Trying to do my first build. In school.

Discussion in 'Plans, Designs & Software' started by TauSigmaNova, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. TauSigmaNova

    TauSigmaNova New Member

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    In my industial design/engineering class we're now up to the point where we get to do our own projects and I've had my hearts set on a specific project: building my own guitar, or rather just the body. Originally, I was planning on building and even designed (in my opinion) a pretty cool Kelly/Explorer style shape, but decided it was way too large and complex to build.

    My dream guitar for a while has been a white/blue skervesen raptor and I've changed my mind to build a blackmachine/skervesen inspired superstrat with a Warmoth neck. We don't have any routers here at out school's shop but we have a large bandsaw, two drill presses, and two Super Prolight CNC Mills along with a belt sander and tons of handtools. The problem with our CNC machine is that it has a maximum size of 12 inches by 4 inches. I plan on doing a Caparison M3 style construction with a center 12x4 section and two 'wings' and bolting the neck onto the center. I'm thinking about maybe using black limba for the body since I'm in love with how it looks but I may just do something more run of the mill like Alder or Maple or Mahogany. The other problem is we have no area to do finishing. So here are my questions so I can hopefully move on and succeed in building my first (hopefully of many) guitars.

    1. Building a 25.5 inch scale guitar, how far from the neck pocket should the line of intonation for the bridge be? I'm planning on using a Gotoh GTC-101 or a Hipshot depending on how big my budget is. Warmoth says distance from nut to heel [is the heel technically the bridge side of the neck pocket or the opposite side?] is 18-7/16" and from heel to line of int. is 7-1/8" but this adds up to 25.5625, which is more than 25.5 inches.

    2. Since I'm using a warmoth neck, I'm confined to a strat neck pocket. What is the radius of the neck pocket? I've read 5 1/16" somewhere.

    3. The heel contour on the back. Anyway I can make something more comfy/sculpted like AANJ style rather than the big blocky heel of a strat? Can I find shorter screws or anything for it? Will it cause structural issues? Will I have to use a neck plate?

    4. Do I have to apply a finish? What's the downside of not putting a finish on the body? What's the easiest finish I can put on it if anything? How about painting the body? I don't plan on using a quilt/flame maple top due to added complexity/the three piece construction I'm planning and the inability to stain it.

    These are the four main problems I can think of right now stopping me from finishing the 3D Modelling and starting the build. As far as everything else goes, I'm planning on building it as a 1-humbucker guitar with a single volume pot (at least I know how to solder after changing the pickups on my main guitar) and the Black-machine style forearm contour. I have a set of EMGs that I can't seem to get rid off that I may use although I dislike them. My alternative is a Duncan Custom or Perpetual Burn but that'll drive up the cost of the build. I don't have the tools or materials for binding so I may do a painted binding or pinstripe tape for binding. Once I get off the ground expect lots of pics as I finish.

    Edit: Might do a top veneer with the bookmatch in the middle and "cut out" the pickup rout manually after I do the main body and glue it on top. Would that work? Probably not.
     
  2. Jason720

    Jason720 Member

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    Router is not required since you have a drill press but it makes things a hell of a lot easier. I would atleast get a drum sander attachment for shaping the body. The body cavities are going to be a pain without a router too.

    12th fret is the half way mark between the nut and the bridge saddle so if its a 25.5" scale then the saddle should be 12.75" away from the 12th fret. Wait til the neck is in place before measuring.

    Wait til you have the neck before you make the neck pocket. Make all the measurements from the actual neck not by what they say the measurements are going to be.

    You can make the heel contour do pretty much whatever you want. You don't have to use a neck plate but you should atleast use metal washers or ferrules if you don't want the neck plate.

    Wood absorbs water. Water makes wood swell, warp, etc. Finish keeps the wood from absorbing water. You don't have to use a finish but its not a good idea to leave it bare.


    There are many videos on youtube and books that will help you out with building a guitar. Guitarmaking Tradition and Technology is a nice book on acoustic guitar building but works for electric too.
     
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  3. TauSigmaNova

    TauSigmaNova New Member

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    Thanks for the help man :) I'm gonna talk to my teacher about it and tell him that that's how it's gonna have to work out. Will definitely go look up a few books.
     
  4. Jason720

    Jason720 Member

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    No problem, post some pictures when you start the build.
     
  5. Heretic

    Heretic Well-Known Member

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    I would not want to build a guitar without a router.

    And regarding finish, danish oil is probably the most forgiving and easiest to apply. You don't need any tools other than some blue shop towels and nitrile gloves. You can thin it with mineral spirits if you have a hard time rubbing it in. You definitely want a finish. Aside from the tendency to absorb moisture and the attendant problems with that (splitting, cracking, checking), it will get real ugly real fast if you leave it raw and don't treat it. Even if you burnish it, you'll find it feels wooly and rough again after a day or two, just from the wood absorbing water from the air and raising the grain.
     
