I think I know what I want to build for my first guitar...

Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by MountainCraft, May 5, 2015.

  1. MountainCraft

    MountainCraft New Member

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    I've been thinking about it for a while, and I need a guitar that I can take camping without having to worry about getting it a little banged up or stolen or whatever, and I thought that need would be perfect to use as a first guitar build project....

    What I'm thinking of, is something along the lines of the 'ministar' guitar...

    YouTube Video of Ministar

    One pickup, a volume knob, a neck, and a floyd rose style tail piece....

    That way, I'm primarily just building a neck.. lol

    I have so many questions, a generous dose of ignorance, and a lot of big ideas... :dude:

    First of all, is such a build 'easier' than a full sized guitar, or am I deluding myself?... I love the concept...

    I found an old dimarzio pick up I can use, and so I need some tuners, a truss rod, a tailpiece and some information to do the design...

    I've been checking back in here from time to time hoping that one build thread that was started where the guy took us through step by step as he designed his shark fin style guitar in a CAD program, showing how to determine where to set the bridge, divide up the frets, where to set the pickup, the nut and all that, but then he changed servers or something and all the images disappeared, would get repaired but never did, and now I can't even find the thread... I guess this means that I'll have to find another source for that information...

    So, I want to build this on the cheap... I have a table saw, a home made CNC router, a home made thickness sander, a grizzly edge sander, and various other power tools and hand tools...

    So, first question... I've seen guitars over the years that have no head stock and the strings are fed in from the nut end and then tuned on the bridge end... It's been a whole lot of years, so am I right in understanding that the tremolo itself has the tuners built in?

    Is that something like 'this', or are the tuners on this thing just for 'fine tuning' and separate tuners still required? I'm really ignorant here as the last guitar I had with a tremolo was a strat and that was 25 years ago... If there is an affordable bridge that incorporates both tremolo and tuners in it, that would be the ideal thing, as then I don't have to mess with separate tuners... But if I do, then I guess I can go the route of the ministar design (plus the tail piece)..

    Anyways, I guess that's my first question.. I need educating on tailpieces and a good deal on where to buy one... I want to collect all the hardware before I start to design the actual guitar...

    The second question is where to get the design information? Is there an affordable book or DVD somewhere that lays it out as nicely as that thread I am talking about?.. (I'm sure some of you remember it)

    Thanks,
    Mark
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2015
  2. MountainCraft

    MountainCraft New Member

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    All the photos and ads I see of guitars without a headstock have a rather large tailpiece that has no whammy, so I guess what I was thinking is out...

    I'll have to go with a headstock and tuning keys..

    I really could use some advice here on collecting the hardware... looking to spend as little as possible yet not buy junk..

    This will be a 'learning project' so at some point down the road, I will probably rob the hardware off of it to use on something else.. Unless of course, it just turns out super awesome on the first attempt (not likely... lol)

    Anyways, would like opinions on whether even using a floyd rose style tailpiece is wise on my first attempt or if it down't matter...

    So I need tailpiece hardware, jack/pot/etc, tuning keys, and a truss... advice?
     
  3. MountainCraft

    MountainCraft New Member

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    Thinking something along these lines (but maybe with tailpiece).. This is not a final design (in fact, it will probably change but the general dimensions are in the ball park), for body and head shape and the sharp corners would be rounded out, but this is the general idea...

    [​IMG]
     
  4. MountainCraft

    MountainCraft New Member

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    Or maybe something like this to protect the tuners...

    [​IMG]
     
  5. MountainCraft

    MountainCraft New Member

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    So, after no replies on this, I'm wondering why.. :scratch:

    Am I thinking too far outside the box? Trying something too weird for the first 'learning' build? Unworkable design? Proposing something so idiotic that people are afraid to comment without insulting me? lol

    Just received my first book:

    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/3000296425/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1]Electric Guitar and Bass Design: The guitar or bass of your dreams, from the first draft to the complete plan: Leonardo Lospennato, Ned Steinberger, R. M. Mottola, Claudio and Claudia Pagelli, Ralf Martens, Sebastian Heck, Martin Off: 9783000296420: [/ame]

    Plan to get this one 'soon':

    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/3901314075/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&colid=3I2T1KNQS8QFT&coliid=IHZFICCNS62Y8&me=]Building Electric Guitars: How to Make Solid-Body, Hollow-Body and Semi-Acoustic Electric Guitars and Bass Guitars: Martin Koch: 9783901314070: Amazon.com: Books[/ame]

    I've got my eye on 4 others down the road....

