Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by Delayar, Apr 28, 2014.
Really Special Good work so far!
Love this build.
It has been a while, since there was significant progress.
In the meantime, I made experiments with epoxy and mahogany veneer, cut some templates on a laser cutter, to which I have access now, and made an aluminium bridge with a CNC mill, to which I also have access.
This has yet to be cut filed and polished. This is how it came out of the CNC.
I made some experiments with veneer and epoxy. No matter how much thixotroping agent I added, the epoxy would seep through the pores when I added pressure.
So I tried a different approach. I filled the pores on the glueing side of the veneer with epoxy (30 minute Z-Poxy), using a plastic card. In this way, the pores were closed, but no epoxy seeped through to the other side. Now I could glue the veneer sheets to the guitar with epoxy and use enough pressure to flatten the veneer, and no seeping through this time.
I cut the veneer to shape a little oversize with a lasercutter.
The applied top veneer:
I sanded the sides with a spindle sander and filled gaps between the bars of the blockboard with wood filler, to get an even glueing surface for the side veneers.
The side veneer was a challenge as well, using an epoxy with a longer open time would be more convenient.
The grain direction runs from top to bottom, so pre-bending of the 0.6mm veneer was not necessary.
I used masking tape to fix the veneer as god as possible. A caul made from cork was pressed to the sides with rubber bands.
And that is the result:
With the veneers in place, I could do the binding.
Because of the grain direction of the side veneer it was necessary to score the line on the sides with a sharp knife before routing to prevent tear-outs.
The binding I use is 1.5mm x 5mm. I glued it in with acetone.
The body is now put aside, while I continue with the neck.
There is some progress on the fretboard and the neck.
For the fretboard I have a pre-slotted and radiused one from south american oak. It is from the same vendor as the tremolo.
I painted it black with a rattle can.
I routed the fretboard to the final width and took away another 1mm on each side to accomodate for the binding.
I glued on the binding with acetone. I use binding to close the fret slots (I like the feel of bound fretboatds).
After scraping the binding flush, I installed the MOP-dots.
I painted the fretboard black again, scraping the dots afterwards. It is now ready for some Rustin's Plastic Coating
I also prepared the neck blank. I routed the headstock angle (4°) and the neck tennon angle (2°).
I install a compression trussrod, like at the original Red Special. It is similar to a burst trussrod, straight, but installed at an angle. However, due to the thickness of the neck, a trussrod isn't used at all. According to reports, the trussrod nut at the original RS is only hand-tight.
I routed the channel and cut the neck to the rough shape.
The trussrod itself is made from 5mm mild steel, with one side bent to a loop, using a soldering torch.
I cut a thread at the other and and cut a fitting washer.
On the bottom of the neck tenon there is a recess for the loop.
A M8 steel bolt is put through the neck and the loop. This bolt will be glued in with epoxy beneath the fretboard. It iw also there to bolt the neck to the body.
And this is how it looks at the headstock.
Of course, a filler strip will be added before glueing on the fretboard.
Painting a fretboard....made of OAK?!? A bolt anchoring a giant loop at the end of the truss rod?!? These are all construction methods used in the original? Man, what weird methods for such a legendary guitar.
This build rules.
Yes, these are all construction methods of the original. The fretboeard binding, however, is my own addition. And I believe the loop of the trussrod was welded on.
Amazing build so far!
Like it was said earlier, I'm thinking of a guy and his dad engineering all of this in a little home shop.
Also, reading your posts with my best English accent (in my head of course) helps with the story and imagery. (I hope that's not offending since you hail from Austria, but I don't know what an Austrian accent sounds like )
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDxn0Xfqkgw"]160 Greatest Arnold Schwarzenegger Quotes - YouTube[/ame]
(Sorry, Delayar. I just had to. )
I am not offended at all. I just hope my English is good enough not to offend anyone here.
It is funny that Schwarzenegger has an even mor funny accent when he speaks German.
Geeze! How could I forget the most famous Austrian!
I am lagging behind in my documentation, the guitar is already in the painting stage.
