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NBD - The epic thinline partscaster build begins

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by NorthenLights, Nov 17, 2017.

  1. NorthenLights

    NorthenLights TDPRI Member

    Age:
    33
    60
    Oct 25, 2017
    Sweden
    So, after about two weeks, the thinline body that will be the base for my next partscaser has finally arrived in the mail! Two f-holes, a very nice flame maple top and a body made from walnut. My plan is to stain the top to make a nice brown burst, and then treat the whole thing with truoil. Neck pickup will be either a P90 or a minihum, bridge pickup undecided. As for the bridge itself, I think a Hipshot Baby Grand could be a cool look, but as the body is pre drilled, I don't know how well the holes can be covered up. Feel free to comment and post suggestions about everything from the technical to the aesthetic. I'm looking to be inspired!

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    Here's the body with some pickups on top just to help visualize what it might come to look like. I have this pretty cool wooden P90-cover that would go either in the bridge or the neck if I just take of the dogears first.
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    And a shot of it next to my other partscaster, just for reference. I'm actually considering fitting the neck and hardware to the thinline body just to fel it out.
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    Originally, I had intended it to be a completely crazy guitar with a fretless neck made from exotic wood and a sustainer pickup, voiced for weird jazz fusion. As time has passed, however, I'm starting to stear away from that idea. See, I had bought a really cool cocobolo strat neck from ebay, that I was going to reshape and defret. My expectations for it were really high. Got a ridicilously low price for it as well. Then, my luck ran out and the neck was restricted in customs due to a CITES-violation. I guess I should have known better, snd in the end no harm done as ebay garantuees a full refund whenever an item fails to be delivered, no matter the reason. Still, the whole thing bumed me out, and I kinda lost a little steam. See, to me, the charm with building a partscaster is having a pretty clear of the sound I want to achive, but a not so clear idea of how I'm going to get there. Alot of times, I believe we tend to get stuck with ideas of what it is that we want in terms of gear, and miss out on exploring the less known stuff. Therefore, I buy mostly odd stuff, used or through small unknown companies instead of going for the mainstream products. For one thing, this keeps the cost down, but most of all it ensures that I will end up with a completely unique guitar that is totally tailored to my needs as a musician. This mishapp, however, left a sour taste, and has taken the fun out of scouring the internet after unique, exotic necks. Now, I think I'll either just buy something generic like a normal maple neck, or order a warmoth build that is backed with the correct CITES-certification. It will probably work out fine, but just not as fun.
    The last straw came when I suddenly got an offer of buying several very nice custom guitars from a guy that is closing down his buiness for a very good price. I'm really excited, but of course this kinda drained my funds a bit. Also my mind started working and I think one of these guitars might be cool as a fretless project instead, so I'll funnel my energy into that one.

    As for now, this project will probably be put on ice for a while. I still wanted to share it with you guys though, and I'll make sure to come back with updates whenever I get things going again.
     
    Torren61 likes this.
  2. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Meister

    415
    Jun 4, 2010
    Melbourne
    Unfortunately this is probably the immediate future for rosewood species necks on ebay. If it's a company selling rosewood that knows about CITES (eg Stratosphere) they will just refuse to ship rosewood internationally, or maybe eventually do the hard yards and get their paperwork in place. But for your average individual (US) seller who is oblivious to CITES, and selling to an overseas customer who is similarly oblivious, seizure by customs may become the norm. Of course ebay could use automated messaging to alert buyers/sellers to CITES for rosewood sales. They already use automated warnings for food and electrical products being imported into my country.
     
  3. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Meister

    415
    Mar 12, 2013
    Humboldt County, CA
    A bit off-topic, but I've had TimTams. I prefer Cherry Ripes. Just sayin'. Carry on.

    OH! OH! Back on topic. I sold my '77 LP to a guy in Sweden. He played in a heavy metal band. I had customized the crap out of that guitar. Ebony fingerboard with ivory inlays and nut. Customs would have loved to get their hands on it.

    I sent that one in 2011. I'll have to find the pics of how I wrapped it. Bubblewrap around the case, covered in duct tape and I did a Google Translate to write: "Please don't hurt me. I am a guitar.", "I love Sweden.", "I make music." all over it, lol.
     
