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
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Shifted bridge, short-scale 'tele'

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Honza992, Oct 19, 2017.

  1. Honza992

    Honza992 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Age:
    47
    84
    Aug 6, 2015
    Nottingham, UK
    Hi All

    Ok, it's fair to say that my first post on TDPRI created a certain amount of 'controversy'. For those lucky few of you who didn't show any interest in that thread, let me summarise....

    I play the bass and make basses (from scratch) for a hobby. I'd like to learn the guitar.

    However, I've previously suffered from tendinitis so two things I am sensitive to are overall weight and a neck that doesn't naturally sit well above horizontal. I've been to a shop and tried 3 teles (a Mexican, a Baja and an American Special) of which only one had a natural balance that I found comfortable.

    Now I know there are far easier ways of getting a guitar that balances to my liking - add lead weights, add a strap extendor, build a strat, etc etc etc - but I would like to try to build a guitar that suits me and looks more or less like a Tele.

    So here is my plan.

    1. Use a short scale neck - 24.75".
    2. Shift the bridge to the left (ie towards the strap pin near the jack) by 15mm.
    3. Reduce body thickness to 40mm

    Here is a mockup using some templates I've made. I've slightly remodelled the lower horn and the heel, but the upper bout remains the same. To me, it looks, well, like a tele. See what you thnk....
    [​IMG]

    The guitar is about 34mm shorter than standard, and the strap button lands level with just above the 14th fret.

    Really looking forward to starting this build!
     

  2. AAT65

    AAT65 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    52
    May 29, 2016
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Looks good, hope you enjoy the build! I’ll be watching with interest.
     

  3. Honza992

    Honza992 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Age:
    47
    84
    Aug 6, 2015
    Nottingham, UK
    I couldn't resist a wood shot. Ash, some nice flatsawn maple and a lovely piece of rosewood. I realise that's not a classic tele combination, but I like taking the unconventional road.....:cool:
    [​IMG]
     
    darkforce, Anode100 and RogerC like this.

  4. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    Rosewood may not be the classic Tele fretboard, but Leo wanted it and they've been using rosewood on Teles since 1959, so ... close enough!

    <subscribed/>
     

  5. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Meister

    Age:
    45
    415
    Jan 24, 2011
    Paris, France
    Hi,
    First I think that your design is very nice and only the purists could suspect something unusual.

    I have the pleasure to own a Gibson Melody Maker that is a 3/4 for younger students model. The Gibson guys did it the same as you intend to do: unchanged body, slightly shorter scale length (approximately 23" versus the usual 24.75" of Gibson) and shifting the bridge and neck toward the "left " or bottom, probably more than you. As a result the neck to body junction is at the 12th fret, and the access to the highest notes is limited. It is still very nice to play and no risk of neck dive.
     

  6. Honza992

    Honza992 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Age:
    47
    84
    Aug 6, 2015
    Nottingham, UK
    Hi All

    OK, I thought I would post the full specs including dimensions. Most of these are in mm rather than inches just because that's what I'm used to working in, and if I start mixing it up too much my brain will implode...

    Ash Body with elbow contour, 38-40mm (1 9/16") thick
    24.75" scale
    Flatsawn maple neck, 20mm
    Rosewood fretboard, 5mm
    Giving a total neck thickness of 25mm (1")
    Width @ Nut: 42mm (1 5/8")
    String spacing at bridge: 54mm (2 1/8")
    Neck depth @ 1st fret: 20mm
    Neck depth @ 12th fret: 22mm
    String spacing @ nut: ?????
    Nut: hand cut, bone
    TR: Double action with spoke wheel adjuster (located at heel)
    Headstock: 14mm thick (a shade under 9/16")
    Fretwire: Sintoms 2.8 x 1.4mm

    One things I haven't been able to find any info on is what standard string spacing is at the nut. Total width of 42mm seems to be fairly standard, but what about the gaps between the two E's and the side of the fretboard? I won't be using a template for the neck so without this info I don't know how wide the neck needs to be. On bass guitars 4mm each side seems to be fairly standard. So on a jazz bass with a nut width of 38mm that gives a string spacing of 10mm (3x10 + 2x4 = 38). If someone could shout up with what the side gaps normally are I'd really appreciate it.

