Twin Guitar Projects (Solid Body Electric)

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You're correct! It should have been 3mm further back on the bass side to account for the compensated scale, but being paranoid about the positioning, I drew a straight line and forgot to mark the compensated position.

However, I tested it with a tuner and the intonation is fine - so I got lucky in that respect, otherwise I would have to plug the hole and re-drill.
I've started work on the maple custom, I intend to re-visit the explorer after this custom is finished so that I have a guitar to play while I build the other.

So, on to the pics:

Using some 12mm ply, I make some template pieces. The neck is clamped in place, the strips are butted up against the neck and double-taped down, they'll be held with clamps after. This creates an accurate template for hte bearing guided bit to follow.


I use a drill press and forstner bit to remove the majority of the waste, meaning the router only has to do a small amount of work. I've also glued on some angled wedges, these make sure that the router is presented to the pocket at the correct angle (2 degress for this particular job).


Pocket has been routed, and neck currently being glued in. I've chosen to glue this neck as I wanted something different to the bolt-on of the explorer, it will also allow a much smoother transition from the back of the body to the neck.

Neck has been glued on.

Later tonight, I shall be routing the pickup and electrical cavities. The tone and volume knobs will actually be recessed into the side of the body like the jack socket, this is to ensure the least amount of clatter on the front of the body as I want to show as much of the flame maple as possible.

This guitar will have a solid colour on the back of the body and neck, and a clear nitro finish on the front with either a trans-black or trans-red colour to bring out the flame figure of the maple.
I really like that one, apart from the little point at the end. That is just my opinion though. The tiger maple is going to look stunning. As this one has a maple top, are you going to bind it? Is that the neck you got from ebay? The inlaying is beautiful.
Looking superb!

What sort of music do you play and I am also interested what your influences are in your playing?

I am guessing from the style of the guitars rock/metal? The explorer shape is classic Hetfield. :twisted:
Slim - I'll be leaving a natural 'binding' edge of the maple when I come to spray it, i'll be doing something similar to the 'blue' tutroial on the stew-mac site. I'll most probably use nitro from aerosol cans (from Behlin). The neck is from ebay, really good value for money (was just £50) the seller was 'woodycustom' well worth looking out for his stuff.

Nola - you're exactly right. Hetfield is my guitar icon, he is the reason why I picked up the guitar, all my first songs/riffs that I learned to play were Metallica tunes. I've always wanted a natural wood explorer like his signature 'Ken Lawrence - Samurai' explorer, hence the reason for this particular build, I've had explorers before and love the shape, they are just perfect for metal rhythm playing.

This maple one will be more for solo playing, hopefully more progress will be made soon.
Here's a few more pics of the maple custom. I've not been in the shed much this last week, having a bit of time off and to clear my head of all this guitar building stuff, but today I decided to go back and re-start work.

I wanted to shape the rear of the body to remove material for a 'belly' scallop, as well as shaping the cutaways, one of the main motivating factors for this guitar was to make it as thin as poss, it's just abit of 35mm at the moment, which will be reduced a little more, but for now I wanted to start the rough carve of the rear-shaping.

The pics:

Spokeshaving the material away to a pencil line

First stage complete

Cutaways shaped

Rough carve complete, just need to sand smooth

The next session will see the smoothing of this shaping work and the routing of the cavities, jack point, and the recesses in the side for the volume/tone knobs.
That's really looking great now. What pickups are you sticking in this baby then?
Hi Simon, depending on finances, I'll probably go for a Bare knuckle 'cold sweat' humbucker - just the one on this guitar.
Chris, thanks for the compliments :)

This maple one will be left with a flat top, I quite like the contrast between the flatness and the carved back - almost a reverse of the standard shape. I also want to keep it flat to preserve the square edge of the maple as this will be left clear to provide the natural binding. If I carved it, I would lose quite a lot of the thickness off the edge and it wouldn't be suitable to use as binding.
Just a couple of small jobs today.

I've also done a fair bit of filling and sanding on the underside of the body, I've also filled the gap between the underside and the neck, this will allow a nice smooth transition from body to neck heel. I've also marked the areas for the electrics and these will be drilled tomorrow. Once that job is complete, it will be time to start the sanding, and then the finishing process.
Woo hoo! Nearly there.

I'm really looking forward to the finishing, so don't miss anything out in your WIP pics. :D
I thought it was time for a quick update on this project.

The walnut explorer is finished!! *although in the picture, its missing a pickup ring on the neck pickup, which will be fitted shortly, and the volume and tone pots, which are still in the post.*

I used chestnut finishing oil to finish both the body and the neck. I managed to get a glossy finish by applying about 4 coats, sanding in-between in coats, and using some fine wire-wool to apply the final coat.

It's been sold, so I made my money back on it, which I can re-invest into my next model. The maple guitar from eariler in this thread (apologies about the missing photo's) will take the next priority.

Really really nice BB. Can't wait to see the maple one finished.

Did you go for the Bare Knuckle pickups in the end? How does it play? Any sound clips?
The maple one will indeed have the BareKnuckle Warpig and matching distressed pickup ring - a single volume knob will complete all the controls.

The finish will be a black stained figure on the maple to pop the grain, and then given a red stain for the main colour. It will have a nitro-cellulose spray finish. I'll probably be leaving the finishing of that until next year when the weather picks up a bit, unless I get time/resources to build an extraction based spray booth in the workshop.

In the meantime, I think i'll be building another explorer, a lighter more brighter toned one this time, and will probably have EMG active pickups - I'm thinking of an all white finish with classic hockey-stick headstock.
Do you spray the nitro from cans? I'm many months away from this dilemma, but might have a practice first as I want a great finish but don't want to buttocks up the guitar near the end!
Ironballs, yes, I'll be using cans. As long as you follow some basic rules, you can get a finish as good as a sprayed one. If you have a look on the Stewart McDonald website, they have a good tutorial on how to stain and spray finish using cans - lots of good information there.
Explorer came out real nice, BB! Must be a great feeling playing it?

Guess I should shake a leg and finish my Weissenborn. Scared to bend the sides - Who? Me? :lol:
Keep up the good work,
Philly :D
Philly, I was very surprised by how well it played. Better than my Gibson Explorer in-fact, which is a real boon, it's almost a shame that I'm selling it, although I could change my mind, I havn't handed it over yet... tough decision.

Good luck with the bending!