Build: Seven string multiscale Telecaster with some gimmicks

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by Eumldeuml, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. Eumldeuml

    Eumldeuml SS.org Regular

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    It's been a loooooooong time...
    Anyway, here are some progress updates:

    The final neck made from 150yo walnut (after I made three prototype necks from pine):
    20180112_161016.jpg
    20180112_162546.jpg
    20180112_151740.jpg


    And I bent some acrylic around my guitar... :D
    20180122_100347.jpg
    The bubbles are there because I bonded two pieces of acrylic together with acetone (was waaay cheaper than getting a piece of the right size) but when I put it in the oven to be able to bend it, the acetone threw those bubbles... at least that's my theory. Apart from that acetone works really well to "glue" (in reality it's more like welding) two pieces of acrylic together.
    When I route the acrylic to size I might fill those bubbles with a paste of scrap acrylic dissolved in acetone. This makes (depending on the ratio) a quite viscous liquid which can be used to fill those gaps... I hope :lol:
     
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  2. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    LOVE your project - always interested in alternative concepts! That's going to be one hell of a tonewood debate... :pillow:
     
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  3. Eumldeuml

    Eumldeuml SS.org Regular

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    There's a Gibson made from coloured plywood... And if the HOLY GRAIL of guitar companies (not really) does this it can't be wrong.


    But regarding the tonewood debate: I did a very quick google search about that guitar and there are indeed people commenting stuff like

    "I've been wanting a Casino but after I discovered that they're made out of plywood I feel a bit disappointed. It just doesn't seem very classy. Why do they make them out of plywood?"
    "does anyone know any good, reputable places that make es-335 type guitars made of actual tonewood and not just plywood? why do companies like gibson use plywood on them anyway? seems pretty outrageous to charge thousands of dollars for guitars made of that stuff."

    So yeah... Plywood isn't actual tonewood:bump:
    But surprise surprise, pickups and strings aren't made of 'actual tonewood' either so how could they possibly sound good?? :rant:


     
  4. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire ERG hoarder

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    I once made an explorer from multiple layers of plywood (kind of like the zoot suit gibsons but without all the obnoxious colored layers). It sounded pretty good, but I put that down to the pickups and my amp doing the brunt of the work. Biggest complaint is that it was super heavy, like 15lbs/7kg.
     
  5. FrznTek

    FrznTek SS.org Regular

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    Plywood does not mean pine or other cheap woods.... what do you think guitar cabs and drum shells are made of? They likely use it because it is flexible. (solid core down the middle with nice/good ply top back and sides)
     
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  6. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire ERG hoarder

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    depends on the thickness of the plywood, most drum shells are maybe 2ply or 4ply at best and are bent/formed into that shape via heat/jigs. guitar cabs don't need to be flexible in the same sense as a drum shell, they don't need to be bent/formed like drum shells. Most cabs are basically boxes, and are (best case) held together by tenon joints/finger joints with screws for extra security, with cheaper cabs just screwed together. Most people mean MDF or other types of plywood where it's multiple layers of pine or whatever layered cross-grained with maybe a veneered top. Birch and pine (whether plywood or regular boards) are commonly used for cabs though.
     
  7. FrznTek

    FrznTek SS.org Regular

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    Ok flexibility wasn't the point, just a guess as to why Gibson uses it. I mentioned guitar cabs and drum shells because he insinuated that plywood is not tonewood, so I gave 2 common cases you will find plywood used as tonewood.
    p.s. drum shells are 5-15 ply usually, and up to 50ply in extreme cases.
     
  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Ha ha! Yeah, last I checked, plywood was made of wood. Guitars are made of wood. I think there ought to be some transitivity, such that guitars made of plywood are made of wood, but what do I know? :lol:

    Anyway, I've played wood-free guitars before, and they do sound different, to me. Not awful, just something to which one needs to adjust. And my favourite guitars are all made of wood and composites, much like the OP.

    I don't think a 2 ply shell would be very easy to manufacture. The plies are necessary to bend the wood into a cylinder shape. You could use thicker plies and actually have less work involved in making the shell material, but then it'd just be extra precarious trying to make said material into a proper shell. I've never done this process myself to make a drum, though, so I'm going out on a little bit of a limb.
     
