Ash Jaguar Build

skipjackrc4

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Glad I could convince you. It's so much better than jamming a couple wires through a small hole and then running those up to the plate.

Your build is looking great so far. Thanks for the tip on rasps. I do appreciate a good rasp. I have two good ones and they're among my most prized tools.

Have you thought about how you're going to ground the bridge/strings?
I think I'll drill a wire through to the vibrato cavity and ground the strings that way. How did you ground the strings on your build?
 

Steve Holt

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Beautiful Jag build, can you tell us what paint you used for your sea foam green finish ie paint brand and mix, number of coats, clear coats etc? Thanks.

That particular jag I used surf green from guitar reranch.


one or two sealer coats, one or two primer coats (until it looks covered) and then I did probably 3 or 4 coats of color. For clear coats I'm always floating back and forth between rattle cans and a spray gun. Pretty sure this one was rattle cans of stewmac clear. If that's the case then I used two cans of clear between the body and the neck, no idea how many coats that is. When I use a spray gun I usually shoot for just under a quart of lacquer for the body and neck. I feel that I get pretty good coverage that way, and I have a bit leftover in the even that I need it.
 

Steve Holt

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I think I'll drill a wire through to the vibrato cavity and ground the strings that way. How did you ground the strings on your build?

I did a wire from the trem cavity as well as a wire to the post on the bridge. It's redundant, but jags can be pretty noisy depending on the wiring scheme, so I like to ground anything and everything I can. Hence all the shielding too.
 

skipjackrc4

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The neck blank proved to be very stable after jointing it and letting it sit for a couple weeks. Planed to about 0.01" over final thickness to fine tuning by hand:
PXL_20220108_220940087.jpg


I cut the blank to the approximate width using the table saw:
PXL_20220108_223735448.jpg


And then routed the truss rod slot using a 1/4" spiral bit at the router table. The test blank I did wound up with the some chatter from the bit pushing away from the fence, so I went a bit overboard with the feather boards and hold down rollers. I routed in 3 passes, each taking 1/8" of depth. To plunge the bit, I used an aluminum extrusion clamped on both ends to provide sufficient downward force to the table and watched the height DRO while increasing the depth.
PXL_20220123_004123472.jpg


I set the fence location using a cheapo digital height gauge, making sure to account for the diameter of the bit:
PXL_20220109_201959503.jpg


I'm using a trussrod from Allied Lutherie. I've typically used Hot Rods in the past, but this thing is much nicer. When they say it's 1/4" in width, they're not kidding:
PXL_20220109_210554213.jpg


Cut on the bandsaw and all routed:
PXL_20220109_232204757.jpg


I ordered a laser cut acrylic template for the neck design from Ponoko. I wasn't happy with how my plywood template turned out, so I went that route instead.

Working with smooth grain maple is such a joy. It cuts well and holds a crisp edge.
 

skipjackrc4

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To patch the router mistake in the neck pocket, I cut a sliver of ash at the table saw:
PXL_20220116_204824159.jpg


Then cut it to width and fine tuned using a plane clamped upside down.
PXL_20220116_211244250.jpg


Glued in:
PXL_20220116_215222520.jpg


I forgot a photo of the end result, but it's good enough for now. I'll have to fine tune the pocket anyway.

I cleaned up the neck after routing using the new abrasive plane I made with 240 grit attached to the bottom:
PXL_20220124_003235456.jpg


A snuggish fit:
PXL_20220124_005530325.jpg
 

snarf_nyc

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If you had a longer scale neck like 24.75" scale, would that mean the bridge location would be roughly .75" pushed back toward the trem?
 

skipjackrc4

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If you had a longer scale neck like 24.75" scale, would that mean the bridge location would be roughly .75" pushed back toward the trem?
That would be one option, but I wanted to keep the bridge in the same place to avoid altering the ergonomics of the body. My neck is just longer than standard.
 

skipjackrc4

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I used files and rasps to extend the 7/16 roundover into the contours. To check progress, I made a little feeler by drilling a 7/8 hole into a piece of scrap.

PXL_20220129_233802358.jpg


And here it is on the back contour. I had to go less than 7/16" because of how thin the body becomes at its thinnest point. This is the result of the body being 1.5" thick and using contours based on the thicker strat body. I knew this was going to be necessary going in, and it doesn't look bad.

