NGD: Pretty 'Fly' for a Fretless Guy

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by Randy, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. Randy

    Randy Sous Chef Super Moderator

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    Long story but basically was on a Fountainhead kick and decided I needed a fretless guitar. Considered buying something cheap and modding it but didn't see anything I liked much, plus I'm OCD about matching guitar, so I decided it'd be fun to try a Parker style build to match my two main players.

    Being bolt on instead of the set neck like a real Fly, plus not planning on attempting a carbon fiber layup this early, I didn't do the full back carving but I got the top as close as possible. I also got lucky with an especially light piece of mahogany.

    Anyway, pics.

    Here's the original haul. Fretboard started out as 1/4" 6061 aluminum bar stock ~36"x5x" (Thanks Metal Supermarket!) and the 8/4 plank of African Mahogany that would be the body. The thing on the right is maple for another build. 20190814_143415.jpg

    I build guitars ~10 years before I got the CNC, so I'm big on letting the CNC do what it's good at and letting the hand do what it's good at. So in this case, I let the CNC do the main outline, the pickup routes, the neck pocket, etc.

    So, off to the Shapeoko.

    20190816_170324.jpg

    Just recently (well, in the last six months) got into letting the CNC do the neck carving. This one is based on my favorite 6-string neck profile, the Super Wizard. I let the CNC do the precision work like the neck tenon, then some rough outlining and left the final shaping to sander.

    Oh, and the neck is a piece of Phillipine mahogany as opposed to the African mahogany of the body. The Phili is noticeably more "brown" and open grained and heavier. The African has a more golden hue, tighter grain and noticeably lighter.

    20190816_175210.jpg

    Kind of mocked up before the top carve. The fretboard tappered but not contoured yet. The CNC+ballnose did NOT like doing the contouring but more on that later.

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    This is after initial carving. I used a flap disk for some heavy removal, also a saw and chisel, then spokeshave/rasps for some of the fine stuff, eventually up to 80grit on the mouse sander and I think I was up to about 120grit by the time I snapped this.

    The wood had some imperfections. Some of it I was inclined to leave, some of it filled, some of it I chased (there's these vertical scratches behind the bridge) and they kept going and going, so I decided to leave those too. Nothing there that effected stability or killed the look enough to bother me. 20190823_164007.jpg 20190823_164020.jpg

    Here's a test of it, I think this is after sanding to 240grit and just rubbing it down with alcohol. That gives you an idea of what it looks like finished but also is good for raising the grain before your last couple sanding stages. This starts to highlight the koa-like golden hue.

    20190823_165940.jpg

    This part was a bitch, so there's minimal documentation but basically put a 16" radius on the fretboard. Tried the ballnose and the motors did NOT like any amount of plunging into it. I did a full operation of that and it basically left a couple scratches and no real carving. I decided to try the same carve based on the ballnose but stuck in the square bit, and THAT worked.

    It was ugly ugly ugly and I ended up having to sand it by hand with a radius block from 40 grit up but I got there. I believe it was like... 40, 60, 80,100,120,200,240,300,500,800,1000,1200, 1500, 1800,1200 then 000, 0000, 00000 steel wool. It was hell but here we are with no polishing.

    20190914_144350_HDR.jpg 20190914_144455_HDR~2.jpg
     
  2. Randy

    Randy Sous Chef Super Moderator

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    A bunch happened between here and it being finished but not much documentation. Finish sanding, fitting, drilling, etc.

    For the logos, I always liked the little 'Fly' behind the headstock, and since this is partially inspired by Bumblefoot, I decided to put a little Bumblefoot bee on the back. Also decided to get 'cute' with the headstock' design.

    Fretboard as fret markers on the side and 'dimpled' fret marker dots.

    For finish, this got Polycrylic. I didn't want to get into the full nitro/2k spray rig for this and decided to try something new. The Polycrylic claims "no runs" and they're full of shit :lol: It runs, it goes on sloppy and ugly with a nasty purple hue. BUT, it dries really nice, which is what matters. It self leveled pretty well and I liked being able to use water for cleanup. It got wet sanding up to ~500grit, then steel wool and then scotch brite to flatten it but keep some sheen.

