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

Ultralight Quad Lipstick Relic (maybe just a little) Build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by mtorn, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. mtorn

    mtorn Tele-Holic

    Nov 29, 2016
    Portland, Oregon
    Hi all. Time for a new build!

    I'm actually pretty far along with this build already. I couldn't decide if the project was interesting enough to post, but I've been taking pictures as I've gone along, so here it is.


    Here is the Photoshop render/drawing. It's pretty unremarkable, with nothing too quirky going on, at least not at first glance. It uses the same body shape and headstock as many of my previous builds, in fact is my fourth one like this! I'm just too fond of the ergonomics if this shape.

    Here are the bullet points:
    - Use almost entirely bits and pieces from my junk drawer, like pickups, bridge, tuners, nut, frets, lacquer.

    - Light weight! Even though I rarely play standing, I just love to pick up a lightweight guitar. I also like the acoustic response of a light guitar, it just tends to resonate nicely when played unplugged, something which may or may not get reflected through an amp.

    - Quad lipstick pickups. I have two GFS dual-lipstick humbuckers that I never quite gelled with, so I'm going to disassemble them and spread them out as four separate single coils. The wiring scheme will be irritatingly simple.

    - I will continue my experiments with a long tapered neck joint.

    - The relic part... Every time I'm in the finishing stage of a guitar, something small and annoying goes wrong. Usually a sand-through, dent, scratch. And working towards a perfect mirror finish every time gets pretty tedious. So I thought it would be a nice change of pace to not worry too much about it. So I'm planning on a thin nitro finish, a little matted, scuffed and dented, then frozen to bring out some checking. A little corrosion on the hardware perhaps. I think it might a little bit of harmless fun to pretend that my guitar was designed in the 60's, and played by some gnarly rock musician ever since.

    - For the finish, maybe a Mary Kaye white? I've also considered a translucent telecaster-style blonde, or maybe a Fiesta Red.
  2. mtorn

    mtorn Tele-Holic

    Nov 29, 2016
    Portland, Oregon
    Starting the body.

    After an abandoned start using some basswood I had at hand, I got a fresh start, this time with some alder. I rummaged through the local woodworking store, and found a 4/4 board, 6' long by 7" wide, that not only felt lightweight, but also had some good (for alder) grain patterns.
    Alder is nice and cheap, the board cost me $15.

    It took a few moments to determine which configurations produced the nicest grain, and would avoid knots. Then I could cut up the board into four pieces.


    Already obsessed with weight, I'm starting out at 5.76lbs. Let's see how much wood we can remove!


    After fiddling with my table saw, to make sure it would cut at a perfect 90 degrees, I could glue up the boards, as a top and a bottom clamshell pair.

    2blue2, PingGuo and Jsil13 like this.
  3. mtorn

    mtorn Tele-Holic

    Nov 29, 2016
    Portland, Oregon
    This will be a thinline hollow guitar, but no F holes.
    I already had templates. One is for the inside route, the other one is for the body outline. Both are aligned to each other with ¼" dowel holes.

    Now I can drill two dowel holes in the body (in strategic places), and everything will align to those. I do the same to the other body half, but mirrored.


    The inside route is designed to allow for forearm and ribcage contours.
    To draw the corresponding markings on the other half, all I have to do is flip the templates over.

    naneek, PingGuo, Jsil13 and 1 other person like this.
  4. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

    Admin Post
    I really like the design.

    And BTW, every build is interesting and worth posting.
    tintag27, naneek and Jsil13 like this.
  5. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

    Admin Post
    PS - Quad lipstick pickups get 2 thumbs up from me...

    tintag27, naneek and Jsil13 like this.
  6. Jsil13

    Jsil13 Tele-Holic

    Feb 14, 2017
    Boston, MA
    Man, I love those individual switches. Where are you guys picking these up? Though I'd need to practice my soldering skills first. Nice looking guitar.
  7. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

    Admin Post
    I got mine from Digikey.
  8. mtorn

    mtorn Tele-Holic

    Nov 29, 2016
    Portland, Oregon
    Cool guitar! What is it? Something you built?
    It has a pretty convincing space-pawnshop vibe.
  9. mtorn

    mtorn Tele-Holic

    Nov 29, 2016
    Portland, Oregon
    Drill, drill, drill...

    If I had done a usual thinline treatment, where you have one thick, hollowed out half, and one thin "lid", then I'd only have to do this once. But this one has two mirrored halves.

    I'm aiming to keep ¼" thick top and bottom. If the tips of forstner bits didn't protrude so much I could hog it out a bit deeper. Is there some kind of specialized "hogging bit" that can clear out to near-final depth?


    Routing, routing, routing...

    I think I did this in three passes.
    The localizing dowels are great - no double-stick needed, for once!


    Checking on the weight loss thus far (remember, this is one half the body).
    Before routing...


    ...and after.
    2oz lighter, not exactly a lot. So if I wasn't so anal, and don't mind the extra 1/4lb, I could have skipped that step.

