New LP/Tele Hybrid Idea - need input

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Treadplatedual, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Meister

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    Hey all,

    I'm looking at building my first from scratch - designing the body, putting together templates, routing/planing/finishing 'til my heart's content.

    I've taken some LP plans from electric herald and modified them some - I've changed the horn shape to allow for more access, changed to a bolt-on neck with ferrules and a sculpted heel, made the "waist" a bit thinner as well. I plan on using a cheap strat-style neck from china (this will be #1, so If I can get this working and like it #2 will have a USACG or Musikraft neck) and shaping the heel to match the heel carve.

    A couple questions:
    -What scale length should I go? Should I stick with the ToM/stop tail, tele plate or go for a strat-style hardtail with strings through?
    -How much actual purchase does the neck need in terms of being stable and strongly connected to the body? For example, there are a bunch of Ibanez and the like with little tiny neck heels...how small of a neck heel joint can I get away with? (I'm planning on mahogany for the body)
    -2V2T controls, or 1V1T?
    -In terms of making the top more of a "carved" feel - would using a panel-routing bit around the outside of the guitar look silly?
    -For future reference, If I decide to do a faux binding a la Kiesel/PRS, will a 1/16th roundover bit work?

    I'll add pics of what I'm thinking later, so feel free to tell me I'm silly to ask these questions.

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    You should go with a scale length you prefer. You can use either bridge type with either neck. It's all in the neck cavity depth and/or using an angle in there. You can't go wrong with a neck cavity 3" long from the 16th fret back.

    The rest of your questions are based on the esthetics you like. On a first build, I'd keep it simple to help avoid screwing things up. As always, YMMV.
     
  3. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Holic

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    Hi Tread. A few comments and attempts to answer your questions. First, my perspectives. I'm a hobby builder who has made several telecaster style guitars (slab bodies, screw on necks, basic Fender specifications). I have also built two LP clones (carved bodies, set neck, basic Gibson specs) and several other Gibsonesque guitars. My primary love, however, acoustics (ie I don't consider myself an electric guitar builder).

    Here is a recent thread on a LP style build, it might give you some ideas

    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/a-chambered-lpish-looking-thing.874641/

    Lets start from the beginning. An LP and a tele are very different animals. Both try to achieve playable action above the neck, but it very different ways. The tele fret plane is parallel to the flat top of the body and the height is achieved by making it stand proud (called "overstand"). Many Gibson style guitars have an arched top (LP, 335...) but many do not (LP Jr, SG...). Gibson necks usually have little or no overstand but they achieve fret plane geometry by angling the neck relative to the body.

    You can certainly screw a neck on at an angle, but make sure that fits the geometry of your particular plans.

    Your specific questions

    - scale length is a matter of preference. It makes a difference in the string tension for any given tuning, and of course sets the location of all of the dimensions of the guitar (bridge location, neck to body joint, pickups). If you are using a "cheap strat-style neck from china" it will probably be Fender scale (however Gibby scale necks are available).

    One fairly significant factor is that Gibson ToM bridges are almost always 12 inch radius. Fender bridges are adjustable but most Fenders have a tighter radius (10 or 9 or even 7.5). When you buy your neck you will be more or less determining which style bridge you will be using. ToM and Fender bridges typically have different heights over the body (fenders are around 1/2 inch at the lowest setting, ToM's are more like 3/4). This seques back to my first point about designing the fret plane, neck angle, yadda yadda.

    I happen to like the newest "Nashville" style ToM's but lots of folks swear by the original ABR1's. Which ever you decide to use, get accurate dimensions from the manufacture before you start laying out your geometry. I like to have the bridge in my hand.

    - As far as the neck pocket is concerned - I have never seen a long tenon Gibbie neck fail, I have seen failures of short tenon necks. I frequently see Fenders with loose neck mounting screws but I haven't seen a failure. One thing to remember is the farther you move the body joint up the neck the weaker it will be - the tenon gets shorter, you have more leverage with the neck. If you stick with an established design you will be OK.

    - Controls - your choice. I do 2V-2T for all humbucker guitars, standard Fender controls for teles. I'm mostly a jazz/blues player and with humbuckers I like to blend both pups which you can only do with separate volume pots.

    - How you carve your top is up to your wood working skills and the geometry that you laid out when you started. It also depends a bit on your choice of wood (thickness) and how you plan to bind it.

