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Neil's Brotherhood 2021 build: The Starcaster project

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by RiversQC, Apr 18, 2021.

  1. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    Okay, I can't wait any longer to jump in! The builds are all looking great and I'm feeling very inspired to build something, even if I have other projects in various states of completion... I like to "project hop" a little (a lot).

    I've been wanting to build a semi-hollow Starcaster for a while. And what better occasion that Brotherhood build 2021!

    xamlqptgha621.jpg


    It's a lot, huh? A semi-hollow but offset... the maple board... sometimes with TOM bridge but sometimes a fender style bridge... that headstock! Definitely a love-it-or-hate-it thing, and at first look I was a hard pass, but it has really grown on me. I've never played a vintage but a few various models over the years seemed cool.

    I'm not going to build anything truly faithful to the original but it will be Starcaster-like for sure. ;)
     
  2. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    I want one of these, but I want the tele headstock!!!
     
  3. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    A major disclaimer is that I simply have to build this guitar on the cheap. For certain well-known reasons stores aren't really open even if I wanted them to be. So! I'm just going to use what's on hand, including some pine for the body.

    I don't know how many folks have built semi-hollows with pine, but I have some pretty clear boards and with the slightly larger body hopefully it won't be too light. So here goes!

    I printed off my drawings and used a bit less than half of this 2" x 8" x 8' board:

    20210418_223004.jpg

    Got er planed down to useable and glued up

    20210418_223043.jpg

    20210418_223127.jpg

    And the next day planed that all to size (which is a bit more than 1.75")

    20210417_150408.jpg

    There are a few very small knots but only on the top, which will be hogged out and covered. One knot is just glancing off to the side but I wanted to avoid it entirely, so for the record I am moving my centre line just a smidge off the glue line to accommodate.

    20210418_223243.jpg

    I also got a template ready for that job. Here's my start, then.

    20210418_223232.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
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  4. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    I guess most (all?) Starcasters have shaped tops, but that's beyond me. This one will just be flat top and back, but I will add a belly carve to it.

    My plan of attack is to have the regular template shape (with a few pins so I can locate layers reliably)...

    20210418_102153.jpg

    And then use the cut out portion to add an inset that I can also locate on the back of the body later. So marking a cutting down this

    20210418_223331.jpg

    To this

    20210418_104001.jpg

    Then in that space I will route some terraces using this template that I cut for a strat project. I'll just re-use some of the curves, in this case going from my #4 depth through #1.

    20210418_223353.jpg 20210418_103838.jpg

    Eh, it worked well enough for me to build this strat so hopefully I can do it again without incident!

    (Stock collage photos from last fall)

    20201227_175324.jpg

    20201227_175053.jpg
     
  5. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    So I got to hogging out the body with the drill press, as one does:

    20210418_223657.jpg

    But I did call a couple of audibles as I went. (1) I left a little more wood for the jack than what the drawing showed, which is probably wise especially for pine. (2) I left some extra wood behind the bridge, partly out of concern for weight but also because I have this cheap Bigsby copy in my drawer that I maybe could use?

    20210418_225231.jpg

    I wanted to put in a poll or something... should I use this thing???? I'm going to screw something up or not be able to intonate, right? If you have ever had success with a Bigsby knock-off bought in a moment of weakness please let me know. It doesn't have felt on the bottom; arm moves well but I just don't know if I trust it. I'll think on it.
     
  6. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    I'm going to try to see what I can come up with, but yeah, the tele headstock looks good on most anything. The Starcaster headstock? Well, you don't see that many places... but it's maybe part of the charm :lol:
     
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  7. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    Id be interested to get a finished Starcaster body from you, if you can make a 25.5" telecaster neck work, and body routed for 2 P90's!!

    Please say yes!!!!
     
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  8. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Afflicted

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    You did a great job on the strat. Looking to forward to seeing this one!
     
