Crestwood Deluxe build

bebopbrain

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I don't have access to a drill press, bandsaw, or spray booth. I live with family in a Manhattan co-op. I'm a rank amateur; never roughed in a nut. My special skill is outsourcing. Don't care a whit about authenticity. I like relics. Is mating Warmoth neck to Warmoth body even a build?

This project started with a sweet used 6-in-line Gibson'ish bolt-on neck:
  • bound and blocked
  • 24.75" scale (Gibson conversion)
  • 22 frets
  • 12" radius
  • '59 Roundback profile, slightly beefier than standard slim
  • maximally huge 6100 stainless steel frets (hope I like it)
  • three piece mahogany with scarf joint
  • incredible ebony finger board
  • head stock has matching 1/8" ebony slab
  • came with nice Spertzle locking tuners
I reshaped the headstock into a batwing using a coping saw and sand paper. My wing is stubbier than Epiphone's. The ebony is like anthracite coal.

Headstock binding was added by Eddie Hulse of Hulse Guitars, Rutherford NJ. Nice job!

Bought a lefty body from Warmoth with tune-o-matic bridge. Solid eastern rock maple, a blunt object.

Mistake #1: the bridge angle is wrong when I flip the body over right handed. Did not see that coming. I found a cheap roller bridge from Philadelphia Luthier with wide adjustability. Crisis averted.

The bare body weighs 6 pounds, 13 ounces temporarily.

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bebopbrain

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I thickness sanded the body from slightly more than 1.75" to slightly less than 1.375".

I used carpet tape to tape the body securely to 0.75" MDF as a flat reference surface. Then I put my DIY extruded aluminum sled-like-device on the MDF, adjusted the height, and waxed the rails. I used a small Bosch palm router.

I took off about 1/16" at a time. The dust particles were large and not bad to breathe or clean up. It went slowly, but everything was always under control. So far, so good.
 

bebopbrain

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I had a pdf drawing of a Coronet from the internet. I printed the lower bout the appropriate size and cut it out with scissors. I roughly cut to the line with a hand saw, and hogged out the tight areas with a brad point drill. Then I routed using multiple small templates. Then sanding. Lots of sanding (a work in progress).
 

bebopbrain

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I did the roundover with a rasp and concave sanding block.

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I added the pickup switch: the Freeway six throw model 3X3-03 with nickel finish. This is rear routed, Les Paul style; no pick guard. I might enlarge the switch cavity between mounting screws for a cool 3 lobe shape. My hand routing for the switch cover isn't perfect; oh, well.


The Freeway switch offers 6 pickup choices with mine being:
  • bridge only
  • middle only
  • neck only
  • bridge and middle in parallel
  • bridge and neck in parallel
  • middle and neck in parallel
I am choosing to skip:
  • all three in parallel
  • none (kill switch)
The original Epiphone 3-way switch offered merely:
  • bridge only
  • bridge and middle in parallel
  • neck only
 

bebopbrain

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There are great mini-humbucker pickups, but I went in a different direction, buying two pairs of the Epiphone FB-720 ProBucker.

FB stands for Firebird. Bought at auction, built in the PRC, shipped from the ROC; the price was right. I was going to make a catty comment about Uyghur laborers and backyard pig iron furnaces, but thought better of it.


pickups_1.jpg


These roughly copy original Firebird pickups in a mass produced, cost controlled fashion. Quality seems good. There is spilled wax; they are potted. There are no pole pieces, so string alignment doesn't matter. I have zero concerns about how bright are, since this will be my first guitar with a functioning tone control.

I would like matching connectors, but didn't see them in Digikey.


The pickups go to the switch first to be paralleled or soloed, with controls after the switch. Controls have master volume and master tone knobs with no pickup mixing on the fly. Pickup mixing will be done by setting the pickup heights for nice combined sounds.

pickups_2.jpg


I drilled channels to the switch from the neck (easy) and middle (not so easy) pickups. The bridge will connect later, after the control cavity exists.
pickups_3.jpg


I bought junky mounting plates from StewMac. I thought of taking these somewhere to be powder coated, but I guess they are OK. I used M3 25mm screws for height adjustment. I stripped the (#3?) plate mounting screws heads after I drilled 1/16" pilot holes. I drilled the holes out to 5/64" and stripped more screw heads. This maple is tough stuff or maybe my screwdriver tip is bad. I am giving up for now. After the body is finished (opaque), I will get a bag of screws and sort out pickup plate and control plate mounting issues.
 
Last edited:

Freeman Keller

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Bebop, you mentioned this in your first post and it really jumps out in your picture - have you made totally sure that your bridge is going to work with the studs the way they are drilled. As you said, its a lefty body and if you string it righty you will not be able to intonate it. Do a mock up with your bridge (you don't have to put the studs in but position the bridge exactly where it will be on the guitar and measure to both high and low E saddles). With most ToM bridges the center of the high E stud will be at the scale length plus about 1/16, the low E stud 1/16 to 1/8 farther.

If it has to be plugged and redrilled this is the time to do it.
 

bebopbrain

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... have you made totally sure that your bridge is going to work with the studs the way they are drilled ...

Excellent question. Studs were installed by Warmoth already. This is the bridge:

https://www.philadelphialuthiertool...e-bridges/low-profile-roller-bridge-m8-posts/

The bridge has set screws to cant the ends; there is a surprising amount of travel. I am going with a Bigsby, so a roller bridge is good, anyway. I tested and thought the bridge would intonate, but I might be mistaken.

Once I finish making sawdust I'll put everything together, connect a pickup, and try things out before sending the body to get finished. The finish will be solid white which would cover up the mess should I have to rip up the bridge area.
 

Freeman Keller

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This is one of the two most import measurements you can make (the other being neck geometry which you should also be checking right now). If Warmoth drilled for a lefty then its wrong for a righty. Here is a left handed 335 clone with a ToM

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Here is a right handed 335 clone with a Bigsby and a roller bridge

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Warmoth may have angled the neck pocket knowing that you were going to use a ToM but this is the time to confirm that also
 

bebopbrain

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I hogged out the control cavity.

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And routed it out without a template. I only added one gouge (visible in the photo below) that I will patch. Better the guitar than my carotid artery. The Epiphone has a front mounted jack on a plastic pick guard. Just as a personal preference, I did a side stereo jack, Switchcraft 152B, good for active electronics. The old original control cavity will be a big battery box. I finished drilling wiring channels to the switch.


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Last night I sorted out my neck bolt issues and now there is a nice firm connection. Just had to hacksaw the #8-32 bolts to the proper length, a little different length for each one.

I put the pickups in, held down with carpet tape. Put in the bridge and Bigsby using a Vibratemate. The Vibramate will probably go away. I used EZ hooks to connect the bridge pickup to the jack.

I strung it up with low action (to better check intonation) using Ernie Ball super slinky 9's. And, after playing around with it, it does intonate perfectly. I had to flip one of the rollers. I might buy longer set screws, as the ones that came with the bridge run out of travel. But it works great as is.


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It is fun to play. I was worried about the big frets, but with a light touch they are fine. I have never used a whammy bar, but I am warming up to the Bigsby.

I still need to route the control cavity lips, clean up my mistakes, and do a final sanding. I expect to send it out to be finished, probably to mjtagedfinishes.com unless anybody has other recommendations.

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