    - PRS does their faux binding with very careful masking when they stain/finish the top. I haven't tried one yet - I bind all of my Gibson style guitars My only recommendation is to practice a whole bunch on scrap.

    edit to add - I highly recommend getting a copy of Melvyn Hiscock's book. He does cover a lot of the geometry considerations as well as almost everything else you need to know.
     
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  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    By far the easiest start will be a Tele-type build. Bridges, control plates, etc are easy to get and low cost. If you went with say a Jazzmaster type build then all the parts are a lot more expensive to source (I'm building a couple of these currently and that's what I'm finding). LP style parts are also fairly inexpensive (bridges etc) because they are a more popular model. $5 LP TOM and Tele 3-saddle bidges are available through ebay. A Tele body is a lot easier to construct with more minimal tool kits.

    With your changes on the neck/bridge/waist/fret access/etc you want to closely analyze how these particular guitars sit on your lap and hang from a guitar strap. Take a trip to a local guitar store and try them out and take notes.

    Tele, Strat, LP, SG, Hollowbody ES-335-type.

    You'll start to see how a Tele seems to hang straight down for your picking hand to be on or behind the bridge and pick closer to the saddles for chicken picking. How your hand will sit on top of the bridge of an LP and naturally palm mute. How your hand hangs forward of the volume knob of a Strat (or you hit the volume all the time). How the SG feels like playing 'stage left' and the 335 is about the same 'way over there' feeling. sitting down the guitars move relative positions again depending on the waist cut. Picking location changes the tone of your guitar a lot. An LP can cover chicken picking but not as naturally as the Tele.

    Neck frets drive where the neck pickup sits and the overall tone of a guitar. 22 frets you'll have Strat or LP neck tones while 24 frets you'll have nearly Strat-middle pickup or SG tones.

    Pickup layout and wiring control plans will give you all your tone characteristics. I'd suggest under spending on pickups (there are some fantastic $15/set pickups on ebay) but overspend on the top-line controls (Bourns pots, Switchcraft jack, CRL/Oak-Grigsby 3/4/5-way blade switches or Switchcraft 3-way toggle switch) -- $30 can buy the kit of controls used on $3,000+ guitars for pro durability. Sealed tuners from ebay give pretty decent performance and just decide to spend $10 or $20 per set. $5 plastic nuts are just as effective as the $50 options out there ...

    Start with pine/poplar for your body construction. When you make a router template, make a copy of the the template and use that for the working template -- you'll make a nick eventually and it's convenient to not have to start all over from drilling holes filing to size.

    .
     
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  5. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Don't expect your first one to be perfect: don't be afraid to scrap a part if it really goes wrong, but learning to correct mistakes can be valuable experience too. The first violin an apprentice built was always ceremonially burnt.
    Use plain timber. My first acoustic was made from flamed sycamore and planing the sides and back to thickness was no fun.

    Enjoy it. I don't do any building from scratch now, no facilities and prefer to spend my time playing, but I'm envious.
     
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  6. Speedy454

    Speedy454 Tele-Holic

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    A few years back I did some experimenting with a LP Tele cross breed too.
    My avatar is the last one I did.
    Here are my thoughts...
    All of the previous posters have made great points. One that stands out is to have the basic hardware in hand before starting any cutting or routing. That way you can see how things need to fit up.

    As for scale length, a 25 1/2 scale dual HB guitar will be brighter sounding than a 24 3/4 scale.
    Conversely, a 24 3/4 scale single coil will be a little warmer than a 25 1/2 scale.

    If you put a set of good PAFs in a 25 1/2 scale it will not sound like a LP or SG. Similar, but not the same. Even with a mahogany back and flamed maple top. (My avatar)

    The bridge choice will make a difference in tone as well. A TOM will sound different than a Strat hard tail or a Tele through the body. Not saying one is better than the other, they are just different.

    So all of that said, what you end up with will be a unique sounding guitar. Your choices and combinations being nearly endless will result in a guitar that looks and sounds like no other.

    That could be a great thing or a terrible thing, depending on your goal.

    I really liked that mine all sounded unique.

    How many guitars does a person need that all sound exactly the same?
     
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  7. Mr_Q

    Mr_Q TDPRI Member

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    Several thoughts.
    1) Reread Freeman's reply to your post.
    2) Yes buy the Hiscock book, and also consider Lospennato's design book.
    3) Your neck determines the scale length. Scale length is double the nut to 12th fret distance (plus compensation).
    4) The bridge drives the neck angle. Largely... More to learn there.

    Proceed with caution. The path of the LP/Fender hybrid is littered with firewood and unplayable wall decor.

    Good luck!