    Also, does the neck profile sound about right? ie 20-22mm between 1st and 12th? And total neck thickness of 25mm (1")?

    Do you think this all makes sense for a beginner? Or wider/narrower string spacing?

    As for hardware, this is what I have:

    Tuners: Gotoh SD91 vintage style
    Bridge: Wilkinson vintage style with compensated saddles
    Strings: D'Addario XL Nickel Wound, 9-42
    Fully loaded control plate from Axesrus (4 way selector, treble bleed)
    Pickups: Tonerider, TRT3 (Alnico II Blues)

    [​IMG]
     

  7. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Meister

    Age:
    45
    415
    Jan 24, 2011
    Paris, France
    I think you are overthinking the nut width and string spacing. Are you using a CNC? If not, try to do the neck 42mm at the nut, with the finish (If you are somewhere between 41.8 and 42.3, I'd say it's OK), then cut the string slots as well as you can. And it is easy to do another nut If you fail.

    What I can tell is that smaller/thinner necks they do seem to be easy to play at first, but when the string spacing is too narrow, it is harder to be fretting one string without messing with the others. And If the high and low E strings are too close to the side of the neck the fretting hand may mute the strings accidentally. It depends on the neck profile and your playing style too...
     

  8. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    I mark 3mm in on the 1st string and 4mm in on the 6th. I have a string space ruler but I've also used the attached file. I mostly use bone and cut my own as well. You can buy ready made ones though.
     

    Attached Files:

    sergiomajluf and Honza992 like this.

  9. Honza992

    Honza992 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Age:
    47
    84
    Aug 6, 2015
    Nottingham, UK
    No CNC, so I'm doing the layout by hand. I like to have the strings running exactly parallel to the side of the neck so I need to have (more or less) decided the size of the gap beforehand.

    I'm sure everyone has seen the formula for calculating the width of a neck, but this is what I use for drawing out the neck on the blank:

    http://buildyourguitar.com/resources/tips/c_layout.htm

    As a beginner guitar player I thought 42mm@nut and 54mm@bridge was a fairly normal size without it being too narrow for my clumsy fingers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017

  10. Honza992

    Honza992 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Age:
    47
    84
    Aug 6, 2015
    Nottingham, UK
    Thanks Ricky, that's great. I've never seen that pdf before, but that looks like a really neat, simple (and best of all) cheap solution to laying out a nut. I'll be cutting my own nut (ouch!) so I'll give it a go.

    Gotya. 4 + 3 = 7mm total gap. I'll stick those figures into the formula aobve.
     

  11. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Meister

    Age:
    45
    415
    Jan 24, 2011
    Paris, France
    OK, now I understand what you want to do, and you are asking good questions.
     

  12. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Mar 30, 2011
    Oklamerica
    Honza992 likes this.

  13. Honza992

    Honza992 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Age:
    47
    84
    Aug 6, 2015
    Nottingham, UK
    And we're off! I'm really looking forward to this one.

    First up I prepared the neck blank. Although it came planed from my supplier it wasn't completely flat so I used a jig copied from Bruce Johnson over on Talkbass. He is a man of rare talent and true generosity. His thread on jigs is one of the most useful I've ever read. Just in case you haven't seen it, it's here (https://www.talkbass.com/threads/router-planing-fixtures.1267460/).

    Baseically just a pile of mdf but it does a good job of getting a neck blank flat:
    [​IMG]

    Next up I drew the neck onto the blank. The headstock is a standard size, but because I like to use my own string spacing at the nut and bridge, I calculated the neck width at the 12th and 21st fret, marked on the nut width (42mm) then joined the dots.

