaw, freehand routed the neck pocket and pickup routs. Tried to fix the neck pocket with epoxy. The body's still sitting under my desk, in case I need some 48mm MDF for templates. Needless to say, after it sorta failed to become a proper guitar, I went and learned how to do it properly (and ongoing process).

You always learn how to do something properly if you cock it up first :D

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Using an old router I learned the hard way that the collet was worn as the bit slowly climbed out in a control cavity. Didn't blow through, but pretty close.

Sprayed finish too thick and had it crack.

Had one painted guitar fall on the concrete and chip out.

Neck too thin.

Fretboard too thin.

I think Wes made the best statement yet though. We learn more from error and backing off to fix it. On big O.S. moments I've wanted to smash the work in a fit of rage. Only once have I done it. I felt better that the offending wood was punished, but it didn't help anything. Every other time I've gone and relaxed for the night, not even thinking about the mistake (or as little as I could) until the next day. Took anywhere from 1 day to several weeks to decide the best way to repair and they all came out pretty good.

We all need to have an O.S. moment every now and then. If everything go perfect we never learn. You learn more from a mistake, and you remember the mistake so you never make it again. Mistakes keep us humble and remind us that we are not perfect beings and help keep the egos in check a little bit.

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carving through to the truss rod on a neck through - i cut the neck off and made it a set-neck. still have the neck in the workshop as a reminder

there have been others but thats still takes the biscuit

sandthroughs were always the most annoying cockup. i wondered why i always sanded through on the edge. i got told to stop sanding the edge - makes a lot of sense

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i wondered why i always sanded through on the edge. i got told to stop sanding the edge - makes a lot of sense

i actually found most mistakes happened on guitar 4-10.... the ones where i started to feel like i knew what i was doing

Same here on both counts. The "sand through on the edge" solution really made me feel like a dubma$$. :D

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I don't think using the wrong template has been mentioned yet...

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I bought a really great hunk of curly maple. It was thick enough to bookmatch for a hollowbody, 1 inch full bookmatched, no blemishes. Glued it up, plunked my template on it roughed it out, and started carving.

2 hours later I was feeling pretty proud of the progress, it was starting to be a hollow plate. So I went to play a little air guitar, and oh crap... the template was flipped around, I carved a top. Ooops..

It will make a nice top someday, if I can get it to work.

It's on the wall telling me to double check my template orientations before I carve.


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I think Wes made the best statement yet though. We learn more from error and backing off to fix it. On big O.S. moments I've wanted to smash the work in a fit of rage. Only once have I done it. I felt better that the offending wood was punished, but it didn't help anything. Every other time I've gone and relaxed for the night, not even thinking about the mistake (or as little as I could) until the next day. Took anywhere from 1 day to several weeks to decide the best way to repair and they all came out pretty good.

I now leave them for a few weeks and work on other stuff... usually if I try and fix it right then I make it worse. It has really worked out better and it seems that I need a month before I try to repair a major gotcha... Now some things have to be fixed right then. Like when you have the original splinters to use in the repair.

wow just thinking about it makes me want to take a break...

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On Saturday, I had the worst mishap I've ever had. I'm making a heart shaped electric guitar with built in amp and speaker for my six year old granddaughter. It is 3/4 size with a 22 inch scale.

I'm making the body out of four chunks of poplar I had laying around. Jointed and glued, then thicknessed. Next, cut the body shape on the bandsaw. So far, so good. Made a body template out of half in ply, and started routing. My router is (was!) a 1500 watt Ryobi with half inch collet. Got about halfway round the body and BANG! The end bearing in the router exploded. I mean the router bearing, not the guide bearing on the bit.

Of course, the whole thing stopped, and blew my workshop trip switch. After saying a few choice words to the router, I inspected the guitar body. A huge lump had been torn out of the edge, about one and a quarter inches wide, and almost two inches into the body, and about half the thickness.

The router is only just over a year old, and has had very little use. In fact, it's only been used to make one guitar, so obviously it is a rogue machine. Unfortunately the warranty expired in May, so it is a refuse bin job.

I've bought a new 1600 watt half inch router now. Can't remember the make - it's out in my workshop, but it has a three year warranty, and cost £90 (was reduced from £110).

I've routed out the damaged bit and cut and shaped another bit of poplar to fill the hole. I've glued it in with epoxy resin so there will be no gaps. Good job I'm painting the body, isn't it?

In years gone by, I've had a few mishaps, such as routing the truss rod channel too deep, routed a pickup hole off centre, and silly little things like that.

Edited by Mender
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