Planning 2nd guitar build-- not a Tele. Set neck, walnut, Koa

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by ppg677, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. ppg677

    ppg677 Tele-Meister

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    Hi, (sorry for another thread on getting input)

    After having fun with my first guitar build (a Telecaster), I'd like to try something different and more custom. A different sound and different style. I'm not a very good player, so I don't have any strong desires other than "different" and looking awesome.

    Here's what I have in mind:
    * a custom shape of my drawing. I'll start with a telecaster shape and make the horn more subtle, but keep the body curves more like a Tele instead of the round-ish LP.
    * set neck, because I think they look elegant.
    * humbuckers for a different sound
    * I scored some beautiful Koa. Pictured below is a bookmatched piece I just resawed (and I have a lot left!)
    * I'm going to put that Koa on top of a Walnut body. I'm planning on walnut...because...well my local hardwood dealer didn't have any 8/4 Mahogany in stock and because that Koa on top of a dark Walnut might be cool? Maybe? And ebony-black fingerboard!
    * I'll hollow out the Walnut to reduce weight. Already bought the Walnut piece so don't talk my out of that unless you have a very strong opinion ;-)

    I haven't decided on scale or bridge style. Tune-o-matic bridge looks elegant to me, but I know these require an angled neck. I have no idea whether I'd like a tremelo system, but the rear tremelo covers look hideous to me. And while the Fender Jazzmaster tremelo looks elegant, I hear it kills sustain. So sort of leaning towards tune-o-matic.

    No idea if I would prefer 24.75" scale or stick with 25.5" scale, but for being "different" perhaps I'd just give a 24.75" scale a try.

    Which means I might just be building a Gibson-style guitar without the curved top and with a custom shape. (though I'm also undecided on angled vs. non-angled headstock).

    I need to track down some kind of neck template to guide my cutting. I had no problems finding plans for Telecaster necks (and ended up just buying an MDF template). Not having great luck finding comparable plans/templates for a set neck. How long is the tenon? What shape is the tenon?

    Are there other tdpri.com-like forums out there catering to this crowd?

    IMG_20190203_102615.jpg
     
  2. dickjonesify

    dickjonesify TDPRI Member

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  3. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Holic

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    The Les Paul Jr is a set neck flat top guitar that more or less fits your specifications. You can of course make the body any shape you want, you can use any scale you want, you can angle the head or not. The decision on a bridge is one of the early things that you need to do since it dramatically affects the geometry (which is critical to making it all work)

    The normal 16 fret Les Paul tenon is 4 inches long and extends under the neck p/u. Nominal dimensions are 1.450 thick, 1.500 wide and set at an angle of 3-1/2 to 4 degrees to match the top arching height of the usual bridges.

    I have built two LP style guitars, one with less arching because of the thickness of the plate. Here is a recent one that might be helpful

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

    If you don't have it, I highly recommend Melvyn Hiscock's book. He builds a set neck guitar as one of the three and has an excellent chapter on thinking about geometry.
     
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  4. ppg677

    ppg677 Tele-Meister

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    Thank you Freeman and guitarbuilder.

    I know choice of bridge will impact a) need for neck angle, b) need and placement of body cutout or string-through holes. I know that placement of bridge will be critical depending on choice of scale length.

    Is there anything else where choice of bridge really impacts early design considerations?
     
  5. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    A Gibson bridge will require a 2 to 4 degree angle regardless unless you adjust the neck cavity. There were some Norlin era SG's with no neck angle.

    I think more importantly, you may want to practice making a set neck on some scrap to see how the level of difficulty is compared to the Fender style.

    There are some trem options that don't involve a major hole like a strat too. Some bolt right to the tailpiece studs.

    https://www.stetsbar.com/

    https://www.solomusicgear.com/product/schaller-tremolo-les-paul-right-chrome/

    https://www.musiciansfriend.com/acc...MImJD9kL204AIVE0wNCh119gVIEAQYBSABEgICYfD_BwE
     
  6. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Friend of Leo's

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    If you use an ABR Gibson style bridge then you're constrained to a 12" radius (as far as I know).
     
  7. ppg677

    ppg677 Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, probably. You think the neck itself is the hard part? Or getting the cavity and angle just right?

    I found a nice video on routing out the neck cavity, which doesn't seem too hard.

     
  8. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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  9. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    Fletch builds a LP Special type guitar. This will give you some ideas. It sure did for me.

     
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  10. ppg677

    ppg677 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks! BTW-- I personally don't see the appeal of plastic binding at all. I guess functionally it is useful to prevent moisture from seeping into end grain.
     
