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Full hollow tele experiment

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by maxvintage, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    Recently I did a quick and dirty experiment making an ES-style tele, with a hollow body and the bridge mounted to a very small "island" left in the center (http://www.tdpri.com/threads/very-quick-and-very-dirty-es-tele.645939/)

    I like to the way it sounded so I decided to try again.

    My goal here is to make a tele that has some of the attack/decay envelope of an acoustic archtop. I'm not looking for any significant acoustic volume: what I want is the pop and shorter decay you get with an archtop. I'm not planning to gig this thing so I'm not worried about feedback. I really like the one I already built, although it's a bit neck heavy.

    I'm just making this up as I go along, seat of the pants style. I'm going to use a top load tele bridge, anchored into the top only.

    So step one: the hollow body. Cut some alder down to 1.5 inches, glued it up, and routed out a hollow

    IMG_1446.jpg

    I really dislike the router. it's loud, it makes tons of dust. If I ever do this again I'll make a real hollow body, with bent sides. But I was concerned about stiffness--a fully hollow, bent sides acoustic might be more likely to have some strange resonances I would have trouble tracking down. But never again this way!



    IMG_1447.jpg



    The top is made out of Northern white pine, which I had on hand. I left it about 3/8, because again it's not about a lively acoustic tone, and it will need to be strong enough to resist the pull of the strings, and also to hold the screws for the control plate and pickguard. It's going to end up up at about 1/4.

    The bridge will be mounted into a piece of alder glued to the back of the top. it will also function as a brace.




    IMG_1449.jpg




    As I worked with it I kept flexing it to see how strong it was. I decided to add a reinforcement strip on the center line and a couple archtop style braces, which I thinned down till it was flexing the way I wanted which was basically pure guesswork



    IMG_1450.jpg




    I have no idea at all if this is going to work. The top is still pretty flexible. It's purely seat of the pants

    And now it's being glued up using some spool clamps I made when i built an archtop



    IMG_1451.jpg




    Tomorrow rout the top, finish shaping the body, and then maybe I'll mount the bridge to a neck i have on hand and string it up. I plan to have a binding on the top, but no f-holes


    Thinking about the finish. Maybe ES-335 cherry red....
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
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  2. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

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    Interesting. No f holes eh?
    Perhaps the bloom can escape around the pickups somehow.
    Would not the bloom trump the fast decay?
    A what method can a sound cancel itself?
    In the same method a microphone becomes a speaker?
    A byrdland was meant for jazz. It was famous with Ted
    Nugent.
    Happy accidents, sometimes. Even solid bodies were originally meant to stop sustain. I know, right?
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  3. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

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    Totally needs some bound f-holes. Maybe 4 or 5 ply....mmmmmmmmmmm
     
  4. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't want f holes or any blooming. I want the slightly damped and more percussive sound I hear in an acoustic archtop--or part of that sound anyway. Like Charlie Christian. I know I know, different pickups and amp etc but I want the attack/decay thing. But I want the classic tele simplicity. This will look like a straight tele except for the binding on the top. In the thread I linked above I posted some sound clips of the other tele I made, compared to some solid teles (http://www.tdpri.com/threads/very-quick-and-very-dirty-es-tele.645939/)

    I have a very nice acoustic archtop but I want to see if the tele form can get some of that sound. To the degree that sound waves need to escape, they can leak out around the pickups!
     
  5. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Amazing, I'm pondering almost exactly the same thing for a build, only with bent sides, full ES-335 style. I will want to leave the center log in to avoid feedback, and I want the f-holes, but more hollow than not!
     
  6. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

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    Right. But how will it not bloom if compression does not escape but builds?
    Perhaps damping is both the answer and your secret, but...I think it will howl. Once the top and back meet the same hrtz..
    I like fast decay myself. I'm on your side. I like the build.
    Been wanting to do something similar in spruce. Perhaps a steel pipe from block back to heel, transferring energy and thereby killing some.
    Me and a freind are experimenting with using sound to cancel sound.
    I still say a Hagstrom very thin is the ****e.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  7. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Was thinking about something like this but with the acoustic element - but also the relatively short delay. Would making sure the top isn't too stiff keep the decay short? That's what I was pondering anyway.
     
  8. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Very cool btw.
     
  9. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Everything I've ever read says solid bodies were developed to stop feedback from increasing amplification levels accoustically (mechanically) coupling with the un-potted pickups of the day, which created feedback. Not to stop sustain. Easy fix is to just use potted pickups.
     