  9. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire ERG hoarder

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    jesus 50ply sounds ridiculous. I would assume they're essentially paper thin pieces in order to get that many layers.
    As far as composite materials go, the best acoustic I've ever played was a rainsong graphite/CF guitar ( i think it was one of their black ice models). I've tried out 4000$ martins and taylors, that rainsong kicked their ass as far as sustain/clarity goes. I could hit 4th fret harmonics on it and they'd ring out (which is really hard to do on most acoustics unless they're amplified). One of these days I'm going to have to get one. I'm all for hybrid/alternative material usage in guitars. If CF wasn't such a pain to work with, I'd build some CF guitars myself.
     
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  10. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I worked at a shop that had a couple of Rainsongs in stock, and I got in trouble with the boss more than once for spending too much time "setting them up." Emerald also made CF acoustics, even a seven string, but sadly, I never got my hands on one. Still though, those Rainsongs going for ~$1300 nowadays are a steal, IMO. I just wish they made sevens.
     
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  11. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire ERG hoarder

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    They're seriously underrated guitars, especially for the price. They remind me of the first time I played a parker fly, just utter amazement at how well they played and the sounds I could get. I've heard of emerald guitars (he did a kick ass headless steampunk themed build iirc) but his price points for acoustics are a little bit more than I'm willing to spend.
     
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  12. Eumldeuml

    Eumldeuml SS.org Regular

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    Back to topic.. :D

    Today I made the fretboard also from walnut (like the neck).
    This is how it looks like. Quite a nice grain I'd say. Don't mind the scallops, I didn't clean it up very consistently.
    20180126_192844.jpg

    20180126_192910.jpg

    "And why does it look like you made it from veneer?" you might ask. Well, that's an excellent question. That's because I'm an idiot and I goofed when setting the Z-axis height on the CNC which resulted in the fretboard being only like 4mm thick. Which again means I have to do it again.. :facepalm:
    But I took the chance and oiled it with linseed oil to see how it looks and I like it quite a lot (the neck isn't oiled yet). But I'd prefer a little darker stain.. Do you guys know anything that I could use which is ideally something common?


    Apart from that I received my second EMG-808X and a three-way switch today:fever:
    I also ordered a roughing endmill for wood and that thing looks br000tal (like it could also devour your soul :leon:)
     
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  13. IGC

    IGC OCDG

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    Dude, sweet guitar neck! I see your getting EMG 808 X. I just got a 909x for my first nine string build. Love the sound but have a little ground hum to contend with...wonder if its from the battery inside the controll cavity? Anyhew, let us know how your 808X is:yesway:
     
  14. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

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    looks good though. shame its too thin. one tip for a walnut fretboard - glue the frets in. I did a walnut fretboard once, and a bunch of the frets came loose.
     
  15. Eumldeuml

    Eumldeuml SS.org Regular

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    I will! :)

    Well yeah, shit happens. Thanks for the tip, I wasn't sure whether to glue them in or not.
     
  16. Eumldeuml

    Eumldeuml SS.org Regular

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    Progress update:

    Pickguard is done, neck is pre-sanded and now I've got a fretboard that's only 0.09 mm (= 0.0035") off in height. I can live with that.. :D
    20180202-WA0007.jpg

    Next up is the installation of the inlay dots (still not sure if they should be ebony or some lighter wood. I think I'm going with ebony for a cleaner look but I'm afraid they might not be distinctable enough :ugh:) .
    After that I will sand down the fretboard, install the frets, glue it to the neck and then I can testfit all parts together. I'm looking forward to that because I will be able to hold my guitar as one piece in my hands for the first time :drool:
    And then there will be only "small" things left like the backplate, finish sanding, installing the RGB lighting around the perimeter of the body (yes, you heard that right :lol:), the smoke machine aaand then the finish... I hope to have my guitar finished and playable by spring this year :shawn:
     
