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So I'm sitting in a pub, 3,500 miles from my shop and the guitar within, and I'm trying to think through each step needed to complete the little beastie. I'm shocked at how many times I've needed to go back and add or re-order things. I appreciate that a neck through with a top is probably the most difficult electric we build, but I'd love to see/know if any of y'all have a fairly regimented build process port your builds. I've seen Loius's, which is great for a basic set neck (I'm only saying basic as it only includes the big steps, not that his guitars are basic - they're awesome!).

Ive already managed to make things difficult for myself on my first comeback guitar, and I'd like to keep that from happening in the future. I think it would be great if everyone put some thought into this and came up with some fairly definitive workflows and the reasons behind them. There will obviously be different trains of thought on why some steps come before others and there will be different flow patterns based on the many acceptable ways there are to build guitars (just read a very good post last night by a chap who frets the board and shapes the neck as different pieces, then marries them up with minimal clamping).

When I figure out my flow, I'll be sure to post it up as well, more for correction than instruction!



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This is a good idea that has the potential to be very instructional. I wouldn't be surprised if Prostheta finds a way to work it into the bones of the site once it gets fleshed out.

To this point all of mine have the same workflow with the only exception being allowance for top loaded electronics when using the Tele style control plate. I do however, find myself reviewing my previous builds to check the order in which I've done things.

It might also be interesting to see how variances in workflows are due differences in the shop or tool sets of the various builders.

I'll spend a little time to put mine together and post it......likely after the holiday travels though.

Good Call B!


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As somebody clawing his way back from a 5 year absence, I can totally understand.

Im assuming many of us end up believing that we can do this as a living, only to be knocked back by the realities of it all. In my case, my workshop was just too small to work on anything but a single guitar at a time. This led to mistakes and frustration that I couldn't quite deal with anymore (at one point I smashed a neck through that had around £600 worth of wood in it (flamed maple and ebony stringers with a quilted top).

This was the same time I moved onto the Jumbo. After much deliberation, and draining of rum bottles, I elected to return to work full time and abandon the workshop. I chose radio silence at that point (apologies for not responding to your email;not my finest hour).

Anyhoo, 5 years on, a proper workshop, different outlook on life and a great project in the pipeline... Let's get 'er done!


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I think I tend to change mine since I build sporadically, and not in my own shop. One thing that has been on my mind is the idea of routing pickup and neck pockets whilst the body is still a rectangular blank. I've seen more than one luthier do it out of general course. I like to try new things and change ideas up, so I'd like to give that a look in sometime.

The good thing is that having limited access to workspace gives you far more breathing spaces between farts, so to speak. Sometimes things end up rushed because of time constraints (never good for me since I am very tangible result-motivated) but mostly they are heavily thought out and work processes pre-meditated.

Working processes are a great part of the enjoyment I think. I love puzzles and problem solving. For me, going into work with a game plan is like a mental Rube Goldberg machine of sorts. Aspergers is an interesting aspect of one's life, especially later on when you've reconciled that thinking differently isn't wrong. I kind of enjoy how people don't understand how my personal thought processes and workflow function....like a 5-string Gandalf....

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  • 1 month later...

I've been making a big checklist as I I've been going through my first/current bass build. I do it mostly as planning - "here's what I'm going to get done this week", and I try to include all of the details, such as drawings, measurements, etc. required to complete each step to reduce the amount of improvisation (aka "winging it") I do. When I'm done with this project I plan on reviewing all of the steps to see what can be refined and also to fix some ordering issues I stumbled upon that made subsequent tasks more complicated. I'm sure it will help me next time, but I am faaaaar from a standardized/repeatable process. 

One of the issues I've been finding with this approach is that I often walk into the shop with a specific task in mind, but I arrive just not feeling like that's what I want to do that day ("I just don't feel like using the router today"). Or I show up and just flat-out change my mind, like I've done with the body roll-over and forearm cut. I'm doing this for fun, after all. If this was a job, I'd need a lot more discipline (not to mention skill, time, etc.). 

(Off topic thought  related to 'jobs'- I wonder if I can deduct expenses for tools, materials, etc. of building from income made playing gigs the way I can deduct strings, instruments, etc...)

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A lot of these things are simply impressed on you by experience. I know full well how it feels when you have a task you're simply not looking forward to. I have a foot stool project that I'm doing on the night class where I need to make a template for the pin router. I know how much time it'll take (an hour?) and it's holding the entire thing up. I must just be stupid.

You develop a better mind for working on your processes, however that also tends to be based around your available tools and workshop. If you don't have your own, changing space can really mess up your mentally established "routines".

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