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Got a request for a 26" scale build. Where do I start?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by OpenG Capo4, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. OpenG Capo4

    OpenG Capo4 Friend of Leo's

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    So I am working on a commission project. A guy wants me to build him a tele body and neck. The body was supposed to be like most of my other bodies, with the standard tele bridge, rear routed control cavity, and a p-90 neck pickup route.

    I've got the body glued up, planed, and I've got the edges routed. As I was routing the neck pickup cavity he calls and asks if we can make it 26" scale.

    I'm really not sure what all would be involved, whether I would have to change the neck pocket, whether I'd have to move the bridge back, etc. I'm thinking it can probably be done with a conversion neck but I have no idea how to design such a beast.

    Are there any 26" scale neck blueprints out there? I reckon it'd be easy enough to make a 26" scale template for my Stew Mac miterbox but beyond that I'm stumped.
     
  2. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    Here's a stab at it. Keep the Tele body as is, find the center of the bridge (string saddles), measure 13.00" to the 12the fret, and another 13.00" to the inside edge of the nut, and keep the headstock the same. DONE. Use the same number of frets, and use a number of different fret locator math tools to verify fret spacing.

    Anyone? Right? I guess I'd do it in CAD, and check it to be sure.
     
  3. Hack On Wheels

    Hack On Wheels Tele-Meister

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    Sounds good to me. Make a new neck template and keep the body as is; it might end up being a 22 or 23 fret neck. You should be able to clamp your current template to the new one to transfer the headstock shape once you've laid out the neck from heel to nut.
     
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  4. Casual_Reader

    Casual_Reader Tele-Holic

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    just make it an extra half inch from nut to butt and start placing frets. My guess is that you'll end up with 22 frets before the butt, but the spacing might be a little off in the aesthetics, in which case, you could add a little bit of an overhang to get a better looking space between the last fret and the butt end of the fretboard.
     
  5. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    You can keep the same number of frets, it's the spacing that would change. Use Stew-Mac's Fret Calculator, and scale length whatever you want. That's what I've done for the soon-to-never-be-completed mini-strat-teles. 18" scale x 22 frets - BINGO - done. Very simple to use. No muss no fuss.
     
  6. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    First, 26 3/16" is a standard banjo scale. If you lived close enough I'd let you clone mine. A standard Ibex fret rule includes this scale. No matter, with all the online resources that's the easy part. As has been said, leave the body alone and just extend the neck/fretboard 1/2". You'll gain an extra fret of two and it will bolt up normally. If you use a neck template, just lay it on fresh mdf after striking a centerline. Trace your normal heel, move it 1/2" away and trace the headstock, then use your straight edge to connect he lines. Easy peasy! :)
     
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  7. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    why does he want that scale length?... 1/2 inch longer than regular, like wow.

    PIA....
     
  8. Casual_Reader

    Casual_Reader Tele-Holic

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    that buckethead guys uses 27... supposedly tuned normally. It doesn't sound slinky.


    I did a quick check = looks like the 22nd fret would be where the 21st is on a 25.5 scale... so you're golden with no over hang needed - it'll look fine.
     
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  9. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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    Maybe he has big fingers? A lot of people don't like playing Gibsons because the scale length is a mere 3/4" shorter than Fenders. But it's noticeable to most.

    Not really any more of a PIA than any other neck, especially if the body/bridge and pocket remain standard.
     
  10. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    How would I proceed? Let's see. First of all I'd go to the StewMac Fret Calculator.

    http://www.stewmac.com/freeinfo/Fretting/i-fretcalc.html

    I'd put in 24 frets (arbitrary number) and 26 for scale length

    ......[​IMG]

    Nut to 12th fret is 13 in. Typical neck pocket to saddles on a Telecaster body is ~ 7 in. Assume 13 in. from 12th fret to saddles. That leaves 6 in. from 12th fret to end of neck heel. Add 6 to 13 and you get 19 in. from nut to end of neck heel. Looking at the fret chart above, you would have a 22 fret neck.

    Telecaster bridges have a great intonation range so you could probably fudge the neck length a little to get the right look (22 fret to end of neck)
     
  11. Hoopermazing

    Hoopermazing Tele-Holic

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    I have a SelMac copy (Jazz Manouche guitar) with a scale length of 26.37", and I must admit that if I were to have Tele built from scratch by a luthier, I'd go with something close to that.

    The upper frets are noticeably less cramped.
     
