First guitar build worklog - Finished!

Discussion in 'Musicians' started by Stygian Shane, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. Stygian Shane

    Stygian Shane Member

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    Building a guitar is something I've been meaning to do for a while, but have only now taken the plunge to actually get stuck into it. Thought I'd make a worklog to boot, regardless of how fast or slow progress may be.

    I'm doing it from a 'Build Your Own Guitar' book, because ultimately I've got nowhere else to reference - and a hardcopy book is just so much better than plans from any old internet site. I'll make sure to reference it later on, because it seems very decent in how its set out.

    On with the show.

    The plans that came with the book are for a 24 fret Strat knockoff with a couple of humbuckers and I'm choosing to go with either a bolt-on or set neck; yet to be decided. Doing the neck isn't something I've thought about a great deal yet, but I plan on building one from scratch rather than a premade. May as well set the bar high to start with.

    The body, however, will be Australian Blackwood. Mongrel timber to work with, but it finishes very nicely and it's able to be sourced locally, which helps immensely. Don't want to have to order more from interstate if I somehow fuck it up. Don't intend to do so, but hey, shit happens sometimes. As such, I've got a bit spare. Hopefully enough spare.

    So - I got ~3m of machined blackwood, and to date have cut into appropriate lengths and laminated for a 3piece body. The routed edges aren't perfect - I get the impression the router base is on an ever-so-slight angle, but it's good enough for this. End result is that the slab of timber on which I'll be doing the body blank has a smallish bow, resulting in a gap of about 2mm when comparing it to a straight edge. Not too critical, and the joins are well sealed.

    On with the pics. Only a couple to start.

    [​IMG]

    Just a freshly cut piece showing the end-grain and some of the face.


    [​IMG]

    And the prepared slab. I'll be making up a perspex cutting template in the next few days, and will go from that. Silver hardware just to see if it'll work - and I think that's how it'll be. Hardtail bridge of some description - trem/floyd rose isn't something I want to muck around with just yet.

    I'll post more as I get to it.
     
  2. CeeAyeEee

    CeeAyeEee Member

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    looks like a big job, id start with a thick piece of mdf to get the routing skills up before attempting the real thing.
    one thing ive never thought about is the scale length of a 22 and 24 fret (strat type) guitar the same? ive heard about people changing their necks and i suppose the didnt readjust the neck joint.
     
  3. sandwichamwin

    sandwichamwin Member

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    CeeAyeEee: The bridge will need to be moved closer to the neck if you use a 24fret neck on a guitar designed for 21/22 frets. (assuming scale lengths are matched).



    Looking forward to see the progress! I just bought a new neck for the strat I built a while back... wasn't happy with my fret job and too busy/cbf doing a refret lol. This looks like it will turn out nice (I love blackwood :))
     
  4. OP
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    Stygian Shane

    Stygian Shane Member

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    CeeAyeEee: I've a fair bit of experience with the router.

    sandwichamwin: Cheers. I hope it turns out playable - if not, it'll just be one to hang on the wall, I guess :p Blackwood is a very nice timber; I agree.


    [​IMG]

    Slowly but surely. This was cut with a template; you'll see a fair bit of excess at the bottom; my jigsaw died :tired: Will have to get another sometime. Or just a bandsaw; may come in handy for the neck. In time.


    [​IMG]

    It's free!


    [​IMG]

    Pickup and neck holes routed. Pickup and bridge from another dissembled BC Rich I had here.

    Pretty full on with work over the next week, but I hope to finish most of the body - considering just using that bridge. Originally a trem, but I'll just secure it properly and go string-thru. Can either buy ferrules, or just make them myself. Awfully tempting.
     
  5. OP
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    Stygian Shane

    Stygian Shane Member

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    Alright! Body edged, electronics cavity routed, and channel for pickup wires drilled. Almost made a fatal mistake and missed, but I made it through from the bridge pickup pocket to the electronics cavity with about 1mm to spare before breakthrough - and that 1mm is all that I need. Bridge holes drilled and string ferrules in place. (I figured that why buy something if I don't have to. Just used some pop-rivets with the pins knocked out and filed flat. Knocked them into place in the back of the body, and all is good.

    What's left for the body?

    Bit of tidying up of the pickup pockets
    Neck holes to be drilled
    Body contours for arm/waist
    Go-over with a sander to properly smooth the sides
    Input jack

    aand then apart from finishing it, with a fair bit sanding beforehand, it's pretty much done. On to the neck! Am considering buying a pre-slotted ebony or rosewood fretboard and making the rest of the neck out of mountain ash. Headstock will be blackwood veneer.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Another neck mounted just to see roughly what it'll look like.
     
  6. sandwichamwin

    sandwichamwin Member

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    Shit man, nice progress. What finish are you using?
     
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    Stygian Shane

    Stygian Shane Member

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    Cheers. I'm thinking of either going with a natural oil finish, or a sprayed coat of clear 2-pack. Not entirely sure yet; will see how it plays out.

