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The Zenith - A semi hollow electric based on my mandola design


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Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one. 🤣

It's been a busy couple of weeks, but progress has been made. Got the last few frets in and got the neck pocket cut. I really wanted to get it two millimeters deeper, but the router collet was burning the top of the template and I didn't feel comfortable lowering the bit any further in the collet. I could probably rig up something on the router table to finish it out. I'm going to sleep on it. I just don't want the bridge to be too high. I've never owned or installed a Gibson style bridge, so I'm in uncharted territory. 

PXL_20210505_014027534.thumb.jpg.18fa925dd1e98bea021513e58febe120.jpg

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After finally finishing my mandola build I decided I needed to build something simple, as a means of stress release, to take my mind of of some big projects I'm working on. Compared to a carved acoust

My LMI order will finally be here tomorrow, and I'll be working on the neck for the next little while. In the meantime I cleaned up the general profile around the scroll/cutaway and have been thinking

Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one. 🤣 It's been a busy couple of weeks, but progress has been made. Got the last few frets in and got the neck pocket cut. I really wanted to get it two millimeter

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I decided the neck pocket needed to be deeper, so I ordered a 1.25" cut depth router bit and added another 3mm of depth to the pocket. Looks like that will work out perfectly. 

So I drilled a nice long 1/4" hole into the heel of the neck for pickup wiring and went ahead and glued in the neck. I roughed out the neck heel to body connection. I may tweak the slope/transition slightly, but I really like it. This is the first sort of 'heel-less' neck to body transition that I've done.  

PXL_20210513_031633651.thumb.jpg.c28b7838fb2952238f07c96b834e50e6.jpg

 

Next up are pickup routes, bridge post holes, and then a painful amount of sanding!

 

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7 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

That blonde stripe at the heel area creates an illusion of more laminated layers! Very stylish!

I noticed that too. I knew that maple was going to be there, but seeing it altogether it really kind of fools the eye into looking like it's an additional laminate. I like it. :)

 

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10 hours ago, mattharris75 said:

but I really like it. This is the first sort of 'heel-less' neck to body transition that I've done. 

I predict you'll find it difficult to go back.....

SR

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looks lovely.  really great.  i will 3rd the heel - looks comfy.  

afa bit... well if it was hitting your template... and you had the top cut... would seem like you should be able to put some tape on the guitar, remove your template and gain the width of your template in depth.  

lovely couple pieces of flame there.  bravo.

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16 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

 

afa bit... well if it was hitting your template... and you had the top cut... would seem like you should be able to put some tape on the guitar, remove your template and gain the width of your template in depth.  

 

If everything had been square it would have been a breeze. Unfortunately, post-carving, that was not the case...

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2 minutes ago, mattharris75 said:

If everything had been square it would have been a breeze. Unfortunately, post-carving, that was not the case...

router sled?

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39 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

router sled?

I'm sure there were other options that would have done the trick, but I decided to go with what was the simplest for me. And I actually needed a new pattern bit anyway, so it all worked out. :)

 

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Pickup routes... Had to elevate the router over the neck to do the neck pickup route, so a little half inch plywood and plenty of double sided tape and away we go.

PXL_20210518_232226773.thumb.jpg.d15106e370c00744b466ce2e318baa8e.jpg

 

Couldn't help myself and threw in the pickups for a quick look. They're not at all in position, but you get the drift. It's all coming together!

PXL_20210519_021313518.thumb.jpg.850514cdbfe26b0f1231be992c28a7f8.jpg

 

I've been researching whether to drill the holes for the bridge posts even or staggered. Due to the adjustability of this bridge I'm leaning toward even at the moment.

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I have to make similar accommodations for routing my pickups as well, Matt. I usually route out a channel for the neck to fit into and use the fretboard/neck end for the north wall of the template. Many ways to skin that cat...

And damn this is sexy!

SR

 

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They need to be sanded down a bit, but pickup rings or no? Thoughts? I'm about 50/50.

The original plan was to go without, but now I'm not so sure. The walnut kind of ties things together. I'll also likely either do walnut or wenge knobs.

PXL_20210520_023511921.thumb.jpg.2fd0b8966f64f6c70d48b2845a20273e.jpg

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The pickup rings certainly look nice with the open type humbuckers - plain chrome has a bit more 'finished' look by itself than the bare bobbins.

Have you thought about rounding the edges of the rings to match the body shape?

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It's been a busy week, but I've managed to make a little progress. Unfortunately nothing that makes for interesting pictures though!

I sanded the pickup rings to their proper thickness, drilled the holes for the bridge posts, drilled the wiring access from the pickup route to the control cavity, and drilled the hole for the bridge post grounding. Still a few piddly things to do like that, but I'm essentially down to the sanding now! I can't put it off for much longer! 😬

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On 5/28/2021 at 4:37 PM, mattharris75 said:

I'm essentially down to the sanding now! I can't put it off for much longer! 

I may be alone in this, but for me, sanding is kind of magical. The wood comes to life right under your fingertips.

SR

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52 minutes ago, ScottR said:

I may be alone in this, but for me, sanding is kind of magical. The wood comes to life right under your fingertips.

SR

not sure if I'm dissagreeing... but afa the figure... right off the planer it looks amazing, then I sand it and it dissapears.  that said... the piece itself... sanding it softens it, and makes it your own... so in that regard - def the most satisfying part.  take all these sharp corners and soften them to your exact taste... sort of like signing the painting.

above... in this piece - what I see as a sig is the contrast between the very soft features of the body, but the attention to detail in the edges of the f hole being sharp yet softened just a bit.  the detail of that horn... transitions... where soft meets sharp right at the edge of the horn.  it's my fav detail for sure.  

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1 hour ago, ScottR said:

.....sand it some more....

SR

perhaps if I brought it up to 800 or 1500 grit... but I suspect that is going to make it not take dye well, no?

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4 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

perhaps if I brought it up to 800 or 1500 grit... but I suspect that is going to make it not take dye well, no?

The dark areas will be fine. The highlight areas may take a little less, which creates more contrast.

Test on scrap. :)

SR

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43 minutes ago, ScottR said:

The dark areas will be fine. The highlight areas may take a little less, which creates more contrast.

Test on scrap. :)

SR

will try and I believe you... just I've read a number of places that going past 400 grit on wood will burnish the surface.  that said... bring to 220, dye, sand to 800, then clear is typically what I do.  

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58 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

will try and I believe you... just I've read a number of places that going past 400 grit on wood will burnish the surface.  that said... bring to 220, dye, sand to 800, then clear is typically what I do.  

It will burnish the surface if you let your paper fill with resin. (My experience is you get corns at 400 and resin at 600--I skip 600 and go straight to 1500 micromesh). Sanding to 220, dying and sanding to 800 should give you very nice results. And obviously do, judging from your builds.

SR

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16 minutes ago, ScottR said:

It will burnish the surface if you let your paper fill with resin. (My experience is you get corns at 400 and resin at 600--I skip 600 and go straight to 1500 micromesh). Sanding to 220, dying and sanding to 800 should give you very nice results. And obviously do, judging from your builds.

SR

well... thank you.  i see you freq dye above 400 and that is one of the things I'll take away.  honestly i guess it was superstition that I never considered dying when it was sanding above 400, but based on things I've read.  Will try asap!!

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