home-made plywood semihollow build. Stupid idea?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by aboz65, May 2, 2020.

  1. aboz65

    aboz65 TDPRI Member

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    this is very interesting, basically the frame is composed of a bunch of smaller pieces presumably glued and stapled together...
     
  2. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Tele-Meister

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    It's only stupd not to if you've dreamed it up already ;)



    I've kinda had it in mind myself , but currently amassing parts for a Pine Tele :twisted:
     
  3. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

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    I did it...

    C5E49096-9775-4638-9098-79D4F720F458.jpeg


    97C9AD91-D05E-4662-9664-E5D202C9B3A0.jpeg

    Turned out well.

    it’s a frame made from 1/2” plywood with a 1/4” MDF front and back.

    it’s a bit of a neck diver, but manageable. The tone is surprisingly good. A bit brighter than a regular Tele.

    I did mine with the typical center section, but I think the material is plenty sturdy enough to handle string tension without it.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2020
  4. edvard

    edvard Tele-Afflicted

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    I realize there are quite a few people on this planet that love Danelectros very much, and more power to them, but I just cannot partake. This picture just cemented another reason why. Plywood I can handle; jiggered-up bits and pieces under Masonite? No thank you, really, you're too kind, but I just can't...
     
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  5. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    It's good you did the center block, at least below the bridge, because the MDF isn't going to hold screws well...string tension could be a factor in that case
     
  6. zook

    zook Friend of Leo's

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    You can get a usable router from Harbor freight for not a lot of money. You can order it online and have it shipped to you.
     
  7. tubegeek

    tubegeek Tele-Afflicted

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    Nice!

    What is the front surface made of? A veneer? Surely that's not a faux woodgrain finish? If it is, well, hats off!
     
  8. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

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    I had thought of doing that :D

    But no, I originally tried to spray a 3 color burst with rattle cans, but it was a disaster. So I sanded it all flat and covered it with printed wood grain vinyl.
     
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  9. tubegeek

    tubegeek Tele-Afflicted

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    Rather convincing!
     
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  10. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Here are the insides of two semi hollow guitars - ES335 styles. The first is traditional Gibson full length center block. Because the top and back on a 335 are arched (the plys are pressed into a mold when they are being laminated) the center block has a kerfed piece that fills the arched part. You won't need that

    IMG_3218.JPG

    Here is one, also with laminated arched pressed top and back, but with a shorter center block. The block extends as far as the stop tailpiece anchor studs

    IMG_2424.JPG

    Both of these guitars had laminated bent sides with kerfing to make them thick enough to glue the tops and back to. I envision that you will be cutting those out of your plywood. That is going to be pretty inefficient with wood but maybe you can make them out of several pieces.

    I build my guitars with the back off - that lets me work inside the box to do things like cutting the f-holes and mounting and wiring the electronics. Here is the long block version getting wired

    IMG_3301.JPG

    The usual procedure with semi hollows is to fish the wiring thru the f-holes after the guitar is all built. It is a total PITA and I have some tricks to make that easier. If you provide an access door that won't be necessary.

    As I said before, the traditional Gibson neck joint is a glued M&T, altho they have used others. Thin guitars like 335's don't have enough vertical distance for a good dovetail so that is out. Certainly a screwed neck joint is a viable option.

    I do the M&T because that is what I expect in a Gibson style guitar. It looks basically like this

    IMG_2474.JPG

    Because of the arching of the top on my guitars the neck is set at an angle to the body. With a flat topped body you will need a different angle (remember that zero degrees is an angle) and/or you may need to make the neck stand proud of the body to get the correct geometry. Your goal is to have the fret plane just hit the top of the saddles on your bridge when it is at its lowest adjustment. I can talk about this more when I learn more about the neck, joint and bridge you want to use.

