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An itch to scratch


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Well, actually a couple of itches. We'll see how this goes.

Anyone remember this?

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It's my very first build. And some canned vegetables, headphones, cheese danish, and other background crap. The thing sounds & plays amazing. It ought to! Mahogany & maple body with paduk stringers, spalted maple wing caps, maple neck with paduk fretboard, and Bill Lawrence pickups. The ONLY problem with it is that the damn thing weighs more than a Les Paul! I just HATE playing it cuz it weighs so much.

Fortunately, I know how to build guitars, so I'm finally taking care of it.

Last Summer, I decided to make a new body for it. Chambered paduk with bookmatched spalted maple. 

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Overall, it's pretty unassuming. Everything screwed to the original body will transfer directly. There's still a little fine-tuning needed before I can start putting a finish on it.

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I also went another direction. I've been itchy lately. Maybe the guitar bug bit me again.

So whenever I build a neck, I have the same problem almost every time: it frets out around the 9th-13th fret. IDK what I'm doing wrong, but I have some suspicions. I bought a 12" radius router bit, but I haven't set up a jig to screw around with it yet. In the meantime, I bought a $40 Chinese neck. I knew what I was getting going into it, so I have -zero- illusions about craftsmanship. The cheap Chinese pedals actually sound amazing, and I have some pups that were great, so what the hell.

Going the cheap route, I used whatever I have on hand for the most part. I had to buy a Wilkinson bridge, some pots, and some knobs, but that was it. Maybe $30 total, plus the neck. I had most of a mahogany body blank sitting around, so it became the "peanut" shape I've done before. A gigantic pickguard, chicken head knob, and goofy looking pickups will keep the cobbled-together, home-made theme.

But the pups only LOOK goofy. They're real Bill Lawrence pickups from a Gibson Marauder.  (Yes, Muzz, you may be jealous. No, you cannot have them ;) ) The neck pup is brand new - still has the plastic film. 

Overall, it OUGHT to sound OK. I mean, mahogany/maple is a proven formula. The Marauder pups are low powered, like in the 2.5K range, but because they're Bill Lawence, I'm positive they'll be good.

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The p/g isn't quite finished yet. I'm debating on a belly cut and forearm bevel. The body is just getting a good oiling and that's it.

 

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1 hour ago, MiKro said:

HI John,

All well in your neck of the woods? This getting old shit sucks.

In the last 7 years - divorce, moved, vehicular homicide (ran over a guy), job loss - 2 years unemployed, bankruptcy, career change, lost my house, moved, remarried, I'm really ready for a break.

 

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11 minutes ago, avengers63 said:

In the last 7 years - divorce, moved, vehicular homicide (ran over a guy), job loss - 2 years unemployed, bankruptcy, career change, lost my house, moved, remarried, I'm really ready for a break.

 

Dude, that's rough. Try and be safe, settle in for slight change. :)

MK

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55 minutes ago, avengers63 said:

In the last 7 years - divorce, moved, vehicular homicide (ran over a guy), job loss - 2 years unemployed, bankruptcy, career change, lost my house, moved, remarried, I'm really ready for a break.

 

dang... well if at any point I'm feeling down... and don't take this the wrong way... I'll think of you and remember I have it easy.  

love that tele in the first post.  the new more "jetsons" direction is also very fetching.

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Also, I bought one of these. It should be here in a few weeks. I haven't even started planning what body shape to go for. I have a set of Hamer HBs and a Fender Strat set waiting for somewhere to go. I also have lots of veneer and a few thin tops waiting to fancy up a plain body. I'm kinda feeling some wood porn, but it's way too early to say.

 

 

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Decisions have been made.

The headless hardware has to go on a pointy guitar. Anything traditional wouldn't be right. Rummaging through my available product, I came across a couple of things. One was a sheet of formica that looks like brushed aluminum. Thus was it decided that the headless pointy thing will be faced with what looks like brushed aluminum.

