24-tone Agile 7 string

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by nicomortem, Dec 15, 2014.

  1. nicomortem

    nicomortem SS.org Regular

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    Ok dudes, this is my latest conversion, and my best work yet...there are still some crooked frets, and some of the spacing is still off (as usual) but I haven't been able to get it this close to perfect until now, and I am damn proud of this one.

    This one will most likely go to Sam, my best friend, bandmate and co-guitarist. We have some music now, and we are working on getting our bassist caught up. (I also have converted his bass, I will need to post a thread on it another day) After that, I will be posting video clips of all 3 of us playing our microtonal guitars together, kind of a Meshuggah/FearFactory type of project with microtonal guitars and exotic scales in the riffs and leads.
    Sam and I will have matching 24-tone Agile Interceptor 727's and our bassist, Pete, has his 24-tone Toby bass. I think its going to be an awesome set-up, and the three of them will look pretty crazy on stage too, all those frets!

    I sold off all my previous microtonal conversions on eBay, and sold them cheap ($200-$300) and used the money to buy this guitar and all the parts I needed to convert. Came to $525 for everything, excluding what I've already invested in tools in the past. Included were Sam's Grendel and his M17 (both converted) to pay for the other Interceptor and all the parts.

    I started with a bolt-on Interceptor, because I need to be able to remove the neck to slot the fingerboard. Otherwise I could've just bought the Interceptor Pro, for the same money I spent on the guitar, pickups, and parts. A little dissapointing, but I figured that the bolt-on version still had a nicer neck than my Grendel because the description and the picture of the Interceptor both showed it having a 3-piece hard maple neck, but it arrived with a 1-piece softer maple neck with a scarf-joint....oh well. :rolleyes:

    This was my first time routing a guitar for EMG's, although I have installed an EMG 81 in a 6 string before (no routing) so I was at least already able to wire up an active system. I have never even used a router before, I practiced a little bit in the control cavity and then went to work on the top. I think it looks pretty good for my first attempt, I only wish I had made my cuts a bit closer to the pickups.

    Decided to save some money on this and put an EMG-HZ bass pickup in the neck position, and its not connected. Also, the tone and 3-way switch are bypassed, the bridge pickup (EMG 81-7) is wired to the volume pot, then to the jack. Eventually I intend on putting a 707 in the neck position and wire in the tone and 3-way but for now this set-up suits me just fine, and looks nice without any missing parts or jerry-rigging.

    I used larger fret wire this time, opting for medium-jumbo instead of my usual medium frets...I find that the larger the fret wire, the more prone the neck is to buzzing and fretting out, especially in the higher register....my previous conversion had the medium frets, which worked great in the higher register, but left the lower frets feeling a bit wimpy. I was also able to put a radius on these (14") which I haven't been able to do in the past, using a flat leveling beam. I finally ordered one of those $150 radiused leveling beams from StewMac and used it to do the board and the fret tops. Probably my best work yet too, on the fret leveling. There are a few buzzy spots but nothing too major. I might level them again in a few weeks, once the neck has "set" and the guitar is more broken in. I literally bought this thing new and had already taken it all apart within an hour of delivery. So it's still got that "stiff" and "sterile" new-guitar feel to the neck.

    I have it tuned standard, with Pure Nickel 9's. I am taking delivery of a 2nd Interceptor tomorrow, same model and finish, and will be doing the exact same conversion as this one, right down to the EMG 81-7/EMG-HZ combo.



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  2. crg123

    crg123 SS.orgLocalArchitect

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    Came out awesome man. Can't to see what you guys do with it.
     
  3. rockskate4x

    rockskate4x rockskate4x

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    I'm excited to see video of this. Awesome work man :hbang:
     
  4. nicomortem

    nicomortem SS.org Regular

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    Update: I just received the 2nd Interceptor in the mail today, got it on B-stock for a finish chip that will actually be removed when I route the EMG's :yesway:
    It's got a slightly nicer top than the 1st one, but they both still look very much alike. I'm waiting on a couple of things to come in the mail but I can still get started on the work, I will prob have it taken apart by the end of the night. I'll need to pay more attention to my routing, and I want to try slotting the frets a bit deeper so I don have as many high frets that end up all flattened out after leveling. Give me a few days, and I will have pictures of another 24 Tone Interceptor to post up, hopefully an even better one! :wavey:
     
  5. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Good to see this and your news, i look forward to seeing the bass. As far as i know most or all other microtonal guitar companies have their fret slots cut by computer controlled laser. If as i assume you're measuring by hand the slightest error looks really noticeable at the high frets because of how close they are. When i converted my bass to quartertones i only fretted 2/3rds of the neck and despite being ultra-anal about it they still looked a little crooked, even when not nearly as close together as this. I really like your music and wish you all the best for these pioneering projects.
     
