Firebird Geometry Questions

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Slowtwitch, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    Now that my first build (Tele style) is 99% complete, I'm keen to start planning a next one. Something different

    I'm thinking maybe a Gibson Firebird kinda thing with a twist.

    A typical Firebird (reverse)...
    front-1600x900.png

    I'm thinking Through Neck, BUT using a Fender style reverse headstock
    So 25.5" scale not 24 odd inches , no angled headstock, but straight Fender style, truss rod headstock adjust.

    1) If I'm using Strat or Tele type bridge, I can't see a reason to angle the neck to the body (standard the Firebird runs a 3deg angle), only if I use a higher bridge like a Tune-o-matic, correct?

    2) With the 25.5" scale length, my neck will just be slightly longer (protruding from the body). If I move the bridge further back, I'll need to run the fretboard further over the body, which might make access to the upper frets more difficult, or could I do this instead of a longer protruding neck?

    3) Are the tuner holes positioned in the same place with a reverse headstock, but just with the low E furtherest and high e closest? In other words just mirroring a standard right hand headstock?

    4) Any special construction constraints when building a through neck vs bolt-on neck to consider?
     
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  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    4. You have to get the neck part that's proud of the body correct. There's no shimming the neck.

    3. Lefty pegheads mirror righty pegheads.

    2. I'd look at where the body joins the Gibson and put the same Fender fret in that position. The neck will stick out 3/8" more and the bridge will set back 3/8 more than the comparable Gibson.

    Same angle is needed as a Fender...Zero...if you have the fretboard proud the same as a Fender and use a Fender bridge.


    This looks like fret 19 for the glued in neck. You could just extend the neck cavity out to 16.

    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148343&icep_item=143043802473
     
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  3. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    images (34).jpeg


    There's a guy here in Oz building Telebirds. Standard bolt on AFAIK
     
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  4. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    I'm thinking to have my neck trough wood piece top surface running the length of the neck with just the fretboard stuck on top to stand further proud. So the neck will sit about 3mm lower to the body compared to a Fender style body (think F/B overhang over a pickguard on a Fender)

    The through piece will be proud of the 2 glued on wings on both the front surface and the back surface
     
  5. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    A firebird is basically a flat topped slab body with a ToM bridge and stop tailpiece. It has a set neck with very little overstand (if any). In order to make the geometry work Gibson angles the neck. As I recall the neck meets the body at the 19th fret.

    There is no reason not to use a Fender style bridge, you will simply need to either change the angle and/or the overstand to make it work for your bridge. My rule of thumb is to make the fret plane hit the top of the saddles at their lowest postion - if you read my setup article there is a brief discussion there.

    If you change the scale length you need to decide whether to keep the 19th fret body joint and then just simply move the bridge to fit the new scale. You'll also need to move the pickups. A minor consideration is that ToM's are almost always 12 inch radius, Fenders are usually a bit more. Fender bridges make that easy to adjust

    Tuner holes are just mirrored. You will need string trees on your bass strings.

    One of the big problems with building a thru neck guitar is that you need to have the geometry dialed in as you build it. I make mostly set necks where I have the luxury of fiddling with the neck angle as I set it. Melvyn Hiscock has a good section on building a thru neck instrument - he talks about that in his book (he also has a pretty good chapter on establishing geometry based on various bridges.

    I would suggest getting a good set of Firebird plans, making some extra copies and laying out your geometry on top. Get the actual bridge you will be using and take measurements off of it. As you build it post pictures
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
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  6. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    With the top of the fretboard sitting 3/8 above the body, a Fender bridge will work without any neck angle. That means you need a 3/8" thick maple fretboard, or a 1/8" spacer raised up portion under a regular 1/4" thick fretboard. This is the side view I did of my last build which was neck through. I wanted a taller bridge, so I had a taller piece under the fretboard to achieve that.


    142 side view.JPG
     
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  7. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    ITO bridge choice (I haven't made up my mind yet), how will I know if a zero deg neck will work?

