Just a 6 string build

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by Verdurus, Feb 20, 2019.

  1. Verdurus

    Verdurus Member

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    Hey all. I've been tooled up to build guitars for a little bit now and I've attempted it on and off, but this time I figured I'd start a build thread somewhere to help keep me motivated.

    I've ordered some wood and took some MDF I had lying around and roughed out a body shape with it as kind of a rough guide for what I'm aiming for. I think it'll turn out pretty nice when translated to a body blank.


    Said body blank is going to be a 3 piece swamp ash body mated to a bolt on quartersawn maple neck with a katalox fretboard. In terms of hardware I'm going for a spoke wheel type truss rod with a hipshot bridge and some sort of locking tuners, haven't decided which ones yet. I also haven't decided on pickups and electronics either.

    I'm going to attempt a scarf joint headstock...we will see how it goes. I'm going to try to design a 3+3 headstock with straight string pull sometime soon and use it on this build. I may leave the body quite flat, but I'm leaning towards carving at least a tummy cut if not a carved top as well. I might end up staining the body black as well as I think black looks really good on an ash body, but I also kind of want to leave it natural. There's just something about the look of natural ash that appeals to me.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Pimiboj

    Pimiboj SS.org Regular

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    Sounds good man!
    For tuners I'd recommend the Hipshot griplock tuners. I have them on my own guitar now and they are super smooth.
    Also I'd definitely do a belly cut and maybe some shaping on the top. For the color I personally like the black open pore finish and texture of swamp ash a lot.

    -Pim
     
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  3. Verdurus

    Verdurus Member

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    You see, I can't really quite decide between dye or just leaving it natural. I really think the plain maple headstock + the plain ash body would look nice in kind of a simplistic, utilitarian way. But, I used to GAS really hard for a black stained ash guitar. I guess we will see. There's quite a bit of ground to cover before I get to the finishing process. I'll probably end up going for the hipshot griplocks, though. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I ordered a few katalox fretboards and they came in today. One of them is quite purple and I didn't really notice it until I took it to the bandsaw to rough cut it to dimension. Wood Database says katalox can sometimes have a strong purple hue, so I guess this is one of those instances.

    Anywho, here's a quick mockup with the fretboard rough cut.

    What do you guys think of the headstock? Ignore the tuner placement. I goofed pretty hard on that front. Good thing this is MDF and not the actual headstock. I'm thinking it's going to need to be widened a bit and maybe lengthened a tad. Maybe slim down the curves a little once it's widened. Keep in mind I'm going for a straight pull design. Maybe I just need to trash the design altogether? There are definitely better ways to design a headstock than this, but I've got lots of MDF lying around and I suck at drawing, so :shrug:
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
  4. Verdurus

    Verdurus Member

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    So...I got started on the build. Cut a scarf joint, planed down the saw marks and glued it up. Rough cut the body and did some cavity routes. I started routing the neck pocket, but I did a test neck and pocket with some scrap wood and discovered my neck pocket template is oversized, so I tried a tip a StewMac video recommended, which was to layer up masking tape on the inside of the template to thin it out. Didn't really work. The router bearing tore off the tape, thankfully I was taking a very shallow cut so it should plane/sand out. So now I'm looking at a delayed build for a few weeks while I wait on some templates from Potvin Guitars. Hopefully these ones are a little more precise.

    Also, you may notice the holes for the controls are a little crooked. Not a huge problem, but it definitely bothers me, haha. Also when I was hogging out the waste for the control cavity I went a little bit outside the line, so the control cavity has a few wonky spots as does the control cavity plate rabbet as my rabbeting bit used the control cavity to guide the cut. Finally, The truss rod cavity is a little rough too as the bit I was using is a little undersized, so I had to do some chisel work. I have a bit that's pretty much just the right size for the StewMac truss rods on the way, and I'll be a little more careful next time when hogging out waste for cavities with forstner bits, so next build will be better.


    I'm also thinking of resawing the body down to about 1.4 inches thick rather than the current roughly 1.75 inches. My bandsaw isn't up to the task, so I'll have to use my frame saw (ugh) with a big ol' ripping blade and then plane out the rough saw marks. If I go through with it I'll do it from the back, so I'll lose the work I did on the control cavity cover rabbet, but no biggie.
     
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  5. BlackMastodon

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

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    I recommend reworking the headstock design a bit before you cut that out of the neck blank, or at least the tuner positions. The 3 and 4 tuners look really close together and it may cause some problems down the road, even if the string pull isn't exactly straight.
     
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  6. Verdurus

    Verdurus Member

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    Yeah, I know. I actually have a new headstock design now, but I'm not sure if the new one is wide enough either. There's definitely a better way to design headstocks...

    I went ahead and tried to make my own neck pocket template. It seemed to go ok, but the neck fit isn't exactly what I want on my test neck. I also tried to cut out my neck blank and screwed up while cutting out the headstock. So it looks like this build is starting over from square 1 in a few weeks :facepalm:
     
  7. Defyantly

    Defyantly Aspiring Builder

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    This build looks really promising! I like the tele'esque control layout! Were you planning on put some sort of top on it or were you gonna just do that swamp ash? Also how did you draw out that template for the body? Did you using an existing guide or did you free hand it?
     
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  8. Verdurus

    Verdurus Member

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    The body is just going to be swamp ash, no top. Although in the future once I stop making dumb mistakes I may incorporate something like the katalox tops I saw on Hibdon Hardwood. I drew out a strat template I had laying around on some MDF and then tweaked the design with the saw and spindle sander to get what I have now.
     
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  9. BlackMastodon

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

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    Don't beat yourself up over mistakes. Always take something away from them as a learning tool, and be sure to be patient and take your time. Just get some cheap/scrap wood to practice some of these things on before you jump into it on the wood you want to actually use. It's good you have templates for the shapes but be sure to make a template for just about every thing you have to use a route for and you'll be happy with the end result.

    Can we get some pictures of the neck pocket jig setup you were using? I think most of the builders on here have had moderate to good results from using a pretty simple setup of 3 straight edges butted up against the neck heel, then using those 3 pieces as the template for the router to ride on.
     
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  10. Verdurus

    Verdurus Member

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    Here's the template I threw together. I traced my other template, which is a bit too wide for the neck template I'm using, with the pencil staying away from the edge of the template, so it would be narrower than the master template. Then I cut it to shape on the bandsaw and used the fine side of my shinto rasp and a few other tools to clean it up and get it to shape. Still turned out a bit too wide, and also I think I accidentally removed the subtle taper in the neck pocket.

    I think I just need to be a bit more patient and think things through. Maybe practice certain operations on scrap wood to see how they work before performing them on the actual build. I've heard good things about the Potvin templates, so maybe I'll order some of those here soon.
     
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  11. Verdurus

    Verdurus Member

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    It's time for another mockup. Ignore the cutouts, that's just me experimenting with different chambering designs that I probably won't even incorporate into this build or the next one. I decided to go with an inline headstock for the next attempt as it will be an easier way of getting the straight string pull that I want. Considering a different control layout as well. Something more typical of a superstrat and not the straight up and down tele/blackmachine style layout with the super cramped control cavity. I might round out the bottom of the guitar a little more too, instead of having it nearly dead flat like the template is. Thoughts?
     

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