Building an odd mixture of solid and hollow body, any advice/warnings?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Johnny7s, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. Johnny7s

    Johnny7s TDPRI Member

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    Hello! First time poster, many time learner, thanks guys!

    I've been learning to build solid bodies from places like this, and YouTube, etc. I've almost finished 4 solid bodies at this time. I'm planning to build my dad a Christmas/retirement guitar. I'm not sure if this exact thing has been done before, so wanted some opinions on this idea, if you all have time.

    I have a slightly odd design for a few reasons,
    1. I think he'd really want that Tele twang when he's not rockin' the 60s-70s (was thinking about a 2 in 1 bridge pup)
    2. I want it to be louder than a fully solid body, but not as loud as a full on acoustic.
    3. I CAN'T do an acoustic, because obviously, unless I get really lucky, my first acoustic will suck... AND I've never bent sides and can't get set up to do so at this time, so hollow body electric is out of reach...

    I uploaded a pic of what I was thinking about doing for the body, except I plan to have a couple more f-holes about where you'd expect, that I didn't model in the 3d software. (It's quick and ugly, but hopefully worth 1000 words....lol)

    Basically, it's an ash body blank (Left piece), intended for a full on solid body or chambered body, etc, and a Flame maple carve top that will be left fairly flat, but hollowed out on the sides, leaving a strip down the middle to support the tension of a Tele bridge and strings, how wide I don't know. The neck will need some ash to attach to as well, so it will be thicker when attaching it to this body, but I'll use some neck mounting ferrules just drilled/recessed as deep as needed.

    I look at this, and one thing that does come to mind, is that's a LOT of wasted material. But I probably wouldn't do this again after this build.

    Just wanted to see if anyone had any advice, or see any problems I might be overlooking, not to mention if it's even WORTH doing in the first place, for example -if because it's not a full acoustic, or hollow body with really thin material, the resonance I'd get out of it just wouldn't be enough to justify the design, even for something intended to be Model_R_Plans.jpg less loud, etc. (And If there's a way to salvage some of that ash or flame maple, I'm open to suggestions. ; )

    Thanks for taking a look...
    -Johnny7s

    PS, oooops. the pic just went in a weird spot...lol!
     
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    You are basically doing a thinline style body. It should do what you are hoping to do. I'm not sure it'll be that much louder than a regular solid body without a braced top though. I have never owned a thinline so maybe somebody else will chime in on that.
     
  3. bigguy12321

    bigguy12321 Tele-Meister

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    @Johnny7s First of all WELCOME!!!

    Great idea. I also don't know if it's possible (I mean, there's no reason it shouldn't be)
    but as far as the resonance it probably won't be any more than a standard thinline.

    I really do like the clamshell concept. Kind of like the Carvin HF2 Allan Holdsworth Fatboy.

    https://www.google.com/imgres?imgur...NXbAhVpw4MKHW1IAjEQMwgxKAkwCQ&iact=mrc&uact=8

    Sorry for the odd link. This should have some good acoustic sound.

    Good luck! Your dad will love it.

    a
     
  4. Johnny7s

    Johnny7s TDPRI Member

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    Ok, thanks to both of you guys.

    ...and that link looks like a good starting point for some googling, basically the same but a neck through. Cool.
     
  5. Johnny7s

    Johnny7s TDPRI Member

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    Hello all!

    Could anyone give me a bit more advice, other than Measure, Measure Cut? (lol) I hadn't thought about the bridge pickup cavity being wide enough to weaken that strip I left down the middle. Didn't know what to do till I realized that the entire top might be strong enough without that strip down the center to begin with?

    The strip down the center was to keep the guitar from being affected by the pull of the strings at the bridge, but is it necessary at all? The full thickness of the outer ring and the middle strip is 1", and the thinner parts are around 1/4" at this time. It would be nice to clean it up in there a bit...

    The top is flame maple....

    So...
    1. Do I need that middle strip at all?
    2. If I do need it, will it be too weak once the cavity is routed? (I'm thinking about adding a block of maple to the 1" thickness just around (and under) the bridge to strengthen it up a bit.... The back will be like this but no strip, just hollow all through.)
    3. If I don't need it, how thin (ballpark) can the top get without needing bracing, like on an acoustic?


    Thank you so much for any help again, guys!
     

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  6. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    My only advice is make sure there's enough weight in the body end so you dont have a neck dive guitar! Looks like you are committed though.
    Those pieces look like plastic... what ate out the grain so heavy?
     
  7. Johnny7s

    Johnny7s TDPRI Member

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    Just for fun.....