  12. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'd draw both the neck and the body in a cad program after you decide on which bridge you will use. That will determine where the pickup and ferrule holes are located. I designed the body around a vintage bridge. I just put together the Mocking Tele with a 22 fret gibson scale neck and decided to try a modern bridge for a change. That bridge put the saddles back farther and I ended up having to procure longer screws to get them closer than the mere 3/8" I would have needed if I used a vintage bridge.
     
  13. OpenG Capo4

    OpenG Capo4 Friend of Leo's

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    That was my initial response too but I didn't say it out loud. But you know the old saying: the customer is always right. I sent him a link to the Warmoth conversion necks, they have a 28-5/8" scale neck that might be similar to what he's looking for. His guitar playing style seems to be mostly fingerpicked walking basslines and tapping. More Les Claypool than Buckethead.

    My concern with the Warmoth Baritone neck would be string tension on the body. This is a pine body with a .45" or so Walnut cap. And he said he wants to put some "heavy gauge strings" on it. But then again I've seen people on here build 34" scale bass bodies out of pine so it'll probably be OK.

    He asked to change the plan to 7 string too, but since I had already routed it for the P90 thats pretty much not happening.

    Here's the progress on it so far. I am gonna hold off on cutting the bridge p'up cavity or neck pocket until he decides for sure on scale length.

    [​IMG]

    I'll probably get to drafting a neck plan tomorrow. I see StewMac does have a template for 26-3/16" banjo scale so that might be what I end up going with. The banjo template has the mandolin scale on the other side so I could build a Mandocaster too if I were so inclined. :cool:
     
  14. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If you know cad pretty well, you can take EHawley/Tdowns file and you'd just have to move the neck and pickup cavities some, along with the ferrule hole locations.
     
  15. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    keeps luthiers in work which is a good thing, I guess....

    I hope it turns out great and the buyer is happy.....
     
  16. OpenG Capo4

    OpenG Capo4 Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah I have a friend who is good with that sort of stuff. I had him widen the E.Hawley neck plan for a 1-3/4" nut width last week but I haven't had a chance to print it out yet. Its still on my zip drive.

    I guess if I have him draft out the conversion neck it'll be as simple as adding 11/16 between the nut and the heel, and then superimposing the 26-3/16 scale on to it, right?

    If I go with the standard neck pocket design I have 1/2" between the end of the pocket and the neck pickup so I could probably get away with a little overhang on the neck.

    It'll be a 2pc neck whatever it is. He's asked for Walnut with a Maple fretboard.
     
  17. Casual_Reader

    Casual_Reader Tele-Holic

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    it was close - so I drew it up real quick


    on the left is normal plus the half inch. The 22nd fret is too close to the start of the curve.

    the center one has about a 16th overhang to make the spacing from fret to the end of the fretboard spaced like a 22 fret fender (with it's over hang of 0.2 inches).

    the one on the right had about a quarter added to it to make it spaced like a 21 fret fender.

    if you print it - the center lines should be exactly 20 inches.


    if he went 27"... you could use your regular jig. The first fret would be exactly where the front of the 25.5 nut would be and you'd just have to measure an inch and a half for the inside edge of the 27 scale nut.
     

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  18. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    First thing I thought when I saw this thread, he couldn't have made it easy for him :lol:. But then again the banjo scale (26 3/16") thing has actually been done quite a few times. I've played a flat top with it and it really drives the top :).
    One thing you might want to tell him OpenG, he won't need heavy strings (at least not too heavy) with that setup. The extended scale I've played was a Guild jumbo and 12s was all it wanted. The longer strings will really drive those pups and if they are moderately hot at all they'll fart out real easy from being so close.
    Another thing, if you don't mind splicing a little rosewood, you could save your money on that fret-scale and just buy a 26 3/16 slotted board from Stew-Mac instead LINK. The splice because it's only 2" wide, but it'd only be too narrow for about the last 7 frets ;). If you have any scap rosewood you could add a couple of small strips that last few inches. After you slot the strips and oil the board, you'd never see it ;)
     
  19. OpenG Capo4

    OpenG Capo4 Friend of Leo's

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    It just came to me that he said one of the reasons he wanted a longer scale was he likes playing in dropped tunings and he wanted something he could tune down to C or B# and still have string tension.

    Not sure 1/2" or 11/16" will do much in that regard. I'll probably call him tomorrow and see what the plan is.

    I'm downloading Acrobat now to open Casual Reader's PDF. I got a new (to me anyway) computer that doesn't have much software yet. Thanks for drawing it up.
     
  20. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The discontinued Fender Subsonic Telecaster had a 27 in. scale length.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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