  11. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Holic

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    The choice of bridge dramatically affects the geometry of the guitar which basically is all of those things that make it playable. Different bridge mount to the guitar in different fashions (even within classes of bridges). Some terminate the strings at the bridge, some require a tailpiece or stop bar or holes and ferrules. Some bridges are fixed in their radius (which pretty much dictates the f/b radius). Most but not all will determine your string spacing at that end of the guitar. The bridge design may impact your ability to compensate (intonate) your strings. Some bridges have tremolo functions built in, some will work with secondary trems, some won't. Some bridges only work with certain kinds of construction (right now I've got a laminated top hollow body ES guitar that someone put a Nashville ToM in - its going to give him big problems). Some bridges only work with certain kinds of pickups.

    Some bridges just look right with certain style guitars (the whole idea of putting a Floyd in a LP is just wrong). Some bridges are just plane elegant (I've got two Kahlers to install in the next few days). They cost as much as a MIC guitar - I think they are worth it.

    Hiscock has a brief list of typical heights for a lot of different bridges that can be very helpful but nothing beats actually having the bridge you are going to use in your hand when you design your guitar. Obviously that isn't as important if you are just copying an existing design.

    Binding gives the guitar a finished look and does protect the end grain of the top wood, more from bumps than moisture. It is very important on acoustics, less so on solid body electrics. Obviously if you just round over a slab of wood you can't bind it. Plastic binding is the simplest to put on, it bends easily and there are a variety of glues that work. I think it looks "right" on certain instruments - an ES-335 or a Lloar mandolin for example. Wood binding can add an elegant touch if it matches (or contrasts) with the body wood(s). When I look at high end luthier built guitar I expect to see well done binding and purfling - its those little touches that really show the builder's chops.

    However binding is a lot of work and can really screw up a guitar. I have spent the last two days routing channels and fitting wood binding and purfling to the OM I'm building - mitering the corners and all the little detailss just takes forever (its said that putting the pearl in a style 42 guitar doubles its construction time). However some guitars look better without.

    edit to add - here is an ES-175 style guitar with plastic binding - guitar, neck, head, pick guard, f-holes, even the truss rod cover.

    IMG_2117.JPG

    Also, that guitar has a floating ToM with tailpiece - again, that is the correct bridge for this style guitar
     
  12. ppg677

    ppg677 Tele-Meister

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  13. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Holic

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    My Les Paul plans (which I trust) show the tenon as being 4 inches long and extending into the neck pickup cavity. My 335 plans (which I don't trust, they have had many other "issues") show a 3-1/2 inch tenon that extends all the way to the end of the neck p/u cavity. The LP is 16 frets clear, the 335 is 18 frets clear. The lester, of course, has a lot more support on the sides of the tenon. Here are a couple of pictures when I built mine

    IMG_0674.JPG

    IMG_2560.JPG

    It looks like your LP Jr DC is 18 or 19 frets clear, but I have never built one so I don't know for sure
     
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  14. dickjonesify

    dickjonesify TDPRI Member

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  15. ppg677

    ppg677 Tele-Meister

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    Oh, you're right. I stupidly thought the side profile on the figure was just the neck.
     
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  16. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    That tenon is 2-3/8" long dimensioned in the top view. Norlin era tenons end right before the neck pickup and hold up just fine. The extra long tenon into the pickup cavity which then gets routed out is a holdover from the 50's era. A ton of the good rock recordings were made with reissue Gibsons , so I can sleep at night with a shorter tenon on my set neck guitars. :)




    lesg.jpg


    http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/faq-tenons.38461/





    Here's a good pic of a tenon in a body. If you are going to top a body, you may want to do it before you rout the neck mortise. I should probably sand and complete this one :).




    DC.jpg





     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
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  17. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    How goes the battle?
     
  18. ppg677

    ppg677 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for asking!

    I've attempted two necks now and am probably going to start a third! DIY templates are a bit error prone there.

    I got two Walnut bodies prepared, but one isn't capped yet. Both are hollowed out to some degree. Reason I have two is that I accidentally hollowed out one where the bridge attaches so I repurposed it for a modified Tele shape where the bridge holes didn't interfere (chopped the horn!).

    For my Gibson style neck adventures, second one turned out fine except the nut width is 42mm instead of my planned 43mm. I'm tempted to glue on a 43mm wide (at nut) fingerboard and try to send it smooth at the gap tbere. On the other hand I figure I'll just use the 42mm one for a different build.

    IMG_20190216_120620.jpg

    IMG_20190217_121618.jpg

    IMG_20190226_081255.jpg
     
  19. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Looks like a good start. I failed on my first 2 gibby necks. I then switched to a full neck pocket tennon and I'm getting much better results & I feel much better about the accuracy vs. the smaller gibby style tennon. Just keep trying, it took awhile for me to be comfortable with doing a neck, now it might be my favorite part.

    I love my Blues Jr. I played a Hot Rod DeVille 4X10 for most of the late 90's. Only to discover the Blues Jr after busting my back and being unable to carry much. I grab my Fulltone Signal booster, my Tube Screamer and I'm off to the races.
     
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