Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Another first time build... and some stupid questions.

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by tortoisemon, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. Mojotron

    Mojotron Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 21, 2008
    Seattle
    As I learned more about fretwork and setups, I went back and tweaked my early guitars... One of my first couple of necks I made is one of the best I have ever played in 40+ years of playing - a Tele one piece Maple with walnut stripe, very stable and even has some very interesting grain: I compare all my necks to that one. I moved to 22 fret necks with a full 2 1/4" heel that works better for my playing, otherwise I'd have a hard time playing any other guitar. One of the guitars I made in 2014 has pickups I wound very evenly with 41 awg wire been one that is so unique it's fascinating to play, and I play it a few hours every week: Guitar making really opens up a world of things about the guitar that most players never get access to.
     
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  2. tortoisemon

    tortoisemon TDPRI Member

    50
    Feb 26, 2017
    Colorado USA
    No doubt. I still have a small book rack I made in high school wood shop. I just hope it's playable. It still seems like magic to me that you can turn raw lumber into a fine musical instrument.

    Good to hear! I have an affinity for electronics as well so I'm already thinking of winding custom pickups and other fun things. I will have to balance that with how badly I want to finish and play this one though.
     

  3. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    One step at a time. I started with partscasters and got bored real quick. To me the ultimate is winding my own pickups and plugging them in to something built from a few pieces of wood. It completes the process - icing on the cake so to speak.
     
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  4. nosmo

    nosmo Friend of Leo's

    Jan 31, 2012
    Lake Jackson, TX
    The book rack? I'm not even sure how you tune one.


    :rolleyes:
     
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  5. Mojotron

    Mojotron Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 21, 2008
    Seattle
    In guitar projects, its good to follow the formulas at first- remaking a classic is extremely educational.
     
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  6. tortoisemon

    tortoisemon TDPRI Member

    50
    Feb 26, 2017
    Colorado USA
    Well I have a little progress to report. Mostly waiting for things to arrive in the brown truck and upgrading my tools and shop. First I built a fence for my new router table.

    SAM_5565.jpg


    Second, I took the advice of several of you and ordered the Whiteside spiral upcut bit. Here it is, in all it's glory:

    SAM_5580.jpg

    Awe inspiring isn't it?

    I also realized that with a combination of the previous two accomplishments I also acquired a decent edge jointer:

    SAM_5584.jpg

    Just need to offset one of the movable fences with some type of thin shim material. Maybe a vinyl sheet cut to size?

    I also transferred my templates to 3/4" mdf some suggested on another thread. Since I despise mdf dust all over the house I first had to rig up a dust collection system of sorts. The router fence has a dust port built in but that won't do me any good for template routing. Here is my jury-rigged solution:

    SAM_5600.jpg

    Just a regular shop-vac nozzle suspended right above the flush trim bit. I had no fantasies that this would actually work but surprise! It did the job, and my wife is happy we don't have a fine layer of dust covering everything like the last time I routed mdf.

    So here are my new 3/4" templates:

    SAM_5602.jpg

    To be continued...
     
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  7. tortoisemon

    tortoisemon TDPRI Member

    50
    Feb 26, 2017
    Colorado USA
    Time to saw the blank on the bandsaw:

    SAM_5610.jpg

    SAM_5611.jpg

    Hmmm. No matter how slowly I went on the saw I ended up with black, burnt edges. Wondering if I have the wrong type of blade or if I did something wrong. Any thoughts anyone?

    But next... the Whiteside spiral bit! And here is the edge routed body:

    SAM_5613.jpg

    Beautiful smooth edges in one pass! And no dreaded tearout! Yay! Thanks y'all for the tip!

    SAM_5622.jpg

    Tomorrow maybe I'll do the roundover (1/8?) and start routing the pockets. I took another piece of advice from this forum (what a great bunch!) and made a 12" x 12" clear lexan base for my laminate router:

    SAM_5595.jpg

    It's .25" thick so hopefully it won't flex. I'll try this first for the pockets and if it doesn't work I can always use my Porter Cable router instead. But I like this one because it's easy to use one-handed. And I can leave my other one mounted to the router table.

