Guitar Two...

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Simo

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Not expensive enough... this was a u.s guy who made a few a year. He picked timber that he wanted to use to cover the frame, he then found the resonant frequency of the wood and made the frame to match the frequency. I am not an expert but i would imagine as soon as the timber is cut ( and the mass changes ) the frequency would change?

Is it Teuffel you're thinking of? His 'Birdfish' model is made out of alloy with wooden ''tonebars''.
 

D_W

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I made a second body out of cherry, as mentioned here. Just flatsawn 8/4 cherry that's $6 a board foot (cherry is surprisingly musical, but I don't have the experience yet to know what the right note is). That won't make sense to someone else, but you can get a higher pitched note and it's "tight" or too low (limba with low density can make a really low "pong" and not sound like much.

I had a great grain match after doing all of the cutting and dimensioning of this by hand - dimensioning is always a pleasure.

And then I realized I'd cut a notch out for the cutaway, and I had the template on the wrong side (which makes it upside down). So, it would've been a great grain match for a lefty.

I'm not a lefty. I toot my horn in the hand tool side sometimes about how well you can get a joint with hand tools just as a matter of dimensioning (you plane the edges square, the glue joint is non-existent) and I had to put a pencil mark on this one to be able to locate straight to attach the template....

...except this is the wrong side.


20220220_154402.jpg


20220220_154416.jpg


Not as nice on the front side, and I template routed the outside of this ...what a soulless activity, along with the pickup routs.

The lamination line on the second blank is to the right of the pickups - could be worse. If it's too bad, I'll get artist colors and make this thing brown or something else interesting.
 

D_W

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prelim calculations, without an arch, I think the neck angle will be about 1.5 degrees (rosey paul with the carved top is right around 4 or slightly under - my top was slightly thicker than gibson's average which resulted in a nice low brige).

These two guitars should be light enough to have strong mids. I still think there's no real improvement in any les paul over the very stripped down lower models other than attention to neck profile, etc, and that the sandwich combination in solid bodies gives up a lot.

Best commercial guitar I ever played in terms of resonance was a collings 360 all mahogany.
 

baldkev

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Is it Teuffel you're thinking of? His 'Birdfish' model is made out of alloy with wooden ''tonebars''.

I just looked that up... nope. This was an aluminium frame which was then covered with the chosen wood. The frame itself was designed and 'tuned' to the resonant frequency of the wood being used. I can't remember if the neck was aluminium, ive got a feeling it was.
 

D_W

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heading toward lunch - slow progress (the stuff looks like this to start), but that's the case when work is just 45 minutes or so at lunch and trying to sneak another hour in the evening when the kids are doing homework or practicing piano.

Can't remember how well the necks were trued, but they were not particularly flat yesterday, so I re-trued them. IT's warm this week and I"m sure it will be cold again soon (so moisture level in the air will change drastically). Wood from this slab years past twisted significantly over only two weeks (and probably less than that), so at the very least, I don't want to put fingerboards on them and throw them into either guitar less than a week from now.

Neck 2 has some cracking in the peghead (remember, these are cheapie guitars) , but all of it is sound enough to glue - If it needs to be remade, I'll do that, but at the very least, it'll get a strong peghead overlay to help it out.

In the event these blanks twist with humidity, I guess I'll make two laminated from 8/4 stock with a walnut or maple stripe down the center.

20220222_091721.jpg


lunch today is just more shaping on the necks and chisel/rout(er plane) the truss rod grooves to depth.
 

D_W

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The belt sander has turned out to be a very valuable dimensioning tool for these necks. It's not particularly good for final sizing (it would be close enough), but for stock removal without having to clamp things, it's great. Peghead thicknessing, bulk removal, etc.

sizing the necks to final width later is still better done with a spokeshave and floats, though - at least if quality is important.
 

D_W

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small progress from lunch. It'd be just dandy if these two way truss rods had smaller nuts on the ends and didn't require such a big cavity just below the nut.

These are somewhere around 17/18" long and by the time all is said and done here, this tenon will be cut off near the butt end of the truss rod. Gibson's single iron type is as long or longer, but (threaded) nut goes well past the nut of the guitar, so it doesn't end up as close to the pickup cavity (this one will end up *really* close).

