RGI aluminum neck build thread

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by broj15, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Glad you found a body supplier!
     
  2. broj15

    broj15 SS.org Regular

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    Pics first and words later:
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    Well, after 2 days of obsessively checking my tracking info it's it's finally arrived.
    Overall the turnaround time was a little under 5 months. My order was placed on April 27th and or came in today on September 12th. A little over the original 4 month eta, but I'm not complaining.
    To say this is a quality neck is an understatement. When you hold it in your hands (and it is quite heavy despite how thin it is) it doesn't really feel like you're holding part of an instrument. It feels more like a tool or a precision part of a high end performance car. The finish is perfectly smooth. A bit shinier & more reflective than I had expected (aka it does tend to show finger prints a bit more than I'd like it to). The "brushed aluminum" finish is supposed to have a feel closer to a satin or oil finish, and while it does seem to have a little more friction I definitely wouldn't call it "sticky" feeling by any means.
    The fret work is absolutely impeccable. Not a single sharp fret end, and all appear to be perfectly level when I checked them with a straight edge. I'm guessing since Alex is only making necks right now (and with mine being #91) he's had PLENTY of practice getting his fret game on point and it definitely shows.
    The strangest thing about the neck is probably the shape. The fretboard has a 12" radius, which is normal enough for me, bit the new k profile itself is unlike any I've ever played. Literally the definition of thin and FLAT. The back of the neck is completely flat with no radius for probably 80% of it's surface area, the edges are rounded off nicely. I think the strangest part is that the neck is the same thickness the whole way down, as opposed to getting slightly thicker the closer you get to the 22nd fret. I tried my best toc this in the pics, bit given the reflective surface, and my apartments less than ideal lighting I don't think I got it. Just imagine it as a .7" thick bar of aluminum and then take a 1/4" round over bit to the edges.

    Now, my next step is to get the body made. I'm supposed to meet up with Erik at ESB customs this saturday afternoon so he can get a feel for the neck and we can workout the details for the body. We've got a good idea of what we wanna do (sg with a hardtail bridge, HH with 2 volume and a 3 way toggle) but we'll be picking out what particular pieces of wood I want him to use and going over some other details.
    That being said, I'm still undecided as to whatk of pickups I want to put in this thing. I really like the pickups in my t60, but finding another set without stealing them from another t60 is proving to be difficult, so it looks like I need to find an aftermarket pup with a similar sound. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions it would be much appreciated. Either way, I'll keep this thread updated with any progress that's made.
     
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  3. secretpizza

    secretpizza SS.org Regular

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    Nice man. I’ve got a Dunable Cyclops with RGI neck arriving tomorrow and am very excited to try out the aluminum neck.
     
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  4. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    They have a Dunable Cyclops with a Robot Graves neck at Bricktop Recording where my band was just recording this summer, I played with it a fair bit though we didn't use it on the EP.

    Fretwork is so super good. It's almost like it's Plek'd.

    ...but I dunno if I could get along with the shape of that neck. or the weight of it.

    But it feels so good to play a chord totally unplugged and it just sustains forever like you've got a compression pedal dimed.
     
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  5. secretpizza

    secretpizza SS.org Regular

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    That's the exact one I bought. It popped up on the Dunable KVLT facebook page last week and I couldn't resist. Years ago, when wait times were shorter, I very nearly pulled the trigger on an EGC SG-style guitar, but ultimately (correctly) decided that my grad-school lifestyle couldn't support the expense. They eventually discontinued the SG, prices went up, and wait times went up too, so I abandoned the dream. Then this one popped up for a great price and I couldn't resist.

    It's a total gamble because I've never laid hands on the neck, and I may not get along with the shape at all, but I had to at least give it a whirl.
     
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  6. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    What's the weight of the neck?
     
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  7. broj15

    broj15 SS.org Regular

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    A solid 4.5 pounds when I weighed it on a luggage scale.
     
  8. secretpizza

    secretpizza SS.org Regular

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    Got my Dunable with RGI neck yesterday; re-strung it for Drop C this morning, and I have to say I'm really enjoying the aluminum neck. Mine is polished rather than flat, so it definitely shows fingerprints, and it's certainly odd that the guitar starts out pretty cold in the morning, but the neck feels great. String spacing is nice, frets (as mentioned above) are absolutely perfect, and the sustain that everyone raves about with aluminum necks is definitely real.

    It's also accurate that the backs of the necks are incredibly flat, but I'm not bothered by it - it's very similar to how it feels playing a Strandberg, if you play with "correct" thumb placement. Not sure that this will be a keeper for me because I would like a flatter fretboard radius, but it's a pretty awesome experience. Can't wait to see OP's build when it's complete.
     