PXL_20220131_000110724.jpg


I'm using a pre-slotted fretboard from LMII with 24.75" scale length. I checked out the scale length by measuring from the nut slot to the 18th fret, which according to the Stew Mac fret calculator should be exactly 16.000". The 18th fret is off by close to 1/32":
PXL_20220130_205804306.jpg


This was measured with the end of the ruler placed at the edge of the nut slot, as shown:
PXL_20220130_205815135.jpg


I checked with both Mitutoyo and Shinwa (ie, high quality) rulers and got consistent results. I contacted LMII and they said this isn't normal, so I sent it back and ordered a replacement. The replacement is the same. Further investigation showed that the scale length is actually 24.72" and that the nut slot is appropriately placed for this scale. I decided to keep the replacement board as the scale length can be adjusted slightly with no real impact. Has anyone else seen something like this?
 

Steve Holt

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I used files and rasps to extend the 7/16 roundover into the contours. To check progress, I made a little feeler by drilling a 7/8 hole into a piece of scrap.

View attachment 950736

And here it is on the back contour. I had to go less than 7/16" because of how thin the body becomes at its thinnest point. This is the result of the body being 1.5" thick and using contours based on the thicker strat body. I knew this was going to be necessary going in, and it doesn't look bad.

View attachment 950738

I'm using a pre-slotted fretboard from LMII with 24.75" scale length. I checked out the scale length by measuring from the nut slot to the 18th fret, which according to the Stew Mac fret calculator should be exactly 16.000". The 18th fret is off by close to 1/32":
View attachment 950740

This was measured with the end of the ruler placed at the edge of the nut slot, as shown:
View attachment 950741

I checked with both Mitutoyo and Shinwa (ie, high quality) rulers and got consistent results. I contacted LMII and they said this isn't normal, so I sent it back and ordered a replacement. The replacement is the same. Further investigation showed that the scale length is actually 24.72" and that the nut slot is appropriately placed for this scale. I decided to keep the replacement board as the scale length can be adjusted slightly with no real impact. Has anyone else seen something like this?

Very interesting. I don't know that I've actually thoroughly measured one of my lmii boards. I always triple check to make sure that I've entered all the specs correctly, but then I get the board and assume it's correct. Then when I'm placing the bridge I'm measuring from either the nut or the 12th fret to locate it.

Now I'm scared to measure! But I've never had intonation problems with any of my builds either. Beyond what is normal for a guitar at least.
 

guitarbuilder

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They make make take the nut slot into consideration when cutting it. The LMII slotting system I had years ago used to have a nut slot pin which was .010 different diameter than the regular fret slot pin.


 

skipjackrc4

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They make make take the nut slot into consideration when cutting it. The LMII slotting system I had years ago used to have a nut slot pin which was .010 different diameter than the regular fret slot pin.


Right, they give the option of either centering the nut slot for use with zero frets, or of offsetting the slot by half the kerf so that the edge of the slot is perfectly located for the body-facing edge of the nut. For both boards I selected the kerf compensation.

At first I thought maybe the kerf compensation was done backwards, which would account almost perfectly for the error at the 18th fret, but the distance from the edge of the nut slot to the center of the 1st fret is within 0.0015" of where it should be for a 24.72" scale length. The rest of the fret locations were also consistent with the 24.72" scale, at least within a few mil. If the problem was with the nut slot kerf compensation, I would expect a consistent offset in each fret's position rather than an error that is proportional to the fret location. It really seems to be an error with the scale length rather than the position of the nut. For something cut by CNC as I assume these boards are, I find 0.030" error to be pretty big, regardless of how much it actually impacts performance of the board.

I used a compensation calculator that takes into account action and string stiffness here: https://www.liutaiomottola.com/formulae/compensation.htm. According to this calculator, the minimum compensation needed for the high E is more than the 0.030" error in my scale length, so I should be OK with the current bridge position. It's just concerning; the quality of these boards is otherwise pretty good, but I'm not sure how much I would trust them to be able to match an existing scale length for a fretboard replacement. LMII hasn't received the returned board yet, so we'll see what they say.
 

skipjackrc4

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Very interesting. I don't know that I've actually thoroughly measured one of my lmii boards. I always triple check to make sure that I've entered all the specs correctly, but then I get the board and assume it's correct. Then when I'm placing the bridge I'm measuring from either the nut or the 12th fret to locate it.

Now I'm scared to measure! But I've never had intonation problems with any of my builds either. Beyond what is normal for a guitar at least.
Yeah, same here. I've never measured another board either, but I'll be doing that going forward.
 

sloppychops

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I'm in awe of this thread. I wish I could build a guitar like that!

Wondering if you could give some detail on how you got the copper shielding to sit in the cavities so neatly. I want to do this on my Jag, and your installation of the shielding is the best I've seen anywhere.
 