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Asking wifey's opinion on what fretboard to use, as any smart man is wont to do, she IMMEDIATELY said "Black. Black hardware and silver top HAS to have a black fretboard." So it seems that I am destined to use one of my 4 ebony fretboards on the headless, silver, pointy thing. At this point, I think it'll get the Hamer HB set.  The body will be walnut. The neck will be salvaged from a bubinga neck I started prolly 10 years ago, abandoned, and found this afternoon.

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I found a few other things, so the story doesn't end there. i stumbled upon a Les Paul Florintine body base I had completely forgotten about. It's only 1.25" thick, so it was intended to have a top of some sort. I've been jonesing for a P90 guitar. I just so happen to have 2 P90s and a Gibson P100. A stripped-down LP with P90s seems right, but that's not really what's gonna happen. Looking at my available tops, I thought "Why not a spruce acoustic top? I don't think I've ever seen that before." 

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I think it'll look pretty good. I'm considering a tortiose shell pickguard, chambering, f-holes, and binding. Spruce it up a bit, as it were. (Yes, that was a dad joke. I'm a dad. Get over it.)

For the neck, I found one I had started for reasons I can't remember, but know that I  had abandoned. It's hickory with chechen & maple scarf pinstripes, and a pair of pinstripes under the fretboard. Conveniently, I have 2 chechen fretboard blanks that have been sitting around for more than 10 years.

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So OK....  I'll admit it now. The guitar bug bit me again.

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Niiiiice.

I made a mission style bench out of mahogany some years back with relief carving on the back reminiscent of that. Those ebony pieces had to be carved separately and glued to the headstock face. That's fiddly work with small pieces of super hard splintery wood. You gonna try it? You could go a long way with your jigsaw skills. Just like cutting inlays and then adding a bit a surface decoration, and you don't have to route out any cavities.

Good to see you rejoining the madness John.:)

SR

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1 hour ago, avengers63 said:

HELL NO I'm not gonna try and carve anything! I'm much more inclined to do stuff like this....

Yes you are, and history proves that out. You've got some beautiful fretboards under your belt.

Damn I like the carve on that bottom pic you posted.......

SR

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4 hours ago, ScottR said:

Yes you are, and history proves that out. You've got some beautiful fretboards under your belt.

Damn I like the carve on that bottom pic you posted.......

SR

The hell I am! I'll do some stuff to a fretboard, there's no denying that. I'll love every minute of it and come back for more. But getting out chisels and carving? Not happening. I don't even wanna do the bell curve on an archtop, much less the stuff you do.

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So more devisions have been made and directions have changed. The headless guitar is now going to be a Christmas present for my new daughter (new wife's 15 y/o - we don't use "step" to describe them). She's been slowly learning on my old Steinberger, so she's getting her own in December. Wifey had her try out a few bodies to see if she liked them. A V is out of the question because she's new and it won't stay on her leg when practicing. As she had the girl "try on" some body shapes..... Well......  Puberty blessed her early with a healthy rack that would be the envy of most women. Even with a bra on, her right boob just spilled over the top of every body but one.....

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Now I didn't really wanna make another Corvus. I was gonna scale down my strat-like shape for her. Wifey said the Corvus was absolutely the way to go. Crap. So I spent a couple hours looking over the wood I still have (not gonna buy more right now!). The walnut and mahogany I have are just plain unacceptable for this one. It's too small a body for center stringers, allowing wings. I don't think it'd look right. So it's gonna be hard Northers ash - just like no other headless Corvus. The blank is in the clamps right now.

The neck is at least staying buninga with an ebony fretboard.

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The string holder adapter thing that goes on the end of the neck has a hone in the end to get to the truss rod. It turns ut the angle on the end is exactly 20 degrees. I accidentally nailed it on the first cut.