    The neck isn't routed or attached yet, but this is a decent pic.

    Only my second attempt at inlays, he won't mind... lol.
     

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  8. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Afflicted

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    You need that strip in the middle. Unless you want to be eating wood the first time you string it up
     
  9. Johnny7s

    Johnny7s TDPRI Member

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    @schmee -That's where I had it sitting on waxed paper to join the two halves together...lol. Needs a little sanding.
     
  10. Johnny7s

    Johnny7s TDPRI Member

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    Alright, thanks... I'll beef up that area with some more maple.

    Edit: 'Cause the cavity will be deeper than I realized.
     
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  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'd leave the strip in unless you are planning some sort of bracing like on an acoustic.
     
  12. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Johnny, I am currently building something kind of like you are describing and have done a thread about it

    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/a-chambered-lpish-looking-thing.874641/

    I also have one in the queue that will be more like a tele - flat top, screwed on neck with no angle, but still chambered.

    There are a whole lot of things to be thinking about as you plan your build. First, as others have stated, you need to support the top enough in the area of the pickups and bridge that it won't deform. Usually that is some sort of center block but it can also be a bracing scheme like some of the ES style guitars use. You can see in my thread that since I was going to use humbuckers and a ToM style bridge I have left enough material in the center to support then - different pickups and a different style bridge will dictate what you do.

    Here is a guitar with a pressed top and a pair of humbuckers. It will have a floating archtop style bridge that sits on the two spruce braces, if I was going to do thru body strings there would be a hunk of wood where they would go thru.

    [​IMG]

    This is a semi hollow body (ES-335 style) with a small center block - again, just enough to support the pups, bridge and stop bar.

    [​IMG]

    Second, the main reason I chamber a guitar is to reduce it weight. I do build acoustics and semi hollow bodies with bent sides and contoured tops, and I have built a couple of true carved topped guitars. Chambering a guitar will certainly affect its sound but I'm not sure how. We could argue all day about more mass meaning more resonance or sustain, or maybe it will be less (kind of the old tone wood debate). One thing that I'm really looking forward too on the guitar in the thread above is the comparison to my solid LP clone. I am using the same pickups on the new guitar and so basically the only difference is going to be the air in the middle. Stay tuned, I'll tell you what, if any difference I hear.

    Ps - I see you are in Washington state - I live in eastern central washington (Wenatchee) - if you have any interesting in getting together I can show you some of the different guitars that I have built based on the ideas you are talking about.
     
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  13. Johnny7s

    Johnny7s TDPRI Member

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    Thank you so much for the offer, sadly I'm way over near Idaho. If I had my own car more doable, but even then a long drive for anything short of playing "Lutherie School" for a day... and on a Saturday or Sunday to boot! Really nice offer, tho, thank you. : )

    But I did check out the thread, and wow, your guitars are awesome! I love wood binding on electric designs, which is all I've done so far. I plan to do that a lot as well, get a "Modern Retro" kind of look, but I've never bent wood. BTW, I wish I had ANY shop space, I live in an apartment, so I actually CARRY my band saw and drill press outside, and mostly in the summer : ( I need to look into those gas powered towers they have at outdoor eateries, (kidding. Kinda).

    Anyway, I did get a top loading bridge. I don't expect it to resonate anything like an acoustic, but I assumed it would project at least enough for him to hear himself, and in a camper in a campground. Or Wally-World parking lots... Ha!

    QUESTIONS, if you have time to answer:

    Looking at the actual "analog" pic, not my computer generated digital concept, would you suggest putting more meat (maple) along the sides of the bridge/pickup area, like in the earlier pics of the inside of your humbucker build, or do you think it should have a block that sits between the top and back? If a block, would you suggest it runs all the way from the neck pocket area to the end of the bridge, or could I hog out some wood between the bridge and start of the fretboard without unleashing a barrage of wooden projectiles into my Dad's freshly retired hands and face?

    Edit: Maybe the above is just on a case by case basis, and through experience?

    It will have just a bridge pickup, in that tele bridge pictured. Was planning on a two in one single coil from a certain pickup maker, (IDK if we can mention things like that here...) with one good for tele twang, and the other fatter, so he can get in to Zeppelin territory. Then he'd pretty much be covered for his likes, and his teenage likes.... ; )
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
  14. Johnny7s

    Johnny7s TDPRI Member

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    OOH, I'm being dumb... I bet the neck will need all that area still there or it will pull too hard on the body as well?

    OK, Ill use a block like in the 335...