    And after digesting both of those and applying what I learn to the design, I'll probably get started...

    Found a couple of pickups and a 3+3 set of tuners that came off of my old '74 Ibanez Korina V when I upgraded them.. So I can use them for this first build...

    Gonna buy a pre-made gibson style fretboard. truss, fret wire, a nut, a few basic tools, and I think I'll just go with a standard tune o matic bridge for this first one...

    I've got to design something that either flips up or mounts for the arm to rest on during playing...

    This is purposed to be a 'camping' guitar and will probably be subject to some abuse, so I'll not spend a bunch on exotic woods, just something that has decent tone characteristics, stability and workability, and if It's not real beautiful wood, I'll just paint it a solid color...

    Plan on building this as a through the body design, and then machining it all on my CNC... Would like to do an angled neck design like that on my Gibson V, but I don't know if that is wise or not for a first timer, or for the design....

    So anyways, comments/advice are appreciated.... Collecting parts while I read the books... Still have lots of time to change things....
     
  6. SimonB15

    SimonB15 Active Member

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    With that design, you'll need to make sure there is enough room between the end of the fingerboard and the tail of the guitar to fit your bridge and (if applicable) tailpiece. Were it me, and I was trying to build a small bodied guitar like that, I'd probably go with a wraparound bridge.

    Something to think about, though: if you decide to use a tune-o-matic (Gibson style) bridge, then your neck will need to be set at an angle (3-4 degrees) whereas if you go with a tremolo or standard flat bridge (like on a tele) you can have a neck without an angle, which is easier.

    I get most of my parts from stewmac.com, which has a huge variety at different price points. Worth looking at for your components. You can get cheap stuff on eBay, but you get what you pay for.

    Re your design, I'd be concerned about a guitar that has a headstock the same size as the body; you might find it is super neck heavy and not comfortable to play. Maybe not, but it would be a concern for me.

    I'm also not seeing a volume knob on your design. And where are you planning on housing the control cavity for the volume pot and the input jack?
     
  7. MountainCraft

    MountainCraft New Member

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    Thanks for your reply Simon..

    By 'wrap around bridge' do you mean the kind where the strings pass through the body from the back like the early Vs?

    Now there's some useful information.. I was wondering what the criteria was for flat vs angled... So now, I'm rethinking the whole bridge deal... I may go back to the original thought of using a floyd rose style bridge... Adds a few bucks to the build, but if it all turns out crap, I can use the hardware on the next build....

    Already bookmarked them and have been looking through their site.. Great resource... Question, I was planning on getting the Gibson style fretboard from them.. Can that fretboard still be used with the flat design, or do I either have to angle the neck, or go with a fender style fretboard?

    Frankly, this is the biggest concern I have as well, and is one of the reasons I'm not gonna spend a lot on this first attempt... The other being that it's my first one and thus more learning experience than anything, and also because I just don't have a lot of money.. lol

    The second one (with the tuners inside the headstock) is the most concerning to me, and to 'hopefully' balance the thing, I copied the headstock profile and used it for the body, sliding it up the neck as far as was reasonable to move the balance point back..

    That being said, this general design may require the use of a strap to play regardless... The first design has the scoop at the bridge end of the body with the idea that I could play it like a V (will soften the points so they don't dig into my legs), and the distance to the high point of the scoop from the bridge was set by measuring the distance to my leg from the bridge on my V... But yeah, it's definitely my biggest concern...

    I was kinda planning on putting it in the area behind the bridge somewhere, probably towards the bottom... Since there is no way you can play this guitar by resting it on your leg, I planned to put the jack on the bottom, towards the middle to front of the body, so that the cord comes out straight down....

    Now, where to fit the battery powered guitar amp and two and a half inch speaker in the thing.. :D
     
  8. MountainCraft

    MountainCraft New Member

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    Thinking about this some more, it will probably have to be positioned more towards the back, because if I play this like a V, with the scoop against my right leg, then the front area of the guitar body will be resting on my left leg and I can't have the cord coming out there... So, I'll probably place it somewhere along the bottom edge where it doesn't interfere with either leg...
     
  9. MountainCraft

    MountainCraft New Member

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    a little clarity, and a possible place to put the volume knob and jack

    [​IMG]
     
  10. MountainCraft

    MountainCraft New Member

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    Okay, I understand the wrap around bridge theory... Never seen those before.. That would save a lot of room.. although adjusting intonation sure would be fun...