  6. Sofos

    Sofos СофоƆ

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    looks fantastic, can't wait to hear it! have you considered doing commissions? I've been wanting to get my Squier neck done like how this guy has his. I love middle-eastern music but hitting quarter tones on a regular neck is damn near impossible

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOSg56z1s2M
     
  7. nicomortem

    nicomortem SS.org Regular

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    Thank's a million dude! I am doing it all by hand, although I have a digital set of calipers for my measurements. I'm getting better and better, but I still have a long way to go. And I guess I will never get it as close as a laser with a computer controlling the cuts!!! And your comment about the higher frets being so close together hit's the nail right on the head. It helps to use these 27" scale guitars though, and the bass guitar also had a good deal of space between the highest frets compared to a regular guitar...I should be able to post some pictures and info tonight on the bass we use, the guys are supposed to come over later today to work on some basslines so I can get some shots then.
     
  8. nicomortem

    nicomortem SS.org Regular

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    Yes sir! I have been wanting to do this for other people's guitars, but it's a hard sell sometimes because of the slight inaccuracy of the fret slots. Also, the fingerboard and frets kind of look a little "rough" after the conversion is done, the inlays get removed or sliced in half, so I can imagine how many would be discouraged from having me do that to a nice, pricey or sentimental guitar. It can also be pretty expensive, and I usually offer to do the work for such a comparatively low price that it probably seems a bit sketchy to some....I just think that microtonal guitars arent going to ever go very far as long as it's limited to those who can afford to pay the cost of an expensive conversion by a real Luthier.

    Considering all this, if You or anybody else would like me to convert a guitar for you, we can talk about the details thru the personal messaging system on this forum. Generally I would ask that you ship the guitar to me, and I can determine what parts I will need, fret gauge, inlays, etc, and then we can work out a price. I can go thru paypal, and when the work has been completed I would send an invoice to your email, and ship the guitar back once the payment has been made to my paypal account.
     
  9. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    The system in the video is very limited though, perhaps 2 near-quartertones per octave in 2 keys only, and those frets are off-centre and therefore not equal temperament. I feel like encouraging you to have the full set of 24 equal temperament frets while you have the chance despite how overwhelming it looks. There are many very beautiful and exotically-consonant microtonal intervals in 24ET, many of which are actually closer to 'just intonation' (true harmony) than 12ET intervals are, near-just intervals work very well with distortion.

    Here's some stunning 24ET avant-garde black metal by Jute Gyte, 3 digital albums downloadable under 'name your price' or a very reasonably priced CD.
    Oh Soft Embalmer of the Still Midnight | Jute Gyte
     
  10. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    I just found this lurking in my email account, the 15 most consonant intervals of 24ET, a good starting point for creating scales. No more than 4 cents error from Just Intonation. This is essentially a Just Intonation system derived from the 3rd and 11th harmonics (702 cents and 551 cents).

    just interval frequency (root=1) / just interval cents / 24EDO interval cents / error cents / interval name

    2/1 ........ 1200 ..... 1200 ..... 0 ..... Octave
    64/33 ..... 1147 ..... 1150 ..... 3 ..... Supermajor seventh
    121/64 .... 1103 ..... 1100 ..... 3 .... Major seventh
    11/6 ....... 1049 ..... 1050 ..... 1 ..... Neutral seventh
    16/9 ....... 996 ....... 1000 ..... 4 ..... Minor seventh
    18/11 ..... 853 ....... 850 ....... 3 ..... Neutral sixth
    3/2 ......... 702 ....... 700 ....... 2 ..... Fifth
    16/11 ..... 649 ....... 650 ....... 1 ..... Sub fifth
    11/8 ....... 551 ....... 550 ....... 1 ..... Super fourth
    4/3 ......... 498 ....... 500 ....... 2 ..... Fourth
    11/9 ....... 347 ....... 350 ....... 3 ..... Neutral third
    9/8 ........ 204 ........ 200 ....... 4 ..... Major second
    12/11 ..... 151 ....... 150 ....... 1 ..... Neutral second
    128/121 .. 97 ........ 100 ....... 3 ...... Minor second
    33/32 ..... 53 ......... 50 ........ 3 ...... Subminor second
    1/1 ......... 0 .......... 0 .......... 0 ...... Unison
     
  11. nicomortem

    nicomortem SS.org Regular

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    I was able to get some pictures last night of Pete's bass, I converted this one about a month ago. My best work yet, save the Agile I just did last week. Some slightly "off" spacing and a couple of frets might be askew, but nothing too horrible.