The next step was the neck pocket. I made a template with the lasercutter, so everything was quite easy.
I drilled the hole for the neck bolt and routed a step, so that the neck heel fits smoothly. I also glued in the last piece of binding.
After checking the fit of the neck, I installed the trussrod. As the slot is 6mm wide, and the rod is only 5mm in diameter, I wrapped the trussrod in shrink tube. I had these colors lying around, and they can't bee seen afterwards anyway. ;-)
I shortened the trussrod nut. The small piece in front of the access hole is there to cover up a mistake. It will be covered by the trussrod cover.
It starts to look like a guitar!
I made the control plates for the pots and switches out of 2mm aluminium with the CNC router. Switches and pots of the RS are not mounted on the pickguard, but on these control plates underneath the pickguard.
Because of that, the pickguard can be removed without removing any of the electronics.
Originally, the RS used pots with long plastic shafts. However, they were of inferior quality (I had them on my fisrt build as well), so they were replaced by better pots. As the shafts of most guitar pots are too short for this kind of mounting, pot extenders are used. Matt Wicks from the Red Special Library forum sells these extensions.
After leveling the neck tenon (rough work done with a router, fine work withn hand plane) I made the pickup routings.
The template is missing the pickup ears on one side, out of stability considerations. These were done separately.
After completing the routing, I test fitted the electronics.
PUs are Adeson Tri-Sonics, the same models which are used in the BMG Super. They are wound after BMs specifications.
Zhe neck bolt is glued in with epoxy. You can also see the wood screws which support the neck in addition to the M8 bolt.
Back to the neck. The fingerboard is coated with Rustin's Plastic Coating and is polished.
After glueing the freatboard, I put in the sidedots. They are made from white ABS rod. The longish markers are also made from ABS rod.
Afterwards, frets were pressed in.
Following this thread religiously, you're doing a cracking job and it's a fantastic guide to anyone thinking of building their own as all the plans in the world don't compare to seeing how it's all assembled in photos. Thanks for doing this
very nice build man, thanks for posting these up!
I really love the meticulous attention to detail. I don't have any interest in building a Red Special, but I've kept up with this thread purely for the attention to detail and obvious craftsmanship. Great work so far.
Thank you very much.
And yes, it is very unusual. And it also remarkably, that it includes features, that were quite uncommon on electric guitars in 1963, when the RS was built.
One of the last construction steps is the bridge.
To get the spacing right, I made a drilling template.
On Greg Fryer's Blog about the RS restauration (Red Special restoration 1998 | Fryer Guitars) it is mentioned that the individual bridge blocks are fastened using threaded bushings instead of beeing screwed directly to the wood. At the Original, they are glued in with Araldite, a form of epoxy. I used M2.5 threaded iserts.
Here are the bridge blocks, separated from the rod and polished, mounted to the guitar for the first time.
The neck was shaped according to the plans, and it is a really thick one.
Brian May confesses in his new book about the RS that this was out of a measuring error. He cut the neckplank to thickness, but when measuring, he forgot that a fingerboard was to be added to the mahogany. But as he liked the result, he left it that way.
I used rasps and a spokeshave to shape the neck.
After the neck was done, it was time to do a test string up, to check if everything fits. Sadly, I forgot to take pictures of this. But other than the middle pickup routing had to be more deep, everything was ok.
I also drilled the acess holes for the tremolo bolts.
The guitar was then fine sanded in preparation for the staining.
For the stain I used alcohol based stain, as to prevent the veneer from getting too much moisture.
The binding was scraped after staining.
So now it is time for some Rustin's Plastic Coating.
Do you have a link to the M2.5 inserts you used for the bridge?
These are ENSAT 309 inserts by Kerb Konus. I found them at a small local dealer.
I think you can ask for a dealer list at their HP: Kerb Konus Vertriebs GmbH :: Technologien für sicheren Halt | Schraubverbindungen, Gewindeeinsätze, Schrauben …
This has to be the most impractical guitar design ever. It's amazing.
And your attention to detail is inspiring.
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