    IMG_2519.JPG

    As I mentioned before, making any kind of neck pocket without a router will be tricky but doable. This is what a Gibson style pocket looks like -

    IMG_3345.JPG

    You could certainly do that by laminating pieces of plywood to get the correct thickness. You could also make a more Fender style joint the same way

    IMG_4691.JPG

    If your neck angle is zero it will be much easier to make this pocket.

    Other than that, I think your project is very reasonable. 1/8 plywood is certainly thick enough for the top and back. Stack enough pieces to make the sides whatever thickness you want. The build won't be that different from making a hollowed out guitar by conventional methods - there are lots of examples here. However what I'm trying to show is those things that make a "semi hollow body" what it is.
     
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  11. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

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    My main concern was the guitar caving in on itself, which is an issue I’ve seen with older Danos. But good furniture grade plywood is much sturdier than the castoff chunks of pine they used back in the day. Regardless, I agree that a block under the bridge as well as some reinforcement at the neck joint is probably wise. Also, if I were to do this again I’d go with a 1/8” top instead. 1/4” is too thick and sort’ve defeats the purpose of building a thinline.
     
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  12. aboz65

    aboz65 TDPRI Member

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  13. aboz65

    aboz65 TDPRI Member

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    Yup, this is almost exactly what I was envisioning...thanks for the photos.
     
  14. aboz65

    aboz65 TDPRI Member

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    ok, stupid newby question on necks. I'm looking around for used necks for this build (which I have not started yet), and I see a pretty cheap squier strat neck on craigslist - the photo show it to have 21 frets. https://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/msg/d/chicago-sanded-squire-guitar-neck/7118214851.html. my tele has 22so I am a bit confused...

    what am I missing? I always assumed that strats and teles have the same scale length...is it just a difference in position of where the heel is cut out in the body of the different guitars? I am guessing it is just a question of positioning the bridge properly, no?

    thanks
     
  15. edvard

    edvard Tele-Afflicted

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  16. aboz65

    aboz65 TDPRI Member

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  17. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    There is one more thing to remember about fender necks - the pockets are slightly different between a strat and a tele. In general a strat neck has a curved end and will fit either a strat or tele pocket, but may leave a little gap as the edge of a tele. A tele neck only fits a tele pocket unless one or the other are modified. Since you are starting from scratch you can make a pocket that fits your neck. Warmoth also has the information about that

    https://www.warmoth.com/Guitar/Necks/faq2.aspx
     
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  18. JUSS10

    JUSS10 TDPRI Member

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    guitar in my profile picture is a plywood tele. built it from 5mm underlayment plywood. $13 a sheet at the time. its 9 layers that I laser cut out at work and stacked like a cake. Works really well actually and super strong. I was quite surprised. I have a build thread on this forum somewhere.

    Justin
     
  19. aboz65

    aboz65 TDPRI Member

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    Pretty sure I've seen your post on the laser cut plybuild. It's cool
     
  20. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    +1 Danelectric models.

    Many of the 60s/70s MIJ 'arch top' LP copies were plywood backs (cut the same as if they were solid wood) with pressed laminated tops to give the arch that were glued on top. I've had several of these. They caused players to fear plywood because that was the clearly visual difference they could make out between their guitar and the 'proper brands' versions -- when the real differences were in the poor fretwork and abysmal setups that starter guitars ship with and no catalog store nor M&P retailer ever put much of a setup on because no one felt they could make back their investment of improved playability -- which was true in the short term, but long term they would have minted more guitar players who got GAS and bought fleets of guitars. Keep that in mind. Your final fretwork and setup are key. If you don't feel you have the skills then pay a good tech (not a string jockey) to spiff up the final setup details for you or even spend on a full fret level job (about $100 most markets which is only $50 more than a good setup which that job includes).

    The main thing you'll learn from your experiment: that wood just doesn't matter to tone. (Check out the Justin Johnson shovel guitar video along with the Rob Scallon one. And maybe even the cement and cardboard guitar videos).

    .
     
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