Building a Singlecut

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by JohnnyThul, Nov 24, 2021.

  1. JohnnyThul

    JohnnyThul TDPRI Member

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    Hi everybody,



    I mentioned in the Welcome Wagon thread before, I started building guitars in 2016 after attending a 2 week course on the subject. The bug bit. Hard.
    What followed where the acquiring of quite some machinery and other parts, funded by tax refunds (which I never applied for in my life, so, I got tax refunds for 3 years all at once, after doing it the first time. Wow.).

    I started to build 4 guitars parallel ( yeah, great idea, eh?), 2 Singlecuts, one Santana and a bigger body chambered singlecut.

    Well, on 1 guitar I messed up bad and I crushed it to pieces out of frustration (well, I saved the body for another project to come. And the remains of the neck help me now getting things aligned on other guitars :)).


    The other ones I finished. All with some bugs, (bridge location of on one, neck angle on another and neck/body joint wrong on the last.), but I made them work somehow. But the fun part is to make the next one better. And then the next, and so on. Progress, not perfection.

    Then I got a new workshop place and I started with this: IMG_20191130_143540.jpg IMG_20191130_143600.jpg

    That is a eastern european maple top and a figured european ash body. As you can see by the 2 holes, it is quite heavy, so, heavy chambering is needed.

    Therefore I made this:

    SchabloneScout.jpg

    As you can see at the upper bout, I forgot that I wanted to install Dunlop flushmounts and therefore a little more wood would have been nice to be left there...well, spoiler, it worked out n the end :)


    Unfortunately I haven't made pics of all the steps involved, as I never intended to do a building thread. Too much work :)

    For the neck I used a single piece of roasted maple. along with a reclaimed ebony fretboard and reclaimed ebony veneer. It was the first time I ever tried to do veneer, which I made from a fingerboard blank, bookmatched:
    das erste Bookmatch Furnier.jpg


    Hard to believe that this beautiful wood was designated "trash" at the place I bought it from. In fact I bought 200 of these "trash" fingerboards, because a lot of them could be saved with a little TLC...or you can make veneer out of it, for example :)

    So far, part 2 in the next post.
     
  2. JohnnyThul

    JohnnyThul TDPRI Member

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    Part 2:

    Next in line was the body. I chambered it (no pics, sorry!) and then put the maple cap on, for which I use a handy press I got from a publisher here around the corner for almost nothing. But I nearly crashed my car and my back to transport it :)

    Die dicke Berta.jpg


    That looks like this in the end:

    Innen hohl, aber außen schick.jpg


    Damn, thos flames are so intimidatng....it reminds you constantly to not mess the job up. No pressure.

    But then the next part is the one I enjoy by far the most in building guitars: top carving. I could do that all day long, no kidding, I love how curves are developing, dramatical recurves and a nicely rounded over cutaway just is complete bliss for me . Therefore I tend to use quite thick maple tops (20-24mm), so that the curves are more dramatic then on a PRS for example.

    Nearly done:

    IMG_20200531_143710.jpg IMG_20200531_143716.jpg



    That will do for the moment. Let's take care of the neck inlays. I wanted to do something by myself and not use a readily made inlay. Well, not the I think I am better at doing it, but just to get a start in learning the craft (lot to learn, I can tell you! But a lot of fun also). So I used a picture from the internet, resized it to my needs on my computer and then traced the outlines right from my laptop's screen (works surprisingly good!). Then I made a zillion copies and cut them apart, put the parts on MOP pieces and ct them out. Well, it is not anywhere perfect, but I like it as a first try, and now I know a lot better, how to do it better next time (if I will ever do that again in the near future, after a dragon inlay and this inlay, I kind of have seen elaborate inlays enough for a good time :).

    IMG_20200705_162002.jpg

    And of course the headstock needs something, too. I chose a heron (well, a quirky one :)), because I see one on my standard jogging route quite often, and I am always impressed by his majesty and calmness:

    IMG_20200816_114547.jpg


    So far, part 3 in the making.
     
