Pre-CBS guitar cloning - is it possible?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by preeb, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Yes it is. it follows the neck as it gets tapered toward the nut.
     
  2. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    There are good guitars as there are bad ones.
    Building bad ones is very easy but I like the good ones better... especially when turning the amp an 1/8th turn...
     
  3. Taipan

    Taipan Tele-Meister

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    Trying to put this theory to work in A/B or even A/B/C as tnt423 is doing would require base lines. I would think at a minimum you would need to have relative humidity and temperature controlled, as well as orientation of the pieces the same.
     
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  4. superV

    superV Banned

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    I couldnt help but notice the nifty freud or amana spiral bit you use routing necks.

    Do those actually work around the headstock? I find especially with quartersawn its a nightmare taking a reg template bit around the curves.
     
  5. Zmatko

    Zmatko Tele-Meister

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    I'll have to step in and share some of what i've learned, Jimmy Page was known to seat his Gibby infront of the rig in soundchecks, because he felt it enhanced the instrument.

    Secondly and lastly, the old knowledge in instrument building:
    "When alive, i lived my life in silence.
    Now when i am dead, i make the most beautiful sounds."

    Respect the material that the nature lends to us.
     
  6. SULTAN

    SULTAN TDPRI Member

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    Hi Gill.This is my first post in any of these great forums and your threads are a must read in order to get my day going.Thanks a million!

    However, although grain stracture and orienation may have something to do with tone,all the talk about "musically seasoned and tuned" wood is IMO...naive at the least.Fender used every possible hardwood he could find in order to make instruments cheaply.He wasn't even a guitar player.And correct me if i am wrong but some of the greatest music ever was produced with brand new affordable Fender instruments back in the 50's and 60's.Not to mention that today's lumber is much better kilned dried than that used back then.This tone frenzy regarding "tone woods" is IMO an early '90s fruit in order for companies to sell at higher prices or to compete the small boutique manufacturers, who in turn had to make a difference by specialising on something.What better or "exotic"sounding than wood.
    Finish is another issue.Nitro was the way in the old days' furniture industry,thin coats of finish was cheaper and that's it.Or maybe all today's poly coated Fenders sound like crap?Well, at least they don't suffer from the huge neck gaps of the '50s.
    Clapton made blackie out of 3 strats with parts that he liked.Black body,maple neck and the PU's(major factor in electric tone) he liked(even before the active circuitry.David Gilmour moded his 70's strat to the tuxedo strat with Townsent's parts of broken and abused strats.Hendrix went for recordings with strats bought the same day by the store nearby and set up(another major factor in tone)by his tech to his liking.
    Maybe we should just play more with the damn 6-string thing than playing music to dead carbon fibers...
     
  7. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Any sharp bit will go around the curves as long as the material thickness to be removed is small (1mm maximum). I use the robo sander to get there. The spirals leave a smoother surface and the upward-spiral "sucks" the material to the table as it cuts making the operation stable with a lesser chance to have tearouts and kickbacks (it's never 100% guaranteed though).
    I highly recommend those bits (in solid carbide of course) for hardwood routing.
     
  8. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Sure... I see a lot of nature given material that should have been kept in silence... (-;
    I respect g_ds nature not man made commercial nature. Even fruit and vegetables don't seem to taste like they did... We pay the price of our ignorance even with the guitars we play today... it's a sad sad thing.
     
  9. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    I feel you SULTAN... but there's another side to this too. I agree that a good player can make a crappy guitar sound great but I also believe that a great guitar can make this a little better, giving the player a better vibe... etc...
    You'll have to agree that some guitars are just much better than others... same model same everything except not the same piece of wood. That's what is being discussed here.
    I assure you that Hendrix played a guitar he selected and not the first one off the rack (even though he set it on fire the next day...)
    Most serious players I know prefer to have a guitar that "speaks" to them, the one that they can't put down. This project has that exact basic target, giving a player exactly what he wants. The old original JazzBass will be sold when and if I'll manage to clone it in order to raise money for a guy who really needs it, but he still likes to have the "same" instrument he had for the last 30 years...
     
