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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

Big Belly Tele

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by BC-Rush, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. BC-Rush

    BC-Rush TDPRI Member

    Age:
    28
    55
    Jan 30, 2017
    West Virginia
    Hi everybody, I'm planning on making a reso tele with some cheap parts and expensive plywood (is that an oxymoron?)!

    I looked up some el-cheapo parts on Amazon, like my resonator guts, tuning machines, a neck, and other tidbits. I figure I've got about $100 in it so far, and probably won't exceed that amount.

    As for the wood, I bought a 4'x8'x3/4" sheet of maple plywood at my local big box home improvement store for about $50 late last year. So far I've made 3 or 4 guitar bodies from it, so we'll just say the body cost me ten bucks.

    Anyhoo, I am layering 3 slices of the plywood together to achieve a pretty thick body. 2 1/4" if you're keeping track at home.

    What I my plan is:
    1. Cut 3 pieces of ply and route to the shape of a telecaster guitar
    2. Glue up two of them thangs
    3. Leave the top unglued for now, but cut/route out the neck pocket. Also use a 2" hole saw to make some holes for those round lookin' screens that are supposed to make the guitar louder/look cool.


    Basically I've got the body cut out and shaped, made a nice neck pocket that fits a little too-snug for comfort, cut out some 2" holes for the screens, and now I'm taking a break until I get some more time.

    Oh yeah, here's some pictures for your viewing pleasure:

    IMG_20170916_201128322.jpg the top so far IMG_20170918_201028234.jpg IMG_20170918_201028234.jpg IMG_20170916_201616837.jpg
     

  2. Big-Tele

    Big-Tele Tele-Meister

    Age:
    68
    129
    Nov 4, 2015
    Melbourne Australia
    Interesting project. It will be good to see how this turns out. Sometimes you don't have to spend a heap to get something good.
     
    BC-Rush likes this.

  3. xafinity

    xafinity Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Dec 24, 2015
    west of I-10
    Actually am not, will not but it looks like a great project.
    Ive never believed stories about toneless plywood bodies. People say my 1995 Korean Squire is plywood, its actually about 30 pieces of scrap wood.:cool: It sounds great, I bet yours sound even better!:D
     
    imploration, jvin248 and BC-Rush like this.

  4. BC-Rush

    BC-Rush TDPRI Member

    Age:
    28
    55
    Jan 30, 2017
    West Virginia
    Okay, got off work early today so I made a little progress.
    I was considering how to cut out a hole with a rabbeted edge for the cone to sit, and I came up with a few ideas.

    My first idea was to make a circle jig for my router. Just needed to route a lip at 5/8" depth, then cut out the rest with a jigsaw. No big deal right?
    Well, I ended up just drawing a circle on to the top piece and freehanding it since I couldn't decide on how to make a circle cutting jig.

    Easy enough, so I just took my time and just routed to the edge of my circle I drew. No need to be perfect since it will be hidden anyway.

    So I got that done and then cut out the center with a jigsaw, and the cone fits in nicely. I'll go ahead and post a couple of pictures as photo evidence.

    IMG_20170919_180343862.jpg IMG_20170919_180321606_HDR.jpg


    Glad I made this body pretty thick, I've got about 1/4" left of wood on the back side.

    Next step I'm going to take is to strategically route the rest of the body (the "bottom") to provide enough support for the cone rim, but also remove enough wood so it will actually resonate.

    Hoping for a pretty audible sound without an amplifier.

    Oh yeah, I'm using a single coil for a pickup in the neck position, and also 2 piezo elements for the "bridge" position. One will be attached to the spider bridge, another underneath the cone. Why 2 piezos? I figured out that 2 piezos reduces feedback (but the more piezo elements you have, the lower the volume).
    I may change my mind and only install 1 piezo, but I'll just have to play around with positioning before I really decide.


    Easy way for me to change it the piezo configuration is to just remove the cone from the middle. Easy access to the electronics.
     