20220222_130018.jpg


Next bits neck joint. on both parts, cutting the necks to final width, etc. plenty left.
 

D_W

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question for the knowledgable peanut gallery. Thoughts on inlays for this guitar? None? ebony blocks?

Ebony LP type?

I do have the abalone colored celluloid, too - gaudy.

And also, this are going to be fairly harsh compared to roseypaul - what do you think about binding the neck? I have a thought on that a little more definite (actually, one of the cheaper gibson guitars I ever had was a les paul special plus - or rather, I had three of them over a several year period). The virtue to them is they didn't seem to have the blocky neck the later fade types had (it was really nice actually, the neck profile) and they had no bling on them except the neck was bound.

I liked it.

But the real reason I'd trouble with it is to do a better job on the next carved top LP type rather than ignoring it.

I think neck binding has no purpose other than hiding the fret ends. Body binding, I get - it protects the body perimeter. It could do that on the neck, but far less bump traffic there. But two reps at making a fingerboard neck size minus binding with precision, so that the binding is even all the way around - that would be valuable (and it doesn't take long to bind the neck).

I'm leaning away from inlays because there's no great reason to have them. I've always been a fan of small dots at the top of the fingerboard (like low-E side of the neck), but it's not a particularly traditional look.
 

baldkev

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I'm leaning away from inlays because there's no great reason to have them. I've always been a fan of small dots at the top of the fingerboard (like low-E side of the neck), but it's not a particularly traditional look.

I like that too.... contrasting colour, very swish
 

D_W

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Little done today, at least thus far - both fingerboards have stayed very flat through a couple of temp changes (if I have quartered rosewood that will twist, it does so pretty quickly). So, I thicknessed them to around .25" or just below.

20220223_095605.jpg


my overhead lighting is bright white (mostly 6-7k ish LED), so it's not easy to show color. This stuff has a wonderful boxwood color, tthough I've got some thinking to do as it will get filthy if the fingerboard is unfinished, and as unfinished box will do, it will turn gray (interesting that the imitation does the same as the real thing).

It planes like a dream, though. I suspect it might be a little brittle fretting as it feels a lot like ebony does, just not as hard- as in, there's not much of any grain direction feel.

I imagined all kinds of lack of straightness on the fingerboard of the roseypaul and in the end when I got the strings on it, they were all in my imagination or maybe some visual anomaly (looking from a bad reference etc). However, the fingerboard width was left a little bit fat (by me) assuming that I would need to install binding and then trim it back. That wasn't as accurate as I'd have liked, so maybe a trimming jig is in order.

There are two things I despise - a cut that involves a tedious routine and doesn't feel like woodworking, and jigs/shop nesting. What do I mean by that? The point of jigs can end up getting to removing you from the equation and sometimes to the detriment of speed and skill building. It's also a waste of time to build them if you don't like doing it, so my jigs tend to be the most simplistic of things that get close to a fitted size and I'll hand finish everything once it's on the guitar. To that end, the jig is literally a trace of the neck template onto scrap ply (that's been jointed straight by hand) and 1/4" ply strips glued down with CA and activator. this may end up being more of a checking jig than it is a working jig (I realized part of the way through, I'd gotten the direction backwards and made it left handed, but i can plane left handed, and saw left handed for that matter, so it's no big deal). took somewhere around 10-15 minutes to make. The one side is template size (unbound fingerboard) and the other is a uniformly narrower template just under 2mm less wide (the binding very very slightly greater than 1mm). I don't want a bound fingerboard that ends up shy of the neck - but using the same template for everything, I should have about half a hundredth of squish in total.



The wet spots are activator.

A few years ago, I gave up on making jigs that were expensive materials (I never use them enough) or held together 14 ways and figured if CA glue doesn't hold, then I'll do a better job. I don't recall anything giving up. If I break this or kick it by accident or drop it, no big deal.

