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First Guitar Build - Egs Shaped Ergonomic Guitar

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Hello Everyone,

I am taking a class at my local community college in guitar building. I have many back issues so I have always wanted to own an ergonomic guitar to allow me to practice for longer periods of time but have never had the money. So once I saw this class in the catalog I jumped at the chance to make my own guitar. The class meets every thursday for 4 hours so it will take me quite a while to finish this build. If I had a shop at my home or access to one I may have been able to finish this guitar in one term. But since I dont It will probably take a couple. So updates will be very slow.

The body shape will be Ola Strandberg's EGS guitar shape of Strandberg guitarworks. I have modified the EGS body slightly to my tastes and to accomadate the traditional headstock and bridge. His guitars are usually headless but I have been kind of having a hard time sourcing headless hardware and what I have found is pretty expensive and doesent fit my preffered specs. I am going to have this a traditional guitar with a small ish headstock and lightweight tuners. This guitar will be played in an angled up classical position as it is the easiest on my back. I made sure to ask Ola Strandberg if I could use his body shape and he graciously agreed to let me use it.

Here are the specs:

Construction: Neck Through

Scale: 25.5"-25" fanned fret

Frets: 22

Nut Width: 1-11/16"

Fretboard Radius: straight 12"(I would have liked to do a compound 10-14 but my instructor advised against this for a first build)

Neck Shape: Possibily Rick Toone's Trapazoidal neck profile(which I will pay for license) or traditional

Neck Wood: Black Limba

Body Wood: Black Limba

Fretboard Wood: Ebony

Headstock Veneer: Ebony

Truss Rod Cover: Ebony

Fret Material: Gold EVO frets

Nut Material: Graph Tech White Tusq XL

Tuners: Hipshot Locking Tuners with fake ebony tuner buttons(to reduce weight)

Bridge: Most likely 6 single string bridges made by Aldrige Empire

Strap Buttons: Schaller Strap Locks

Pickups: 2 Custom humbuckers from JS Moore Pickups

Switch: DiMarzio Three Position On/On/On 4PDT Pickup Selector Switch

Volume Pot: RS Guitarworks 500k SuperPot

Tone Pot: CTS 500k Concentric Pot(For neck and bridge tone)

Neck Capacitor: RS GuitarCap .015

Bridge Capacitor: RS GuitarCap .022

Jack: Switchcraft

Switching Positions: Neck, Neck and bridge Inner Coils(Parallel), Bridge

Here is the original version:


Here is the version I have settled on:


And if you want to check out some AWESOME ergonomic guitars check out Ola strandbergs site:

Ola Strandberg Guitarworks

And here's a link to Rick Toone's site who's neck profile I may be using:

Rick Toone

Edited by timothy.coyle
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but its always good to see ola's stuff! and i am happy he now has imitators... he deserves to have people want to build guitars the way he does, hopefully with the hardware he designed

thank you for being very clear of your influences

even when i do original designs someone comes along to say i nicked there idea. often i find we just share the same inspiration, which is why i try to cite my influences from the start.

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Nice to know Mr. Strandberg is on this forum, I didn't realise that as I am pretty new on here. Ill be spending alot of time checking out his posts.

To be honest I would have just ordered a guitar from Mr. Strandberg himself as I am sure he could do a much better job than me of building his own design(and guitars in general). But he has about a two year waiting list from what I understand, plus the pricing is a bit out of my budget. I would have loved to use his hardware but from what I read he has put a hold on sales of his hardware to provide enough hardware for his own builds. Also the pricing is a bit out of my reach on that as well. I am not complaining about the pricing as it does seem very fair considering what big guitar companies charge for non custom instruments and hardware. I am just giving reasons why I am not able to use his hardware or buy a guitar from him. And that reason is I am poor :D .

As this is my first time building any instrument I just hope I don't screw it up too bad. But my instructor is good so I think it should come out ok.

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A continuation of the curves would look better and give more room to your leg.

That cut next to the controls is there for a reason.It allows you to play it sitting in a classical sitting position if you wish.

I disagree that it would look better.I think the guitar is brilliantly designed,though I would never want one because I never never never never never play sitting down

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I know the curve behind the control is another leg rest. I said the hole behind the bridge beneath the strap button. That is definitely meant to be access to a headless bridge. but since this guitar won't be headless the hole is not needed anymore. here is an example of what it might look like. (quick drawing made in 30 sec, I'm sure u can do better)

why can't I use flickr on this board?

