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ok i am now planning my 2nd guitar project, first being the rebuilding and totally changing this yamaha:


i am an ambitios 16 year old, it must be said, :D so, this might explaina few irregularities....

ok i have thought about this a lot and i feel i am ready to move on to constructing a full guitar.

i like the sleek feel of superstrats in terms of shape, and i want a 24 fret axe, with big cutaways...... so inevitably this will be heavily based on RG, one way or the other.

constrution wise i think a neck-thru is best, as it allows me to contour the cutsways

however i like, and i can have an insane neck joint...... also i dont have constant access to machinery, so this would be easier than having to rout out a neck joint and the neck to fit.....

i'm thinking 5 piece, birdseye maple with darker wood (wenge or mahogany) in between 3 maple strips........ body wings most likely alder or maple, i want clear, defined tone.

then, OFR is a must, along with 24 fret scalloping, on birdseye maple, with side dot inlays only

i want a fernandes sustainer, so the neck rail will in fact be the fernandes driver pickup.... the other two are mid posiition - DiMarzio Humbucker From Hell; bridge - DiMarzio FRED; i've chose HFH for its single coil clarity and trebly precise tone (only about 220 mv output i think); FRED for its smooth and very cool tone (about 285 mv, mids + treble dominate)..... i mean my Yamaha custom is loaded with two DM evolutions, so thats clearly for the time when a higher output tone is needed.......

i think the pickguard/front rout is the best approach, as then i can route out a big swimming pool style cavity for pickups and fernandes sustainer CB

as far as controls, 5 way switch with positions 2 and 4 as parallel wiring....... or might just get a tele 3 way switch? dunno

one volume pot, one tone pot, one sustainer intensity pot, and a switch for it/ or phase switch...... not sure

spalted maple top...... i have a fetish for those B)

and regarding the neck joint i'll try to do something like this:


but yeh, i really want to have the sustainer because i've been watching satch's live video's for 'cool #9' and 'flying in a blue dream' too much....... plus i've always found the idea of this extremely appealing......

what do you think guys? are there any design flaws? this is rough ideas stage, i will actually draw out plans a bit later on....

will the pickup combination work? i think it will, but just basically i wonna hear your input, comments and advice.....

btw this is how i envisage it ( posh word, huh :D )




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Interesting setup to say the least :D I like the idea of the Spalted Maple for the top but keep in mind if your going to do the trem scallop the thickness should be a minimum of 11/16" so the body wood doesn't show through at the base of the scallops.

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Guest Litchfield Custom Gutars

and double check the distance needed for the sustainer between pups. Also, make sure the sustainer is compatable wih the FRED. I think it only works with high output ones.

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yeh the sustainer is being a massive headache... i think it would have to be more like this mid and bridge pick-up almost joint-up


i know the sustainer kit has a high output pick-up, but its rather rubbish to be honest, so i wouldnt be using it.... but why do you think that the FRED is not high output enough? i'm my understanding, the actual output of the pick-up it works with does not matter that much.... but then there's always the X2N with output of 510mv, lol

what do you think of the pick-up combination though? i dont know, because ideally, i'd have the FRED, the HFH with conjunction with a higher output mother...haha, like the the Super 2, Super Distortion or X2N (can tell i'm a dimarzio man cant you :D )

with the sustainer, once you turn it on, does it turn off all other pick-up positions? can it only work with one pick-up in one position? the fernandes online techs and their website is absolutely useless in helping you understand what the system can and what it cant do.........

i'm not sure what you mean about the scallops though Brian. do you mean they should be low enough that after fret 24 it doesnt get in the way of the strings if trem is abused? but shouldnt frets ensure that anyway?

i'm looking to scallop all frets to about 3-4mm at the deepest point of the arch.....

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my sustainer was designed to switch to the bridge pickup while using it.when not used as a sustainer it makes a sweet sounding pickup also.

the fred would be a good pickup choice to workwith it i think.fernandez pairs it with a jb or an emg hz.both have an output at about 13 k

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I would not install a humbucker in the middle position. I dont think you'll use the middle position often and even then the humbucker will not sound better then a singelcoil. The reason I write that is that in my opinion the additional string pull of the middle humbucker decreases your sustain without giving you any advantage.