    Will probably buy a piece of mountain ash tomorrow to start the neck, and order a few bits and pieces online. Truss rod, maybe tuners, nut blank, pre-radiused rosewood or ebony fretboard, fret wire. That sorta stuff.
     
  8. OP
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    Stygian Shane

    Stygian Shane Member

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    Body contours now carved out via spokeshave/s. Probably pretty conservatively, but no real issue just yet.
     
  9. tired

    tired Member

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    Been watching the thread with interest.
     
  10. DJ Fusion

    DJ Fusion Member

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    Nice work so far man! Body shape reminds me of the Ibanez JS. Looks comfy. :thumbup:
     
  11. OP
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    Stygian Shane

    Stygian Shane Member

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    Another (slight) progress shot.

    [​IMG]

    Input jack and plate done, and the cover for the electronics cavity is done. The fit isn't perfect, but it's good enough. Freehanding it at all was a poor choice, but the router bits are lacking. Next time.

    Attempted to make a start on the neck, but failed at the 'measure twice, cut once' effort and wasted a bit of timber. Enough left to do it again, providing I do it properly this time ;)
     
  12. sandwichamwin

    sandwichamwin Member

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    Looks nice man, except that jack... looks old and rusty? Would be a shame to put that on the completed guitar :). It might just be the reflection and my shit monitor though.

    Ouch, been there done that. Bought a big piece of highly figured maple for my bass neck and completely fucked it. I now measure 5 times! :lol:
     
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    Stygian Shane

    Stygian Shane Member

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    Yeah, the jack looks pretty nasty in the camera flash. Not to worry; it's just covered in sawdust :p
     
  14. OP
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    Stygian Shane

    Stygian Shane Member

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    Had a thin-ish section of blackwood laying about, so I made the (spontaneous) decision to make some pickup surrounds. First one came out fine; using one of the surrounds from the BC Rich that I've salvaged parts from, as a template. Drilled a few holes, routed the rest, and then got stuck into it with a file. Came up fine.

    Doing the same for the second surround though, I had to cut out quite a few blanks; wrecked about four before they were finished. Just the timber splitting while I was trying to do something with it. Fifth time lucky, and out it came.

    [​IMG]

    Photo's a bit blurry - love the autofocus onto the ground. I'd have got another but my magnificent timing meant the batteries went dead just as I was about to snap a decent one.

    Still figuring out where to start with the neck. I will, however, wait for the truss rod, fretboard and tuners before committing to anything; just so I get the dimensions for everything right. Currently in the process of translating a headstock design onto the slab I've got.
     
  15. Stewey

    Stewey Member

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    I always start with the truss rod rout or scarfing the headstock if it's an angled one.

    I like your body wood, a nice straight, simple grain. Looking good.
     
  16. OP
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    Stygian Shane

    Stygian Shane Member

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    Cheers; nice straight grain will help immensely with the neck, of which I now have a blank. Will do the truss rod channel tomorrow in the light, before drawing out the headstock and getting a more refined shape in. And then I start making mess with the spokeshave!

    And the timber looks nice but it's a prick to work with. Wrecks sharp edges and burns very easily. If I use it again it'll be for the top of a semi-hollow or layered body.
     
  17. Flecktone

    Flecktone Member

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    I think you're incredibly brave trying to fret it yourself.

    TBH, I really wouldn't recommend it with your first guitar - especially if you're planning to measure/slot the fretboard yourself as it needs to be EXTREMELY accurate, lest intonation fail spectacularly.

    I've seen a few really really beautiful hand made instruments that were let down by a 'less that perfect' fretboard. Unless it's pre-cut, then fine - just hammer away with the fret wire and get it to your liking.
    But if you're anything less that 150% sure that you can do it yourself right first time, i'd suggest maybe taking it to a professional lutheir just to do the fret work.

    I had a mate who went this way when he made his guitar, and the results were phenomenal. He was also adamant that there's no way he could have done as good a job as the luthier (who'd been in business for some ~30 years), and had he attempted to do it himself, he reckons at the very least it wouldn't have been as playable - which would've been a big let down after spending so much time and effort..

    Otherwise - Go nuts!!! The guitar looks fantastic so far! :leet::leet:
     
  18. OP
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    Stygian Shane

    Stygian Shane Member

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    Cheers mate :)

    The fretboard will indeed be preslotted. Just the first one, though. I've got plans for a few more when this is finished (and will be doing a big purchase in the very near future to equip myself properly to do this sorta thing) which I'll be doing myself.
     
  19. DJ Fusion

    DJ Fusion Member

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    Styg's buying a Plek machine!!

    Everybody form an orderly queue behind me... :lol::thumbup:
     
  20. OP
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    Stygian Shane

    Stygian Shane Member

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    Haha, close but no cigar. Although it would be nice to be able to charge ridiculous amounts of money for the use of it.

    But a bandsaw, rotary/spindle sander, a shitload of hand tools, that sort of thing. Really get into it ;)
     

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