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Finished Build: Semi-hollow with diamond f-holes and humbuckers

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by BayArea832678, Apr 15, 2020.

  1. BayArea832678

    BayArea832678 NEW MEMBER!

    Apr 15, 2020
    San Francisco
    I completed my first build, mostly thanks to help from this forum. Here it is in case anyone finds this interesting or useful. I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe out there. It took a pandemic to finish this project.

    I built this guitar for my daughter. She is just about to turn one and it’s taken me about the whole year to build. I tried to make it lightweight and easy to play. I should get a good decade to play it first.

    Here are some details:
    - Goal was to blend a Les Paul with a Tele in a semi-hollow body for a lightweight easy-to-play guitar
    - Constructed from dimensional redwood to a design spec I sketched on construction paper. Redwood isn’t a hardwood, but I love the sound.
    - Tele-sized 1.75” semi-hollow body built from two routed panels, each made from three redwood boards
    - USACG 27.75” scale tele neck picked up on clearance
    - Everything finished with Danish oil: cherry on the body; natural on the neck. I have experience with Danish oil and was glad to see that DIY luthiers use it. I apply it in countless thin coats over many weeks.
    - Diamond f-holes (a la Trini Lopez) oriented vertically, hand drawn with ruler and protractor
    - Electronics mounted via f-holes; no rear cavity
    - Pearly Gates pickups with Les Paul 50’s wiring and three-way selector

    A couple notes on the build:
    - I came into this project a major novice in the shop. Most of the information I needed was here on this forum. The rest was on YouTube.
    - Tools: I completed the project with a router, a drill, a jigsaw, and an orbital sander. The router is a God device, watch out! Learning to route from YouTube felt sketchy. (*holds up all ten fingers*)
    - Design: I highly recommend designing your own body for a first build. Very rewarding. My process was to sketch a design. Use a jigsaw and sand paper to create a pattern from MDF. And then route the pattern into wood.
    - Electronics: from a design standpoint it seemed like cutting a rear cavity on a semi-hollow guitar was taking a big shortcut: there are f-holes, and I felt like I should be clever and mount the electronics through the f-holes. Surprisingly little information was available online about how to do this, but it wasn’t too hard. Some quick thoughts:
    *The foresight of how the electronics will work is important in the design, mostly because there is no back cavity.
    * I routed a channel through the center block before my glue up. The channel runs from the top side of the center block near the switch through each pickup bay and out the bottom side of the center block toward the controls.
    * Positioning the controls near the f-hole was helpful for final electrical work and mounting
    * I used string to pull the electronics through the guitar for the three-way switch to the humbucker cavities
    * I thought I would have to tape the wires aside but looks fine without and not much wiring shows through the f-holes
    *Understanding and planning how the electronics would be laid out in advance was the hardest part of this build, but doable (without any prior electronics or guitar craft experience) with a days YouTube on how guitar wiring works + concentration and planning

    Ultimately I’m very happy with this guitar. I love the pickups, but you could strap these Pearly Gates to a snowboard and it would sound great. They’re doing a lot of work to carry this guitar so it’s hard to really speak to how the redwood sounds, or the effect of the semi-hollow construction, or the body design. Overall I would say it has bite, funk on the bridge, medium-high sustain. The USACG neck is almost too smooth with the Danish oil finish. I actually prefer the friction I get from the finish on my Custom Shop Strat, which I think is nitro. This may be a tall standard. The Danish oil is a nice second, and better than the painted necks on many Gibsons IMO.

  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
  3. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

    May 29, 2016
    West Lothian, Scotland
    Nice work, looks stylish! Have fun playing it till the wee one grows up and takes it away from you!
  4. rickthescot

    rickthescot Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 14, 2011
    Lucky girl!
  5. tah1962

    tah1962 Friend of Leo's

    Jan 27, 2020
    Heart of Illinois
    Nice job! Very unique design.
  6. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 14, 2012
    London, UK
    Cool shape and nice design
  7. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
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