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Now this girl has TINY little fingers. Her pinkie is abnormally short. By big toe and 2nd toe are longer than her pinkie. It's freakishly short. I have a knuckle of finger length on most folks. I have almost 2 knuckles on all of her fingers.  So the neck has to be REALLY narrow. IDK how that's gonna work out with the pickup pole spacing. The bridge spacing is set, so Ima hafeta make a new taper template. Also, because of her micro-hands, she's getting a 22" scale length. Just laying out the fret slots seemed to take forever. Finding a scale length calculator was easy. They all gave the measurements in decimals. Converting them to the nearest 64th of an inch was available on-line as well, but still a pain. 

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I'm glad I had the measuring thingie already. I had to use the point of the compass as a hole punch, then made the line. I made sure to always measure from the 0 or 12th frets as I KNOW a couple will end up being off by a smidge. Those smidges can add up to a cascade failure. 

I'm done for the day. I might slot the f/b tomorrow. Might get the body to the template. Might not do anything. We'll see.

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13 minutes ago, ScottR said:

I meant yes you are more inclined to do stuff like you pictured re the fretboards.:D

SR

Gotcha. 

I've actually thought about making an intricate inlay, slotting the board, and seeing what I could get for it on eBay.

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9 hours ago, avengers63 said:

Now this girl has TINY little fingers. Her pinkie is abnormally short.

Hand on heart, how many players actually use their pinkie? Not to mention Django Reinhart who could only use two fingers on the fretboard...

Rather than narrowing the fretboard I'd make her try several neck shapes. Even a tall V can feel smaller than a flat D as there's less material where the base knuckles are.

My daughter has got her hand shape from me, including the top knuckles of the pinkies being bent towards the other fingers. She was very unhappy with that as she felt she had a handicap with the keyboard. But when she met other keyboardists at the LCCM she noticed that her stretch was way over an octave which was more than many of the long fingered players could do. Although her fingers aren't long, her palms are wide and the tips of the curved pinkies actually help in playing the right note at the extents.

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 I use my pinkie a LOT. She won't be, cuz it basically ain't there.

Anyway....

I was putting off slotting the fretboard for a few minutes and got the body planed down to 1.5" and roughed out. It was later routed to the template.

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Nothing left to do, I was forced to get out this hateful bastard...

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I HATE slotting frets by hand. The gent's saw fights with me constantly. Fortunately, I now have a Japanese saw! HAH! Those things make VERY short work of it. Then came an unforseen problem. What's new, right?

I was starting to lay everything out on the body, hoping to plot out bridge, pickup, and control placement. But I didn't take into account shortening the scale length by 3". The truss rod is WAY too long. I'm going to have to make a new blank, routed to use an acoustic rod. It's not hard in the least seeing as it's just a plain, straight piece of lumber milled to 3/4", but it still halts progress for the day.

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On a much funnier note, I went in search of my wife to (complain) tell her what was happening. I found Morticia Adams in the front yard cutting the blooms off of her rose bushes.

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She says it directs the nutrients to the new buds trying to form. I say she belongs in the Adams Family.

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21 minutes ago, avengers63 said:

She says it directs the nutrients to the new buds trying to form. I say she belongs in the Adams

She is not wrong though.

 

Yif you know what you are doing this can really help. Lots of roses can get a fuller and brighter blooms if you thin out the early ones.

like many things roses are over engineered and produce to many blooms for their own good.

 

 

but interessting looking body will follow this in detail

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11 hours ago, Alucard0811 said:

Lots of roses can get a fuller and brighter blooms if you thin out the early ones.

That's true to other plants as well. With flowers, if you cut away the flowers that have lost their glory the plant will push new ones as it wants to make seeds. If you take every second flower off a fruit tree you'll get bigger fruit. If you cut off every second bunch of grapes at an early stage you'll get better wine. To the extent, if you cut a slice of the bark off about two third's circumference of the twigs you'll get more fruit as the suffering bush or tree tries to reproduce.

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