Questions for building my first guitar.

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by Faine, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Faine

    Faine Playing guitar.

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    Hello. For some reason my first thread I made disappeared this morning. I want to make a guitar for myself. It would be my first time and I know this is probably a jump but I wanna make an 8 string. I just have a few questions and would like to hear everyone's input.

    1. I want to do a 5 piece neck through design. 27" scale. How wide should I make the neck for 8 strings? I want to use an ebony fret board and I cant find anything for an 8 string, do I need to get a 5 string bass fret board?

    2. I want to do a 3 piece laminate style body. whats a good thickness for the layers? and I put the pieces of wood through a wood planer correct?

    3. I know that i have to use a digital caliper and stewmac's scale fret placement calculations, but how deep to I cut into the fret board to place the frets? and whats the best way to crown and level them?

    4. I'm looking to do a fixed bridge, and maybe a string through design as well... best suggestions for a bridge?

    5. I cant find a package of 8 tuning pegs anywhere, or a nut wide enough for an 8, do I have to buy two packages of 6 tuning pegs??

    Sorry If i asked too many questions. I'm sure I'll come up with more as I go along, especially with the electronics... Thanks for your time!!
     
  2. Faine

    Faine Playing guitar.

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    Thanks man, but $15 a peg? wowww haha Thats $120!

    Noob question, but whats the difference between a .125 and .175 bridge?
     
  3. BlackMastodon

    BlackMastodon \m/ (゚Д゚) \m/ Contributor

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    Pretty sure it's the height of the baseplate.

    2. I think you could make each piece as thick as you want, depends how much you want to show and how thick you want the body over all. I imagine you don't want the thing over 2" thick but at the same time don't make it too thin or you will run into troubles, especially on a first build. 1.5" or 1.75" should be an OK thickness I would think.

    3. I wouldn't use the calipers to initially measure the frets. Use http://www.ekips.org/tools/guitar/fretfind2d/ and try to get a 1:1 print up of it as a template. As for the other fretting questions, I don't know. Never done fretting before but I know that fretfind is a better way then trying to use calipers, a template would have much less error involved, assuming that the template was set up properly. :cool:

    OT: 1000th post for me :cheers:
     
  4. mwcarl

    mwcarl SS.org Regular

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    You're going to mess up a lot on your first build without someone experienced looking over your shoulder, even if you're careful, so I wouldn't shoot too high. Certainly don't expect that you're going to build your dream guitar, or that you'll save money by building a guitar yourself. I'd recommend you start with a 6-string if only because the hardware and electronics will be less expensive. I'd also recommend that you don't do as many laminates, jointing the wood is an extra step that you could probably do without. The rest of your questions will be answered in a good book, which I think is almost a necessity unless you want to be asking questions on forums all the time. I liked Melvyn Hiscock's book myself, although he doesn't explain absolutely everything so you do have to do some thinking yourself, which is a good thing. You need to fully understand most of what you're doing and why or you risk doing it very wrong.
     
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  5. xeonblade

    xeonblade SS.org Regular

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    It's cheaper if u dont buy straight from hipshot. TK Instruments ($63 Per set of 6 Black Chrome + $10.50 Per each additional key) OR Sperzels http://www.tkinstruments.com/id75.htm

    Difference is base plate of bridge (bottom metal thickness). From hipshot FAQ: "The only difference between the 2 bridges is the floor height beneath the saddles. The .175 floor height would give you a higher action. Most applications call for the .125 floor."
     
  6. Faine

    Faine Playing guitar.

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    could I print it out at that 1:1 scale ? Or I have to draw it out. cuz that looks really confusing to me, and how else would I be able to get those precise numbers without using a digital caliper?
     
  7. Faine

    Faine Playing guitar.

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    Good news! I just found out from my dad that our neighbor a few houses up the road imports and sells exotic wood! I just called and he has the woods im looking for! i'm gonna go up there and visit him after he gets home to see. And thats not all, he said Our mail man buys woods from him and builds his own guitars! HOW CONVENIENT! I had no idea! maybe he can be my mentor or something? I'm excited!
     
  8. silent_k

    silent_k derpa derp! Contributor

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    Play around with Fretfind a bit -- you'll see that you can produce single page PDFs or multi-page, depending on what you're able to print. I've done both, and they're great for visualizing the fretboard, but for my 8 string I'm expecting I'm going to be measuring and marking fret locations with calipers also. I've seen people spray glue a printout directly on the fretboard and then use that as a guide for the fret saw, but you'd have to do a lot of sanding to get rid of the excess paper and glue residue. It's also possible that there are people on this board or elsewhere who can cut a fretboard for you at that scale.