  10. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

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    I know. And they got it wrong.
    But feedback and sustain are in fact two sides of the same coin as witnessed by the Les Paul designed to quell notes bloom, is now know as the sustain monster.
    Feedback is not from just unpotted pups.
    Again I give you the Byrdland. for Jazz. susseinct notes required.
    Then I give you the Byrdland in the hands of
    Nugent.
    Resonance, sustain, feedback- one starts before another leaves off.
    I purpose to you they are intertwined in the loud world of modern music.
    None of these guitars wound up being used as meant.
    Or amps either. Fender amps were meant for Fender guitars. Gibson amps were sold as accesories to Gibson guitars.
    Soon as they figured out, that a Fender thru a Gibson, or a Gibson thru a Fender, sounded, brown, jazz took a back seat. Again, marketing was way off what was really happening.
    Fast decay is the premise, here.
    I think only the Tele is still used as intended, and then, only, sometimes...and somewhat....country picking..meanwhile, the Jazz guys still insist on the nemicist, hollow bodies.
    Which bloom, feedback, and sustain, without careful amp settings and placements.
    Enough bloom or long decay or whatever you want to call it,or sustain, leads straight to feedback. And, in turn, feedback uncontroled takes a long time to decay. It will 'sustain' a long time..at lest partly because , it is 'resonating'..the problem is partly semantics.
    The mystery is, which one of the three (really, two)can be removed without effecting the other two (one).
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  11. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm not worried about feedback because I'm not planning on gigging this guitar: it's just an experiment in getting that sound for recording. I'm sure it'll be fine at moderate volume

    As I have always understood it, from interviews with les paul, his goal was always more sustain and less feedback and a more "pure" sound, with less resonant variation, so every note sounded the same. I want to get something more like Charlie Christian/Tbone Walker/ Junior Barnard. All those guys played amplified archtops

    I have no idea how much stiffness I want in the top.

    This will have a top loading bridge, so the strings will be pulling the back of the bridge plate up and forcing the front of the bridge plate down, while at the same time the whole top will be under a levering force sort of like a flatop acoustic
     
  12. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    So everybody knows before about 1936 or so there was a volume race with guitars. How to make them loud enough? One approach was the archtop, which to get volume sacrificed sustain and emphasized a strong midrange bark. You can hear this very clearly in someone like Eddie Lang:



    Short sustain, big full midrange, snappy attack. A whole generation of players make that sound their starting point even after amplification--charlie christian, tbone walker, early chuck berry, most jazzers. I want this sound from a tele:



    The sound of that guitar intro! My favorite recorded gutar sound ever right there!

    And then there was the flattop dreadnaught, which got volume by cutting midrange and emphasizing big lows and sparkly highs. (and resonator guitars, but that's another story). It's always seemed to me that Fender kept pushing towards that cut-midrange sound, even with solid bodies. His amps kept aiming for a mid scoop. It's a nice sound, needless to say.

    I love the simplicity and range and playability of the tele, but I want to get some of that midrange bark and attack
     
  13. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    well here is it glued up and routed and roughed to shape. I could mount the neck on it right now and see how it sounds

    IMG_1452.jpg



    I think I made the top too stiff. It's pretty resonant but has less flex than I think it should



    IMG_1453.jpg



    I could sand it down more, and I might, but right now I'm thinking I'll just string it up and see what I get. If it sounds good I'll take it apart and finish it
     
  14. mojz

    mojz Tele-Meister

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    looking very good glad i held off on doing my own looks like your doing all the development work for the rest of us,do you think you could have got away with 1/4 pine for the top,i imagine it must have got loads stiffer when glued in place:oops:the top i mean
     
  15. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Interesting experiment, but someone I think you need to recreate the whole archtop construction: a *thin* carved or pressed top and back, and bent wood sides.
     
  16. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

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    This is a cool, cool build max. Looking forward to your tone report. Great work by the way!
     
  17. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    But then it's not a tele--I'd have to have a tailpiece and an angled neck and could not use the tele bridge plate. I've thought about making a "dished" top, sort of like on an aerodyne tele but hollow. That might be what I try next.

    Waiting for the soldering iron to heat up
     
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  18. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    May also need to go with a thicker body to achieve the tone your after. Maybe 4 inches instead of the standard Tele body thickness.
     
  19. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    Like you said, it's an experiment - we can't tell how it'll turn out at this stage - and I think it's a really cool experiment. It's hollow, but it's still a tele.

    A thinner top needed? Possibly. We don't know. But that's what experimenting is all about: you may not end up with the result you envisaged; but you're still likely to end up with a very cool result. And you - and we - will have learned a stack.
     
  20. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ok so I slapped a neck on, wired it, and strung it up. It's not setup properly at all, all I did was raise the saddles quickly till the strings stopped rattling. The neck pocket in the new one is a little bit too shallow

    Here's a soundclip, recorded direct into the computer--no amp, no verb, no eq, no nothin'. Just a noise gate because it was buzzing like crazy--the control cavity isn't installed, the jack is hanging loose. Fralin Steel pole pickups

    http://www.spokeshave.net/music/hollow2.mp3

    And for comparison, here's the one I did two weeks ago (described here), slightly different construction and body wood, but same neck and pickups

    http://www.spokeshave.net/music/hollow.mp3


    I think I like the one I made before a little better. But it's hard to say--I need to give this one a little time and a setup
     
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