    Ekko likes this.

  5. 4 Cat Slim

    4 Cat Slim Friend of Leo's

    Oct 17, 2012
    Nelson City TX
    Wow!
    It looks like you're off to a great start.
     
    BC-Rush likes this.

  6. BC-Rush

    BC-Rush TDPRI Member

    Age:
    28
    55
    Jan 30, 2017
    West Virginia
    Okay, so I had some dinner and messed around with a new green bean recipe. Took a quart of beans, cooked them in a porcelain skillet with diced onions, salt, pepper, and targon. Cooked on medium/low heat for about 20 minutes. They went well with roasted red potatoes.


    Finished dinner then got back out to the shop for more routing. I'm just about done routing, just considering if I want to round the edges with a 1/8" bit or not. I might round the back, but it's hard to say at this point.

    But I got the back/bottom portion of the body hogged out, and everything seems to fit into place.

    IMG_20170919_190101718.jpg
    Got the center portion routed out

    IMG_20170919_191247795.jpg some more messy routing. Tried to leave support posts, but chipped away while routing. IMG_20170919_191319782.jpg

    Cone fits in with room underneath to spare.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
    Ekko, xafinity and kkphoto like this.

  7. BC-Rush

    BC-Rush TDPRI Member

    Age:
    28
    55
    Jan 30, 2017
    West Virginia
    Just a small update: my reso parts didn't come with any screws!!
    Ended up taking the cone with me today to find the correct size screw for the tensioner. Seemed to be a #4-40 machine screw, going off of the size and thread selector at a big, orange-colored home improvement store.

    I looked for about 15 minutes trying to find the screw I needed, but couldn't locate anything that small in the hardware department. I even had an employee help me look!
    I headed over to the electrical dept thinking maybe I could find one by the outlets or gang boxes. Nope, too wide.


    As I was cleaning up the mountain of sawdust leftover from the routing I've been doing, I thought about pickup mounting screws. Turns out it works (sort of)!
    The spider bridge has the correct thread count, however the cone is different! Ended up measuring the distance between the cone and bridge, marked the screw slightly longer, then cut the screw.
    What I'm dealing with now is a screw that sort of threads into the cone, enough to provide about 1/4 to 1/2 turn after I feel tension. That's where I want to be. I guess that's part of the fun of making unusual guitars: you scrounge around for parts and just kinda make them work!
    Well, is either fun or a giant headache depending on how you look at things... Especially when you are working with cheap parts!
     
    magic smoke and kkphoto like this.

  8. src9000

    src9000 Poster Extraordinaire

    Cool project you have going there BC.


    Did you contact the vendor regarding the screws?
     
    BC-Rush likes this.

  9. callasabra

    callasabra Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 11, 2016
    USA
    Drill and tap for new screws?
     
    BC-Rush likes this.

  10. jvin248

    jvin248 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    Fun guitar project!

    .
     
    BC-Rush likes this.

  11. Lake Placid Blue

    Lake Placid Blue Friend of Leo's

    Sep 24, 2016
    California

  12. BC-Rush

    BC-Rush TDPRI Member

    Age:
    28
    55
    Jan 30, 2017
    West Virginia
    Thank you, no I haven't contacted the vendor yet.
    Just for some perspective, the packaging was... Something else. Must have been out of cardboard boxes, as it was wrapped in bubble wrap, and covered in tan colored packing tape! It looked like a huge tape ball!

    No, the portion of the cone that has threaded holes actually can spin freely. I was getting ready to drill out for a #6 machine screw, but it started to spin.
    I've got enough of a bite with the pickup screw to achieve proper tension, so I'll leave it as is for now.

    If I end up ever making a similar guitar to this one, I'll most likely go with better quality parts. This is just a fun experiment build, and if anything I'll end up with a neat looking wall hanger.
     
    src9000 likes this.