  10. SULTAN

    SULTAN TDPRI Member

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    I most definatelly agree.And how could i not agree with a luthier with such attention to detail like yourself!What i mean though, is that we still enjoy 40 years old instruments produced without any serious quality control(by today's standards that is) and no consistency regarding raw material.
    Your instruments look very difficult to be compared even to the "Fender custom shop"guitars,overated and overpriced IMO.But even your fine instruments do not mature by listening to music:D.They mature under proper tension produced by proper drying and proper cutting of the woods and (why not) proper wood matching.What makes them even greater is however perfect building and meticulous assembly and set up.

    Of course Hendrix picked up his guitars.But even his gear might not speak to another player in the same way.I believe what i have red in a Greek music forum regarding gear and guitars in particular:"A man's nightmare is another man's dream"...
     
  11. tnt423

    tnt423 Tele-Meister

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    Hi,
    Do we REALLY want to be cured? I recommend workshop therapy on a frequent bassis (spelling inentional).
    I am wondering the same thing about the time vs. duration and db level question. I'm limiting the volume to 40db, using a cheap db meter, to keep from disturbing anyone else in the house. This could take years to determine any kind of usefull data. I'm very lucky that most of the wood I use, I get to harvest from the tree myself and have the luxury of curing time to apply this experiment. I'm hoping that the stabilizing period that I give blanks after rough cutting (usually about a month) and the finish curing time will have enough effect to make this worthwhile. The good part about this is it doesn't take that much effort to place the slabs near a speaker and let the music play. I get the benefit of enjoying the music while I'm working nearby.
    What I'm trying to achieve is that tone that I only have found in certain older guitars. I realize that not every old guitar has that certain indescribable mojo or whatever anyone wants to call it, but if I can get closer then I feel I've done my job as a builder. Many good players can sound great on a cheap copycat instrument, but I never see them choose to accept these limitations willingly.
    Everything we do and use as players matters, wood selection, finish type and thickness, bridge material and type, strings thickness, amp selection and settings, mood, etc. The list goes on and on. It all goes into every performance. I feel that if we can get the instrument to speak and respond better it will just make everything else that much easier and will result in better personal expression.
    As far as applying this to this particular bass, you may consider hanging it front of a speaker with low level music playing while the finish is drying and shrinking. It may or may not make a difference, but could it really hurt anything? I really appreciate the hard work you put in to all this and hope this project hits the goal you've set.
     
  12. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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  13. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    tnt423,
    +1

    I don't think I'll be able to clone it... or any other instrument for that matter...
    Every instrument has a certain amount of uniqueness in it and it's stupid to even think of cloning!
    I'll probably end up with a great sounding instrument that is close enough to the original.
    I don't know what I was thinking when describing the target as "cloning"...
    This was very arrogant of me and I should have considered my words more carefully.

    Here it is again:
    I'll try to get as close as possible to the tone and feel of this bass.

    I'm going to continue with this project of course and keep you updated with the results.
    Yesterday and today is a holiday here (Purim) so I'm not working at the shop. I'll get back to this project tomorrow probably.
     
  14. refin

    refin Friend of Leo's

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    Can't wait to see (and hear) the finished project!
     
  15. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    IMHO, Gil, I think you can let your work speak for itself. You make wonderful guitars. I honestly don't think you need to cloud your perfect guitars in the mystery of resonant frequencies other unquantifiable complication. Impeccable wood selection speaks for itself. :D
     
  16. SULTAN

    SULTAN TDPRI Member

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    Sure, i prefer a 50's strat or tele(if i could ever afford it!)in order to sell it and buy a house, a new car,a sailboat, send my kids to college, stop working etc.;)But i would also visit you and have you build me the strat of my dreams...
    Leo is known as a perfectionist.But he is also known as a very practical engineer.I am sure that if he lived today, he would also use CNC routers for the cuts(i guess this is what you consider as "robotic" machinery-and why is cutting a fender type body such an important stage), or automatic pickup winding machines, or the best (value for money) available electronic components in bulk quantities, in order to cut down labour costs and raw material costs.Not to mention that i am scared to the thought of his wood and finish sellection.
    He was a great manager for sure but i don't think he paid any attention to many of the things that guitar builders in these threads consider, while sellecting wood, cutting and building their guitars.
    IMHO early Fenders are great,because of their design innovations and upgrades compared to the instruments of the time(that will last forever IMO), both in design features as well as in mass production proceedures,a reason for us to feel gratefull to that ingenious man.
    But, i am most gratefull to all you guys who provide inspiration and dream material during hard and troubled times!So Gil,keep sending detailed descriptions of your excellent builds and stop wasting time with fools like me!:p
     
