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The Wonders of Ply? Opinions?


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Hi Guys,

I'm fairly new to the whole notion of building a guitar from scratch, and im ttrying to work my way up in a fairly cost effective manner :D

I bought a 2nd hand Onyx warlock copy thing that I planned on refinishing and generally just refurbishing, however after starting to take off the paint ive reallised its made of ~40mm thick ply (i was wondering why it was so light) B) I also found 2 fairly small cracks around the neck joint on the body that have come all the way through the finish.

Since then ive actually managed through a mate of my dads to get myself a few peices of ply about 1m square and ~50mm thick that are offcuts from peices used to floor trains.

So my idea was to use the peices of ply to basically stuff around and try and create my own shape body, but with the same neck joint and cavities as the old one, so that way i can still refinish it and put all the old hardware in the new body, but I dont have to worry about it being weak and ready to snap (like the old one, since it had those 2 cracks in it). I would basically use this as a guinea pig for a material finish and as genral practice for cutting a body.

Does that sound ok? Is ply really THAT crap, in that it would be a complete waste of time? Cause before i took it apart, the bridge pickup in this thing was hot as far as i was concerned. It was nowhere near as mellow as my other guitar made of mahogany, but it had this awesome raw crunch to it which i loved for my metal stuff. And with this ply, if it works i would like to keep it as half memento, half playable guitar, and if it doesnt... i havent wasted any money? :D

- Dan

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If you're just 'getting into it', I think plywood is a great idea and learning platform.

Go for it.

By the way, I did the exact same thing with a Warlock I bought long ago. I used the original plywood body (well, it's not true plywood, but it is some kind of fake wood) as a template to make a 'master' router template out of, and made an exact duplicate of it out of nice wood. I used the neck cuz it was a nice 24 fret diamond-pattern inlay job.

Have at it and have some fun!

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I have no idea what type of ply this is... i can try and find out. But i get this stuff for free... so i dont imagine anything else out there could be cheaper :D

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I vote against the plywood....I have a cheap plywood strat and it simply sounds "dead". Just buy alder or basswood an make a body out of that. Both are very cheap and good sounding woods. You will easily get a body of these woods for about $25 - $50....why waste so much work for a couple of bucks? Everything else will cost you much more i.e. tools, etc. so I won't try to save at the wrong end.

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Thanks for your input GuitarMaestro, however, keeping in mind this ply i have is costing me NOTHING, and ive NEVER attempted to cut out a guitar body before, and the guitar i am getting the hardware/electronics from is already made out of ply and i thought it sounded good for what i want to use it for, wouldnt you then say its not such a bad idea?

However you should also keep in mind its significantly harder to get a hold of wood here in Australia compared to in the US (eg: you cant just jump on eBay and get a nice peice for a good price - you have to slug it on foot and there is defnintey no-one local to me that is affordable).

After i have tried this to gauge difficulty and what tools i need ect ect I will take the hard road and find a nice peice of wood and i plan on making myself an explorer... so yeah, i dont think at all ply is acceptable for a quality guitar :D

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I vote against the plywood....I have a cheap plywood strat and it simply sounds "dead"

I agree. A friend of my son's bought a cheap Strat copy with a ply body (They're labled "Behringer" with I think 10W amp also Behringer the whole lot for about $150 new) but the guitar sounds dead ,the strings cut your fingers off in the first position not to mention the terrible intonation up the neck, and can't wait to get his hands on my son's guitar every chance he gets. (A tele built by myself) The tele has a Pirana top with a Laminated mahogany and pirana back.

Keith

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For a first try use the free ply to build your skills.

Also thump on it and see how it resonates this will give you a small hint as to its future. Ive had some ply guitars I liked for the "non-traditional" tone, not the first guitar to reach for but definitley a different option.

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My first body building experience was with MDF. It weighed a ton and was crap for a guitar body, but I did learn to use all my tool the right way before I cut into some quality wood.

I say go for the ply wood.

I'm about to hack into a pine table top or two for my next project. :D

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