Heart Pine Guitar Build
My handmade,125 year old Heart Pine, dreadnaught electric guitar. Firebird style headstock. Custom made by me, ©Adam Kramer Design 2016™. 1/4 Sawn Neck-Thru, Dbl Bound Body. Reclaimed Chestnut back and bound pick guard. Heart Pine is one of my top choices for tone wood. #pineguitar
It all started with a piece of wood!

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And then to the planer!

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This piece will be for the body wings. Unfortunately, I don't have a pic of the neck thru piece prior to shaping. It's a beautifully quarter sawn piece of Long Leaf Pine, (Heart Pine) that I saw jetting up from beneath the track of a massive Scrap Handling Machine, at a delapitated shotgun house in old Portland, Lou.KY. My buddy and I pulled my van over, grabbed my hand saw from the back and cut it lose.
 
Because I'm a builder with only an iPhone, I don't get a lot of action shots. In this case, the neck slotting, I have a few 'inbetween' pics that are definitely worth sharing. When I first began building guitars, like many I used truss rods. I've done away with them in favor of steel reinforcement. Just feels right to me, and that's all that honestly matter, right?;) I've experimented heavily with this, and believe I've mastered 'my way' with it.

Slots routed, 304 Stainless Steel and Heart Pine inserts prepped and ready for install:
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Presses and Glued:

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Scraped and sanded smooth! Prepped for fingerboard!

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Fast forward a few days: Rosewood fingerboard's down. Headstock's roughed out. Clamped and glued the 3" thick Heart Pine Wings! Fretboard meets the body at the 14th fret, DA' BLUES BABY!!!

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This guitar is the culmination of ALL my favorites, with my own take on'em. I love V's, specifically 75'-79's. The fact that there's no neck angle (like Tele's and Strats!), and the fingerboard sits a proud 1/2-9/16's above the body (which is parallel to the neck), just sings to me. Always a true pleasure to play one in nice, original condition. I decided to do this on this guitar. Only difference, I took the board up to 5/8". I chose to router plane the top, I LOVE ROUTER PLANING!!! (as you'll see!). This way the wings will be perfectly aligned on both sides.

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Check out that TIGHT 1/4 sawn grain!!!!! A thing of true beauty! Hard to tell, but there's also a bit of flame and blue ribboning on the neck thru. The joy I get from these natural, beautiful things really does fulfill my life!

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Templating! Time to smooth out the sides, mill out the back and route for pickups!

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The three main body templates I made for this specific guitar:

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The body shape is designed/inspired after the Silverstone Danelectro U-1, less the cut-away. I smoothed out the contours and altered the waist to be a bit more petite.
 
Time for some SERIOUS routing! This is by far, one of my favorite parts of building guitars. The focus is intense, no 'slip ups' allowed, HAHAHA-as if!!!

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While I'm in here, i'll mill out a little bit for the controls.

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Fingerboard markers. I acquired some vintage Bakelite rod. Very brittle stuff to saw through, sands flawlessly!

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Side dots are ABS. You can also see I started shaping the neck. I don't have many pics of the neck shaping process. It goes quick!

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The scale length is 24.562" with a 12" radius. The neck meets the body at the 14th fret, with a total of 20 frets.
 
'The Back'. I scored this old piece of American Chestnut from a good friend. Once, he repaired ancient church pipe organs. He has a large reclaimed collection, and gifted me a few choice pieces. I made both the back, control cavity and pick guard from the same piece. It bares the original stamp, CTR 43. I believe its a Reed designation.

Ripping the back! Yes, by hand! Arghhhhhhh!

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Interesting stamp, I left it-cool!!!

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Book Matched:

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Glue Up:

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Router planing!

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If you're set up for it, router planing really is an outstanding way to go. It's quick and accurate. Don't need a huge planer or thickness sander taking up space. My set-up can be assembled and torn down in minutes! LOVE!

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YEAH, WHOO HOO!!!!

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And clamp:)

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Time for the pickup routes! I have to make a quick template, to make a master 'Dual-Pickup' template. This is the best and easiest way I've found to construct the initial template.

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Then, line up the centerlines and route again.

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And again!

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Dry fitting the pickups and rings!

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Wrap Around and ABR 1 Mounting Holes

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Templates just make the whole process so friggin' enjoyable!

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And, ground wire.

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I always use the copper core of coaxial cable for my grounding. Sand both ends to remove the shellac coating, prior to soldering. I stumbled upon this simply by accident, it was the only wire I had in the shop at the time, but boy... this quiets an electric guitar up right quick! Don't believe me, try it! You'll be amazed!
 

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Heart Pine Guitar Build
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