Headless Multi-scale 8 String Acoustic Build

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by Lemons, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. Lemons

    Lemons SS.org Regular

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    Oh boy that thread title is a bit of a mouthful, but that's exactly what I'm building. lately I've been really missing having an 8 string laying around, specifically my old Strandberg OS8 that I foolishly sold. Because of this I'm using dimensions from Strandberg for the scale length, neutral fret, fretboard width, and also going for an endurneck shape (roughly).

    I know its a bit of a joke around here to say "I really want an 8 string for the chord voicing options and range", but then get the guitar and just play 0-0-0-0-1-0 all day, however that's exactly what I want one for, so much so that I decided to go all out and just build a nice little portable acoustic.

    In order to keep things simple I'm carving the body out of a single piece of wood, which saves me from having to worry about creating forms, and worrying about bracing. The trade off is I'll lose some volume, but I'm not too stressed about that.

    Specs:
    African mahogany body 45mm
    Spruce top 3.4mm
    Roasted maple neck
    Wenge fretboard
    28 - 26.5 inch scale length
    Neutral 6th fret
    Apollo headless hardware (joint venture between Tengda, and an Aussie luthier)


    [​IMG]

    I'm using up the rest of my black maple veneer to make a 9 piece quartersawn neck, should be plenty stable.

    [​IMG]

    Laying out the bridge placement and designing the body shape.
     
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  2. Lemons

    Lemons SS.org Regular

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    [​IMG]

    The body has been shaped, still needs a bunch of sanding but I'm pretty happy with how it flows. You can also see the marker for where I'm planning to hollow out, gonna be a lot of drilling and routing coming up. Oh and the neck pocket is good to go, I'm waiting till the top goes on to take it to final depth.
     
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  3. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    Really dig this body shape.
    Seems more and more builders are using that tele style rounded horn now.
    Soo cool.

    So is this along the lines of the Kiesel headless acoustics? Or a better take on that idea? :)

    Look forward to this one.
     
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  4. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    Nice project, although I was mislead by the title. What's the theory behind putting a 3mm spruce top on a semi-hollow? I'd say a 6mm flamed maple top will do just as well. The spruce top won't really work like a “proper soundboard“ (TM) in that construction.
     
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  5. Lemons

    Lemons SS.org Regular

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    This definitely has a little bit of the Zues acoustic DNA, not sure if it'll be a better take on the idea or not.

    I know its not a "standard" acoustic construction, but since it's not getting any pickups I didn't know what else to write in the title.

    I'll start by saying this is an experimental build so you could be right about the soundboard. My understanding is that the more thin soundboard will still be driven by the strings to an extent, even if the bridge rests on a solid block of wood. A thicker sound board will have less flex in it, which would mean less volume overall right?
     
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  6. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire self-appointed sso pickup tester

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    have you tried the regular tengda headless hardware? I'm curious if that aussie version is any different from buying it directly from tengda.
     
  7. Lemons

    Lemons SS.org Regular

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    I have not, the major difference as far as I know is the nylon washer has been replaced by ball bearings. But I wouldn't be surprised if Tengda has made this change across the board on their designs.
     
  8. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire self-appointed sso pickup tester

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    I have a set from a few years ago and it has the nylon washer. Pretty solid quality minus the intonation screw design. might have to check out this newer version then.
     
  9. Phantom

    Phantom SS.org Regular

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    Damn dude, this is really awesome. I had a similar idea rolling around my head for the past year, a 7 not 8 and a nylon string, so I'm super interested to see how this works out for you. I'll definitely be following this thread.
     
  10. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    This sounds really interesting! I’ve been tinkering with a similar idea for a smaller travel 7.
     
  11. Lemons

    Lemons SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the kind words guys, I've made a bunch of progress on the body.

    [​IMG]

    It's a little messy but I didn't want to have to spend ages creating templates, but here's the body hollowed out. I left some extra material (rather messily) for a light belly carve as well.

    [​IMG]

    The top has been joined and routed flush to the body. I forgot to take any pictures of when I actually joined the top plates a few weeks ago but there's loads of resources on the process all over the internet.

    [​IMG]

    This is the stage the body is at right now. I've made the recess for the headless hardware, and added some bevels on the bass side (eat your heart out Jeff Kiesel). The body was fairly responsive already after joining the top, but after placing a few sound holes on the upper bout this thing really came alive. It might be a little too soon to tell but I'm quietly hopefully that this'll turn out okay.
     
  12. warped

    warped SS.org Regular

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    This looks great - what type of strings are you going to put on it? Electric guitar strings? Steel acoustic strings? Nylon?
     
  13. Lemons

    Lemons SS.org Regular

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    I've got some electric guitar strings coming from Stringjoy for this, I was about to order a custom acoustic set from LaBella but they won't ship to Australia.
     
  14. Grand Rabbit

    Grand Rabbit SS.org Regular

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    I feel like you almost could have rigged this up with some pickups since it's so similar to a semi-hollow in construction! I like the idea of carving out an acoustic body from one piece though. Very excited to get some updates as to how this sounds once it's all strung up!
     
  15. Lemons

    Lemons SS.org Regular

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    I've made a little more progress on this build. Installing the bridge hardware is a huge hassle but I've just about got it done. I'm waiting on some T-nuts to arrive, they'll be here in a few days and I'll be able to make some really solid progress towards finishing this build.

    [​IMG]

    Truss rod fit.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Tengda bridge hardware.
     
  16. Grand Rabbit

    Grand Rabbit SS.org Regular

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    Sweet work, man! How are you liking the Tengda Solo bridge pieces so far?
     
  17. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    Great job so far! As I'm a huge fan of Torx screws: why did you go with the slotted heads? Those are usually a PITA to screw in w/ power tools...
     
  18. Lemons

    Lemons SS.org Regular

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    I'm just using the standard phillips head screws that were provided with the bridge, the neck is getting stainless steel T-nuts with stainless steel hex screws. I'd be interested with using Torx screws in the future but I'm fairly sure they'll be difficult to source in a range of sizes here in Australia.
     
  19. Lemons

    Lemons SS.org Regular

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    Update!

    The T-nuts finally arrived so I could get underway with the neck attachment, should have the fingerboard glued on by tonight.

    [​IMG]

    Nice little look at the recessed T-nuts before they disappear forever under the fingerboard.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Quick mockups of everything coming together.
     
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  20. Lemons

    Lemons SS.org Regular

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    First coat of finish applied. I'm using a wipe-on poly, the first coat gets applied really heavily and then sanded in with P1200 sandpaper. I also made the bevels a little larger since the last shots of the body were posted.

    [​IMG]
     

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