    There are those annoying forstner bit tips showing! I think the depth lock on my drill press was slipping a bit as I was hogging along.

    PingGuo and jkingma like this.
  10. mtorn

    mtorn Tele-Holic

    Nov 29, 2016
    Portland, Oregon
    This might be my favorite part. Once you've cut out the body shape, it suddenly looks like a guitar.

    Note that I could already cut out the bulk of the weird deep neck pocket on the top half.


    Now we're talking!
    There's still a bit of wood to be removed, but 2.5lbs seems to be the general ballpark. Not bad at all!

    (sorry for being inconsistent between using ounces and pounds)


    Here's another perk of doing the body in clamshell halves - I can cut out for the control cavity on a jigsaw. No router or template needed.
    I just have to make sure to remember to do all this stuff before gluing the halves together.

  11. mtorn

    mtorn Tele-Holic

    Nov 29, 2016
    Portland, Oregon
    One more thing to do before gluing it up.

    It seems so weird to do the shielding at this early stage. Normally it's pretty much the last thing I do.
    But I have much better access to the interior now.

    I'm using the same hardware store snail-repellant copper tape as usual.


    Here's a view of nearly all the clamps I own.
    I used some scrap pieces to protect the center of the body from getting dented by those gnarly C-clamps. For the rest of the clamps I didn't bother - hope it won't bite me in the butt later, I'm not used to working with soft woods like alder.

    tintag27, naneek, PingGuo and 3 others like this.
  12. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

    Admin Post
    It's a copy of a Teisco Del Rey I built a few years ago.
    naneek likes this.
  13. GunsOfBrixton

    GunsOfBrixton Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 9, 2011
    Rochester, NY
    Nice design. Sort of an Ibanez Talman shape.
    2blue2 likes this.
  14. mtorn

    mtorn Tele-Holic

    Nov 29, 2016
    Portland, Oregon
    Not a coincidence! For 15-20 years a Talman was my only guitar. In fact it's the only guitar I've ever owned, apart from the ones I build.
    My shape veers a little bit more towards a Jazzmaster though. And the construction, finish, and pickguard allows for some variation.

    Sapele Neck-through Guitar 1.jpg Green Formica Guitar 1 (blurry).jpg IMG_6770.jpg
  15. mtorn

    mtorn Tele-Holic

    Nov 29, 2016
    Portland, Oregon
    Lately I haven't bothered with using a template to get to the final shape. Instead I've just sanded to the line.
    Alder sands quickly, so you've got to be on the ball, or you'll go too far!


    For the roundovers I use a Talman trick - a smaller radius on front, for a crisper look, and a larger radius on the back, for comfort.

    kaludjerko, naneek and PingGuo like this.
  16. mtorn

    mtorn Tele-Holic

    Nov 29, 2016
    Portland, Oregon
    About the tapered neck join.
    This is my third one using this (the green guitar and the headless bass above were the first two), and I still believe it's promising. It allows a large area of the neck to be in strong contact with the body, because of the wedge action and string pull.

    I spent some time refining my templates before getting to this stage.
    The little Dewalt plunge/fixed base routers are awesome. Too bad they can't hold a ½" shank bit.


    In my previous two tapered neck pocket guitars, the end bolt was tightened with access through the pickup cavity. This only allowed for a single pickup, fairly close to the bridge.
    What's different this time around is that the pocket extends deep UNDER the pickups. A limitation of this is that the pickups have to be very shallow, or else the part of the neck that is inset into the body has to be too thin.

    Here I test the fit of the pocket using my template for the neck. I only have to push it in lightly for it to lock in, and then you can easily pick up the body and fling it around (carefully!), without any fasteners.


    For the pickup cavity I made a simple template for a basic swimming pool route. That gives me some flexibility on the placement and selection of pickups, in case I change my mind later.

    It's a pretty shallow swimming pool!

  17. PingGuo

    PingGuo Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    May 19, 2014
    North FL
    loving this.

    The tapered neck joint is really cool.

    If you're headed down that path you'll definitely want to take a look at Millimetric guitars.
    Jsil13 and 2blue2 like this.
  18. 2blue2

    2blue2 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Jul 20, 2013
    Island of Oahu
    Yes it is... what little gem of a build

    Carry On!!
  19. imploration

    imploration Tele-Meister

    Sep 19, 2010
    Such a unique neck fit!!! Nice work, bud!
  20. mtorn

    mtorn Tele-Holic

    Nov 29, 2016
    Portland, Oregon
    Thank you!
    I hadn't heard of Millimetric - that guy is totally in line with my thinking. I almost made this project with a neck that extended to underneath the bridge, and had the strings feed through the neck from the back.

    And it's not really much harder to implement than a regular neck pocket. In some ways actually more forgiving.
    I hope somebody gives it a try on a build, I'd love to hear how others might like it!
    imploration likes this.
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