SECOND CONSTRUCTION. 7 STRINGS, 27"

VicenT-Tele

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Hello everybody!

Finishing the first project I started in September 2021 and seeing that it hasn't been too bad (better than I expected) my head started to obsess about doing something more "extreme" in terms of tunings. I love Metalcore and Melodic Hardcore. Music genres where low tunings are present in all the songs. So, what am I going to need?
Looking for models of guitars played by my favourite bands, most of them are usually between 26.5 and 27 inches, 6 to 8 strings. It's already clear to me that it's going to be a 27" 7 to be able to sound good with low tunings (SpiritBox type).
At first I wanted to make a Regius type, but then I opted for a different model from Mayones, it will be a Duvell 7 type. I don't want to make a copy and have it be a "want and can't" (Many will ask why not buy the original and forget about the problems...). I just enjoy making them!!!). I love this model but I'm going to change a few things....
Mast:
- Wenge / Purple Heart 5 piece laminate (Perfect combination to get clarity in very low tunings).
- Scarf Joint (god bless my heart)
- Low profile double action trussrod with carbon reinforcements.
- Black Ebony
Body:
- Black Korina body (without top if it's too figurative)
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A week ago I went looking for some pictures of the Elite 7 and rescaled it using a vector program to get the exact measurements. I have a printer in the office that outputs A3, so I did the print in two halves.
I wasn't going to complicate my life like I did on the Telecaster. I cut the edge of the print and penciled the silhouette on 3mm MDF, which cuts and sands much better than doing it directly on 1 or 1.5cm MDF. Once finished, I will use a copy router to transfer it to a 5 MM MDF or Polystyrene.


I received from Madinter a dry and leveled Wenge plank and some 5mm thick Purple Heart (Amaranth) sheets.
The plank is Rift cut, so I decided to cut it into 3 equal pieces and flip them over to get the grain as vertical as possible.

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Glued laminated neck. I left it for a week to dry

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Hi guys.
I haven't been able to make much progress. I'm busy with the neck, which is giving me a lot of work, specifically the fingerboard as I want it to be 100% perfect.
I wanted to show you some pictures of the wood I got for the body. It is a 2 piece "caliber" black limba (black black black black) body.
Could you give me your opinion to see how it looks best.
Personally I like the A and the B.


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Position B

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Position C
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Position D
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Position E
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I'll see You!
 

gb Custom Shop

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Another option to consider - resaw one of the blank halves to make a book matched top. Resaw the other half and use for the back. And sandwich a contrasting wood (or more purpleheart) in the middle. Not only do I think this would look the best, but also give you an opportunity to relieve some weight. I imagine that black limba isn't exactly lightweight to begin with?

Also, IMO the carbon fibre rods might be overkill in a 5 piece lam neck. But of course, YMMV 🙂
 

VicenT-Tele

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Hello mates!

Thank you very much for your advice!

In the end I decided to forget about the Black Limba finish and bought a 5A Flame Maple top.
My intention is to make a Purple Burst quite dark on the sides and leaving the purple in the middle. This is my intention, but what I get is another thing....

The rest of the body and neck will be finished in Tru-Oil. The top in Poly or Nitro using spray that they sell in Europe, type 2K or Nitorlack brand for nitrocellulose.


I accept suggestions for finishes.

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tomasz

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If you havent done the glue up of the neck yet, I'd probably try to use the left strip as the center strip, as it is the closest to quartersawn. I would orient the external strips in a way, so that they can counter potential tentions. depending on the orientation, the neck figure can show nice stripes. For that you'd have to have the rings run from the top center to bottom left and right
 
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gb Custom Shop

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I accept suggestions for finishes
Firstly, that is a beautiful top! When they're that nice, it's hard to make it look bad 😃

For a purple burst, Big D Guitars on YouTube has an excellent video just for that. I'd recommend giving that a watch to see how he does it.

I think if you plan on spraying the top, then you may as well spray the whole body. Regarding either a 2k poly(urethane) or a nitrocellulose laquer, they're very different animals from one another, and both have considerable safety precautions. You will need a suitable respirator and spray area for either.

Now, the 2k product will fully cure in a couple days, and have more durability, whereas the nitro needs a couple/few weeks. However the nitro may possibly be more forgiving to deal with if imperfections arise from spraying. YMMV

For the neck, tru-oil will work perfectly fine for that. If you already have it on hand, then just use that for the neck.
 

Freeman Keller

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A few thoughts cross my mind. First, I have built one long scale low tuned guitar - it happens to be an acoustic 12 string so its not at all like yours, but I'll mention a few things that I ran in to. For reference mine is 26.5 scale and is tuned to C. My suggestions are to do your calculations before you start and know what string gauges you will be using and how it will be tuned. Calculate the tension and the amount of compensation you will need and factor that into your design. A simple but potentially big problem is can you actually buy the long fat strings you will need? Make sure you can source a bridge and tuners that will work with those gauges and spacing.

