Ultra Lightweight Headless Travel Guitar Build!

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by Hywel, Jun 9, 2015.

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  1. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    Absolutely stunning!!!! :hbang: I want one haha!!. Amazing build man.

    All thats left now is some sort of tone test so we know how that stuff fairs as a tonewood. Its light but does it sound good?. Also how well does the thing resonate?. I bet acoustically its quite loud?
     
  2. Hywel

    Hywel SS.org Regular

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    Thanks :D.

    I'll try and get a sound clip up in the near future but so far it sounds fine, tending towards being quite warm in tone. The wood and deathbucker combo works really well for high gain stuff and copes ok with cleans if the volume's rolled back a fair bit.

    It resonates very well, I can feel the string vibration very strongly through my chest when it's on a strap. Acoustically it does seem louder than anything else I tried so I'm thinking the big cavity and thin pickguard may be helping there.

    I didn't realise it was quite as light as it was until I tried a normal guitar for comparison. Even the Ibanez S seemed to weigh a ton by comparison :lol:
     
  3. Alex Kenivel

    Alex Kenivel Stunt Guitar

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    Jeez, the weight on that! Great job sir
     
  4. fogcutter

    fogcutter SS.org Regular

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    Awesome, awesome build! Thanks so much for taking the time do document and post this thread.
     
  5. Deegatron

    Deegatron SS.org Regular

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    Clean build. I love everything about this.

    Not sure if your aware, Stew-mac sells black toggle switches. you could replace the 2 chrome ones.
     
  6. darren

    darren Forum MVP

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    Under 3 lbs?! :bowdown:

    I've got a featherweight headless build in progress right now, and it's currently around 4 lbs. all in, but that includes more conventional pickups and a StewMac Hot Rod, which might be the heaviest single part on the whole guitar, after the bridge. I'm trying to wrap my head around a way to make an adjustable carbon fibre truss rod that will allow for some relief adjustment.

    Nice job!
     
  7. TamanShud

    TamanShud Finished

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    Absolutely staggering job dude. Please do not stop building!
     
  8. Hywel

    Hywel SS.org Regular

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    Thanks everyone!

    I really enjoyed building this one so I'm glad you lot enjoyed it as well.

    I learnt most of what I know from really detailed build threads on SSO so I'm happy to do the same for everyone else!

    Cheers! I'll order some if I ever get around to ordering from Stew-Mac. :lol:

    Thanks very much! That build (and everything else you do) looks awesome. Love your stuff. :D

    I saw the guy over at Cycfi Research has designed a single action carbon rod that looks pretty nice. He might be able to help you out. :yesway:

    Cheers! I've got one more in progress and one in very early design stages so I'm carrying on for a bit longer. :D

    Very minor update on the build, the neck seems to have settled overnight with ~0.3mm/0.012" of relief with 11-49 strings at E standard. The locking nut had some minor slippage first thing but has been stable since. At the moment the action is sitting at [email protected] I'm happy with that but it should come down a bit when I get around to levelling the frets.
     
  9. DROPZCHUGGA

    DROPZCHUGGA BNAST

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    This is a really cool build. Absolutely love it. Body shape looks really comfy. Great work dude.
     
  10. Mehnike

    Mehnike SS.org Peruser

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    That weight! Curious as to how it balances with a strap. Does the neck seem to level out or does it sit at a nice angle? How much heavier is the body compared to the neck or at they about equal?

    Awesome build.
     
  11. Hywel

    Hywel SS.org Regular

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    Thanks :)

    The balance has worked out ok. On a strap it sits naturally at about 45° with the centre of gravity around the 26-28th fret. Neck is much lighter than the body (~285g vs 1028g) with a lot of the weight centered around the bridge at the tail end so it naturally pulls the neck into a decent position. I'd be interested to see if a truss rod changed that much.
     
  12. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    Thats killer. I imagined it to to so thats great to hear. You could easily roll these out as a business dude. Loads of people would love the idea of a very very very light guitar for travel. And hey if it sounds great then why couldnt this also be a gigging guitar!?!. No more back ache.

    I excitedly look forward to some sort of sound demo in the future. Great job again though mate. Bravo
     
  13. blindsagacity

    blindsagacity SS.org Regular

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    Holy ...., man! This build looks great, and I'm really impressed with the weight.

