My very first build. How to start?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by harriswho, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thanks!

    So my next question. . .while on said topic . . .sorry to hijack . . .

    Anyone do the fretboard first like Radius, Fret then glue?... If so do you shape the neck before or after? I would suspect after but .... it is the Tele Home Depot, there's got to be at least 10 commonly talked about ways to skin that cat!
     
  2. GPlo

    GPlo Tele-Meister

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    You can probably pick whatever order you like or prefer.
    But I don’t think fretting before glueing the fretboard is a good idea for 2 reasons. Firstly, it will be way harder to clamp. I don’t think you’d want to apply all that pressure for the glue up on top of your frets. They might get damaged or pop out. So you’d have to clamp in between the frets which sounds less than fun to set up. Secondly, you probably want to flush trim the fretboard and neck after the glue up. If the frets are already in this will be a lot more trouble than it needs to be.

    Also: if you’re fretting before glueing you have to align the fretboard and the neck perfectly. If you glue up first you don’t have to worry about that cause you can just cut your fret slots after.

    Again, i’m only 2 necks in so no expert by any means
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
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  3. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I totally know what your saying, I've been at it for the last 7 years or so. I also know in the Home Depot things are done 100 million different ways, I was just curious what those folks who do the fret board first think in terms of process.
     
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  4. GPlo

    GPlo Tele-Meister

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    Yes absolutely. It’s what makes it interesting (and confusing). Weighing the pros and cons of each method, taking into account your experience, tools, patience and comfort levels. It’s a big puzzle with many possible solutions. Reminds me of my former job (programming) lol
     
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  5. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    That might be why I like it so much.
     
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  6. harriswho

    harriswho TDPRI Member

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    Thanks guys for all your info, some very good points out there and perhaps the only way to try every technique is to built a different guitar each time. Back on this very first build just because I was scared to try doing anything on a real body (with expensive wood) I made a 4cm thick body out of MDF and tried a template I have built myself by tracing an RG Ibanez body. Looking again and again on several different guitars out there I think I will finally go with a superstrat shape and leave the tele for another future project. Here are some pics of how the test with the MDF went. Needless to mention that I am in desperate need of a proper bandsaw.

    IMG_20190503_123158.jpg IMG_20190503_155650.jpg IMG_20190503_155400.jpg IMG_20190503_155509.jpg IMG_20190503_155538.jpg IMG_20190503_155627.jpg
     
  7. Macrogats

    Macrogats Tele-Afflicted

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    That looks great dude. Love the body shape. Put that to your wood and you got a winner - esp. with that cool looking neck.
     
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  8. bb_matt

    bb_matt TDPRI Member

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    I'm in the same boat, I've been thinking about doing this for ... I guess years, but until I got my first telecaster, it just never got around to happening.
    I've now got another cheap tele clone to work with - primarily to learn, so I don't screw up my real tele.

    For the last few weeks, I've just absorbed videos and blog posts and posts on this forum.
    Probably the best info I've got from the crimson guitars youtube vids - there's gold in those videos, more than I could take in, in 20 years, but all the basics you could ever want lie within - and the videos are entertaining too.

    I'd suggest doing the same as me and just absorb info before doing anything else - we are lucky to live in an age where so much information is available for research, although it can seem overwhelming and obviously, it's no substitute for experience or physical one-on-one training.
     
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  9. harriswho

    harriswho TDPRI Member

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    Matt you are completely right. The info out there are so much that you can become an expert in theory. However there is a lot of practice, trial and error and muscle memory that you need to gain in order to build your first guitar. Crimson guitars do cover a lot, also fletcher handcrafted guitars has a really detailed step by step video guide on youtube and highline guitars also have some great content I review from time to time. I have been watching videos and reading blog posts and forums since 2015 before I moved on with actually building a guitar. Good luck with your venture and make sure to post some photos of your progress.

    Now moving on to the carving of the neck I have the following question for you guys. I went and carved the neck as you will see in the pics below. Right now I am on 24mm (0.944") on the first fret and 26mm (1.023") of the 12th fret. My fretboard is 6mm (0.236") at the highest point and my truss rod is almost 10mm (0.393") in height. So 24-16 gives me around 8mm (0.314") of wood underneath the truss rod. I will post a diagram so that its easier for you to understand what I am talking about. Obviously the neck still feels like a baseball bat. How much further would you suggest I can go without risk?

    IMG_20190507_172413.jpg IMG_20190507_172442.jpg IMG_20190507_183345.jpg neck-shave.jpg
     
  10. harriswho

    harriswho TDPRI Member

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    I shaved it a bit more and went down to 21.5 at first fret and 23 at 12th fret. Feels fantastic now.

