Birdseye maple strat

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by RiversQC, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Jim, go back up to River's picture in post #12 (this if for RiverQC too). Imagine the straightedge as a set of tensioned strings, but without any relief pulled into the neck. Assume the bridge is at its lowest setting (studs are screwed all the way down) - lets say that the gap is about 1/8 inch (sorry RiverQC, I'm going to do this in decimal inches because thats what I work in). That means that you have to turn the studs up 1/8 of an inch to start to raise the strings off the frets. Now lets say we want a reasonable but low action on our guitar - I like about 60 thousand on the high E and maybe 90 on the low E. Raising the straightedge (strings)a bit at the nut, say 15 thou and adding a bit of relief, say 5 thou will effectively raise the strings at the 12th fret by about 10 (I'll leave it to you to do the geometry). OK now the string are off the neck but not by much. So we start cranking the thumbwheels until we get 60 to 90 - effectively we are adding 50 on the high E and 80 on the low. Since I measure action at the 12th fret I have to raise the saddles twice as much - or 0.100 to 0.160. Add that to the 0.125 that was wasted by the neck being over set, we've got the bridge adjusted 0.225 to 0.285 above its lowest setting. That is way too much, in fact you will be pretty close to the upper limit for most ToM's.

    Putting the fret plane at the top of the saddles at their lowest setting means I need to raise it 0.100 to 0.160 to get nice sweet playable action. That is not only attainable but it allows some downward adjustment to lower the action as the guitar settles in under string tension. Most ToM's easily have 1/8 of adjustment.

    Obviously this doesn't work for some guitars and some players but it is amazing how many it does. It is the golden rule with acoustics, but it works with almost any Fender style bridge and is excellent with any tune-o-matic. Notice that it says nothing about the neck angle or the amount of overstand or the amount of arch to the top - those three things work together - but I can pretty much promise you that if you choose them such that the fret plane just hits the top of the saddles at their lowest position you will be able to set the action to be very playable.

    I did a lot longer description of this on the setup thread and showed how it related to different guitars/
     
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  2. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    Freeman, thanks very much for breaking this down. You guys are all great in sharing your experience and wisdom in these things -- much appreciated.

    Despite my calculations suggesting I should be about right, I'll revisit everything. I am thinking further about dropping the neck pocket by a mm or so at the body end to adjust the angle lower. Although I cut off the wood between the horns that would best support my template, I did so cleanly and should be able to re-position and clamp them in place.

    The bridge vs. neck radius... I must admit I overlooked this. I believe it's a 9.5" radius neck. I could live with it, or potentially file down the outer saddle slots? That seems drastic but I don't have any 12" radius necks currently available nor is buying one currently an option.
     
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  3. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    In my humble opinion understanding geometry is the single most important thing about building a guitar. If you get it right you can easily set it up to play perfectly, get it wrong and you'll fight it forever. Hiscock has a good chapter about it in his book, I discuss it here (post #2 and 50)

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/basic-setup.952636/

    In summary I have found that if I follow the fret plane on top of the bridge rule I can get acceptable action on almost any guitar I build. It works for me, it might not work for anyone else (however it comes from the acoustic world and is pretty much a golden rule there). If you are in doubt measure a few guitars that you like the setup.

    Geometry has another very big impact in the acoustic world - it determines the driving force into the top which is what makes sound. With electric guitars it is far less important, but I think you should consider it anyway. I haven't built a guitar with a wrap around bridge but here is how I would approach thinking about it.

    Lets start with a guitar with a tailpiece such as a hollow body or archtop. We know that the strings hold the bridge to the top - there doesn't need to be any glue or hardware. If this guitar has 10 gauge electric strings on it the down force on the top is about 24 pounds. Importantly there is no rotational torque, the string tension is anchored to the end block via the tailpiece

    IMG_4548.JPG

    If we go to a Les Paul style with a ToM and stop bar you can see that the down force is about the same but now the strings are anchored to the bar.

    IMG_4930.JPG

    You can either string these from the back with the strings coming out the front of the bar which creates much more break angle (and down force) or you can string it like shown from the front and wrapping over the top. That decreases the break angle (and the shear component at the bar) but it increases the rotational component. I think you can see that the string tension wants to roll the bar towards the bridge. The string tension is trying to pull the studs up and out of the top (in much the same way that the bridge of an acoustic is rotated).

    OK, take that second picture and combine the stop bar and the bridge - essentially move the stop bar to the bridge location and raise it up to the same height. I think you can see that there is almost no down force, a moderate shear component and a very large rotational torque. The higher you make the bridge the more torque.

    I think it is important to minimize that torque as much as possible. The studs are simply pressed into the top - the torque is trying to pull them out. The higher you set the bridge the more the screwing part of the stud is loaded - I simply think that isn't a good idea. I'm not saying don't use the wrap around bridge, just try to minimize the loading on it. That makes the neck geometry even more important.

    You might want to go to a guitar store that has some wrap around bridge guitars (some PRS models do, some Gibbies) and take some measurements. As I said, I've never built one but they do worry me.