    And no, I didn't build that neck in the photos since my last post. I'm still debating whether to build or buy one. But while I was ordering stuff on amazon.com up popped an ad for a cheap ($25) telecaster neck. And yes, I know these things are hit or miss at best. But my thought was for 25 bucks it would be worth it as a learning aid. I can practice leveling frets, replacing the cheap plastic nut and such while working on the body. And if I don't end up using it no big deal. But so far I am impressed. Nice grain and satin finish. And straight and flat, as far as I can tell with no special measuring tools. I also made a few measurements with calipers and both the heel dimensions and fret spacing are spot on. What else should I be looking for, and what tools do I need to attempt to make this thing perfect?

    That's all for now. Oh, I also purchased a set of spindle sanders for my drill press. I'm also starting to research pickups, electronics and hardware. Any advice on where to get the best bang for the buck on these items?

    Thanks again all!
     

  8. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Holic

    582
    Dec 23, 2012
    State College PA
    Shouldn't be too many differing opinions on that question.....
     
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  9. tortoisemon

    tortoisemon TDPRI Member

    50
    Feb 26, 2017
    Colorado USA
    I'm already used to getting many different opinions to every question on this sub. But I still find it very helpful.
     

  10. nosmo

    nosmo Friend of Leo's

    Jan 31, 2012
    Lake Jackson, TX
    And if you need any advise on tonewood, check out that thread.............
     
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  11. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    "Overwhelming" may more accurately describe your reaction to responses on these two :D
     
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  12. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 26, 2014
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    The black marks on your body... could be you're using the wrong blade. What blade are you using?

    Most likely something is not aligned properly, meaning the blade is most likely not square to the table of the bandsaw. It doesn't have to be off by much to bind and cause burning.

    The other thought is the blade is dull, or a combination of all three!

    I too purchased a Chinese neck and found it to be quite good. Of course the nut and frets are junk, so in my case these will be replaced. But CNC work in China seems to be quite good. Of course there is no telling what kind of wood it's made of... it looks like maple, but who knows.

    Pickups, electronics and hardware... all lots of fun. For one guitar I built, a set of humbuckers was sourced from China (through Amazon) for $10. for the pair!!

    Now one thing I'm funny about is making sure the pots, caps, switches, plugs and wire is of high quality. The difference between the good stuff and the cheap stuff is so small, it's not worth your time for the cheap stuff. Usually I get an Art of Tone wiring kit, which is reasonably priced to get all the stuff in one go, know that it's high quality and only pay one shipping fee.

    Now you would think those cheapo Chinese pickups would sound so bad that the first person to play the guitar would run away screaming! But that was absolutely not the case. So many compliments on those crappy pickups! One guy compared it favorably with his Suhr guitar!!

    I even sold a guitar with a set of these cheapos... after 2 months of playing and loving the guitar, the guy finally bought a set of Dimarzios for it. It'll be interesting to see how they compare!
     

  13. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    Wholly smokes, great job.

    This thread reads like a who is who of the TDPRI. Some great perspectives and advice!
     
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  14. tortoisemon

    tortoisemon TDPRI Member

    50
    Feb 26, 2017
    Colorado USA
    Thanks! It's the blade that came with the saw (used). It's a 3/8 in. with around 6 TPI. Does that sound reasonable? Anyway your points about a dull blade and squaring are well taken. I'll definitely buy a new blade and make sure the blade/table are square before I do this again. My bandsaw will accept up to a 1/2" blade - is that the way to go?

    I bought it mainly for practice because it was cheap but I'm now planning to use it (or at least until I discover a good reason not to). The shape and finish feel good to me and I've only found a couple of problems. The fret ends are sharp and the nut to first fret spacing is slightly (~.05") too long. I've acquired a small file to take care of the frets and am thinking of just carefully filing the nut slot a little wider to move the leading edge closer to the first fret before I replace the nut. I'm measuring from the front edge of the nut to the center of the first fret by the way. Hope that's correct.

