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Icedfirefly learning experience


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Hello guys, I got almost zero experience at building guitars, all I did so far was sand down my RG505 and do some stain job on the top, the end was nowhere near professional but I love how it turned.

So, i want to learn to build guitars, and since I guess it will take a while and many different builds think it will be better to do just one tread and keep it going instead of making a thread for each build.

I want to build all the guitar from the ground, except the hardware, I got no rush, so if I mess up, I will learn from it, get a new wood part and start again.

My idea for the first build is something similar to a Rg, got two of them and I love how they looks, I want to keep it more or less simple, but also I like how spalted maple looks, so I'm thinking on putting a spalted maple top.

One thing I did read in a book, is that to make the diagram, is better to have already all the parts, so you have the exact dimensions of the different parts and avoid bad surprises. What do you think about that?

I will start by reading about how to do the design and then I will bring it here so you can take a look at it.

Cheers!

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The curtain (+ vacuum) can be a solution... forget about the box, the router spit out tons of wood shavings in a crazy way so it probably turn out in a mess in five seconds. Also, with the router you

Reminds me of the small sandblasting enclosures. I bet that would work really nice on Ash.

Hey guys. Wanted to bring you a quick update before leaving for work. Did some practice in spare wood with the router, and after that i been able to get a better finish on the blanks, then i put 150 g

It is best to have parts on hand, especially for your first builds. Additionally, I would say to maybe try something other than spalted maple first. Spalt is a fungus that attacks the wood, leaving it very soft (often called punky) which in turn makes it much more difficult to work with than other woods. You can try it, but it carries a higher risk of ruining a nice looking piece.

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I agree about having parts on hand first. You need the bridge to help determine neck angle, pickups to build accurate routing templates, controls for good spacing in planing your control cavity layout and so on. It can be done purely from spec sheets......but like the book said it is best to have them on hand to avoid surprises. There is nothing like being able to touch and feel the elements going into the build to help you know where they should go.

SR

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Thanks Ripthorn and ScottR, so, spalted maple out, just a regular body then, sounds good too :)

Any wood in particular that could be better for starters? i would like to try to do both body and neck.

For the build i was thinking no pickguard, 2 pickups, fixed bridge

Switch, volume and tone controls, jack, shouldn`t be too much of an issue.

Pickups, i was thinking some Ibanez, maybe V8 and V7 or INF, many people upgrade them, so i could get some used ones for cheap.

Bridge and tuners... i don`t know, i think it will be better to put quality ones, to avoid tunning issues, but maybe there is no need to put top of the line ones... any recomendations?

Thanks!

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I can`t edit the post for a second time, so i have to make a new one...

I saw someone selling a nice used ibanez neck with reverse headstock (My all time favorite headstock) for around 110 Euros so for my first build maybe i could go that route, just make the body...

Another option could be getting a cheap Gio (Around 100 euros) and use all the parts but the body, maybe is cheaper than gettting all the separate parts.

From what i saw the neck it a lot more tricky than the body, so maybe skip the neck for the next one...

Any suggestion?

Thanks!!!

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Getting a cheap guitar as a parts horse is not a bad idea if you are planning to build your first one as a way to learn. The parts will be cheap as well but they can be changed out at a later date or better yet just start your second build. You'll have the experience of already having done one and you can feel better about spending the change to get some higher quality hardware. Your second build will be better and more likely do deserve better hardware.

All first timers consider the neck the trickiest part and rightly so. Most of us that have done it a few times end up thinking it one of the most enjoyable components of the build.

SR

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the lads are spot on with evrything here, especially the spalt issue - stay well away untill you have a few guitars built. Even then it can be a nightmare to work if you get the wrong piece that just want to fight you at every turn.

I would recomend sepelle, mahogany, alder, basswood or ash to start. All nice timbers & not too hard to work. Poplar is nice aslo but can have a fluffy edging when worked that can be offputting & ruins the build for early builders. Stay away from cedar, it can break too easily if cut wrong.

If you do try make a neck, get a pre radiused & slotted fretboard from stewart mcdonald. make sure the grain in the neck timber is bolt straight - or close to it.

If you dont have templates yet them PM me. I will need your email address to send you some CAD & pdf drawings of RG, JEM & Universe guitars. Also strats, teles & les pauls as these will most likly be the basis for all of your setting out of hardware.

A doner guitar is a good idea. just make sure you dont go too cheap on the hardware, $30.00 trems are a big no for example. get a fender or gotoh hardtail bridge, much cheaper than you would think.

If you like I can have a look around here & see what is lurking in the dead guitar pile. I know I have a neck from an Ibanez S model, Im not sure what else I have.

Anyway - good luck, enjoy - & make sure you ask lots of questions & put up lots of photos

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Hi! I can get a Ibanez Gio grg170 or a grg270, could that hardware work to make my first body or is too crappy?