    I was able to get the "Tobias" logo off of the pickups, which made them look cheap and cheezy. Also, we swapped out the stock bridge with this Hipshot look-alike from Guitar fetish, brass saddles and a steel base-plate.
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  12. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Good to see another microtonal bass, we need to catch up with all those guitars. Owning one i can say the scale makes them perfect for 24ET, the fret spacing is perfect and not at all cramped from nut to octave, and still very playable high above the octave. My bass has been sitting on a stand in view for a year and now 12ET bass fretboards look weird to me, huge amounts of wasted space between the frets.
     
  13. zman5999

    zman5999 Member

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    This is incredible! Truly stunning. I can't wait to hear how they sound!
     
  14. nicomortem

    nicomortem SS.org Regular

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    Alright, mine is finished too! I got the flu really hard pretty much the day that my Interceptor arrived and I was too sick to do any work on it for half a week. I was able to get started with it a few days ago, and I finished it Wednesday night. It looks like I did pretty good getting them straight, but the spacing looks a little off in the higher register. I think Sam's came out better than mine in that respect, however mine does play better up there, Sam's still has some issues that I need to address with another leveling, once the neck has set for a couple more weeks. I'm still happy with the work though, and this one has far less spacing and straightness issues than we had on both of the Grendels we were playing prior to these.

    This was a B-stock item, there was a horrible finish chip on the edge of the bridge pickup route, exposed wood and everything. I figured that this would be removed when I put the EMG's in, but I really didnt know for sure until I took delivery. Luckily it worked out and the routing I had to do for the pickups completely removed the part of the guitar with the chip in it. This one also has a more defined grain on the top than Sam's, although his looks like it could be book-matched and mine clearly does not. This one didn't have the 3-piece neck either, but it showed a 3-piece in the picture and in the description when I purchased it new online. Also this one had a lopsided fingerboard which threw the high "E" string out to the side, but that ended up correcting itself when I carved the radius of the fingerboard to 14" instead of the 13.7" it came with. I figured the saddles were prob set to 14, and the nut, so I did 14" on the fingerboard. I've been getting my frets with a smaller radius lately, so that they flatten out when I hammer them in. I find the edges dont want to pop out as easily when I do that. So these are 12" radius frets. But when I level the tops, I'm using a 14" radiused beam to get the tops with the same 14" radius that I've got on the hardware and fingerboard...a nice step up from the flat-top beam I've been using up until I did the work on these 2 Interceptors. I used the same medium-jumbo frets that I used on the first Interceptor on this one, but from frets 24-48 I actually used the medium frets, in hopes to get better playability on the higher register. It worked out nicely, and they don't look as mis-matched as I feared they would. Now when I play rhythm, I have the nice meaty frets from 0.5 up to 23.5, and then when I play lead, I have nice wimpy skinny little frets from 24-48 and it helps with the action, spacing, and buzzing in the higher register that seems to be inherent on any guitar with microtones in the highest part of the neck.

    We have some material that we are playing together, our bassist is way behind right now so we may have to post a video up with just Sam and I playing these Agile's and save the 3 of us for later. It will still be more interesting to watch than any of my previous videos though, since this one will have two guitars! So give me a couple weeks and I will try to have something put together demonstrating at least 2 of the 3 guitars in this thread. :wavey:

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  15. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Wow, that's aweosme! I love that you guys are doing this!
     
  16. nicomortem

    nicomortem SS.org Regular

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    Ok guys, we are working on a video with the 3 of us doing a play-through of one of our first songs, for the time being though I've put together this video of me playing our newest song, which I still have yet to tab out and teach the guys. I used the Agile 7-string that I posted pics of most recently in this thread. I was also able to use our bass guitar on this one, which I have just equipped with active EMG's. Also, this is the first video I've made with my new drum set.

     
  17. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Super cool!

    Would you ever be interested in 19-EDO conversions?
     
  18. nicomortem

    nicomortem SS.org Regular

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    Awesome, thank You!

    No, I am unable to do any conversions other than 24-tone. I'm also not comfortable enough with the aesthetics of my work to do conversions for others. :erk:
     
  19. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    ^ I feel a bit like that too, my conversions are practical, playable but rough (especialy at the edges).

    Love the music, even on youtube the sound and production is excellent. Along with Jute Gyte the best microtonal metal i know of.
     
  20. Renkenstein

    Renkenstein SS.org Regular

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    Damn, that's a LOT of fretwire!
     

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