1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Anyone else have sudden realizations or epiphanies while building guitars or pedals?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Ragged Tweed, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    1,946
    Joined:
    May 31, 2019
    Location:
    SE PA near New Hope PA
    Usually for me, it's something like, "Well, that was a stupid decision..." :) :D
     
    Macrogats, koolaide, Mr_Q and 3 others like this.
  2. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,427
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2019
    Location:
    Yonder
    YES! ^^This^^

    and

    ^^HUGE^^

    and this:

    It borders on pure magic. Perhaps it is magic; it may very well be. You make/gather a collection of various parts and fit them together. When you play with other musicians, you are communicating with them via a clearly understandable language that has no words through a device you made.

    How is that not magic?

    The icing on the magic cake, for me, is using parts made by personal friends. A guitar I've built, with a pickup or a neck made by a pal of mine, is like some sort of space-craft-time-machine. I don't know the correct word for it, but it is fantastically delicious.
     
  3. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,350
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, California
    With building pedals I realized it’s for fun and for learning more deeply how pedals work. But it’s not about saving money. Pedals are very affordable. I suppose the same is true for guitars, mostly. A good guitar can be found very easily with a lot less work than building one from scratch. Partscasters are a somewhat different story- you can get a custom spec at a lower price, which is good if you keep it. But you won’t get much for it if you sell it.
     
    Ragged Tweed and Digital Larry like this.
  4. Vermoulian

    Vermoulian Tele-Meister

    Age:
    54
    Posts:
    240
    Joined:
    May 18, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    After building a few partscasters that I was really happy with, I came to realize---really internally, in my guts---the extent to which any Fender-style guitar is just a collection of parts, and the overriding concern is just getting the right parts that work together to make a harmonious whole.

    This really came home to me when I joined a FaceBook group for Precision Bass enthusiasts and I saw how many people in it were really cranked up about which particular model they had. I looked at those posts and would always think, "that's just this body wood with that neck profile and those pickups and that bridge in this color." Which can all come together to make a great instrument, but it's generally not magic. I now see every Fender-type instrument as the combination of its parts, and realize that usually any given combination of parameters can be put together, and sometimes for well under what a commercially-produced version would cost. Commercially-produced instruments no longer have any mystique for me.

    That's not to say that I'm against commercial instruments---sometimes someone will offer something that is not available elsewhere, or would be very difficult/inconvenient to do oneself. And a commercial instrument, if it has characteristics you like, may still be the most cost- and/or time-efficient way to get what you want.

    And sometimes, you'll find a brand-name instrument that just has IT, where everything has come together to make a remarkable whole. Any build, in a factory or in your basement, has only a chance of achieving that, even with the best components and the greatest care. In fact, my main Tele falls into that category. I've built lots of partscasters, but I still gravitate to my AVRI 52, not because I couldn't build a Tele with the same specs---that would be relatively easy---but there's just something about how everything works together on that particular guitar. No magic in "Oooh, it's an AV!" I've had the same feeling with guitars at various points on the price spectrum, made in various countries. That one just happens to be an AV.

    And I can see wanting a sig model of a favorite player, or a vintage instrument for mojo. But in general, getting cranked up about a particular model (or, to an extent, the name on the headstock) seems to me to be missing the point now.
     
  5. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,350
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, California
    I agree with Vermoulian. Sometimes there is a certain magic with certain combinations of parts. Another key ingredient is a great setup. Guitars that seem like dogs can be amazing after a great setup. But sometimes you go into a shop, pull one off the rack, used or new, and from the first couple of chords you know you have a winner in your hands. If you build it yourself, even with a great setup, it still can be hit or miss. It's not about the price/perceived quality of the components, either. I've seen lots of parts-casters where people have spared no expense on any component and yet the final product is "meh". Conversely, I've seen guitars built up with very pedestrian parts-- bog standard pickups, bridge, tuners, etc., and yet it still really sings.

