John Lennon 325 Inspired Build

Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by Jackie M, Jan 16, 2017.

  1. Jackie M

    Jackie M New Member

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    One of the most special electrics for me is (like many other people) John Lennon's Rickenbacker 325 in 1958.
    To be honest I'm not a big fan of Ric's thickly-painted fingerboard, bridge that falls every time I change strings and confusing control system. However, from builder's perspective, the construction is unique and very interesting.
    Some luthiers already built 325 style guitars and they all look awesome ! Basically I did the same but mine is left-handed with some different specs. I think John's 325 is 20-3/4" scale but it's too short for me. Also I personally like 3-ply neck and double pickguard that are very Rickenbacker to me.
    So spec-wise, my version is somewhere between John's guitar, 325C64 & 350V63.

    Body : Semi-hollow, maple top & back, 2" (50mm) thick
    Neck : Maple/walnut 3-ply
    - I think Ric uses ovangkol. I used walnut simply because I could get it easily.
    Scale : 22" (560mm)
    Headstock : 6-degree angled
    - I don't know the exact angle of Ric. I measured my 350V63.
    Fingerboard : Bubinga, 21 frets, R12" (305mm)
    - Ric website says 'rosewood' but I presume it's bubinga from the color.
    Tuners : Gotoh Kluson style
    Pickups : Ric style single coil, ceramic magnet, non-brand
    Bridge : Adjustable Ric style, non-brand
    Vibrato : Bigsby B5L

    And here's my plan. I had no idea about the original 325 neck joint so I checked some photos from Rickenbacker website & my 350V63 to determine the dimensions.


    [​IMG]

    1st step is making templates as always.
    - body outline and control/pickup cutouts
    - neck pocket & side chambers
    - for chamber under Bigsby
    - for neck, fingerboard & truss rod slot
    - for headstock, truss rod cover and pickguards

    [​IMG]


    Starting with neck ...

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    Neck blank, quarter sawn maple & walnut 3-ply


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    Cutting truss rod slot


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    I used a typical double action truss rod.


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    Making fret slots. I made 22" scale by cutting Gibson (24-3/4") scale fingerboard at 2nd fret.


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    Cutting fingerboard outline with a template on back


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    Making dot inlays


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    Completed bubinga fingerboard


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    Determining neck depth


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    Rough-cut of headstock angle


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    Cutting outline of the neck


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    Ears glued to the headstock


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    Cutting headstock shape


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    Fingerboard glued


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    Shaving neck back


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    Making fingerboard radius


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    Neck woodworking completed
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
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  2. Adam

    Adam Well-Known Member

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  3. Chris Pile

    Chris Pile Member

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    VERY well done.
    Ric's used bubinga for fingerboards.
     
  4. Jackie M

    Jackie M New Member

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  5. Jackie M

    Jackie M New Member

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    Thank you for the info, Chris.
     
  6. Jackie M

    Jackie M New Member

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    Next is body making.

    [​IMG]ric325_0200[/IMG]
    Rough cut of soft maple body blank


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    Cutting body outline using template on back


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    Making slope for Bigsby


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    A lot of holes by drill press for safety before routing


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    Clean cut by router using template on back


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    Pencil mark on side wall is to see how the neck touches.


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    Attaching neck


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    Control cut-out


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    Backboard is 6mm thick and 2mm bigger than actual body. I used two wood pins for exact positioning.


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    Backboard glued and outline edge trimmed.


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    Making body corner R


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    Output jack hole


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    Fretting


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    Filling fret slots with epoxy adhesive mixed with bubinga saw dust


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    Body woodworking completed
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
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  7. Chris Pile

    Chris Pile Member

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    You're hired.
     
  8. Jackie M

    Jackie M New Member

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    Next is Tru-oil finish ...
    I applied Tru-oil in the same manner as I did to finish my semi hollow Telecaster.

    [​IMG]
    First I thoroughly applied Tru-oil with a small rag to let it soak into the wood. After 10 minutes or so, I wiped off excess oil and dried for more than 24 hours. From the second coat, I applied Tru-oil very thin at a time. Once the oil runs, it will be a lot of work to make the surface clean without sanding-through.


    [​IMG]
    Tru-oil and wet sanding on bubinga fingerboard


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    Making nut while drying Tru-oil

    In total I applied Tru-oil 20 times, wet sanding with #600 and #1000 every 2-3 coats. At last, 1000 grid wet sanding and then hand-polishing with fine & extra-fine polishing compound.

    [​IMG]

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    Not perfect mirror-finish but I think this is good enough.


    Assembly ...

    [​IMG]
    I made the pickguards from white cast acrylic. It was slightly too transparent so I painted the back side white.


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    I made control system simpler.
    - Neck pickup vol
    - Neck pickup tone
    - Bridge pickup vol
    - Bridge pickup tone
    - 3-position switch (neck/neck+bridge/bridge)
    - Mid pickup volume (5th knob)


    And all done ...
    I worked only weekend and this project took 8 months.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Thanks for checking this thread !
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
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  9. Chris Pile

    Chris Pile Member

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    Absolutely outstanding job!
     
  10. Adam

    Adam Well-Known Member

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    That came out awesome, great work.
     
  11. rollingdam

    rollingdam New Member

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    Great work
     
  12. BlackSG91

    BlackSG91 Member

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    That's an awesome build! John Lennon would be proud of you.
     
  13. Alberto

    Alberto New Member

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    Vero nice job!
    Can you send me the planes in Dwg fail?
    Thanks
     
  14. Jackie M

    Jackie M New Member

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    Sorry for not responding you sooner.
    I uploaded the drawings in the "Plans, Designs & Software" section.
    I hope you can open the DWG data with your CAD software.
     
  15. sosay

    sosay Member

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    man fair play,looks great,well done
     

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