    Sent from my SM-T810 using Tapatalk
     
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  8. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the input, gents!

    I should clarify, this will be the first "from scratch" build, but I believe the 11th or 12th I've built from kits etc. This is borne more from a "I've got strats, teles, lp, prs-style and none of them quite do it for me" to maybe naively improve or take what I like from each and toss it in.

    Once I'm home from work, I'll post the pics of what I'm thinking as far as neck joint. I think it will still have 3 inches of being "seated" in the pocket, but will be contoured similar to the shaped fender heel.

    Freeman, good gracious that build thread was epic, thank you for that!

    As of right now, I think I'm going to stick with 2 hum, 1v1t, 25.5" scale. I'm not to the point of building my own neck just yet, and I won't worry too much if I destroy a $30 ebay special neck.

    Very good point about the controls - that's been my biggest frustration with building thus far - cheap wires that melt as I'm trying to get them soldered to the back of cheap pots that crackle no matter what.

    [​IMG]
    That's the American Elite Strat neck joint above, sorta what I'm going for.
     
  9. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Meister

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    Here's generally what I'm thinking:

    New Doc 2019-01-31 20.27.02.jpg
     
  10. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Meister

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    In the pic above, Do you think the neck joint will be strong enough? the bass side of the pocket is right at 3 inches.

    If I use bigger (say 10-32) machine screws into threaded brass inserts, will that make for a more secure hold than 8-32s? or is that overengineering and adding needless weight?

    Do I need to make the pocket more square and perhaps taper it like Fender does on their contoured heel?

    Thanks again for all your input guys, I really appreciate it!

    Also, I've got those books in my amazon cart, just waiting a bit to pull the trigger.
     
  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I'd add another 3/8" or so more to the treble side, but that's just me. What you have there is probably fine as it is supported by the bass side. I would just go with screws myself. I've never had good luck getting those home center machine inserts in a body yet.
     
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  12. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Meister

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    Awesome - that's what I was hoping, that the majority of the tension would be on the bass strings so if it were anchored there it'd be good.

    I was actually thinking about putting the inserts into the neck - is that a terrible idea? Screws would be a lot easier, I grant you :D
     
  13. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Holic

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    Here is what I think I am seeing. You've taken a standard Fender 3 inch neck pocket and cut it back from the 16th fret on the bass side to maybe the 17th or 18, and to 19 or 20 on the treble side. You have removed maybe 20 or so percent of the floor of the pocket (which would worry me a lot if it was a glue joint, probably not as critical with screws). The one screw that moved to near the center is in danger of running into the truss rod (note in your photograph that it stays near the outside).

    Your Fender neck will be about 3/4 inch longer than the LP neck (some of that is buried in the body) and the six on a side Fender head is even longer. Both those will move some weight towards the head. Of course you will compensate for that by moving the bridge down into the body. If you wanted to keep the bridge in the same place you would be moving the head even farther away.

    Most of the neck manufacturers make a "Gibson conversion" neck for Fender guitars - they adjust the fret positions and body joint relative to the scale length - I know that Warmoth makes one. However you have said you want to use a cheap Chinese neck - you are probably locked into Fender scale.

    Converting your neck from screw on to bolt on is a great idea, but it can be a real hassle. I use threaded inserts in all of my acoustic necks (I only do dovetails when I have to) - I think they are wonderful but can be a problem to get everything lined up when you install them. Remember that you will need to make a jig to hold your neck in your drill press, this will be complicated by the fact that the LP neck sits at 3-1/2 or 4 degrees to the body.

    Will that joint be strong enough? I can't answer that but I would bet it will be marginal. I have seen short tenon joints fail and I've seen tele necks that are wobbly - how many times do you see loose screws? You will not have any support on the treble side of the horn (tele's don't either) unlike the Gibson tenon which is supported (and glued) on both sides and the bottom.

    I'll toss out a couple more things to be thinking about. I've already mentioned the change in scale length and what that does to the bridge. It may move pickups also. The 4 degree neck angle poses a bit of a problem at the inside of the horn - a tele pocket assumes a flat top, yours will be dropping away both along the center line and into the horn. You will want to really think this thru when it comes time to carve your top.

    My suggestion is rather than trying to fit the tele neck to a set of LP plans, take the D sized tele plans from this forum and reshape the body to look like a Lester. What you'll really be ending up with is something that looks like a single cut LP Jr. If you want to use a ToM angle the neck a bit. Flip your drawing over and futz around with the neck heel - can you shape it the way you want and still have roughly the same size?

    ps - if it seems like I'm anal about geometry its because I am. I don't much care what a guitar looks like as long as the geometry is reasoable (and there are lots of reasonable geometries) - my first criteria is always playability.
     