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  9. Bearitone

    Bearitone SS.org Regular

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    There are guitar straps that distribute the weight of the guitar across both your shoulders. I forgot what they’re called but, if weight is an issue i bet something like that would help a lot
     
  10. secretpizza

    secretpizza SS.org Regular

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    I actually didn't find the weight to be too bad. I guess it would depend on what you're used to, but it's not too bad if you're comparing it a LP-style guitar.
     
  11. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Even just getting a wider strap can make all the difference. many moons ago I had one that must have been 4" wide. It looked kind of dopey because it was black, but had huge oversized white lettering on it, but it was more comfortable than any of my padded straps i've had since.
     
  12. broj15

    broj15 SS.org Regular

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    Really glad to hear that you're enjoying it. I feel like the weight won't be much of an issue for me as here lately I've been playing my t60 (and loving it). The main issue me and Erik (the person building the body) were worried about was neck dive, especially since I'm going with an SG shape and they're prone to being neck heavy already. In order to avoid that we made a few tweaks - gonna be 1.75" thick instead of the usual 1 5/8" that they normally are, and then make the body ever so slightly bigger. Basically since the scale of this neck is 25.5" and a normal SG is 24.75" we thought why not just scale everything up to reflect the longer scale length of the guitar.
     
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  13. broj15

    broj15 SS.org Regular

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    Progress being made:

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    So the Ash top has been resawn and planed to the proper thickness, and he's modifying his existing SG template to be a little bigger like I already mentioned (said he just added 3/16" around the perimeter, except inside the cutaways to not restrict upper fret access).

    So I went to Erik's house Saturday afternoon to drop off the neck and hand over money for the deposit. Speaking of, overall cost on the body is on par or just slightly under what I would be paying if I decided to go with Warmoth, plus he's doing some things that Warmoth simply wouldn't do, such as a custom 2ply black over aluminum pickguard, control layout, "bookmatched" Ash top, and custom finish, so that's pretty sick. He said he could get Honduran or African mahogany and asked which I prefer, so I told him I was fine with either, but if possible I'd like him to find a piece wide enough so he wouldn't have to glue multiple pieces together. He messaged me last night saying he was able tof a piece wide enough which is great, and that he'd be getting it planed to the proper thickness sometime this week, and he expects to have everything glued up and have the body shape cut down by this weekend. I mentioned I was playing a show on November 16th and that ideally I'd have the guitar ready to play for the show and he said he doesn't see a reason why that wouldn't be doable. That's just over a month and a half away and I'm interested to see if he can deliver. So far his communication and motivation has been great and he seems just as excited to finish the project as I am to get my guitar.

    So just a small update for now, but things should start coming together more in the next couple weeks. He said he likes to get his customers in his shop working on thier own builds as well, even if it's just using them to bounce ideas off of or to just have a second set of eyes on the project in case he overlooks something. I personally think that's a great idea, especially considering the horror stories we've all seen with small luthiers over the past few years (makes me trust someone alot more when they invite into thier home & workspace). Honestly I'm already making plans for a second build from him: 5 string ironbird/warrior inspired bass maybe B^)....
     
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  14. broj15

    broj15 SS.org Regular

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    More pics & progress:

    A very stout piece of mahogany
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    The Ash cap resawn and getting glued up
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  15. broj15

    broj15 SS.org Regular

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    Well, I had known I'd have a much more meaningful and interesting update tonight I probably woulda skipped the last one. This think is actually starting to look like a real guitar now!:

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    Welp, as you can see the body is partially cut, and the cap and mahogany are glued together. Erik has to get some new sanding sleeves for his spindle sander tomorrow so he can finish shaping the body, and he's planning on routing the neck pocket sometime this week. He's got the bridge and electronics ordered and should be here middle of the week, and I'll go over to his place and we can get the control layout squared away (super important factor for me since I find myself always bumping my controls on every other guitar I own). I am unbelievably stoked about how this is coming together and can't wait until it's finally finished.
     
  16. broj15

    broj15 SS.org Regular

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  17. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Is there such a thing as brushed chrome (not nickel...nickle's too warm/gold-toned) bridge?
     
  18. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Schaller offers "Satin Chrome" on their wares.

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    The "Ruthenium" looks cool too, it's a darker, but not yellow, chrome:

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  19. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    I highly recommend to stay away from the Schaller 3D. Slapped it on two early builds and it's actually the worst hard tail bridge I've used so far...
     
  20. xwmucradiox

    xwmucradiox sweep.tap.sweep

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    Any bridge with roller saddles is a terrible idea. Those bridges also don't handle heavy string gauges well. Last time I had a guitar with one the biggest string it would fit was a .052.
     

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