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If I was to add more wood behind the bridge it would probably look something more like this(Only smoothed out).


although it would move further away from the original EGS guitar design it might be a good idea to do add some wood behind the bridge to improve the balance since the guitar is meant to be headless. Thanks for the idea, I may end up dong something like that.

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Ordered up some Sperzel Open Back Trim-Lock tuners from TK Instruments today. I chose these because they are sapposedly the lightest weight traditional locking tuners on the market. I almost chose Hipshot as they had a 18-1 ratio as apposed to the sperzels 12-1 but the hipshots were just a bit heavier. I thought it would be good to cut weight at the headstock to reduce chances of neck dive.

TK Instruments

Now I am researching different options for fanned fret bridges. I found the ABM Single string bridge and it says that it has a string spacing of 10mm. My preffered string spacing is tune o matic 2-3/64"(52mm) string spacing with standard non f-spaced pickups. I havent been able to work out if the ABM bridges will allow this string spacing so if anyone knows more about these ABM single string bridges I would appreciate some knowledge.

I e-mailed TK instruments about possibly purchasing a set of their single string bridges but no response yet. Also e-mailed Armadillo Guitar about a custom bridge and again no answer. I have e-mailed Rick Toone about his bridge that might also work and he said that they will be availible sometime in february and thats when the pricing will be released. So I still have some research to do on the bridge choice.

I e-mailed JS Moore about some custom pickups but have yet to get a response. Hopefully he gets back to me as I would love to try a set of his pickups.

Right now its pretty much just gathering the materials and hardware until class this thursday.

Edited by timothy.coyle
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Got the wood for the guitar today in class, also notched both sides of the fingerboard for slotting the fanned fret slots.

Heres the wood, Neck through black limba, Black limba body, ebony fretboard, ebony headstock overlay.


Sorry about the bad quality it was taken with a crappy camera phone in low light.

Also I had to get Hipshot locking tuners as the sperzels were back ordered. JS Moore pickups is winding me a custom set of humbuckers to my specs. I am in talks with Aldridge Empire to make me a set of flat aluminum humbucker rings and 6 single string bridges with tune o matic spacing. Thats it until class next thursday.

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I've seen 2-3 of these posts lately with folks building guitars in their college classes and I think that is awesome.. Our state school used to have people just design some piece of crap in cad and kick it out in a stereo lithograph printer or something like that for a final grade.. but they too have switch to having everyone make an electric guitar as their final project. They have the computers, a big CNC, and obviously an instructor that knows their stuff. I wish I had graduated from college with a brand new guitar as a take-away :D

Neat looking design. I always loved those kinds of projects - making something better is a lot more difficult than people think. Especially with ergo - you have to put tons of thought into where arms and hands go and if you look at electric guitar designs today - they all still mimic the strats, pauls and teles that started the whole movement - which were designed to mimic the curve of acoustic instruments (which by the way were pretty darn ergonomic). People thought ned steinberger was nuts - but seriously - an electric guitar could be literally any shape you want. Of course - we're often limited by the standard hardware available to us - steinberger was also able to fabricate his own bridge. Premier Guitar did a neat piece on the original steinberger prototype. Check out the crazy swivel mount he had in the back to attach the strap to. Since the guitar basically had no "horns" he had to create an extra piece to attach to the back to REPLACE the horn he got rid of in his design haha. The original headless rectangle design wasn't really for ergonomics though - the goal there was more for extreme departure from traditional design.

Nice work on yours. The only thing that looks at all awkward to me is the transition from the top of the lower bout down to the control area - when you omit the space behind the bridge, it makes that line kind of hard to plot. Guitar design is a lot harder than most people think. We all like curves, and a well designed guitar body has curves in all the right places. It flows. So anytime you remove something, you really have to consider how the contour will take up the space.

The only other caveat to these really off-kilter designs is the utility of what to do with your guitar if you don't have a stand nearby. Can you set it on the floor and lean it up against your amp or the wall? I know from a design project point of view that doesn't matter - but from a product design point of view, it's important to take a lot of different scenarios into consideration.

Again, though, great stuff? What a great opportunity to be able to do this in a school setting.

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Thank you for the compliments. That transition is a bit odd I agree, maybe I will shape it a bit differently. As for the guitar stand issue, I may just hang it on one of my wall hangers. It is nice that this class is offered, I would have never had the opportunity to make my own instrument otherwise.

Today I scored the guide lines for the fanned fret slots into my fretboard and filled them with chalk. I will cut the fret slots in class next thursday most likely.


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