    IMG_20190509_200640.jpg
     
  11. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    That neck looks killer. I'd paint the MDF body, looks pretty cool.
     
  12. harriswho

    harriswho TDPRI Member

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    Cheers mate,
    Nah the MDF was meant to be for test only. Keep in mind that it's heavy as hell.
     
  13. mistermikev

    mistermikev Tele-Holic

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    afa how thin... I think the general consensus is that you have to leave 1/8" minimum behind your truss rod for a double action rod... but I am by no means an expert.

    given that the truss is flush with your fretboard, and a fretboard is .25"... and a dbl action truss is 3/8"... it means the thinnest possible guitar neck would be .75 at the first.
    .994 seems very thick to me... but then sometimes a thick neck is nice. just depends what you want.

    probably obvious but if you shave it down you HAVE to know how your truss is sitting in there, and how thick/thin you can go.
    for instance if you cut your truss slot too deep and your truss is actually sitting 1/16" low... you want to take that into account and not sand too thin in that area.
    some truss rods have a thicker adjustment nut... if that sits at the 1st fret then you have to take that into consideration when sanding more.
    it's nerve wracking (for me) even knowing how my truss sits. I believe my current build I got down to .78... that's as far as I would comfortably go!
     
  14. cleanheadsteve

    cleanheadsteve Tele-Meister

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    i sanded too far and exposed my truss rod from the back. twice. i'm a very slow learner


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  15. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    You are not the first and definitely not the last. However I feel your pain. It's a lot of work to get to that point, it really sucks to see the rod pop through. Best thing you can do is 'get back on the bike' and keep going.
     
  16. harriswho

    harriswho TDPRI Member

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    The bravest and most important thing to do it not to be let down and keep going. I know I would be so disappointed and bittered if that happened that I would probably call it a day and never work on a guitar again.
    Perhaps the biggest skill in guitar building is willpower.
     
  17. s_tones

    s_tones Tele-Holic

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    For the record, I built a few "by hand" (jigsaw, router, hand tools) before I realized that I am NOT that guy. Those "specimens" are now stripped of hardware and warping in the garage. I just couldn't achieve the precision I wanted, particularly with the neck. Don't have the eye I guess. For me it's CNC or forget it. I'm a pretty adept CAD modeller so I let the machine do the heavy lifting. Kudos to those of you who can pull it off without the digital assist.

    Those are awesome fret ends. That has got to be hard with SS frets!

    Sorry about the sand through issue. It's fair to say that there is a serious learning curve on this business. I could write a book from the mistakes I've made.

    A note on the neck bending concern: That is an issue when carving the backside. In my (limited) experience maple is the worst offender there. I can see around 1/8th inch of backbow after the carve. I've gotten around this by gluing and clamping the FB with the neck in 2-3mm of forward bow (based on a tip from Stew Mac). A double action truss rod will handle the rest easily. You may not have any issue with the laminate you are using. I have had no real problems with mahogany in this regard.

    Good luck! Very nice design.

    Steve
     
  18. harriswho

    harriswho TDPRI Member

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    Thanks Steve,
    Yes those are SS frets. They were relatively easy to work with. I was reading everywhere that they are a pain in the butt to cut and shape but didn't have much trouble. I guess I see it that way because I have never worked with nickel since this is my first build.
    I am hoping that the laminate neck won't let me down when the string tension goes onto it. It's wallnut and padauk both very strong. The sides are not maple. It's Linden, which again a lot discouraged me working with and even mentioned to throw away and not bother with it. Time will tell.
    My next stop is to buy what I need for the body. I'm going for burl poplar for the top and something else for the body. I would go with mahogany but too heavy and expensive. I can find Limba for cheap which is the best candidate so far. I would like to be able to stain Limba in order to have some contrast with the top (natural binding etc).
    Being a CAD modeller is a great skill and having a CNC machine is a great addition to your tools arsenal. For me as long as you have a hobby is enough to give you lots of fun and satisfaction independent of how you are practicing it. Keeping yourself busy in creative ways is what matters most.
     
  19. s_tones

    s_tones Tele-Holic

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    Agreed! You may become a guitar making addict as I and so many others here have. It is such a great creative outlet. A very Zen thing to do.
    I go slow now, maybe 2-3 guitars/year. My biggest problem is that they are literally stacking up and I really don't want to be a business.

    Steve
     
  20. harriswho

    harriswho TDPRI Member

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    I'm very curious to see some pictures. Have you got any here in the forum?
     
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