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  9. erix

    erix Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    What a fun build idea! I’ve never used a bigsby (someday.....) but cheap or not, that big chunk of chrome on the body may draw the eye away from the headstock. ;)
     
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  10. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    I've been on a big P90 kick and... that would be super cool. :cool:

    I'm not a vendor member at TDPRI, so strictly building for fun. I suspect you could probably buy a boutique build for the shipping price from me to you anyway! But I'm glad to have you following along and would hook anybody up if I could :)

    Yeah, I never really use any sort of tremolo system, but the temptation really is the look of it.

    I'm thinking I'll leave the extra wood as a matter of weight/balance, and it gives me the option of adding what would be an aftermarket piece anyway. Hopefully I won't need the visual distraction but we'll see!
     
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  11. solfege

    solfege TDPRI Member

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    I'd use a JM trem rather than a bigsby. But then I'm one of those people who thinks that, properly set up, the JM trem is the best vibrato ever made.
     
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  12. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    Looks like a good and challenging build :).

    Good to see you in on the fun, and the best of Good Luck!

    Semi-hollows and Bigsbys are "in" this year :).


    .
     
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  13. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'll just comment on the Bigsby question. I have no need for one but I will put one on a guitar if someone wants one. I'll also take one off if they don't. There is a thread right now at the Other Guitar subforum about removing one. If you are going to install it make sure its the right one for your bridge choice and that the angles are good.
     
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  14. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    You know, I've never actually played a JM with trem. Just about every guitar I've had has been a hardtail...
    Thanks! Yes, lots of nice thinlines being built this year. I've always been a metal head but once I started building I've really enjoyed making semi-hollows and thinlines. Go figure! Glad they're in. :)
     
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  15. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, Freeman, as always. I'm going to take it slightly easy on myself and build this with a vintage-style tele bridge, no angle. If I did add the Bigsby, I could dremel/file off the gaps for it in the back plate.
     
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  16. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

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    Impressive start!

    Did I miss it, what will you use for the top?
     
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  17. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    Great question! Here it is:

    20210418_223449.jpg

    More on that...
     
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  18. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm planning sorta similar for next year's BB. I'm planning on what I've done before. A thin ply top and back and 2 X 4s for the sides and internals. Last one I dyed and did a burst. But now there is so much reasonably priced gorgeous ply and veneer it's crazy :cool:.
    By the way I'm not sure I blame that headstock entirely on Fender. During the lawsuit era Ibanez made a one piece maple neck a dead ringer for a Tele except for, you guessed it, that headstock :lol:. Having had said Ibanez I always wondered if that headstock was part of settlement lol
     
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  19. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    So like I said, my options are a bit limited on this build. I blew my monthly budget on buying a 20" aluminum sanding block for fretboards from Philadelphia Luthiers, which arrived today! So that was cool but now I'm scrounging. :lol:

    I have some maple and other potential tops in my stash but none quite right for this build, since I'm planning to paint the top.

    So about a month ago I had my boys at the community centre skatepark and they were throwing out some pallets, and there was this nice clean piece of 4S maple, 3/4" thick, 3 1/2" wide. It had a bit of a bend so no good for necks... but clearly too nice to throw out. Yoink.

    I feel the need to apologize for such a low-end build, but necessity yadda yadda. And I love building with all kinds of wood but I really enjoy a bit of salvage. :rolleyes:

    So I was thinking that my bandsaw could handle a 3 1/2" re-saw, and if I cut it exactly in half I could get some lengths of 1/4" for a top?

    20210418_223502.jpg

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    20210418_223542.jpg

    That was yesterday, and today on and off between zoom meetings I glued the panels up. I had to borrow a little bit (still to be glued) to make it all work but it'll go.

    20210419_193134.jpg

    Thickness is under the recommended 1/4", but over 3/16". It's a hair over 5mm, 0.200". I'm going to need an American to tell me that fraction, lol. The risk as such is inviting feedback but I guess this'll be a test of sorts. (This did play a bit of a role in me deciding to make the overall cavity slightly smaller, maybe to combat that).
     
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  20. Willie Johnson

    Willie Johnson Tele-Holic

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    Very cool idea. I have the Squier CV Starcaster in sunburst, but kinda wish they had the natural finish--those look the best.

    If you don't do the giant gross sex machine headstock, at least do a '70's Strat one instead--that would look ace.
     
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