  4. NorthenLights

    NorthenLights TDPRI Member

    Age:
    33
    60
    Oct 25, 2017
    Sweden
    Haha, so THAT'S how we should have done it :) Actually, it never left the states so the stickers should probably have said like "America **** YEAH!" or something. The seller claimes he didn't listed it as cocobolo in the shipping description, and I seriously doubt that there are wood experts that goes around to inspect each and every package that get exported. My only guess is that customs had access to the original ebay auction where the neck material was mentioned. Another thing that bums me is that that neck came with a very traditional strat body complete with hardware and pickups. Never got those either.
     
    Torren61 likes this.
  5. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Meister

    415
    Mar 12, 2013
    Humboldt County, CA
    There are wood detectives all over the world helping to enforce CITES.

    http://kosu.org/post/how-german-wood-detectives-protect-endangered-species

    If they'd been careful to inspect the LP I sent over to Sweden, they'd have seized it for sure.

    https://www.npr.org/2014/04/07/300267040/musicians-take-note-your-instrument-may-be-contraband
     
  6. NorthenLights

    NorthenLights TDPRI Member

    Age:
    33
    60
    Oct 25, 2017
    Sweden
    Alright, some progress has been made! The christmas hollidays gave me some much needed time to finally get to work with the body. Sanded the top, applied the stain, and then finished it with a couple of layer of tru oil. Originally, I had intended to put together a completely new guitar. However, when I saw the finished result, I felt that this body would match the neck from my solid tele much better. As the pickups on that guitar are really, REALLY good, I thought I might as well move them to the new body as well, since it would be a shame to leave them on a guitar without a neck. So in the end, the whole thing turned into a body swap instead of a new build. I'm really happy with the aesthetic result, although in terms of playability, there's still some work to be done in order to make it play well enough for it all to have been worth it.

    Started off with staining the body with an ebony stain to bring out the grain.
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    Sand with 400 grit to get a bigger contrast between the dark and light areas. Didin't take off too much, as I suspected the other color I had mixed was a little bit light.

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    Time for the actual color! I wanted something that reminds of an old violin. Brown, with a hint of red.
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    Starting to look good. Not there yet, but I'm having faith that the truoil will add the missing goldish/redish tint.

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    First coat of truoil. Now we're talking! This is the color I've had in my mind since the start. From here on, I'll just keep adding coats until I'm satisfied.

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    Here's where I decided to consider it finished. 8 coats of tru oil, wet sanded with 1200 grit after coat 5, 7 and 8. There are some imperfections in the stain at the upper left corner and above the pickup selector as I clumsily put my sweaty fingers there before I started oiling. That's ok with me. It adds some character. I could probably have added more coats of oil, and wet sanded with even higher grit to get a glossier look, but I was really satisfied with this result. I also put some coats on the headstock of the neck, since I liked the effect of the truoil so much.

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    The oil has been allowed to cure for a few weeks, so it's time to start assembling the guitar. Install the neck, and shield the pickup cavitied with some aluminum foil.

    [​IMG]
    Time for the bridge and pickups. The guy that made the body had actually forgot to drill the hole for the neck pickup cable, so I had to go and buy and extra long drill just to do that myself. Luckily, he had drilled a hole for truss rod adjustment,so I could go through that. Also, one of the holes for the bridge was off line from the rest. Luckily, it was also to small for the screws I'm using, so when I enlarged it, it was possible to fit the bridge without having to fill/redrill anything.

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    And here it is with strings on, and from the back. I'm waiting for some parts to arrive before I install the electronics. I think it became really beautifull.
    It has some issues though. I managed to get the action alright, but had to take the bridge saddles all the way down to the bottom of the bridge. The strings I put on are quite heavy, and I would some room to put on ligter strings if I want to. Therefore, I'm considering a shim to raise the neck in its pocket a bit. This should allow me to also raise the bridge saddles and still have a decent string height.
    Also, the neck hasn't been screwed on entirely straight. This is most evident when looking at the low e string, which you can see crosses the line of the binding. I'm not sure if something has happened to the screw holes in the neck or something. I fear that I will have to fill and redrill them to get a perfect fit.

    [​IMG]

    To sum it up, I've come quite far, but there is still work to be done. Hopefully, I can find some time to get continue towards the end of the month.
     
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