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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. WalthamMoosical

    WalthamMoosical Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    A large part of the reason why I decided to collect an unrelated assortment of inexpensive parts, rather than go for a "kit."
     
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  2. guitarmikey

    guitarmikey Tele-Afflicted

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    Just learned not to cut my fingers... more: because I mainly work with reclaimed wood, my epiphaniy is about a new life for parts of wood that might go on fire... instead, they will bring joy to audience.
     
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  3. chucker

    chucker TDPRI Member

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    finishes are very simple. no matter what you read somehow nobody tells you the truth about them.
    to start spray painting, thin the lacquer with lacquer thinner, a good bit, a quarter or a third by volume.
    then, gently, close the volume and pattern control knobs on the spray gun. put the thinned lacquer in the gun, not too much air pressure, and slowly open, counterclockwise, the control knobs until material issues forth. you start with painting cardboard. at that point you have the rhythm to spray the work piece. between thin lacquer and reduced material volume it's hard to mess up.
     
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  4. miotch

    miotch TDPRI Member

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    My epiphany was that it costs me (generally) more to build one than to buy it. Usually starts out because I got a good deal on something or I have an extra something I want to use. But by the time it’s over, wow !!
    Not always. I have one partscaster I built out of extra parts that I only had to spend an extra $57 on to finish and assemble. Of course, I had to pay for all those “extra” parts I had at some point in the past when I acquired them, I guess. But $57 sounds better than trying to figure out what it really cost over a 20-year period of acquiring all the parts.
     
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  5. wolfman2020

    wolfman2020 TDPRI Member

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    That sounds like my story I got the reranch nitro spray cans and their 16oz cans have an unbelievable amount of paint in them I couldn’t believe how thick the clear coat is with only a couple of coats I’ve done three telecasters and about to start my 4th did you use a gun or rattle can? The last one is the one I’m starting on next
     

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  6. mrblanche

    mrblanche TDPRI Member

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    Here's the good news. Lacquer is an extremely forgiving medium. If it wouldn't melt the bottle (it would), you could get a pretty good lacquer finish spraying it with a Windex bottle. It's going to have to be wet sanded and buffed, no matter what.
     
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  7. warchol

    warchol TDPRI Member

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    Love your avatar.
     
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  8. El Reclusa

    El Reclusa Tele-Afflicted

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    It can cost more to roll your own, but my experience has been that if you go with good parts, you can end up with something great for a very reasonable cost. I've put together parts Jags and Jazzmasters from a mix of a very few vintage parts, good "botique" hardware and pickups, and MJT finishes and ended up with guitars that are both exactly what I wanted and cost about half of what Fender asks for a reissue and a LOT less than vintage. And I have the satisfaction of knowing that I put them together, and that if something fails it's probably my fault!

    After the offsets (and a prior Esquire as well as a lot of modding, swapping pickups etc) I felt a bit more comfy finishing a build as well. If I can manage to do a 90% pro job spraying ReRanch heritage cherry on an ash body on the first try in my dank unused basement bathroom right after being diagnosed with MS and having maybe 30% of the feeling in my right hand, pretty much ANYBODY can! Built a sorta Tele/Jr/ Duosonic mashup with a single P90 for my brother's 40th birthday. I ended up needing just a little fretwork and setup help from my pals at Fountain City on this one, but not counting my time I ended up with a solid American made guitar that's one of a kind and absolutely rips. My brother **** a kitten when I gave it to him. And all of it was around the price of a middle of the road MIM. I'll be hard pressed to buy off the rack again, at least for bolt ons.
     

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  9. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

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    Once I really started digging into guitar making and repair, a lot of things were demystified for me. Before, I thought creating musical instruments required some magical combination of high level craftsmanship, alchemy, and a degree in electronics.

    Then I discovered that pretty much anybody who can read a tape measure, run a band saw, and use a soldering iron can build a guitar.