    This does concern me. The string radius at the bridge should follow the f/b radius (unless it is a compound radius neck and then it should follow the extended neck radius). Basically you want each string the same distance off the f/b to start with, then you gradually increase the gap as you go from high E to low. If you look at a typical one of my guitars you might find the 12th fret actions as 0.060, 0.065. 0.070. 0.075, 0.080. 0.085. You can only do that if you have individually adjustable saddles (like a Fender) or the radii are the same or you file notches in the saddles. The jump from 9.5 to 12 might be possible, I would suggest making sure before you commit.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Before I leave the whole neck angle discussion I want to show two more pictures. This is a fine old LP black top that had its neck broken and reattached by the owner. He got the angle very wrong

    IMG_4431.JPG

    I did everything I could to get playable action out of it, this is how the bridge ended up

    IMG_4436.JPG

    I think that is too high
     
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  5. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    So we left off with some geometry issues on my part. I needed to get the neck angle down somewhat so that the string line would hit just the top of the wraparound bridge.

    I did the math,

    giphy.gif

    (Yeah, I write memos for a living, not anything more practical for these endeavours ;))

    Not pictured, but my straight edge trajectory was 3mm higher than bridge saddles. Doing some basic rise-over-run math, the back of the neck pocket needed to be dropped by about 1mm (with front edge staying the same)?

    Luckily i did a clean job on the band saw so I was able to reposition my cut-offs as template supports:

    20191129_164059.jpg

    Got the template back on, and did some low-tech repositioning of it so that the back of the pocket measured 1mm less tall than the front.

    20191129_164126.jpg

    Running my router back over it should give me the correct angle? (I was pretty sure, but then i already got to this point, huh). The good news is, yes, I think I'm back in business.

    20191129_164222.jpg

    Close enough for rock n roll.
     
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  6. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    With the geometry (I hope) out of the way, I ran the guitar body through my router sled to get it down to 1.75" thickness, then used my spindle sander and belt sander to square up the perimeter edge. I'm getting better at doing that without many ridges to clean up. It's starting to look like a guitar:

    20191129_163933.jpg

    My favourite step is doing the roundover, where it really transforms:

    20191129_163917.jpg

    It was darn cold working outside today! Have to leave it here for a while but I'm happy with how its coming along.

    20191129_163739.jpg

    Oh and hey, look what showed up:

    20191129_172210.jpg
     
  7. Macrogats

    Macrogats Friend of Leo's

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    Good to see this one back in action. Starting to look real nice.
     
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  8. mistermikev

    mistermikev Tele-Holic

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    right on, looking good. I'm about to snag some squeaky cleans myself. those are going to sound gnarly.
     
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  9. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the encouragement! I got a bit of unexpected time to work on the contours today.

    My method at this point is to use a rasp within a tape line.

    20191201_112121.jpg

    20191201_112140.jpg

    It's relatively easy work on pine. I did this on ash once and I think I'd borrow an angle grinder for that if I do it again, lol. Here it is with the whole back sanded to 80 grit:

    20191201_112255.jpg
     
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  10. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    With the 1/4" maple top I dont have enough depth to do a proper forearm contour (at least without revealing some pine from the front). I was considering just leaving the roundover, but also had some good suggestions earlier about things to try.

    I tested a shallow cutaway on some scrap, and I thought it looked good.

    20191201_105022.jpg

    So... went for it:

    20191201_112327.jpg

    20191201_112354.jpg

    20191201_112502.jpg
     
  11. Gipper

    Gipper Tele-Meister

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    Nice job on the forearm cut.
     
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  12. Macrogats

    Macrogats Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, subtle but effective.
     
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  13. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    Had a bit of weekend time today so back at it. I've spent a few evenings recently finishing up my tele-vee (as seen in the WOYWB thread) but today had a little bit of daylight so busted out the tools.

    What I don't have is a 12mm forstner/brad point for the bridge studs so that has to wait.

    But I did make a P90 template and get those routes deep enough to expose the wiring channels.

    20191215_191758.jpg

    20191215_191736.jpg

    20191215_191650.jpg
     
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  14. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    I've got my neck pocket holes marked. After a lot of reading, I'm planning to drill them straight up & down I.e. no angle despite the slightly angled pocket.

    My neck does already have mounting holes drilled so I'll have a situation something like this - but I'm led to believe this isn't a big deal. Please stop me if I'm wrong! GuitarPocketFigure_zps78816473.jpg
     
  15. Gipper

    Gipper Tele-Meister

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    You are not wrong! But your drawing is a bit misleading as you should not have a gap at the heel and your screw will be deeper into the neck itself.
     
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  16. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    Thanks very much for the confirmation! Yeah, I should have mentioned I was borrowing a stock drawing about a shim's effect on hole alignment. I will measure carefully to make sure the neck screws are not too long in the shallower end of my angled pocket...

    The most minor of updates: I am now eagerly awaiting my order of a 12mm brad point drill bit so I can do the bridge post holes and get on with sanding.
     
  17. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    My 12mm brad point came in the mail so I got my post holes drilled (I haven't pushed them all the way in yet but they'll go):

    20191221_105739.jpg

    20191220_194102.jpg

    To confirm the location of my neck pocket holes (since my neck already has holes drilled), I put a small screw in each hole and pressed them into the pocket. You can see slight indentations. Drilled those.

    20191221_093310.jpg

    With the drilling done, I gave the top a sanding at 100 grit to clear all the markings and applied some naptha just to see how its looking...

    20191221_103952.jpg

    20191221_104046.jpg
     
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