    Check for instance this wraparound bridge which looks relative low enough. It looks like a a zero deg neck could work.
    fb13.jpg

    If I'm doing a Firebird it will be a Through Neck guitar, so can't shim it afterwards
     
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  8. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    You have to make the bridge decision before you do anything else. A Gibson bridge will need a 2 degree angle on the slab body, which will make this endeavor a bit harder. Not impossible, but just not as easy. There are multiple ways to machine a 2 degree angle in a neck through blank. A hand plane is one. A jointer is another, a jig on a tablesaw is a third. Some folks have had to recess the bridge into the body when it doesn't quite come out right. A side view drawing is a must.
     
  9. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Once a long time ago I experimented with putting a ToM on a tele body. It didn't work without either changing the angle or the overstand. You will be going the other way, there is no reason that zero degree angle plus standard tele overstand won't work.

    IMG_3656.JPG

    The big problem with the thru neck is that you need to saw that overstand into it and maintain it all the way thru the construction. It can be done but you have no wiggle room.

    I remember seeing a thru neck build a while back where the geometry didn't work out and the builder had to inset the bridge into the top a bit, I think you want to avoid that.

    (it looks like Marty and I are simul-posting)
     
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  10. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    Thx for that, yeah a angled neck is too advanced for my current skill level and available tools.
     
  11. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    I routed a cavity for a Junior Lightening bridge on one of my guitars without a degree for the neck. Made the cavity 1/4" deep, the inserts had a 1/16" flange so the bottom of the bridge sat 3/16" below the deck and giving me good string height from the bridge area to the fretboard. Just make sure the cavity is big enough in width to allow stringing it up to be easy.
     
  12. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

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    The neck through part, after the fretboard, of a reverse firebird angles down which makes the room for a wrap tail. I've never done it but it doesn't seem much different from cutting your headstock on the other end of the piece of wood when drawing your lines. One angle at one end, flat, one angle at the other end.

    Set neck 'birds like non reverse or modern "studio" have the normal pitched at an angle neck set most Gibsons have.

    You really have get the neck up there if you want a Gibson bridge and no angles to deal with, I think some 70's SG specials did that, 70's Flying V's, maybe some 50's student models too, kinda like this:

    [​IMG]

    Here's a prototype 50's Junior I recalled seeing in a VG article:

    [​IMG]


    I had a '74 Flying V like that ^^^^ and it was a kick ass guitar, light as a feather, very resonant with a soft bluesy top end.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
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  13. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    For #2 I’d play a Firebird standing up and see how much of a “reach” it is to grab cowboy chords around the first fret. That would inform my dimension from nut to neck joint and access to upper frets would be secondary to me. 21st fret access isn’t as important to me as being able to get to the first fret easily. All this would then determine the bridge location.
     
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  14. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I just had one of those ash telebird bodies made for me like dacious posted. Most builders are building them with a ridiculous protruding heel... for a 25.5 scale neck? ...on a big body!?

    I had the builder recess the neck like that bsb image above. I should get it this week.

    I laid a tele neck on top of my Treasure FB to estimate how far back I want the neck/body join located - about fret 16-17.
    20190117_135250.jpg
    Wish I could help with figuring the geometry but that's above my pay grade.
     
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  15. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    Any chance you have a pic showing this bridge/ body?
     
  16. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I would like a right handed firebird with a left handed bridge angle and the knobs moved to the upper bout , fire birds feel so comfortable to play even upside down if only the controls were moved , and they dont look wierd that way either

    one of my favorite guitars to play!
     
  17. Slowtwitch

    Slowtwitch Tele-Meister

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    Maybe something like this to get the saddles low enough?
    XGPSL100_D.jpg
     
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  18. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Maybe roughly, but it's not comparable because there is a back angle and it doesn't need string trees.

    Mine (Epiphone) also has a wide nut and a wide neck, wider than Fender.

    You can build it any way you want though.

    It's more complicated with a neck through because you don't have as much margin to adjust it if the neck angle isn't exactly right when the strings are put on.
     
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  19. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a early pic when I had routed 1/8". After assembly I had to take it back down, remove the post inserts and route down to 1/4". First time I did it and it was a learn as I go experience. Worked out great.
     

    Attached Files:

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  20. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    I did the degree headstock because I've always preferred them over the Fender style.
     
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