    Where did you find those single string tuners? And how do you like them?
     
  14. Hywel

    Hywel SS.org Regular

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    Cheers :D

    The tuners/bridge are ABM 3801B's from Thomann.de. So far they're been very stable and easy to fine tune but a little fiddly to string up initially with the nut I'm using (the ball ends pop out of the holders really easily unless there's tension on the string and I have to do 2 strings at once due to the nut). They are also a bit of a pain to set intonation on as well as there isn't a spring/screw to control the saddle, just a set screw that holds it in place.

    Once it's all set up its rock solid, fairly comfy and I don't have any real complaints, just take a bit longer to get it going in the first place.

    I would have loved to have used the .Strandberg* hardware but the price was much higher (never thought I'd see ABM being the cheap option!). Technology for Musicians also make a good option but they had a fairly long lead time when I asked and the Hipshot system doesn't seem to exist in the UK so I ignored that.
     
  15. vkw619

    vkw619 Inspired Beginner

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    Amazing build sir. I've never been a fan of headless guitars but I love the look and the pick guard!

    You have a talent many of us only dream off. And for that we envy you. :hbang:
     
  16. jeremyb

    jeremyb SS.org Regular

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    Wow dude, serious great work!! I have a paulownia telemaster that I put together, great wood, guitar is really loud acoustically as well :)
     
  17. Hywel

    Hywel SS.org Regular

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    I finally got around to doing that sound clip I promised and thought I might as well do a sort of long term review while I'm at it.

    The neck has been nice and stable and settled down to 0.4-0.5mm relief with 11-49 strings in standard tuning. It's a little bit more curved than the 0-0.3mm I was aiming for but it's hardly a big difference so I'm happy with that. I'll try 10's or 9's next and see what happens.

    The cheap floyd style locking nut as proven to be fine as a string lock with no slippage when tightened down enough.

    The ABM bridges have grown on me quite a bit. The tuning is crazy stable and they are very easy to fine tune if I need to. A dab of TriFlow PTFE lubricant on the screw threads made them much easier to turn. The saddles needed notching like a TOM and they do ring a bit with heavy palm mutes but the usual fix of foam under the strings sorted that out.

    Things I'd change if I were to make another one of these would mainly be the volume knob placement, It needs to be a fraction further back to be properly out of the way. I'd also like to make a plate and use a normal mono jack rather than a barrel jack as the barrel jacks always seem to fail much faster and I can't easily repair them.

    Sound wise you can judge for yourself. Sound clip is a little bit of high gain mess followed by some finger picking stuff with the coil split engaged. All controls were on 10. There's a DI and amped version in the Soundcloud playlist. Signal chain for high gain was guitar, TS/OD pedal, NG, Laney IRT-Studio lead channel. Clean was guitar, delay, IRT-Studio clean channel with a bit of reverb. 4x12, V30, SM58 IR for both.
    ,
    [SC]https://soundcloud.com/slj76/travel-amped?in=slj76/sets/travel-guitar-sound-clips[/SC]

    It currently lives on the back of my bedroom door hanging off the coat rack :lol:

    [​IMG]

    Cheers for reading through everyone. :D
     
  18. ctgblue

    ctgblue finally got seven

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    Wow, you guys and your actual tools and space. what, about 3 weeks build time.

    I can't get one assembled in less than several months. (4 people, one toddler, 16 pets, no time)

    Good job. Looks awesome.

    Question; if you wanted a travel guitar, why did you go full body?

    I had to go with a Steinberger design so I could carry mine on the plane several times a year. (about 12 planes total).
     
  19. Hywel

    Hywel SS.org Regular

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    Thanks!

    I'm pretty sure I won't be able to build one quite as quickly in the near future. I was just lucky to have a bit of free time around then.

    I went full body as I tried some smaller designs like the Martin backpacker and I couldn't get on with the lack of somewhere to put my forearm and the the difficulty of playing them without a strap (although I could probably have just coped with a strap now I think about it :lol:). It's a bit smaller than a normal Strandberg so if I take the neck off I can cram it into a suitcase without too much difficulty. I was originally planning on removable sides but decided against it eventually. Maybe next time.
     
  20. russmuller

    russmuller Cramblin'

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    This is pretty clever! The only down side is that if you break that string, you lose continuity (and output).
     
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