While doing this stuff, I got an email that fed ex dropped off a package. It's cherry from irion...I kind of keep my eyes open for thicker slabs of wood that have really straight grain. The price is never that great, but the chance that the wood will be stable when sawn in single piece necks or look good on a guitar body is better. The difference in the cost for a guitar from outright junk to something that is more like this (it was advertised as a 10/4 mantle slab) isn't a whole lot - maybe $30? $40? I'll save that money somewhere else.

20220223_132225.jpg
 

D_W

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slotting fingerboards cutting freehand - separate issue - requires marking, too. I haven't decided order of operations, but there have been times where I'd like the fingerboard (after profiling) to be able to be viewed square, so the one open end of this piece of plywood will be "stripped" with something that's got half the taper that the fingerboard does. That way, if I choose to do all of the sawing last, I can at least mark the fingerboard squarely. I've done that before with shims, but it can be a pain.

I have no TS that would be usable for this kind of stuff, so considering ways this would feed across a power tool isn't really in question.
 

D_W

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Will take a break from posting about the build for a while until there's more progress made. I marked the fingerboards at lunch today and the necks are ready for finer work. Where things stand no is this cherry is dry (and one peghead already has glued repairs in it out of the billet). I'm struggling to guess what the peghead overlay should be - just that after making the laminated peghead, this wood, cracked or not, isn't nearly as strong. Mahogany wouldn't be either with such a steep peghead angle (gibsons suffer breaks often, of course).

I will be putting an overlay on no matter what just to give some differing grain. Should it be castelo box like the fingerboard? I think that might be a little funny looking, but can't think of anything else that would go well with the fingerboard as there's no ebony inlays or anything to match. Glitzy ebony or straight grained rosewood would also look funny.

I'm thinking the box is the most suitable thing even though it might look a little odd.
 

D_W

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(separately, found today - I think - that my dovetail saws all cut a couple of thousandths under .023, which is what fret manufacturers recommend.

I have a gaggle of saws, but they all seem to be around .020-.021 and then .03 or more.

I set a gents saw to about .04 with the intention to hammer the set back uniformly above .023 by a couple of thousandths and have it set at about .025" now. i realized my error in measuring before was in using calipers - the blades that measure the inside diameter can push into surrounding wood very easily (like .002 or .003) giving a slightly illusory result. In this case, it didn't hurt anything in in the end, but made fret installation a lot harder than it should've been, which wasn't making sense given the .023 measurement and recommendation.

Of course, the appropriate test is to take an offcut of the castelo box and test fret wire -the fit is good/snug now, the frets go in relatively easily and they don't come back out very easily.

...lastly, before taking a break from taking pictures of everything all the way along, the end of the "mantle" and why I will waste money on common woods in pieces that look well sawn.


20220224_135847_copy_829x1530.jpg


wood with good color sawn with that orientation and pith on center (so that the quartered wood doesn't twist even though it's quartered) isn't too often seen at regular stockists here.

Irion and Horizon are specialty mills that will charge more but offer a lot of stuff that doesn't just come off of a cant that's turned over and over to get maximum flatsawn footage.
 

giantbeat

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Love a good guitar build, this looks fantastic.

my former business partner was a guitar maker before he got into doing drums with me, I always wanted him to carry on and do it full time when we set up the drum factory, we had more than enough tooling it was fascinating watching him do the odd bit before he packed in, I think I still have all his templates stored away… he left the drum co 5 years ago and is now a driving instructor…. Terrible waste of talent.

I look forwards to more pics & posts.
 

D_W

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Love a good guitar build, this looks fantastic.

my former business partner was a guitar maker before he got into doing drums with me, I always wanted him to carry on and do it full time when we set up the drum factory, we had more than enough tooling it was fascinating watching him do the odd bit before he packed in, I think I still have all his templates stored away… he left the drum co 5 years ago and is now a driving instructor…. Terrible waste of talent.

I look forwards to more pics & posts.

I'm not sure what the magic in the US is in terms of getting a solid list of customers. I think there are a lot of excellent builders who then end up working either doing custom work for manufacturers (like the guys making dangelico guitars in the US - they make several brands and there's only a few of them), and then there are a few who can curate a customer list for $20k acoustic guitars.