    Thank you, @Freeman Keller , and everyone!
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
  15. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    All of those pictures and the build thread are Gibson set style necks. They need a big block of wood to make the mortise and provide enough gluing surface. The archtop (the one with the two spruce runners) got a dovetail neck joint, it does not need the big block. If you are going to make a Fender screw on neck you need a block big enough to make the pocket, which is about 3-1/8 deep.

    The neck pickup usually sits a half inch or so from the end of the neck, and of course the bridge pup is usually build into the bridge. You do need enough wood to screw the bridge into and to drill the holes thru the body for the strings and ferrules. Both the neck and bridge pickups frequently hang from the tops or pick guard - that may be different with a P90 or a 'bucker, but since you want tele twang you will probably be using tele single coils. An option, of course, is to install a humbucker and split the coils.

    This is a typical routed body for a tele style guitar - screw on neck, single coils hanging from the bridge and a plate at the neck, bridge with thru body strings, typical control cavity. I didn't put a pick guard on this guitar.

    [​IMG]

    I'll soon have pictures on line of a chambered tele, I'll let you know when that happens
     
  16. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    This is getting out of sequence but here is a chambered tele style guitar about ready to receive its top. This is pretty traditional chambering like you might find in a thin line. There are a couple of routes between the pickup cavities - I'll rout the actual cavities after the top gets on. I have an access opening in the back because I want the maximum effect of the flamed maple on top.

    IMG_4632.jpg

    ps - you may want to book mark this and keep an eye on it. Might take a few weeks but with luck we'll build something kind of what you are thinking of

    pps - let me also recommend getting a copy of Melvyn Hiscock's book and reading it cover to cover before you go any further
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
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  17. Johnny7s

    Johnny7s TDPRI Member

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    Thanks @Freeman Keller , for taking such an interest in my project.... I'll make sure to keep an eye out for posts.

    Thanks for the book recommendation, I'll do that asap.

    I haven't routed out the back of the body blank yet, (Northern Ash, heavy as ____ ,) so after the book if it still makes sense, I could just leave some more wood where necessary.

    I'm thinking about just putting the pots and a switch within finger length of the lower left sound hole, if it's not too ugly... the bridge already looks bigger than I expected.... All that advice about a full size plan is making more and more sense all the time... lol.

    I thought about making channels or even getting tubing to run wires, because the two halves will be glued, I've never used hide glue, maybe it's time...?

    Edit: I looked up how to get a pic show up in the thread... I guess I misunderstood, ha!
     

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  18. s_tones

    s_tones Tele-Holic

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    All mine are semi hollow now. You can see here how the hollows are cut (newer version is more extensively "excavated")
    And, the end result with sound hole.
    My philosophy is really that it's more about appearance and weight reduction.
    I kinda feel like when you put electronic pickups on the thing, the semi hollow'ness is relatively moot. But I don't pretend to have the most refined ear.
    But, like I say, I like 'em light and I really like the soundhole aesthetic.

    Steve

    2.JPG
    1.jpg
     
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  19. Johnny7s

    Johnny7s TDPRI Member

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    awesome pics! I've always loved the PRS (is it really PRS?) flame maple top and natural back sides and binding look. Tried it on my first build, no pics attached. :(

    I won't argue that plugged in the pickups at the very least are very dominant in the tone, without starting a war of words here. But I see him plugging in less and just playing acoustic style more, I just can't bring myself to put junk in the bridge, and he will plug in once in a while, I'm sure. Probably with my little Epi Valve Junior combo and a hand me (up?) pedal...

    So, having no acoustic build skills, I just want something a comfortable volume for someone who doesn't sing to the whole campground, but wants to hear himself well enough to enjoy playing again.
     
  20. Johnny7s

    Johnny7s TDPRI Member

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    While I have some attention... I have a maple fretboard I bound with cocobolo before I knew it was a sensitizer. How does that work? Is it like once it's sealed, it can't do any damage, or is that like the worst place I could have put cocobolo ever? lol...

    I'm also wondering because the scale of my ebony and tempered maple neck (Pictured above, B1) is a Gibson, and the maple board set aside is a fender scale... and now I'm thinking it might live on a birds eye blank I bought a while back. (bought a cheap one, I'm only on guitar 4, no need to sacrifice nice wood to the Gods of Chip Out)... then I'd have the whole Fender thing goin on. My thinking on the scale was Gibson isn't as hard to bend, etc, and I also imagine he'll spend more time down toward the open chord range, so why make him stretch his fingers... then I hear about the tone difference on a longer scale... maybe usually more of a concern on acoustics....?

    Trying to figure out if I'm kinda wordy, btw... Hopefully answering newbie questions is just all kinds of fun!
     
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