    [​IMG]
     
  11. DRF

    DRF Member

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    Well your wheels are turning and that's a good thing, nothing is too far out imo. One of the coolest guitars ever made is a Gittler -look it up. If you're worried about balance you can always do the strap end tied to headstock thing like Elvis did.

    Since you're worried about size...I've actually seen travel guitars with controls on the side of the body -like the upright side towards your chin while playing.
     
  12. MountainCraft

    MountainCraft New Member

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    That's actually how the ministar in the video at the beginning of this thread is.. Looking for a way to minimize the 'protruding' stuff if possible...

    For balance, I was just thinking that perhaps I could thicken the body some, which might help sustain? With the thicker body, I could also just make the neck piece thicker (depth wise) during glue up and design neck angle into a 3D file and cut the whole guitar, first the back, then the front as a 3D file, body, neck, and headstock all at once...

    Here it is again, but with the volume knob moved to the bottom, which would make it a little easier to access with the right hand (could adjust it with the tiny or ring finger)

    I've got some time to think about it and pick you guy's brains while I collect parts and materials....:yesway:

    [​IMG]
     
  13. MountainCraft

    MountainCraft New Member

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    That Gittler guitar is very cool... I like that kind of stuff a lot.. Industrial design meets art meets function...

    Some seriously fat frets there.. :)
     
  14. DRF

    DRF Member

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    Hmm I don't know, I did read what you said...but why are you going with a neck angle again?, if you're using a tuno-matic you can recess it if need be. If I had to build one of these things I'd get the neck blank and glue body wings on it, route out the truss rod channel, p/u's, control cavity (since you said you're using a CNC), glue on fretboard and use a top mount hardtail strat bridge. Strat necks sit slightly proud of the body, I can't remember off hand but it's the fretboard thickness (1/4in) and a bit more (like 3/8ths or something) but with the pickguard its back down to a 1/4in above...and then + the fret height. Some strats have a micro tilt bolt to adjust a bit of angle in neck heel. Am I making sense or confusing more?, jeeze now I'm going to have to get a strat and measure.
     
  15. SimonB15

    SimonB15 Active Member

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    You asked a question earlier about whether you can use a Gibson style fretboard on a neck without an angle. Yes, you can. The only difference between a Gibson and Fender fingerboard blank on stewmac is the scale (fender fbs are slightly longer) and the fender ones have a slot for the nut cut in to the fretboard.
     
  16. MountainCraft

    MountainCraft New Member

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    yeah, a little confusing.. I have no problem with staying flat... I kind of like the tuneomatic bridges, but I've always wanted something with a floyd rose.. never liked the strat whammy tail pieces... Not really familiar with the 'hard tail' versions..

    One other option is to get the kind of tail pieces where the tuners are built in and get rid of the head stock altogether.... But I really don't know a lot about them.. They look kinda cool though, and it would be one less thing to build (headstock) and would shorten the whole guitar up even more...

    Here's one with a whammy, but I have no idea who makes the hardware (and it might be too pricey)

    [​IMG]
     
  17. MountainCraft

    MountainCraft New Member

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    So, I'm gathering that the reason that TOMs require tilting of the neck, is because of their height... So the recessing option is also doable.... The TOM bridge system is pretty inexpensive...

    How much of a recess is required for a TOM bridge?
     
  18. MountainCraft

    MountainCraft New Member

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    Okay, so you're talking about this type of bridge... I've seen them before, but never played one.. How are they for staying in tune?

    hardtail bridge
     
  19. MountainCraft

    MountainCraft New Member

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    I'm having a hard time finding info on these bridges as far as design.. Do they use the little brass cups on the back side of the body and the string passes all the way through, or is there a cavity in the back that gives access to the bottom of the bridge?
     
  20. DRF

    DRF Member

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    Yeah, it's basically a Strat bridge without the trem stuff, it loads thru the back but you have to drill holes and get cups...plus you said budget so I was thinking more of this:Hardtail Electric Guitar Bridge Chrome Offset | eBay

    The same store has trem bridges for like $20 bucks. Look around there for awhile...don't follow my recommendations lol, I don't want to be responsible for any mix ups.:cool:

    Headless hardware tends to be expensive unless you get some Chinese crap...I've seen whole guitars for like $150.
     

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