    I also discovered that even the most expensive, most high end guitars are made from about 500 dollars worth of raw materials.
     
  10. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Not sure if any of this qualifies as an "epiphany," but here goes.
    I prefer tung oil or Tru oiled bodies, but when a different finish is desired, I get a pre finished body.
    Fancy looking necks cost a lot more money and don't necessarily play better.
    Always test fit the parts.
     
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  11. mmannaxx

    mmannaxx Tele-Meister

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    I too built a partscaster during the pandemic but I bought prefinished body parts, so no insight on that front. Although I used to paint houses professionally and I used to work with spraying lacquer on doors and trim, so I have some experience with the product. You definitely want a good mask/respirator for working with that stuff! The scary part for me was drilling the holes for the neck to be attached. You need a good pressure clamp or two to achieve that goal I believe. I used a body of reclaimed cedar from a 1970s house. Interesting body. Harder than pine so a bit more durable I guess and it certainly has an interesting look since the pieces are laminated together kind of like a butcherblock. Looks like about 20 different strips make up the body, so I guess it will be pretty stable! I used a somewhat local (within 50 miles of me) winder (Bootstrap) for pickups and they sound fine. I selected the original recipe with a little extra wind so to get close to Nocaster pups style. Around 50-60 dollars for a set. They also had the extra wire needed for using a 4 way switch I wanted. I like homebrew guitars! I have another, kind of a Nocaster build because of the ginormous neck on it that I had a luthier put together for me about 5 years ago. I play the homebrews more any other of my guitars. I sold my Custom Shop Nocaster after I built the first homebrew. Kinda regret selling it but it wasn't getting as much use and I have too many guitars (did I really say that?)!
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
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  12. dekumguitar

    dekumguitar NEW MEMBER!

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    I've struggled endlessly with finishing. Just when I think I'm getting the hang of it I will sand through the top coat and into the color. Or, I'll discover a nasty run that hadn't seen. It's not something that comes naturally and I don't have the time or space to really do it right. My epiphany is that I prefer to have a professional finish my bodies. There's something about having someone else put work and skill into them that I appreciate. It makes the whole process seem more legit or like a collaboration. It's expensive, but I'm so much happier with the end product and while the body is off getting paint, I can spend time doing the fret work and shaping the nut.

    Here's a recent lefty short scale bass that I built for a friend and attempted to paint myself. Good from far...

    IMG_2487.jpeg
     
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  13. collapsing wave

    collapsing wave TDPRI Member

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    I learned that I did the right thing the first time (first time in my life!) Bought cheap wood, and (relatively) expensive parts.
    That way if I messed up the cutting sanding painting or drilling I'd be able to junk it with not too much money lost, just time, and then I could recycle my parts.
    I
     
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  14. Tele Plucker

    Tele Plucker Tele-Meister

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    I built my second Tele PartsCaster a couple of summers back. Shot it with nitro cans from ReRanch and it went really well.

    One of the coolest things about nitro is that each subsequent layer melts into the previous layer. So if any light sanding is necessary between coats, there should be no problem. However, if you’re going for a finish with grain showing thru, you must be careful not shoot too many layers.

    And....if you are using Fender style single coil pick ups, you may want to consider applying shielding in the cavity.
     
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  15. nresponse

    nresponse TDPRI Member

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    I share numerous epiphanies with many here. Especially the need to have patience, devoting time, not hacking anything etc. So much great advice!

    Perhaps one of the biggest things I've learned on building 9 guitars and basses from scratch is to put all the hardware on and play the guitar before final finish sanding and applying lacquer. I've always found an adjustment or two to neck shape, a contour, curve or some other flaw I overlooked. I learned this the hard way after sanding back and refinishing too many of my builds. Maybe someday I'll have templates, jigs and my skills honed to perfection where this is not necessary. But as an amateur occasional builder, this is my epiphany and lesson to learn.
     