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  3. JohnnyThul

    JohnnyThul TDPRI Member

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    Okay, part 3 (yeah, I am cheating, as the guitar has been finished a few days ago, but, there are other projects in line where I can try to make a more profound report)


    Time to marry the neck with the body:

    IMG_20201106_141741.jpg


    Ah yeah, I also put some maple binding on. I mean, I really love binding, but I hate doing it, especially on headstocks, that is just always prone to failure for me. Maybe next time only binding on the fingerboard and leave the headstock alone .

    Neck set:

    IMG_20201105_162801.jpg


    And the necessary routings and drillings done:

    IMG_20201113_135658.jpg


    And then I tought about trying out my scrollsaw by having some fun with the electronic covers:


    IMG_20201125_135932.jpg IMG_20201125_135922.jpg IMG_20201125_135954.jpg IMG_20201129_164508.jpg


    But that was just too much in my opinion, so, I went for aluminum circles. They look good imho and are a nice understatement. And look better than the rounded rhomb you see on Gibsons and PRS.




    Part 4 will be colourful :)
     
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  4. JohnnyThul

    JohnnyThul TDPRI Member

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    I see colours everywhere.....


    Okay, another fun part is putting stain on maple. That is also a very joyful task, but, you can mess up heavily. Especially when trying a burst with no real idea, how to do and what look to achieve exactly.

    Well it went better, than expected.

    Freshly stained:

    IMG_20210926_144642.jpg


    Dried:

    IMG_20210929_155406.jpg

    1st coat of Truoil

    IMG_20210929_163857.jpg


    Whoa, don't know, how I did that, very happy with the outcome! Okay, you can see some streaks from the rag I used to put the stain on, but that's okay given the fact that the red will fade over time, I think.


    Then I was just putting on oil all the time over the course of 10-12 days, some sanding in between. The back came out nice as well:


    IMG_20211006_124837.jpg IMG_20211006_124850.jpg


    Then a little polishing with Micro Mesh from 1.800-12.000 grit, all dry:


    IMG_20211106_124729.jpg IMG_20211016_173927.jpg IMG_20211016_173945.jpg IMG_20211016_174025.jpg IMG_20211016_174031.jpg


    Nice, but not shiny enough for my taste. So, see you next part.
     
  5. JohnnyThul

    JohnnyThul TDPRI Member

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    Okay, after having polished the guitar to 12.000 grit I decided to put a final truoil topcoat on, to get a more glassy look. I mean, you can get very highgloss with truoil with more leveling than I did in between and by maybe putting the last coat on with a thinner like Isopropanol, or - if still available - with the Truoil Spray. I was happy with this outcome:

    IMG_20211106_124654.jpg IMG_20211106_124659.jpg IMG_20211106_124729.jpg


    And then all was left was assembly. I used 2 Bluesbucker Type Humbuckers, 1 Master Vol, 1 Master Tone and 2 Pots for splitting the pickups gradually. I have kind of strat sinclecoils sounds, kind of tele sounds, kind of meaty P90 and kind of humbucker sounds available with that configuration and these pickups.

    IMG_20211121_134136.jpg IMG_20211121_134328.jpg IMG_20211121_134441.jpg IMG_20211121_134501.jpg IMG_20211121_134521.jpg IMG_20211121_134609.jpg IMG_20211121_134616.jpg


    Allright. That took 18 months all in all, with a lot of time in between where i didn't do anything. But right now I am deeply in a building phase. There is another guitar currently being oiled and finished and about 7 (I know....) where I have at least the bodys more or less half done. And my brother was asking for a build and I couldn't decline....and didn't you also ever wanted to have a doubleneck? Well, me too.



    Best regards



    Jonas
     
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  6. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Dang...skilz!!

    That's beautiful!
     
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  7. JohnnyThul

    JohnnyThul TDPRI Member

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    Hi Jim,


    Thanks a lot! :)


    Just in case anyone may be curious about the Pickups and their sound, I made a soundfile using these pickups (but with another guitar, also a Singlecut, same construction but with mahogany body):





    Best regards


    Jonas
     
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  8. Tom_

    Tom_ TDPRI Member

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    That really is a beautiful burst!
     
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  9. JohnnyThul

    JohnnyThul TDPRI Member

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    Hi Tom,


    Thanks a lot! I'm also surprised by the outcome. Shame I really do not know how eaxctly I made it :)


    Best regards


    Jonas
     
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  10. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    Nice! :)

    Is that an ABM wrap around bridge?