I know is a tremolo one instead of a fixed bridge, but I think I could do it... The idea would be to use the hardware for one or two builds, then assemble it back and sell it, then I can get some new hardware for my next build...

I'm trying to save some money in the hardware for my first build so i can use it instead in getting some good tools.

Thanks!!

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About the neck, well... if you want to enjoy seriously, just do it. You'll feel like god when you're done. Only cowards skip the neck in the first build... <_<

I had access only to sapelle and ash locally, there in Spain. Also walnut, but I never liked that wood. Sapelle is cheap and has a good sound, the only problem is the weight. And since I have to order some parts and woods anyway, I finally bought mostly on Madinter. You can get wood to make the body, top, neck, fingerboard and headstock for 150€ more or less - that was what I spent in the 7 strings -. They have alder body blanks already glued and planned for 60€, like the one I'm using in my current build. They are very light and look quite nice. And easy to work.

You can get very cheap parts from China on Ebay. Some sellers don't charge anything or just few euros for the delivery, but sometimes it takes long, up to four weeks... the good thing is that you can buy just a screw or a spring for 0,10€ and they send to you for free, wherever in the word you are.

Collecting all the tools is probably the most complicated and expensive aspect of the whole thing IMO. It will define your workflow and you'll have to take decisions depending on the tools you have... but there are some which are a must, like the press drill I don't have and I need so much now... ^^

Happy building!

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Thanks PsikoT

I will try Fustes Garriga here in Barcelona first, i know some people buy wood for guitars there, and if i`ts possible i prefer to go to the shop and see and buy the stuff instead of buying online, i just hate to buy without seeing and having to wait until delivered.

And always is nice to pay a visit to Barcelona, i live in Sabadell, just 45 minutes away...

Anyway, if not, my plan B is Madinter!

Well, i got a Wizard II neck, edge tremolo, Ibanez mics and the volumen and tone control etc...

So, my next steps should be printing a RG diagram, buy some wood and make the template, right? (I saw there is a tutorial about templates, so i will take a look at it in a few...) about the template, i saw that some people make them from wood and other from acrillyc or something similar, any tip? i think wood could be a little easier to work with, am i right?

Cheers!

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I would have suggested avoiding a trem for a first build, perhaps limiting yourself to a hardtail, especially if you're short on tools and templates, but I applaud your willingness to try something new.

MDF is a cheap and easy material to work with for making templates. Acrylic plastic is more expensive and difficult to work, but is more durable than MDF (won't swell or distort if exposed to moisture, less likely to dent if you drop it) and has the advantage that you can see through the template.

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Hey guys, i got myself some sepele, 50cm x 20cm.

1037tjo.jpg

Now... i need some magic trick to bring down the tickness from 5,2cm to 4,5cm, is there any??????

If not, what kind of tool or machine do i need? or what options do i have? i would like to do it by myself and not going to a shop to ask for it.

Well, slowly i`m advancing... i need to start working in the design now... i have some ideas and want to surf the web to get more options...

Cheers!

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The best option is going to a shop if you know somebody, they can do planning and squaring in two minutes.

The other option is using a router planner, which is a jig made of MDF like I did for my neck blanks. You can find more info in youtube.

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The best option is going to a shop if you know somebody, they can do planning and squaring in two minutes.

The other option is using a router planner, which is a jig made of MDF like I did for my neck blanks. You can find more info in youtube.

A router planner sounds good, i`m still finishing my workbench, but my next step will be building a router planner :)

Speaking of... i need a router, i saw the Bosch POF 1100 AE, is this one good enough for starters?

Thanks!

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Speaking of... i need a router, i saw the Bosch POF 1100 AE, is this one good enough for starters?

Thanks!

That one will be fine. If you are on a tight budget I would suggest spending less money on the actual router and more money on good quality router bits. There are cheaper routers than the Bosch one that will do the job.
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Thanks Pukko!

Guys, just two questions more, since i`m going shopping for tools in a few...

Which kind/sizes of router bits should i get? i don`t know which ones are the most used...

And do i need a manual or electric planer? like for example this one: SKIL 1560-01 3-1/4-Inch Planer?

Thanks!

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Which kind/sizes of router bits should i get? i don`t know which ones are the most used...

You basically need 3 bites for the body, these are the ones I use:

107.jpg

Take them as long as you can, except the short one, which is ideal for pickup/neck pockets.

And do i need a manual or electric planer? like for example this one: SKIL 1560-01 3-1/4-Inch Planer?

I personally don't use planners, neither manual nor electric... I tried them but had no good experiences, so I try to avoid them.

But you can square the edges with the router after planning the top/bottom sides... lot of sanding are waiting for you afterwards, but it's an option.

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I would get a plane. But then I have been using them for 25 years or so & feel very comfortable with them. But still - Id get one. A No. 5 at the least.

Also get a decent rasp, maby a shinto. Some decent tool shops will have big 10 inch plus things called a bastard file. brilliant if you can fin a decent one.