    If you like certain things it is hard to get it without building your own or at least replacing a couple of parts. I like stainless steel, jumbo frets (I love 6100s when I can get them!) and a fatter neck-- something like a 50s Les Paul profile is just about ideal. So in my case throwing on a Warmoth or AllParts neck with those specs might be the way to go.
     
    Ragged Tweed likes this.
  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    75
    Posts:
    4,826
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2018
    Location:
    Washington
    Every time I build a guitar its a challenge and I learn something. I learn about the building process, about the wood, about myself. Each time I finish a guitar I'm amazed at the sounds it can make and I feel rather humbled that I could actually make something that does that.

    Some of my happiest moments, particularly in these crazy times, come when I have a block of wood and a sharp chisel and I'm making a pile of shavings. Life is good then
     
    Macrogats, koolaide, 1bad914 and 2 others like this.
  7. Laren

    Laren Tele-Meister

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    179
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2020
    Location:
    West Somerset
    I completely empathise with that.
     
    Mr_Q and Jim_in_PA like this.
  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,696
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    Level frets and a correctly set up nut are the primary need of the guitar. Without those nothing else matters. A $50 beater kids starter guitar thrown on a PLEK can play like a Custom Shop guitar.

    Wood is unimportant for tone. Save the rain forests. If the pros think they need exotic lumber then they must not be such a pro, half of them support environmental/global warming initiatives but wax lyrical about the special woods they selected from far away lands for their signature guitar.

    Pots 'n Caps can fix guitar tone. Don't swap pickups until you exhaust pots 'n caps. And pickup heights.

    .
     
    Macrogats, Kbore and Ragged Tweed like this.
  9. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    984
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Location:
    State College PA
    I learned that when you stick the end of a G string deep into your fingertip, it hurts bad
     
  10. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,166
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    "Anyone else have sudden realizations or epiphanies while building guitars or pedals?"

    This often happens with guys building their first... they make the Number One mistake made... they try to make their first the Dream guitar they have been lusting for.... Problem is once they get into the project, and the parts ordered, they begin heading up the learning curve... as they do so, they find informative detours.. and begin reassessing their concept of that Dream guitar....

    Now they begin second guessing theirselves... but with several hundred bux in parts in a box "over there".. parts they no longer want... they begin hyperventilating.

    That's why the correct route up the learning curve is identified as "This way to a classic "no bling" Tele."

    r
     
  11. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    12,166
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    Well.. just don't do it twice in the same exact place... that really hurts.. Oh, yeah... yeah, I know because someone told me, yeah, that's it, some one told me... I'd NEVER do that...:p

    r
     
  12. WalthamMoosical

    WalthamMoosical Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    627
    Joined:
    May 28, 2020
    Location:
    Vermont
    Yeah, I realized:

    I wish'd I'd climbed Mt. Everest instead, Melvyn.
     
    Ragged Tweed likes this.
  13. Mosstone

    Mosstone Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    210
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2018
    Location:
    I only know my speed
    What I learned from building guitàrs (in no particular order):

    • Mistakes/mishaps are inevitable. Perfection is an unobtainable ideal.
    • Perfectionism is a mental illness (one that I still struggle with, sometimes).
    • There are very few unfixable mistakes, just mistakes that are too much work to correct.
    • I take more pride in fixing/concealing my mistakes than never having made one.
    • Don't wait untill you feel like working on a project. That will add months or years to your time-table.
    • If you don't feel like working on a project, but do it anyway, in 15 minutes you won't want to stop.
    • There is a point in craft where "doing" and "being" become the same thing.
    • Don't skip steps or try to improvise if you don't have what you need on hand (unless it's necessary).
    • Bringing something into the "real" world that previously only existed in your imagination is a kind of magic.
    • Patience is mandatory.
    • Patience is mandatory
    • Patience is mandatory.
    That's not a complete list, but it's what I could think of off the top of my head.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
  14. doghouseman

    doghouseman Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    329
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2014
    Location:
    in your head man....
    pro tip.