Steve Holt

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I'm in awe of this thread. I wish I could build a guitar like that!

Wondering if you could give some detail on how you got the copper shielding to sit in the cavities so neatly. I want to do this on my Jag, and your installation of the shielding is the best I've seen anywhere.

Yeah I could make a tutorial thread later today or tomorrow and tag you in it! It's actually pretty easy. You just need some scissors, copper sheet, and a little arts and crafts time.
 

skipjackrc4

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I routed out the nut slot to 1/8" using a 1/16" cutter in the mill.

PXL_20220211_234147623.jpg


The result is about 0.004" wider than the Graphtech nut to allow for free movement while remaining snug.

PXL_20220212_001134937.jpg


I used a 1/8" 12" long brad point bit to drill a channel between the lower control cavity and the vibrato cavity for grounding:
PXL_20220206_222112870.MP.jpg


And routed 1/4" slots between the control cavities and pickup routes.
PXL_20220206_222940450.MP.jpg


The edges of the wiring routes were eased with files and chisels to prevent anything that could snag the wires.

PXL_20220206_224957189.MP.jpg


Headstock cut to the proper thickness on the bandsaw:
PXL_20220212_220841772.MP.jpg


I cut the tips off 4D nails and stuck them in two locations in the neck to act as indexing pins for the fretboard:
PXL_20220212_231938612.jpg


And flattened the bottom of the fretboard with the abrasive hand plane mounted upside in the twin screw vise. I got it flat, but it required more work than the Stew Mac boards I've used in the past.

PXL_20220213_011748100.jpg



The weird edge profile on the fretboard is because I used the 1x42 detail sander to fine tune the fretboard width to close to its final value to help with alignment. I'm scared of routing pau ferro because of the risk of tear out, especially at the fret slots. The rest of the board will be trimmed later. This is admittedly an unorthodox method, but it works as long as there is no fretboard binding involved.
 
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guitarbuilder

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I think those nails will be an unwelcome surprise to some repairman down the road... You should consider bamboo skewers or plastic rod if you are going to leave them in there and maybe dull the point a bit....just my thinking after removing a few fretboards over the years.
 

skipjackrc4

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I think those nails will be an unwelcome surprise to some repairman down the road... You should consider bamboo skewers or plastic rod if you are going to leave them in there and maybe dull the point a bit....just my thinking after removing a few fretboards over the years.
Hmm, that's a valid point. I actually have to file them down because I screwed up the alignment anyway, so I'll try another method.
 

skipjackrc4

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I filed down the nails and instead ran a few small brad nails through the fret slots. The frets are wider than the holes left by the brads, so the holes should be invisible once the neck is finished.

PXL_20220214_004406269.jpg


The headstock was sanded to thickness using a 2" drum on the spindle sander with an extruded aluminum fence. I don't have any photos of this exact neck, but here's what it looked like on my previous build:
PXL_20210730_222851752.jpg


PXL_20210730_222907221.jpg


On necks I've built in the past I've always used Hotrod truss rods turned upside down so the adjustment nut is close to the fretboard. Moving forward with the Allied rods, I want to mount them right side up so the adjuster nut turns the right direction. As documented in countless threads here and elsewhere, it's difficult to get a headstock adjusting installation without distorting the headstock shape or routing a flat bottomed channel. I'm not a fan of either of these approaches, so I had to come up with another method.

I drew up the geometry in AutoCAD and found that a 5/16" hole drilled at a 14 degree angle would allow a 5/32" hex key to reach the rod without having to rely on a ball end driver.

I drilled a guide block out of maple by cutting the 14" angle on the miter saw and drilling like so:
PXL_20220218_005039214.jpg


Then aligned and clamped it to the headstock. The heavy C clamp was intentional here - this thing needs to be rock solid to get a clean cut. Normally I would use a 12" long 3/8" brad point for this, but I didn't have a 5/16" bit that long (one is on order for next time). The angle was so great, though, that a normal length bit was just able to reach.

PXL_20220219_011048037.jpg


And here's the hole, not quite finished. I need to enlarge it slightly still.

PXL_20220219_025617212.jpg


I put the fretboard in before taking this photo and it works with a standard hex key, though it's a bit tight. A bit more handwork and it'll be there.
 

skipjackrc4

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On my last build I installed a walnut plug in the truss rod access hole, but with the deeper adjustment nut the hole is really tight as it is. While I prefer the look of the plug, I think this 5/16" angled hole is a good 2nd option.
 




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