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i think brian was referring to the scallops under the trem, like a lions claw or a recess to raise the trem. he meant that the spalted maple top has to be a certain thickness so that the other body wood doesn't show through as the routing gets lower

right, i get you know.

but i dont think thats such a big concern for me however; if using veneer, can always just glue it on that same way....... i dunno i'm not too bothered about that, though thanks for pointing out.

now, the HFH.....

it has a single coil clarity, but a humbucker sound. i do not find single coils suitable for my style of play but i like the idea of having that twang... it does sound like a humbucker, and it is higher output than all true single coils.

but are you sure it is out of place? yes, its magnets will increase the pull; but will this not be corrected / overrun by the fact the sustainer circuit will vibrate strings? granted, this will only work with the bridge pick-up, but still.

i think i would use the HFH because i'm a tone nut, for instance i can tell which one of the 5 wiring positions on the rotary switch (from two Evolution dimarzios) just be hearing the tone...... and a mate of my dad's, a pro musician (well ok, he writes music for tv shows and guitar isnt his main instrument), he was like 'whats the difference between them??' i mean to me its very important, like i have assigned each position its own role after hours of just working through them.....

so to me another pickup would have been useful.... its not a single coil remember, it has the clarity of one......... listen to B.R.O. by paul gilbert, thats recorded using the HFH, and you'll see what i mean.

but is it really not worth having the HFH? because i'd really like it, though i do realise it would make the project cheaper and easier...... but i dunno.

now a question, the neck driver, can it be used as a normal pickup in its own right? do i wire it into the pickup selection switch?

also you're saying, once sustainer is on, other pickups go dead..... so if switch onto another pickup that isnt selected with sustainer, it will just not work and i will get no sound? does the sustainer CB then override the pickups as normal?

thanks guys, i feel i'm getting somewhere finally

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Looks really cool!

I would go with a Sustainiac Stealth or Stealth Plus, because you'll have choice of bridge pickups. Wiring might be a little trickier, but the instructions that come with the kit are excellent. Not for the faint hearted, but still manageable if you know what you're doing with soldering. The circuit board is also smaller, so you won't have to rout out half of the back of the body, so that part of the installation will actually be easier.

If you know exactly which pickups and switching you're going to use, Allan Hoover at Sustainiac will also provide you with a custom wiring diagram that will show you exactly what needs to get wired where. He'll also advise you if you're proposing a pickup or switching combination that won't give you good results. This is a huge advantage, versus trying to reverse-engineer the Fernandes unit if you want to change the bridge pickup.

All magnetic sustainers will automatically bypass the pickup selector and switch to the bridge pickup when the transducer is active in sustainer mode. The middle pickup is not an issue, because it won't be in use when the sustainer is on.

A humbucker in the middle is actually a great sound. One of my guitars has a JB in the middle with series/split/parallel switching, and it's super-versatile. It's a very open sound (especially in parallel mode), a little more mellow and with more depth than at the bridge. Put a hotter, more obnoxious-sounding bridge pickup in there, and you'll have a lot of tonal options.

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i heard of the sustainiac somewhere...... could you give a link to it (or where i could buy it - i live in UK however)? it sounds very good.......

trying to reverse engineer fernandes sounds fun....... but i dont have enough time for this now..... :D

ok, but are you sure any pickup combination is possible? it means i'm back in business with the original idea B)

meanwhile i was playing around with the design somemore and if i were to have the Fred at bridge with driver at neck, this is what it'd be...... also notice modififed pickguard..... tahts my custom touch, i did it on my first project too.


but let me get this straight, the fernandes WILL NOT work with another pick-up at bridge, ie the FRED?

but certainly the sustainiac sounds more interesting...... thanks for bringing my attention to it.

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hey man its declan (rebelw/outacord) from UG

are you guing to front rout it and do the pickguard thing like in those pics? it'd be pretty cool to do it back-routed so you can show off more of that finish

the sustainer and the floyd should give you some interesting sounds.

btw- do you plan on doing any custom stuff with your washburn?

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invader maybe? yuk...... i have a phobia against those things. AARGH that fat undefined tone...... with a sustainer :D ??

whatever floats your boat, but i personally cant stand them...

anyway i'm looking into sustainiac now, the original idea with both HfH and FRED seems possible with it!

and declan, i decided i'm gonna have the pickguard because this would make this project easier, 2ndly i like how it looks, because a fully spalted body looks a bit too much for me..........

i'm afraid i think i'm gonna sell the washburn....

B) more i think about it, the less i find i like it....... i changed since i bought it; its like i want to like it, but i dont, i'm into sleeker shred guitars now, you know?

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^yeh, but i figured it out like 20 mins after my post....

i was like, what if i go to sustainiac.com.... :D wow i am a dumbass

it does look v. good i think i'll go with it instead of the fernandes, but providing it doesnt cost too much more


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sorry for bumping, but i need some more help.

1)how much wider than the end of fingerboard should the neckthru piece be?