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  14. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Meister

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    Freeman/Marty,

    Great calls. I'm thinking this will end up more like an LP Jr (flat top this time around) with maybe some cursory shaping for comfort, and I'll go Fender-style scale and hardtail bridge (so I can place the bridge wherever I want and ensure string alignment?).

    I hadn't even considered the truss rod, which is a huge DUH and exactly why you guys rock.

    Since I'll be using a Strat-style neck, I think I'll go for regular screws this time, maybe graduating to bolts once I'm sure the neck joint will hold together reasonably well.
     
  15. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Holic

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    Get your neck. Build a flat topped body with a Fender style neck pocket and use a Fender hard tail bridge (that will mean the geometry works and will eliminate all the issues with f/b radius, neck angle, yadda yadda). Make the body any shape you want - a cute little LP Jr is a nice shape and it has the advantage of fitting in available cases (always a plus).

    Fit the neck, put a couple of screws in the bass side to hold it together and flip it over. Start carving away the horn and the treble side of the heel until you get a shape that you like (I assume you are doing this to gain access to the 21st fret). Think about how much you might be weakening the joint, stop when you think you've gone far enough. Put another screw or two where ever you think you can fit them in. Build out the rest of the guitar

    IMG_4014.JPG
     
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  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

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    Cool build, I've got some nice 2x12 pine and have been thinking of making a LP sort of bolt on for a barn guitar, not nice like you're building but the "other" body nonetheless. Not sure I can get it under 11 1/2" wide and not too ugly though.

    WRT the shortened neck pocket, are you having actual problems playing music on your Fender type guitars due to the neck heel?
    When i see all the modernized sculpted heel designs applied to bolt on necks, I alwsy have to go back and see if there's any playing advantage that's worth creating a structural disadvantage.

    If you do find the Fender heel impedes your playing, have you considered running the neck heel under the neck pickup?

    As far as the tension being greater on the bass side, given that it is impossible for one side of the neck to pull up while the other side stays in place, I think the thinking fails to make a weaker joint stronger!
    I've got inserts in one neck that came to me with stripped screw holes, and using inserts seems stronger, but as noted, you don't want to drill near the rod, and inserts move the hole sideways due to the extra width.
    I would also consider the increased likelihood of cracking the short side of the heel on an angled pocket where the holes are closer together, and there the stronger inserts might actually weaken the side of the neck heel, where it has sometimes cracked at the screw holes.

    Just for some added info in case you haven't seen them, check out the old Carvin DC150 for more LP deviation range.
    It's 1/2" narrower in the lower bout than a LP, and looks classy despite departing from the familiar shape.
    That LP shape is hard to beat for what it is.

    Have you considered a snakehead neck?
    I think there are some cheap ones out there?
    Certainly cheap paddle heads from China.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  17. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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  18. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Meister

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    Yessir, this may or may not be why I'm looking at an LP shape - I have an extra LP hard case lying around lol! But also, I love LPs.

    That, and the Current Kiesel/Carvin CS series (I've owned and sold 2) are the impetus for a few of the changes.

    Yep!

    In the upper register, on strats, teles, and LPS, my paws don't agree with the blockiness of the neck while playing standing up. Seated, it's not an issue, but I play live enough for that to be an issue.
     
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  19. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Meister

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    Agreed - I've had a lot of success with Dragonfireguitars.com for pickups. I think they're MIK or MIC but very well done and sound just like their 250/set American made counterparts. I've generally gone with Tusq or bone nuts, I'm not a fan of plastic even if Eric Johnson loves his.

    As far as Tuners, I'm madly in love with Hipshot's locking sets - I haven't found anything that feels quite as good. I've used some 10-20 dollar Chinese knockoffs, and while they are serviceable the real deal lend an extra bit of polish and feel that I can't quantify. Maybe I'm just a naïve consumer :D
     
  20. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Meister

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    Progress!

    I edited the neck heel and moved the fourth screw, changed the horn shape a bit, and thinned the waist.
    New Doc 2019-02-02 16.52.14_2.jpg New Doc 2019-02-02 16.52.14_1.jpg

    I also found a great 1-piece poplar body blank for next to nothing.

    20190202_165452.jpg 20190202_165502.jpg

    Now to route a master template, copy it to 1/2" mdf, and jigsaw out a body shape!
     
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