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  17. Ernesto

    Ernesto SS.org Regular

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    There's open source free software for Linux called LinuxCNC that can turn images into g-code too. I haven't played with it yet but will soon.
    http://linuxcnc.org/docs/2.4/html/gui_image-to-gcode.html
     
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  18. Eumldeuml

    Eumldeuml SS.org Regular

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    Over the last days I made quite some progress.. :fever:

    I made the backplate which attaches to the body with magnets. I didn't want to use screws because I need to access the interior components quite often mainly for changing the battery for the LEDs and getting the vaporizer out.
    The backplate was supposed to be aluminium but I couldn't find a plate with 2mm thickness in any hardware store so I just went for acrylic. I can still make a nicer one if I want to.
    It doesn't look as good as I hoped for but I guess it's nothing that paint couldn't fix.. :D
    20180213_091509.jpg

    Secondly I made the inlays for the fretboard. They are just ebony dust mixed with wood glue which is then filled in the holes. I had to repeat this procedure several times because there were still some small gaps and dents after the first passes. But the result looks very nice.
    20180209_125021.jpg

    And lastly I reached a point of no return: gluing the fretboard to the neck. :frantic:
    To prevent the fretboard from walking away on me during clamping I used a trick I found in a video on Youtube: Putting some grains of salt on the glue which 'lock' the fretboard in place. I thought they would eventually dissolve in the glue or be pressed in the wood but sadly they didn't which left me with a small gap around the neck :(
    Or maybe the parts weren't exactly flat but I don't think so... I'll have to fill the gaps I guess:shrug:


    I decided to apply the finish before fretting which should make it more even since I won't have to put the oil in between the frets.
    That also made it easier to use my homemade grain filler which works like this: You put a thin coat of linseed oil on the surface and let it dry. After that you put a quite heavy amount of oil on some 180 grit sandpaper and lightly sand the wood. The dust will mix with the oil and fill out any gaps (this includes the fret slots so you'll have to clean them out afterwards).
    When the second coat is dried (this may take a while) you can just sand it down to 400 grit again. The wood will be smooth as [insert a nasty word of your choice here] and it also makes it a little darker. It's kind of a satin finish so it is exactly what I aimed for (might be beginner's luck).
    And the result looks like this:
    20180214_123154.jpg

    Today I will put in the frets and then I can assemble and test the guitar :shred::wub3:
     
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  19. Eumldeuml

    Eumldeuml SS.org Regular

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    Well, I built a guitar... :shawn:
    20180216_232206.jpg
    I wanted to really test it out (aka play it) but I forgot to make a nut...:facepalm: I will do that in the next days.
    I also want to refine the shape of the neck a little to adapt it to my liking.

    Here's a picture of my sophisticated setup to press the frets in :D
    20180216_204539(0).jpg


    And now there's a big BUT (not this::taunt:)
    After installing and flush trimming the acrylic around the guitar I discovered that it looks quite ugly. Gluing acrylic greatly changes the appearance of it even if both sides are sanded to a 'satin' finish. Because of that I need to re-evaluate a different concept of of lighting the guitar. And while I'm at it I also want to come up with a solution which doesn't require bending acrylic since that's nowhere next to a precise process and also it changes the thickness of the strip depending on the bending radius which again creates gaps. Nobody likes gaps so that sucks.

    Right now I see two possibilities:
    1. Ditch the whole lighting (NEEEVER!! :hungus:)
    2. Throw money at the problem :lame:
    This means, instead of bending the acrylic I'm going to cut its shape in two or three pieces out of a 'sheet' (like 20 mm thick lol) of acrylic and attach that to the body.
    I still have to decide how exactly I want to do that (which usually gives me sleepless nights :scratch:). It most likely involves making a new body (but this time I want it from one piece, not two). Good thing I don't use expensive (tone)wood :fawk:




    But at this point I'm already quite proud of what I achieved and very thankful for all your suggestions in this thread :cheers:
    The first few notes I played on this guitar (without a nut so with a 'zero fret' lol) sounded really cool and I can't wait to continue on this build :lol:
     

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  20. IGC

    IGC OCDG

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    Nice first guitar build:yesway: I actually like the "raw" look...kind of industrialish. Be interesting to hear it.
     

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