Guitars and guitar electronics are a notorious money loser for most people trying it here and a lot of folks bounce out of a stressful job and try and make a go of making guitars or pedals, etc, because they were able to do it as a hobby and sell a little here and there).

It's a rough thing. The only outlier I can think of is a couple of guys building guitars that really aren't very good but with some celebrity endorsements and "old wood" making claims that the sloppiness and cheap cost of their materials is sort of going against the grain and being unique (Think $4k fender style guitars made sloppily with otherwise normal electronics and stuff in them - something you'd expect to see for a third of that and made better).
 

D_W

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little bits here and there....not as long as I said it would be before I left another update.

I split the two guitars at this point (it's nice to make the rough parts of two at a time, but it's nicer to do the other stuff one at a time just to be able to see progress).

I cut the neck tenon and pocket (but need to shim the back of the pocket now - there's about a sheet of paper space at the back of the pocket but it will allow choosing where to apply a thick plane shaving to get the neck as straight as possible)

Peghead overlay is castelo box, and the jig for the fingerboard worked well.

I'd cut the fret slots a few thousandths over .023 and realized when I looked at the frets I have (generally modern jumbo and then something like fender medium proportions, the former are .057" tall and .115 wide, and the latter something like .05 and .095) ,the smaller frets have much smaller nibs or whatever on the part of the fret that fits in the slot, and I tested the set put on the saw with the jumbo frets...

....but I cut both fingerboards. bummer. I'm surprised that the dots/arrows/nibs on the fret tangs are so different in size - like a factor of two.

20220228_164457.jpg
20220228_164419.jpg
 

D_W

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as clean as the mortise looks, it's cut entirely by hand - mahogany leaves a surface off of a float like it's been spiral head cut (the pickup cavities are just routered).

I can see why cabinetmakers would get used to it - it just does whatever you ask of it. Strange dark spot on the body is just because I didn't want to sand off the bridge marks - they appear to be well placed to be dead on at 24.75". front and back will get a simple roundover.

Considering what to use for the bridge. I like the ABR-1 type bridge (or whatever the vintage type is called) but the wood really isn't hard enough for it. I will probably insert a turned dowel of very hard wood like gombeira or persimmon to seat the bridge posts rather than using the heavy metal ones that are stock in gibson now.
 

D_W

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(shim in guitars means something specific for anyone used to dealing with fenders. In this case, I'm going to shim with a plane shaving and glue on both sides - just as a matter of avoiding any thicker glue lines- the whole point of this guitar and the cherry one is to see if getting rid of the very hard neck and top will bring the mid resonance back).
 

the great waldo

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as clean as the mortise looks, it's cut entirely by hand - mahogany leaves a surface off of a float like it's been spiral head cut (the pickup cavities are just routered).

I can see why cabinetmakers would get used to it - it just does whatever you ask of it. Strange dark spot on the body is just because I didn't want to sand off the bridge marks - they appear to be well placed to be dead on at 24.75". front and back will get a simple roundover.

Considering what to use for the bridge. I like the ABR-1 type bridge (or whatever the vintage type is called) but the wood really isn't hard enough for it. I will probably insert a turned dowel of very hard wood like gombeira or persimmon to seat the bridge posts rather than using the heavy metal ones that are stock in gibson now.
An abr bridge with 6-32 or 4 mm threads will be fine. Just put a few drops of ultra thin super glue in the hole after thereading the posts and let it fully harden. That'll harden up the mahogany nicely and keep the posts securely in. By the way fret slots shouldn't be too tight. You can always tap the bottom of the fret tang with the edge of a chisel / file (I use a warington hammer that i've ground the sharp end to an invereted v shape)
Cheers
Andrew
 

Setch

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Looking very nice, the cherry and castillo box looks sympathetic if atypical. I think cherry may be one of of my favourite woods. I made a tele style neck using cherry for a MIMF $100 guitar challenge, a it was lovely to work, and aged to a really nice mid tone, with subtle shimmer. The close grain and crispness of maple, with the agreeable workability and warmth of mahogant are a bonus.
 

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