BTW I sent you those drawings.

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Agreed on pretty much all of the above.

As far as bench planes go, it depends on how far you want to take this obsession. A No.5 ("jack plane") is more or less the best all-rounder as pauliemc rightly says. Definitely a first if you have only the budget for one. As always, I recommend buying good quality off the bat. I had a No.7 jointer plane in the UK where the frog literally cracked in two, rendering the entire plane a glorified sanding caul. A No.5-1/2 is wider than a No.5 and maybe useful for skewed body blank jointing. I started with one of those purely because I got a bargain. No.5s are common and hence easy to get a better price on.

If I were buying two bench planes, I might favour a No.4 ("smoothing plane") in combination with a No.6 ("fore plane"). At those sizes you have a big plane which can easily joint longer surfaces and an easily-manageable plane for headstock facing, scarfs, etc. I'd even consider that same No.5 and maybe a No.3 smoother. Fore planes have enough working surface to flatten the neck surface where a fingerboard would go, however I'd still prefer to run the resulting surface over a sanding board.

The next would be without a doubt, a block plane. Something with an adjustable mouth to take the thinnest shavings and treat delicate specific area. Apron planes are convenient also in that respect. Simply, a block plane bit with less weight and adjustable bits meant to living in your apron. Veritas' models are spot on, but you pay for what you get.

I found that I learnt a lot from the first planes I bought and understood better what to expect from subsequent purchases. Lumping out a bunch of cash for a Lie-Nielsen No.5 jack plane won't help if you don't know how to maintain, adjust and sharpen and align everything. That said, a cheapy plane won't be able to produce the same results or be as consistent in operation.

Shinto rasps seem to be popular with a lot of luthiers, and are great for the money. I favour hand-made rasps only because they have a greater range of control; you can rip the hell out of a material to hog wood out, or dial back on the aggressiveness and finesse the work. The big downside is cost. Big money. Four cheap decent rasps for one stellar one sort of money. Shinto rasps are better than the blade-type machine-made rasps by a long margin.

I have that same router. It's okay, if a little top-heavy. The commutator is a little sloppy, but for the money it's a best buy. The smaller Bosch Colt/GKF-600 is a great router for the cash too. Smaller and very flexible; works where the POF can't go.

Would type more but I am being chased out of the door to go stick walking with the wife.

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Thanks of all the information and tips guys!!!

really appreciate all of you taking the time to help me.

I went to a place similar to home depot but smaller, they didn`t have some of the things i wanted... and got some of the tools, but they didn`t have planes, so i will have to go to a more specialized places.

Almost finished my workbench, it`s made from 3 pallets, one had the table on top of the workbench and the other 2 were regulars ones, i will go to pick one more today to make the lower shelf, (i have an hardware store near my home where i buy stuff and they already know me and call me when they have a spare pallet in case i want one) i think it cost me around 3 euros in screws and some sandpaper and that`s it, it`s sturdy enough, but it`s still a work in progress, i want to put some light over it, and wanted to do some shelves like on the desktop, but dont want to hide the window, so i will pospone that.

ipwfuw.jpg

mj1pms.jpg

As you can see, i live in a very small apartment, so the workbench goes right besides my desktop and my "garage", it`s is also my living room, dinner room and kitchen... so i will try to be as carefull as i can with the sanding, sadly, there is no other place to put the workbench.

I was thinking about buying a vacuum cleaner to turn it on near when i`m sanding, could it help out a bit?

Today i will try to start and finish the router planner too, so finally i can start working on the body of the guitar, preparing the 2 parts to glue them together, but first i will practice a bit with the router in the spare wood from the pallets, i never used one before, just need to be sure to take out the nails from the wood before.

I will keep you updated!!!

Thanks!

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Yeah :(

I bought this box, made 2 holes and put some sleeves and gloves on it, i used it to sand down a guitar and worked pretty well, not a speck of dust went out, i will see if i can use the router inside it.

5dntbp.jpg

Also, i was thinking about putting a shower courtain around the workbench, i have a couple ideas about how to hang it, do some wood structure i can put in top of the workbench when i`m about to sand or route and then hang the courtain, once i finish, i take it down and store it until the next time.

I can try at least and see how it works, i will have to use a good mask being in a somewhat confined space...

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Also, i was thinking about putting a shower courtain around the workbench, i have a couple ideas about how to hang it, do some wood structure i can put in top of the workbench when i`m about to sand or route and then hang the courtain, once i finish, i take it down and store it until the next time.

I can try at least and see how it works, i will have to use a good mask being in a somewhat confined space...

The curtain (+ vacuum) can be a solution... forget about the box, the router spit out tons of wood shavings in a crazy way so it probably turn out in a mess in five seconds. Also, with the router you will need to move a lot, is not like sanding, and lock the body somehow... that's not secure, man.

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