building geometry from scratch?

Wheelhouse

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I'm in a waiting mode on Build #1, so I'm starting to think about Build #2. Since I'm a novice with this, I'm just trying to think through this before I start on creating a body template.

In this case, I'm starting with a neck and pickups, and building everything around that with no pattern. Tweaking an existing pattern was easy. Developing a total scratch build is another step beyond.

It looks like the neck width is pointing me toward angling the pickups a bit. Am I correct in thinking the pole pieces want to be as close to centered directly under the strings as possible? Is there any magic to pickup angles?

Since I have the neck in hand, I should be placing the bridge at the same distance from fret 12 as the nut, right?

I know that a Tele has most of the neck heel outside the pocket on one side, and the other side has a lot of pocket. But I've also seen guitars like some Danos where there doesn't seem to be much neck pocket, and the neck is just hanging out, screwed onto a tongue of the body. Is there any magic or rule about how much a neck needs to be recessed in a body for stability/strength?

I have to admit, now that I've started on this, I'm really having fun doing it. I still don't know how my first project will turn out, but it's fun. :D
 

edvard

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...

In this case, I'm starting with a neck and pickups, and building everything around that with no pattern.

Yep. I learned from my first build to establish the neck pocket first, then build everything else around a centerline from the neck.
At least, that's what I'm gonna do for my second build... :rolleyes:

...

I have to admit, now that I've started on this, I'm really having fun doing it. I still don't know how my first project will turn out, but it's fun. :D

It IS fun. If I had the shop space and money to support the habit, I'd be doing a few builds a year, getting better with each one. As it turns out, my first build was good enough that I haven't been able to put it down long enough to start planning #2. I've always heard your first will never be as good as you intended, but maybe I got lucky with this one, made from pallets, 2x4s and Chinese parts. Definitely going to go for better parts and lumber for the next one, but this one scratched that itch juuuuuuuuuust good enough.
 

chaosman12

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I am on my first build and I am also just about to attach the neck and bridge like you. I have thought about these same questions, done a bunch of reading here on TDPRI and even built a prototype on a 2x10 to practice the procedure to help me wrap my mind around the whole process and to understand what's critical and what's less so.

Since I have the neck in hand, I should be placing the bridge at the same distance from fret 12 as the nut, right?

Yes, the 12th fret is halfway between the nut and bridge. However, when you intonate, you will be making the 12th to bridge distance a bit longer. Thus, when you place the bridge make sure the each bridge piece is almost fully extended to maximize the amount of travel available for each bridge piece.

It looks like the neck width is pointing me toward angling the pickups a bit. Am I correct in thinking the pole pieces want to be as close to centered directly under the strings as possible? Is there any magic to pickup angles?

I asked a similar question. The consensus seems to be that each string does not have to be directly over its respective pole piece. I went to a guitar store that had hundreds of guitars and few, if any, were perfectly aligned.

The bridge pickup is angled, not for alignment of the strings to pole pieces, but to put the bass E pole piece further from the bridge than the treble E. This is to increase the volume of the E string.

What I plan to do is to mount the neck and extend the centerline of the neck across the body and attach the bridge with tape. Run fishing line for the two E strings and adjust the bridge left and right until the two E strings both follow the edge of the neck as evenly as possible. An 1/8" gap seems to be the consensus. Attached the bridge there.

Keeping the E strings the proper distance from the edge of the neck is a critical dimension so that is why I'm doing this before thinking about where to place the 3 single coil pickups.

Then I plan on routing the pockets for the pickups guided by the center line (which may have been slightly adjusted in the previous step (I'm top mounting the pickups and not using a pick guard).

Is there any magic or rule about how much a neck needs to be recessed in a body for stability/strength?

I'd like to hear from the experts here, but my guess is that the strength, and the neck to body sonic coupling, is from the 4 screws, and not the fit of the pocket.

And I wholly agree about how enjoyable this step is. Although I'm also a little tense about screwing this up since this step will decide playability and sound.
 

Freeman Keller

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There are two parts of a guitar's geometry - the plan view (looking down on the fretboard) and the profile, or side view. This covers the profile for a couple of typical styles of guitars.


For the plan view you start with three or four independent variables, all of the others will depend on them. Usually they are the Uncompensated Scale Length, the width at the nut, the width somewhere else and the string spacing or offset from the edge of the fretboard. If you have a neck already most of those have been determined.

The bridge will be slightly farther from the nut than two times the distance to 12 - we have discussed that a lot but can do it again if you would like. Pickups can be fairly arbitrarily located - typically towards the bridge makes them brighter, towards the neck warmer or more mellow. Again, we can discuss that if you need.

You can choose any place you want for the neck to body joint, since I don't play way up there I like to have a reasonable amount of support. I've fixed a couple of guitars that had poorly designed neck pockets, just be reasonable with your design.
 

guitarbuilder

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First of all you should have all the parts in front of you before you start making sawdust. Secondly you shouldn't have to angle the pickup unless you want to. Your pickup choices really are determined by the bridge saddle spacing and the nut width. A gibson bridge probably would work best with Gibson Spaced humbuckers. A Fender bridge would work best with Fender spaced pickups and F spaced humbuckers. Originally there weren't F spaced humbuckers so people used regular ones. Eventually the pole piece debacle caused the iteration adjustment for Fender type guitars. Your nut slots will have an impact on where the strings fall too. Fender has a few different saddle spacings but most likely no matter what you use for pickups it'll work with your project.

As for the body, you can build whatever you like. Fender style necks join the body at fret 16. Gibson style bodies join at fret 16, 18, 19 depending on year and model. Gibson Melody Makers were joining at 12 or 16 depending on whether they are 3/4 sized or full size guitars. Bolt on necks like SG copies have shorter tenons and still work. Personally I'd stick with a normal standard shape and build for multiple reasons.

Originally on teles there was a bit of a lip on tele bodies on the treble side of the neck. You could make it flush. It's a little wierder looking if the neck overhangs the neck pocket. Danelectro did this and it still worked. What's more important is that the neck fits right, is the correct depth, and is square and perpendicular to all the parts. Typical F guitars have a neck that is 1" thick at the heel for a neck cavity that is .625" deep. That works with typical Fender replacement bridges. A shim would be something you could do if you wanted as long as the bridge can accomodate the action you prefer.

Most brand name pickups and bridges should have the specs associated with them. Stewmac is good at providing those as well as Seymour Duncan.

Gibson nuts are usually 1-11/16". Fender T and S style normally are 1 5/8".







This may help out:

 
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SacDAve

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Most my guitars are my design so I alway mount the neck then use a straightedge down each side of the neck and mark the body from those marks I find a center line I work off the centerline for routing pickups, bridge all my templates have centerlines. The bridge is where you want to double check and make sure the from the nut is correct. If it's a bridge I've never used I will mount the neck on some scrap wood and mount the bridge just to make sure of my calculations. When I put the cap on I transfer the Centerline.
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Jim_in_PA

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If I were going to build an instrument like this, I'd do exactly like SacDAve shows in the previous post...create a blank slate for the body with a neck pocket and go from there, establishing the distances and points that absolutely have to be spot on first and then doing the creative work after that around them.
 




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