    The exact length of the neck is determined by how many frets I want and what the length is of the truss rod. I'm going to use a wheel adjuster, one I've never used before. In an ideal world I'd have the end of the truss rod ending exactly underneath the nut. I'm not sure why. I've never seen any discussion of where the truss rod should end, but it instinctively feels right. Anway, this one is too short if I want to keep to 21 frets. So it's half an inch short of the nut.

    Neck drawn, double checked, triple checked, ready for the truss rod rout tomorrow.

    [​IMG]
     

  14. Honza992

    Honza992 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Age:
    47
    84
    Aug 6, 2015
    Nottingham, UK
    A little bit of progress today.

    First up I routed the truss rod channel. The plunge base has got a 17mm bushing that runs along the left hand straight edge, while the other straight just provides support.
    [​IMG]

    I then cut out the headstock using a template, then routed the sides using a straight edge.
    [​IMG]

    One of the advantages of buying fretboard blanks that aren't fretted or slotted is that you get play around a little bit with grain pattern and orientation. This one arrived with a diagonal grain pattern but by having the centre line run at a diagonal the grain ended up pretty straight:
    [​IMG]

    I also made a start on radiusing, using my radius block with hand-crafted artisan style handles. They make a huge difference!
    [​IMG]

    Thanks for looking!
     
    Mat UK likes this.

  15. Honza992

    Honza992 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Age:
    47
    84
    Aug 6, 2015
    Nottingham, UK
    OK, following some stellar advice from the TDPRI community :))) I'm going to inset my knob into my neck.....ummm...let me re-phrase that. I'm going to sink my knob into.....oh, never mind....I did this:
    [​IMG]
    Using a technique copied from Fletcher Guitars which used another of my beautifully crafted jigs:
    [​IMG]

    I then straightened up the heel using a radial arm saw:
    [​IMG]

    Moving on to tuner holes, I made a template out of scrap perspex to drill the 8.5mm holes.
    [​IMG]

    Can I just check one thing? The instructions for the Gotoh SD91s are clear that 8.5mm holes are needed. The bushings will go in, but only with a certain amount of force. I've only built bass guitars before and on the bass tuners I've used the bushings (which are smooth, Hipshot Ultralites) more or less slide in. Does any one know why the difference? Or have I got it wrong?
     
    HairyChapter and Mat UK like this.

  16. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    That seems a little tight and I'm guessing they are the same size as any vintage tuner. I use an 11/32" drill bit which converted is about 8.7mm. I think you could try reaming it. I always have to push in the bushings with my drill press so 11/32 is nice and snug.
     

  17. Honza992

    Honza992 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Age:
    47
    84
    Aug 6, 2015
    Nottingham, UK
    And body glued. And here's a photo you've all seen a million times before...
    [​IMG]

    I guarantee though that this is a story you haven't heard before. That photo is actually from the first time I glued the body together. You'll notice I used some paper to catch the glue drips. As I pushed the two halves of the body together the paper under the body was pushed into the gap. It was only 10 minutes later when I was taking the paper away that I noticed I had actually glued paper into my join. I swore. Then I swore some more. Then when I had run out of swear words, I invented some new ones. When my imagination failed me I ripped off the clamps and pulled the halves apart. Just in time, another minute I'm pretty sure it would have been impossible and I would have had to saw it apart.

    So having washed the glue off and re-jointed I tried again. This time without the paper. Did it work? Well we'll have to wait till tomorrow morning to find out. Exciting isn't it!
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
    darkforce, AAT65 and Mat UK like this.

  18. Honza992

    Honza992 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Age:
    47
    84
    Aug 6, 2015
    Nottingham, UK
    Thanks Richard. I'll do as you suggest and ream them ever so slightly. It occurs to me that the difference between bass and guitar tuners is that the bushings on bass tuners actually screw into the machine on the back, so I guess they don't need to fit tightly in the way that guitar tuners do. I'm learning loads! Thanks for the advice.
     

  19. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    I've actually done the same thing with getting paper jammed in the joint. I caught it right away though.
     

  20. Honza992

    Honza992 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Age:
    47
    84
    Aug 6, 2015
    Nottingham, UK
    I'm happy then to be in fine company;):)
     

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.