  16. egotrip

    egotrip TDPRI Member

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    in 1997 i built my first guitar .used a 1000 year old piece of Huon pine and Maple for the neck , it was a disaster . but it sits proudly on my wall . over the years i got better at making them . but i just don't have the patience to get a perfect finish . but some of my efforts sound really nice . (hear them on my egotripband youtube channel ) try to enjoy the process of making stuff , and if you can't just buy them instead . included a picture of first build and most recent
     

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  17. epizootics

    epizootics Tele-Meister

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    That's funny - I too built an offset for my brother's 40th birthday :) That is one sweet little guitar. That black headstock with the single black P90 cover is really appealing. Here's mine:

    [​IMG]

    I'd seen him a couple of weeks before his birthday and casually asked him if he'd rather have a bass or a guitar. He didn't think I'd have the time to get it done, so he didn't expect my showing up at the party with a guitar case.

    Here's another epiphany for you: building for others is something else. Five or six of my good friends or family members now have one of my guitars, and the moment you give them away is always special. People love getting an instrument you built for them - why wouldn't they?

    I live (and build) in a flat, so I don't have much room. I don't like hoarding, and even if I did, my little office/workshop would get much too claustrophobic. I only kept two of the guitars I built, and they're not the fanciest ones. Another reason for that is that I don't treat my instruments well. They always get kicked around on stage, I don't know if that's a remnant from my younger days playing in punk bands but I can't bring myself to feel any kind of sanctity when it comes to my guitars. I understand that most people look after theirs, though, so I'll put a lot more time and effort in the finishing of something I'll give away.


    On the topic of costs, it really depends. I'm a woodworker and my father's a retired cabinet maker, so I already had most of the tools (or could pretend to be buying them for work :)). Most of the wood I use comes from my dad's stash, which has been drying for over thirty years. He usually remembers where the lumber comes from: "oh, yeah, me and your uncle felled this one in the 80's". Essentially, I have a free lifetime supply of cherry, ash, walnut and a few others like rowan and apricot. When I want something different I usually use reclaimed wood. The only thing I buy is fretboards, because we don't have many dark, hard woods over here in France.

    So overall, most of the costs come from the parts and labour time. I build whatever parts I can build with an angle grinder, a drill press and calipers, as well as my own pickups. I don't think a guitar ever cost me more than $200, not counting my hours. This one was the cheapest of all:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With its $20 second-hand tuners, $10 truss rod, $4 fret wire, $2 pickup rings and covers, about $7 of copper wire, magnets and forbon, $8 pots, $4 nut, $3 lacquer and paint, $3 3-way switch, $1 assorted screws and washers, and $4 strap buttons...We end up at a staggering $66. The bridge was made out of a bit of stainless steel profile someone gave me and and the saddles were cut from a threaded brass rod. The gold top was a leftover piece of fancy laminate from a friend's workshop.

    This is not counting the hours I spent working on it, nor the tooling, but it' still pretty damn cheap. But I have a lot of free time - I can afford to since I don't have kids or a mortgage. I know I'm lucky in that regard.
     
  18. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I've already commented once, but I've been thinking about this in another context. Here is a big epiphany for me. A dozen years ago I could have told you exactly what different woods sounded like when built into an (acoustic) guitar. You would have recognized the words and what I was saying - mahogany "woody ", rosewood "complex", spruce "bright", cedar "mellow", yadda yadda yadda.

    Then I built a few similar guitars but with different woods. I purposely went into music stores and played a D18 and a D28 and then blindfolded myself and ask the clerk to give me one on them to see if I could identify it. I recorded my guitars and made changes, recorded again and went back and listened. I got some fancy software that lets me look at the frequency spectrum of guitars and woods. I even a few weeks ago made an (acoustic) guitar out of a high school gym floor.

    I no longer get in debates about tone wood.
     
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  19. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    lol
    so ash bs pine vs alder is BS?
     
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  20. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I didn't say that. What I said is that I cannot identify traditional acoustic guitar tone woods.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
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