    When putting on a pickup, and connecting it to the pickup holder/ring and then to the body - cut a little bit off the pickup adjustment spring.

    The adjustment spring is usually so long that it pushes the pickup adjustment screw away from the holder, making it a PITA to put together. Cut about 1/8 inch off the spring, problem solved. THe adjustment screw is now longer than the adjustment spring and will go right in. ONce in place, the spring should be plenty long for adjusting the height of the pickup.
     
    Jim_in_PA and Ragged Tweed like this.
  15. ladave

    ladave Tele-Holic

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    881
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I've assembled and finished 5 partscasters so far...

    The amount of learning, or degree of improvement, seems to be directly proportional to the number of mistakes I've made.
     
    WalthamMoosical and Ragged Tweed like this.
  16. jrblue

    jrblue Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,280
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Barbara
    The biggest step, for me, was finally realizing that yoiur work speaks for itself, and it should serve music, the instrument itself, and anyone who might use, see, or hear it. I long ago got sick of telling myself that a good finish was good enough, or that nobody can see that glue filling a void between ill-fit parts, etc., etc. As soon as you settle for such things, then you put the lid on yourself and are really morer playing at something that doing it. It is rerally hard to doi some things well until you have put in the time, struggled, and practiced and practiced. Then it becomes possible. I see loads of DIY guitars, repairs, and reconfigurations that reflect the owner's ideas and skills. Often, you can see some notion the person had, all built out, and it's frequently Meh or worse, because the knowledge base for the decisions and the skill set for execution are limited. For a long time, I found it hard to embrace my actual level of growth and skill, and so instead of giving myself credit but not inflating the result, I would employ the "it's really fine" angle. It doesn't hold up. You have to love even your jistakes, and you have to want your guitars to speak for themselves.
     
    Mosstone and Ragged Tweed like this.
  17. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,314
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Location:
    Washington, USA
    Are you sure it wasn't the alternating heating and cooling that killed the tone?
     
    Ragged Tweed likes this.
  18. Ragged Tweed

    Ragged Tweed TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    53
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2015
    Location:
    New York
    I got out of work today and saw all these great responses. Totally made my day.

    I’ve gotten so much from this community over the past few years— so much collective knowledge, experience, and humor.

    Building and creating has helped me appreciate what others put into the world too. I’m less likely to dismiss objects— even things like tables or chairs— because now that I’ve tried to build something (and really know it) I realize that everything else has a rich history and people behind it.

    It’s also helped me become more aware of shoddy craftsmanship, what quality really is, and why quality matters.
     
  19. jamieorc

    jamieorc Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    696
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    When I decided to build from raw parts a few decades ago, I practiced on some scrap wood and experimented. It was worth a lot more than the materials and time spent. I also tried a one or two things on the actual Tele body underneath the pickguard area, since it would be hidden.
     
    Ragged Tweed likes this.
  20. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,350
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, California
    I really like Ragged Tweed's point. It is easy to take our things for granted. But look around you. Every chair, salt shaker, mug, utensil, pillowcase, bathroom fixture...almost every object in your house was designed and crafted by humans. Some of it is shoddy, but even the cheap stuff is kind of amazing when you think about it. The Buddhist idea of being present is what this is about. Not just stop and smell the roses, but look at all the cool stuff that humans designed and built, and you have a ton of it in your house right now!

    Have you ever gone into a men's bathroom in some upscale hotel and been amazed at the dazzling chrome pipes that are connected to the urinal? The chrome is amazing, all the connections are ridiculously heavy duty, etc. Sometimes I'll be standing there taking a leak and idly admiring the incredible amount of design and high level metallurgy that has gone into something that is there to convey my excrement to the sewer system. Back in the Dark Ages this would have been Excalibur- quality and beyond....

    upload_2020-9-24_10-59-4.png
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.