2) or should the neckthru be continued along how the fingerboard/neck becomes wider?

3)does a kahler trem still need a trem backplate? or is it pretty much minor front rou and thats it?

4) is it possible to get a 7 string kahler trem? how much? and where

5) would the neck need additional support compared to a 6 string? graphite rods, like Wes is doing?

6) should i make my first complete project the 6 string i planned with the sustainiac (extra $270), make it just a 6 string with no sustainer; or make it a UV style 7 string? i dont think a 7 string would be much more work, but i dont have one........ i'll go to guitar shops to play 6/7 to decide which appeals to me more......

also the less wood work it is, the better......... so from my understanding of the Kahler, i'd much prefer it........ a sustainer would be cool, but costs a lot of money, and can only go on if its a 6 string........ then choice of 7 string pickups i smaller than 6 string.....

but what do you guys think?


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1+2) I don't have any experience with neck-thrus, but i've seen them go both ways, with parallel-sided "paddle" planks down the middle of the body, or extended out to follow the neck taper. Parallel looks better to me. The width of the "paddle" would depend on how wide your neck blank is. Again, i've also seen guitars (e.g. Carvin) where the neck-thru is only as wide as the neck, or barely wider.

3) No rear route needed. There's a small route on the surface for clearance of the cam and springs, but no backplate is needed.

4) Kahler has never had a 7-string trem, to my knowledge. But in this day and age of CNC machining, you never know... they may be able to tweak the designs and do a one-off or small run of 7-string Kahlers. For a price.

5) Lots of 7-string necks don't have graphite reinforcement. You could also strengthen the neck by doing a 3-piece (or more) laminate. Graphite rods are just extra insurance, should the wood react strangely over time.

6) That's really your call. If you aren't currently playing 7-strings, you might want to try it out long-term before committing the time and resources for such a project if you don't know if you'll really use it in the end. Your choices for hardware and pickups for a 7-string are a little more limited, but everything is generally still available.

It's too bad Maniac Music discontinued their 7-string Sustainiac model. :D

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well the real problem is, Kahler (minimal rout) + sustainiac = 6 string....... or

7 string with Floyd.............

i mean sustainiac could be dropped, but its a cool addition......

but really i dont know, i like 7 strings, i shred and it would be a natural addition to the collection i have now.......

but the kahler looks v appealing due to much less work.....

if i could get a 7 string kahler, it'd be the 7, without a doubt.. but i really doubt that i can, so i have to choose.

and no a double neck is NOT an option :D ......... sadly B)

any opinions guys??

and a big thanks to Darren for answering all my questions.....

but i really need input to help me decide......


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well after spending a couple of hours with a few thousand pounds worth of guitars, i have decided to build a seven string because i honestly felt that my custom 6 string played better than a $2000 ESP 6 string superstrat, and 7's just offered something new...... but this means no sustainer.

i've given up on the kahler idea, so its either FR or hardtail..... i have already started drawing up the design, its based on the strat, but with bigger horns and deeper cutaway, so will look like a sleeker form of an RG with 24th fret clear of lower cutaway...... have also decided to copy Universe / 7321 neck dimension because they feel the best with 7 strings.

5 piece neckthru construction, 3 DiMarzio humbuckers/single (just H-S-H), and either a camoflage or natural finish......

not sure about exact woods yet........

but i need to decide, would a front rout (w/ pickguard) be easier than a rear rout where humbucker slots are routed in and the control couted is rear routed? or it is the same amount of work?

i'll be having a cool finish, so i'd like to show it off, by not having a pickguard....... but would that be more work?

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i just use Kisekai, hats off to the dude that put it together.


no i havent done any finishes, but i can assure you, i'll do it myself.

i started my first project without a clue of what i was doing..... i learn quick and i'm persistent - talk about 8 months the 1st guitar took to be playable!

i have had a couple of ideas since then, mostly to do with a camo finish, i'd apply it by the using camo dyed cloth, then making that into a finish with one of Brian's tutorials...... or a natural finish.

i'm gonna do everything myself, but i have my grandpa coming over so he's gonna help heaps - he's a Soviet engineer and he is great with woodwork, so.... and meh, i enjoy a challenge.

here's the idea i like the most, but bear in mind my actual design is not an RG body, and its a 7 string...... i just use Kisekai to draw up a visual picture.


i'm thinking over a variety of finishes, but camo and natural (maple top) appeal to me the most.........

i've also chosen the woods - maple wings, either 5 piece all maple, or 5 piece maple and wenge neckthru,, but i just need to decide between ebony and maple fretboard......... i'm leaning towards the ebony, and camo, 2nd picture

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