  6. TauSigmaNova

    TauSigmaNova New Member

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    Alright, I'll try to do it in the open area behind my apartment building. Do I need sealer? And the only areas I think I'll need to rout are the pickup/neckpocket cavity which I'll do with the CNC machine and the control cavity that I'll probably do with several holes near each other with a drill press and then file/rasp it together.

    As for pictures, I'll definitely post some once I start which may be in a month or two. Maybe (hopefully) less.
     
  7. Jason720

    Jason720 Member

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    Oil is a nice finish especially if you want it to look more natural. Read on how to dispose the rags with oil finish if you use it. Oil tends to heat up on a rag, sometimes enough to combust so don't just wad it up and throw it in the trash.
     
  8. Heretic

    Heretic Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, just lay them out opened flat to dry for however long the instructions say it will take to cure. After they are dry, they are no longer a fire risk, so you can throw them away.
     
  9. Purelojik

    Purelojik New Member

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    i'd recommend oil for your first.

    i've written some tips and tricks with a variety of wipe on finishes on my blog. and actually i am doing a finishing test on koa with Odies oil. I also use Tru oil and watco teak and danish oil. all have pluses and minuses. I just test everything and go with the best for that particular piece. lemme know if you need some help
     
  10. TauSigmaNova

    TauSigmaNova New Member

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    Fair enough, I'll go for a natural oil finish after I finish then. Any suggestions on body wood? I was considering black limba but I'm not sure. I wanna keep costs to as close to a minimum as possible but I'd also like (if at all possible) to have something more interesting than a natural mahogany or natural basswood finish. [I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of those...]
     
  11. Heretic

    Heretic Well-Known Member

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    If you like black limba, go with black limba. It's a nice wood to work with. It's light and relatively soft and easy to cut, machine, sand, and finish. It's a good wood to start with.
     
  12. Purelojik

    Purelojik New Member

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    problem with black limba is that unless you got a local supplier it'll be a bit more expensive than it should. not by much but still if your aim to to keep costs down then look at your local lumber yard. sapele is what i'll use as a body wood. relatively inexpensive and is easy to machine and finish. plus it sounds amazing too
     
  13. Heretic

    Heretic Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I can't find it anywhere reliably. My preferred body wood is Honduran mahogany. It's easier to work and lighter weight than Sapele or Khaya.
     
  14. immortalx

    immortalx New Member

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    ^^^ Some nice suggestions there
    If you're in search for something low cost but with some interesting figure, you could try black walnut. The plain-sawn boards have that characteristic "cathedral" grain pattern with alternating brownish and blackish bands.
    It also machines wonderfully.
     
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  15. TauSigmaNova

    TauSigmaNova New Member

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    Trying to cut costs from my original estimate of 437+wood. Going for a Carvin neck/bridge/tuners to cut costs there. Does their neck come with undrilled neck holes? If I get the contoured neck plate I can drill them myself to whatever the radius is, right? Anyone have any good links to places to get guitar-quality wood? Preferably for as cheap/cheapest shipping as possible?

    E: Might have to go with an alder blank from Carvin for 70 bucks... Cheapest I can find.
     
  16. TauSigmaNova

    TauSigmaNova New Member

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    [​IMG]
    Dimensions more or less. Cost list breakdown:
    Neck from Carvin- Inline HS, Ebony Board: 204
    Carving Tuners 30
    Carvin Bridge+Ferrules 40
    Dunlop locks:12 [Might just use the old strap locks from my Schecter]
    Neck Plate+Screws 6
    Vol Pot + Cables from EMG: 15 [I have an 81+85 at home. Still have the old wiring harness and knobs. Might use those.]
    Alder Blank from Carvin:70
    Total: ~380
     
  17. Heretic

    Heretic Well-Known Member

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    That's a good price for the alder blank. Unless you have a jointer and thickness planer, it is going to be very difficult to turn raw lumber into a usable body blank.

    You can probably get enough 8/4 alder lumber to do it for about $20 from a lumberyard, but if you don't already have the tools to mill the lumber yourself, you're going to have to get somebody to do it for you. That can be expensive.

    I'd go with the Carvin blank.
     
  18. Jason720

    Jason720 Member

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    Search for a hardwood dealer close by, they usually sell s4s lumber. If you don't have a jointer than double check for square before you buy it. Should be about half of what the blank costs that way. If you don't want to go through that trouble then the $70 blank is probably your best bet.
     
  19. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    I can sell you a 1/4 sawn basswood , 1 piece blank for $60.00 plus shipping . It will be rough cut .
    Also have wood for a cap , but that will end up over your budget likely .
     
  20. TauSigmaNova

    TauSigmaNova New Member

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    Thanks for the offer but I'll pass. Prefer to do my shopping from larger/well trusted organizations and I've never been a huge fan of basswood guitars though my opnions on them have changed over the last few years.
     

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