    Pickups are a Tone Zone and Air Norton combo I had laying around. They may or may not stay but I do like the look. I was broke by the time I got around to completing this, so the tuners were nabbed off of one of my Parkers that has been waiting to be restrung anyway.

    Bridge is, idk, no-namer flatmount I chose because I thought something that strung through the top only would sustain better. Knobs are some NOS Parker CS knobs I got from Gman.

    Anyway, finished pics:

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    DSC_3714.JPG
     
  3. Ordacleaphobia

    Ordacleaphobia Shameless Contrarian

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    Damn Randy that came out great! The body looks spot on.
    How's it play? Never even touched a fretless guitar before, sounds like a trip.
     
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  4. BigViolin

    BigViolin breakfast foods

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    Dude, yer killin' it.

    :hbang:
     
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  5. IbanezDaemon

    IbanezDaemon Raptus regaliter

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    Superb work man! Very talented. That looks fantastic!
     
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  6. broj15

    broj15 SS.org Regular

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    Damn this is right up my alley. I have an old first act guitar that I'm thinking about de fretting so I can play some nasty early daughters style riffs.
     
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  7. Blytheryn

    Blytheryn Musical Adam West

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    Never seen a guitar before I’d have no idea how to play... but it looks amazing!
     
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  8. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Cooooooooooool
     
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  9. AxeHappy

    AxeHappy SS.org Regular

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    I had no idea you built guitars!

    Looks bloody brilliant! Love it!
     
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  10. JSanta

    JSanta SS.org Regular

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    That's freaking killer! I would really like to hear how it sounds and how you're adjusting to a fretless instrument.
     
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  11. Wolfhorsky

    Wolfhorsky Regular idiot

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    :minions:
     
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  12. mlp187

    mlp187 Burrito Master Contributor

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    Super sexy. Nice work!!! The logo is a nice touch!!!
     
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  13. Jeff

    Jeff Banned from Reality

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    Holy shit. That’s awesome.
     
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  14. gunshow86de

    gunshow86de Beef Jerky Time

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    Nice job! The logo was a nice touch, made me chuckle. :D
     
  15. Dumple Stilzkin

    Dumple Stilzkin Special needs member

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    Nicely done. It looks really good. I’ve always wanted a Parker. The one I played over fifteen years ago just felt good, nice and light. They just have a good mojo, it all added up to be a unique feeling and playing guitar.
     
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  16. Samark

    Samark SS.org Regular

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    And suddenly, I have intense Parker GAS

    Outstanding job!
     
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  17. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Plays Authentic ® Contributor

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    You already have my shipping address and credit card info...

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Adieu

    Adieu SS.org Regular

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    Pretty sexy...why aluminium, though???
     
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  19. Randy

    Randy Sous Chef Super Moderator

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    Thanks, everybody!

    Neither had I. I literally built it because it was the most practical way of getting my hands on one :lol:

    Plays great. The technique is taking some getting used to but as far as playability, I'm loving this neck profile.

    I had the same experience. I played a couple Parkers when I was maybe 14 or 15 years old at Daddy's Junky Music, I think one Fly and one Nitefly. They were so light, the neck profile was so thin, the pickups sounded so lively, etc. But I was a broke kid playing a Squier and these were like, $2000+ at the time.

    The two Parkers I got eventually I lucked out on. It was a couple months before the shop closed down and the two I got had some scuffs and were listed poorly, and I just happened to get my only real decent bonus check from work in several years at that same time. Stars aligning, etc.

    Seemed to be pretty common. Sustain is an issue with these things and anything metal reinjects some of that back into it. I'd consider stainless next time but I don't know the first thing on how to work it.
     
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  20. 77zark77

    77zark77 SS.org Regular

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    Any sound ? please ?
     

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