    .
     
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  11. JohnnyThul

    JohnnyThul TDPRI Member

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    Hi old wrench,

    Thanks a lot! The bridge is a Schaller Signum with locking studs. It is nicely made, but honestly, I think I will change the studs to conventional ones, as height adjustment with the Schaller studs is not much fun so far.
    I thought about an ABM,but then I got this bridge second hand and I couldn't resist. I can resist everything but temptation....

    Best regards


    Jonas
     
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  12. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Lovely build, and playing. Not that I was ever good but my playing went in the tank when I began building :oops:

    Oh, and welcome to the Depot! :)
     
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  13. voskarp

    voskarp Tele-Holic

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    Cool!
     
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  14. JohnnyThul

    JohnnyThul TDPRI Member

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    Hi Dave,


    Thank you :) As for the guitar playing, well, I have to admit, I am more of a singer but I love guitars. I sang in far more bands, than I played guitars in, but starting to build guitars became a real booster for me to play more. And I developed a kind of what-the-heck-mentality when it comes to neck profiles, scale lengths etc., I don't know, why that is. Maybe my hands became stronger during building :) But that is definitely something I noticed (and is a premium excuse, when I did not meet the neck profile specs I originally planned. Which happens all the time :)).


    Best regards


    Jonas
     

    Attached Files:

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  15. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    A Telecaster is a single cut , just a different upper bout.
    I've made a LP and a LP jr in my day and that set neck angle is critical and can be a pita.
     
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  16. JohnnyThul

    JohnnyThul TDPRI Member

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    Hi Tonetele,


    Neck angle can be tricky, but you can always fix it for example by setting the neck a little higher or deeper in the neck pocket, than you planned, or by raising the bridge, or by sinking it into the body. I mean, that is not the most elegant way to do, but at least it is a fix to make the guitar work when you put so much work in it already.

    I said earlier, that I once broke a guitar to pieces out of frustration. I kept a piece of the fretboard (12th fret to the 22nd) which I use to determine the neck angle, by attaching it to the body at the neck/body joint (16th fret on a Les Paul style for example), then place the bridge at the scale line on the body (don't forget washers or the like to simulate the height of e.g. an ABR). Then I put a water level on the bridge saddles and the 16th fret (yeah, a little tricky). Then I raise the body (well I have a simple "jig" which are 2 stapled boards, connected on one side with hinges) until the level is correct. Then I set the router depth (I use a drill stand with a router attached to it, making it a little bit like a pin router) and go (always wear safety glasses!). That worked out quite good for me, although, it may be better to use a jig where you have a frame around the body, that you can angle accordingly and then use a handheld router with a sled, as this will be more safe to use.


    Best regards


    Jonas
     
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  17. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I do this on every set neck guitar that I build. Calculate the approximate neck angle and overstand but fine tune it to the actual bridge and hardware I'm going to use. This is standard practice with acoustic guitars and in fact is the origin of the term "set neck" and "resetting the neck" - you set the actual neck geometry to YOUR bridge.
     
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  18. JohnnyThul

    JohnnyThul TDPRI Member

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    Hi Freeman,

    Thanks a lot for the info, I didn't know that the term derived from there! But as you explained it, it makes perfectly sense.

    Best regards

    Jonas
     
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  19. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm a long time acoustic builder and part of the process is setting the neck angle to the actual dome of the top and the bridge to be used. The common method is to make the fret plane just touch the top of the bridge, that usually works to give good playable action within the range of adjustment of the setup parameters. As you know the geometry of acoustic guitars changes with age, hence the need to "reset" it.

    I did a little discussion about how this works with different styles of electric guitars. I think you know all of this

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/building-for-playability.991659/

    (and I don't want to hijack your thread. Lovely guitar)
     
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  20. JohnnyThul

    JohnnyThul TDPRI Member

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    Hello Freeman,


    Feel free to hijack anytime, when knowledge is shared
    I will check the link, you never know if there is something to learn, I am a novice in building, so chances are good I don't know everything, haha!

    Acoustic guitar building is like alchemy for me, that is too big of a task for me at the moment, but I'm considering building an archtop some time, as these are the most beautiful guitars I can think of. Therefore I'm checking your L5 thread constantly.

    Best regards


    Jonas
     
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