  13. reddy2300

    reddy2300 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    48
    46
    Aug 25, 2017
    Dublin, Ohio
    That "cone" looks like the air cleaner lid from an old muscle car.
     
    BC-Rush likes this.

  14. kkphoto

    kkphoto TDPRI Member

    Age:
    57
    34
    Sep 4, 2017
    Hilo, Hawaii
    I may have said this before, but DAMN this thing is cool!
     
    BC-Rush likes this.

  15. BC-Rush

    BC-Rush TDPRI Member

    Age:
    28
    55
    Jan 30, 2017
    West Virginia
    Yeah, it really does! Hopefully it will make it play faster!
     
    reddy2300 likes this.

  16. BC-Rush

    BC-Rush TDPRI Member

    Age:
    28
    55
    Jan 30, 2017
    West Virginia
    Okay, so work has been slow on this guitar since I'm still waiting on my single coil neck pickup to arrive. Should be in this week, so I'll be updating this build more in the following days.

    Also I've been working a lot, I'm at 15 days straight, but I think next Monday will be my next day off. Gotta love that overtime...

    But I'm home now and have been doing a little bit of routing to lighten things up a bit, as well as improve the natural acoustic sound on this thing. Here are some pictures of what I've done this evening:

    IMG_20170925_180322388.jpg I'm standing on a chair for this picture! Left: underside of the top with routes for the pots and also extra resonance
    Right: the bottom portion, routed for resonance and to remove excess weight.

    IMG_20170925_180332605.jpg here is the top portion, you can get a better idea of what's going on. I left a portion of wood behind the neck pocket for better stability, and enough meat to get a good gluing surface.
     

  17. BC-Rush

    BC-Rush TDPRI Member

    Age:
    28
    55
    Jan 30, 2017
    West Virginia
    Had a small streak of bad luck with this build, some of the parts I ordered never arrived. Turns out they were damaged during shipping, so I'm just "borrowing" parts from another guitar I made (which is ok, since the other guitar will be getting some more work done to it).

    Anyhow, I scrounged through my parts drawers and found some cream colored pickguard material to make a small pickup mounting ring for the neck, found a 3-way LP style switch, some old 500k pots (again, just trying to slap this thing together, I have 250s in the mail) and an orange drop resistor. Hopefully I can cobble this thing together pretty soon.

    Here's where I'm at so far:
    IMG_20171003_104200144.jpg

    That's all for right now. Hopefully I can get this thing wired up today.
    Still wondering whether I'm going to cut out an access panel or two for easier access. Once I get this top piece glued to the back, it's gonna be a huge pain trying to do any work to the guts.

    Also, I'm thinking of leaving the top the natural wood color, probably painting the sides black. Might do the back natural as well. I did about telecaster like that with a burst finish which turned out pretty well.
     
    2blue2 likes this.

  18. BC-Rush

    BC-Rush TDPRI Member

    Age:
    28
    55
    Jan 30, 2017
    West Virginia
    Okay, so I finally got a minute to wire this thing up, cut out some sloppy cover plates for the back, and glue the top and bottom together. Here, have a look at some dirty pics of my dirty build.

    IMG_20171008_185743146.jpg IMG_20171008_185754510.jpg IMG_20171008_201822678_HDR.jpg
     

  19. BC-Rush

    BC-Rush TDPRI Member

    Age:
    28
    55
    Jan 30, 2017
    West Virginia
    More progress. Everything is glued up tight. Got a coat of Tru oil on the purchased neck, it's looking pretty nice.
    I sanded the sides of the body and shot it with some flat black paint. Found a few places in the side that need some work, but that won't be difficult. Here's a grainy picture to look at in the meantime while I wait for paint to dry then do some more sanding and filling:

    IMG_20171009_195815709.jpg
     

  20. Macrogats

    Macrogats Tele-Meister

    Age:
    50
    300
    May 15, 2017
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Looking cool. Is that fully lined? Copper or foil?
     
    BC-Rush likes this.

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