    +1 to this. Get Hiscock's book and spend a lot of time looking through build threads on this forum and elsewhere before you buy any wood, tools or hardware. Unless you're an experienced woodworker and/or you have someone to guide you through the process in person, it's going to be tough. There will be some disagreement about this, but in my experience, neck-throughs present additional challenges you may not want to take on for a first build. At least with a bolt on, if you really fuck up the neck (like I did with my first build), you can make another and salvage the body and hardware. For a first build I'd go with a straight-forward project (like a 6-string) and use inexpensive wood -- poplar blanks tend to be cheaper than other woods, but can still sound great (and yes, if you want a wide fretboard you have to look at the 5- or 6-string bass boards -- ebony, by the way, can be a serious bitch to work with). Do you already have tools or access to tools? Hiscock gives a good breakdown of what you need for a build, including both hand and power tools.
     
  9. Purelojik

    Purelojik SS.org Regular

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    also scour every build thread on here. thats how i learned. that and the standard guitar making books. if you dont trust your hands very much i'd say practice on cheap lumber first. if you are deft with your hands then just go for it. just make sure you go slowly and never rush anything...i've learned that the hard way time and again. now when i say i wanna do this fast...i just put it away and start again another time. good luck dude


    EDIT: also buy a TON of clamps of various sizes... you'll thank me later
     
  10. scherzo1928

    scherzo1928 has wood for you

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    I don't mean to discourage you, but if you can't answer things like questions 1 and 2 yourself then you will have a really hard time with the build.

    Put some thought into things, research and plan ahead, and you should have no problems.
     
  11. Faine

    Faine Playing guitar.

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    Yes I do have access to some tools. My father owns a carpentry/construction business. The only tool he doesnt have that I dont really need is a wood planer. He also doesnt have the bars or whatever theyre called, that you set up the router on. We have everything else.
    What I would have to buy is more clamps, a digital caliper, my own dremel tool, files, and a bunch of sand paper. He might have a few extra belt sanders.
     
  12. idunno

    idunno SS.org Regular

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    Welcome to the world of making your own damn shit! Also hellz yeah CT love! Where you at? Writing in red because i feel like it. Go slow and olan a ton and youll be fine.

    1. I want to do a 5 piece neck through design. 27" scale. How wide should I make the neck for 8 strings? I want to use an ebony fret board and I cant find anything for an 8 string, do I need to get a 5 string bass fret board?

    See number three

    2. I want to do a 3 piece laminate style body. whats a good thickness for the layers? and I put the pieces of wood through a wood planer correct?

    I start with a 2 inch neck blank and go down from there. Meause your most comfortable guitar and use that as your base, you already know you like it!

    3. I know that i have to use a digital caliper and stewmac's scale fret placement calculations, but how deep to I cut into the fret board to place the frets? and whats the best way to crown and level them?

    Screw that, use the fretfind mentioned earlier. Print it out and glue dat suckah right on the board. This will also give you the dimention you need to buy the correct width of fretboard wood.

    The stewmac fretsaw has a depth stop on it thats really helpful, i highy recommend it! makes it very easy.

    Level them with the same radius block youll need to use to radius the board. there are lots of good demos on youtube that will give you a great deal of tips on fretwork.


    4. I'm looking to do a fixed bridge, and maybe a string through design as well... best suggestions for a bridge?

    Hipshot hardtails rock my socks. the .175 is just a lil thicker than the other.

    5. I cant find a package of 8 tuning pegs anywhere, or a nut wide enough for an 8, do I have to buy two packages of 6 tuning pegs??

    Single tuners is the way to go. Youll likely need to buy a nut blank (graphtech tusq XL is my fav) and cut your own. Use the dimentions off the fretfind printout to help you with that.

    Sorry If i asked too many questions. I'm sure I'll come up with more as I go along, especially with the electronics... Thanks for your time!!
     
  13. idunno

    idunno SS.org Regular

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    oh yeah listen to scherzo, hes gangster!

    ANd I dont care how many clamps you have, get some more. for real, a lot more.
     
  14. Faine

    Faine Playing guitar.

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    Thanks idunno, You had some pretty helpful answers. I'm hoping I can print out that shit but I dont have paper long enough! or a printer that does that lol.
     
  15. idunno

    idunno SS.org Regular

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    There is an option to save file as 2 page PDF. do that then print. There will be reference lines you can use to match up the pieces. They are light grey colored.

    I usually send the full page PDF to my printer and have him pen plot it for me. But ive done the two page and its fine.
     
  16. Faine

    Faine Playing guitar.

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    SICKKKKKKKKK thanks man! :hbang: Thats perfect!
     
  17. AndrewG716

    AndrewG716 GearwhoreInTraining

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    Fretfind is great. Whenever I print, it takes three pages. Then with some careful cutting and taping, you've got a great template. Also make sure your printer resolution is high enough. I have gotten some jagged lines before.

    Good luck, and make sure you do every operation on scrap first.
     
  18. Faine

    Faine Playing guitar.

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    yeah thats awesome! once I definitely figure out my scales I'm gonna use mako's idea and make something like this.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. AndrewG716

    AndrewG716 GearwhoreInTraining

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