    Yep. I nearly drove myself crazy researching them. Reading reviews, watching YouTube comparisons, listening to sound clips, comparing prices on every guitar supplies website plus ebay, amazon and even aliexpress. For days. It was maddening! Finally my wife said "Why don't you just order some parts and get on with it?". So I did. I'll cover that in an update here shortly.

    Thanks! I definitely agree about the great advice.
     

  15. tortoisemon

    tortoisemon TDPRI Member

    50
    Feb 26, 2017
    Colorado USA
    Thanks! I'll save that for next time. I figured I couldn't go wrong with traditional alder for this one. But I must admit the idea of using Colorado blue-stain beetle-kill pine for the next one is intriguing me...
     

  16. tortoisemon

    tortoisemon TDPRI Member

    50
    Feb 26, 2017
    Colorado USA
    So a little progress to report since last time. I don't have a spindle sander so I bought set of inexpensive spindles for a drill press on amazon.com. While trying to figure out how to rig up some kind of table to use these on a drill press it struck me that the shanks should fit a 1/4" collet in the table mounted router.

    SAM_5626.jpg

    Sure enough it worked great, although the RPM seemed a bit much even on the router's lowest speed setting. I may get an external motor speed controller to slow it down further. But the under-table dust collection worked perfectly.

    Next, "hogged out" (love that expression) the cavities with forstner bits.

    SAM_5628.jpg

    I am happy to report that a 10" drill press was able to do all of this. Apparently the only thing it can't do is ferrule holes.

    Then my first cavity routing experience. I have to say I was a little nervous about messing this up.

    IMG_20170326_142205.jpg

    Surprise! It went really well. I followed the recommendation of Mojotron and put a large clear base on a laminate trimmer and this worked very well for all of the pockets. I did everything with a single 1" by 1/2" top bearing template bit. With 3/4" template.

    With some very light sanding of the side wall of the neck pocket the neck fit snugly:

    SAM_5637.jpg

    I put a straight edge down the center and it seems both straight and centered.

    And finally, some of the hardware arrived!

    SAM_5647.jpg

    I decided not to spend a fortune until I see how this all turns out. Dragonfire vintage pickups. A no-name six saddle flat bridge. "Sperzel-style" tuners. Pre-wired control plate with 500k pots and .047uF capacitor. The pickguard is currently on a slow boat from China it seems.

    I've also been experimenting with some finishing alternatives on offcut pieces of the body. I've decided not to try lacquer on this one for a number of reasons. I'm leaning toward an amber tint or stain but am not necessarily trying to reproduce any vintage looks. So far I like General Finishes amber water-based dye stain. I've used it on furniture projects and happen to have half a can sitting around. Anyone use this before? Because it's water based it raises a little grain and needs a light sanding after the first coat. I though I would use tru-oil or something similar on top of that. I also want to try some Zinnser amber-tinted shellac.

    Also, I still have a question I raised earlier about the neck. The spacing from the front edge of the nut to the center of the first fret is about .05" longer than spec. Should I just widen the slot a little toward the fret and use a slightly wider nut? Or am I measuring this wrong. Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks again y'all.
     

  17. adirondak5

    adirondak5 Wood Hoarder Extraordinaire Ad Free + Supporter

    Oct 24, 2009
    Long Island NY
    Watch using those sanding drums on a router , I've heard tales of them coming apart violently due to the high rpms .
     
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  18. tortoisemon

    tortoisemon TDPRI Member

    50
    Feb 26, 2017
    Colorado USA
    Point well taken. I have a variable speed router but even on the lowest speed setting it took off material very quickly even with the finest grit abrasive. But I think with an external motor speed controller, maybe something like this I should be able to get it down to safe speeds.
     

  19. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    A ROSS will be cheaper than a trip to the ER. That sanding drum shouldn't be in a router....:).
     
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  20. tortoisemon

    tortoisemon TDPRI Member

    50
    Feb 26, 2017
    Colorado USA
    I would agree normally. At max RPM that thing would be frightening. But if I slow it down? Way down? The shank fits the 1/4" collet perfectly. I was even thinking I could use it with the router fence to thickness head stocks. Or is this just crazy talk from a rookie?
     

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