  17. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Thank you Nick JD.
    Cloud? Mystery? unquantifiable complication? OUCH!!! (-;
    I share it all here with crystal clear explanation (+ photos) and it's a rather simple method that helps to select the right wood for the project.
    It gets much more cloudy and complicated when a client asks for a bright and open guitar and gets a mellow sounding one...you see, I don't build guitars for stores where one could walk in and select the guitar he likes... I have to nail it with each project and that's the only way I can get a general idea of the outcome.
    Now, what is an "Impeccable wood selection" ?
    Is it in the color, grain, weight..? Is it enough to just 'knock on wood' (LOL) ?
    I don't think there is such a thing as Impeccable wood selection even with the frequencies test I'm doing. It's just one more basic thing I can do to get to where I want to be, and that is building better guitars... After all, instruments are the sum of many little things you can do (or not)... each builder finds his unique way of doing it "right".
     
  18. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I'm looking forward to seeing how you do your selecting. Thanks for sharing!

    And, if you ever get fed up with trying to build the perfect guitar ... there's always MDF. Each piece has uniform density and all pieces have uniform weight - and tonally, the stuff is great. The fact that no one wants an MDF guitar proves to me that there's more to tone than meets the ear.

    Leo would be using MDF had it been available in 1950, I guarantee it. :D
     
  19. tnt423

    tnt423 Tele-Meister

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    "This was very arrogant of me and I should have considered my words more carefully.

    Here it is again:
    I'll try to get as close as possible to the tone and feel of this bass."

    Hi Gil,
    I don't belive that is arrogance, I took this as a desire to strive to improve your art. If you can approach the tone and feel, of a good vintage instrument, you have accomplished something very few in the world can do.
    +1 on each instrument being a unique thing, but if you can get that indefinable feel going on any chunk of wood, the player can get to that stage beyond technique and into true effortless expression much easier.
    As far as wood selection goes, if we had the old growth timber available today in the quantity that was available in the 50s, we would be able to have the higher ratio of tone machines to instrument shaped objects that are being produced by factories. I don't believe that all 50s and 60s guitars were great, but, the number of winners vs. losers seemed to be higher. Or maybe I'm full of hot air. ;-D)
    Your clients are very lucky to have you building their gear.
    Time for more shop therapy!
     
  20. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    OK... enough talking and lets get to work!

    here's my basic plan for the test set up and a test-case prototype.
    My tunning forks method is very helpful but far from being accurate. I need to improve it and here's how.

    The problems:
    1. Every time a tunning fork is hit to get the vibrations it vibrates in a different volume
    2. The vibrations fade quickly
    3. there's only limited frequencies to test - as the number of forks
    4. My ear on the other end of the blank is not an accurate meter
    5. I need to trust my intuition and experience to make the decisions

    The solutions (accordingly):
    1. I'll use a modern vibrating source that can be controlled in level
    2. I'll be able to control the decay curve of the above
    3. and choose any desired frequency
    4. I'll use some kind of vibration collector that can be interfaced with a meter
    5. I'll need to create a graphical representation of the results (A footprint)

    * A vibrating source will be a.... well... you guessed it... Speaker. I'll be using a Tapco 8" studio monitor that can go pretty loud if needed

    * I have created a sine wave generator by using a Cubase plugin on my computer. I first made the midi file that played a sine through an oscillator plugin, starting at C1 up to C8 giving equal amount of time for each note (you'll see why this is important soon)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    *I then exported it to wav format and set the level of all notes to 0db

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2009
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