I see multi scale (aka fan frets) on some low tuned 7 strings, have you considered that?

On the archtop I just built I did put two carbon fiber beams in the neck on either side of the truss rod. The neck is very stiff, with 165 pounds of string tension it only pulls 3 or so thousands of relief. I did the CF rods for a couple of other reasons - I floated the fingerboard extension off the top and they stiffen that area and they do strengthen the headstock.

That is a lovely piece of maple and be sure to keep all the cutoffs to practice your finish, particularly the staining. There are a variety of ways to do it depending on the effect you want. For a PRS looking finish you will want to stain the wood directly, then seal and finish over the stain. You've listed several different products, my suggestion is lots of practice to make sure you like what you are going to use. I'm slightly concerned about the interface between TruOil and the nitro or poly, particularly if you are going to bind the instrument or do faux binding.

It's going to be an interesting and lovely instrument, I'll be following your build.
 

dspellman1

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1. I'm not a fan of nitrocellulose lacquer. Period.
It's good for a 75 year old LP owner who's in a race to see it age before he dies.

2. Tru-Oil is fine for under-the-bed closet queens, but a heavily gigged guitar will get dirty and the wood will respond to moisture very quickly. Same reasons that Alaska hunting guides use stainless guns with plastic stocks while their clients show up with wonderful oiled walnut stocks and blued guns and go home with sad messes that need to be refurbished as soon as they get home.

3. If you're going to get into extended range instruments, start giving some consideration to multi-scale (fan fret) and headless guitars. I have one 27" 7-string that weighs a ton and it's just plain bulky. I'm currently looking at a headless multi-scale 8-string that's shorter (33.5" overall), has a longer scale for the bottom string (28") and is seriously lighter and SO much more comfortable to play.

Though I will definitely miss the opportunity to stab the bass player with the pointy end.
 

VicenT-Tele

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"First of all, I apologise if there is any text that I don't understand. My native language is Spanish".

Seeing the level that is handled in this forum, my contribution and documentation regarding my project is at least ridiculous, but as in other forums I have seen, these publications have helped me a lot to get ideas, so here I leave the construction process of the neck...

Once the 5 pieces are dry (2 weeks since they were glued) I proceed to thickness the neck to the height that will be the highest part, which is the heel. I use two straight steel rulers as guides and the router. It's the same procedure that is used when you want to flatten wood for big tables.

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I lost the photos of how I made the calculations for the inclination of the head. I gave it 11 and a half degrees and to get a perfect ScarfJoint I made a jig with two pieces of wood cut at 11.5 degrees, and then I ran the milling machine and left it flat. I must say that I started cutting the angle of the mast with a japanese saw, but I ended up with a rib saw because my brain short-circuited when I tried to cut by pulling instead of pushing, it seems silly but you have to learn how to use it...


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I don't have pictures of the gluing of the Scarf Joint, but what I did was to put it on a flat surface (where the fingerboard will be glued) to get a perfect levelling between the neck and the headstock. Anyway, afterwards I ran the router a little bit in order to level the surface completely.
For the fingerboard I opted for an ebony one and since I decided to do it myself, I bought a special class one.
I bought a fret saw, a 27"/29" scale template and a miter box.
Gathering ideas from the internet, I made me a "decent" miter box with bearings and a 2 mm bolt to make the slots. It works perfectly!


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With a template that I made of the exact measurements of the model to be replicated, I pass the milling machine carefully so as not to throw away a few hours already invested...

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The same with the veneer of the headboard. It will be ebony (but not of a special class). I use the same procedure as when I rethickened the neck, in order to leave it at around 2 mm.

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VicenT-Tele

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It's time to work on the web channel and the carbon reinforcements. In many places I was told that being a 5 piece laminated neck, and even more being made of Wengue and Purple Heart, it wouldn't be necessary to reinforce it, but as I saw that the big manufacturers did reinforce them, I didn't want any problems and even less being a 27" scale, which will have to support a Drop F# tuning.

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I have to say that the carbon reinforcements fit very tight and I didn't need to glue them.
We glued the fingerboard to the neck. To do this I used 1 piece of black fretboard side markers that I had left over from the TV. Unlike the typical sticks that are used, the black sticks do not swell with the contact of the glue and do not move as it happened to me when I glued the fretboard of the telecaster using the sticks.
To make sure it would stick completely straight, I got a piece of polished granite countertop about 70 cm by 10 cm.
Once glued, I left it like that for a week.

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A week later, I start to work on the head. I make a small template of the head and the holes of the mechanisms to make sure that they all fit without any problem.

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We messed with the back of the neck.
I've been reading a lot of threads about neck building and I came to the conclusion that there is no predetermined method, I mean.... A mast can be made by following steps C, A, B and D, but I was told by some builders that from experience, with hardwoods like Wengue they preferred to half "shape" the contour of the neck before radiusing the fingerboard in order to see if by removing the back material, the wood tended to move. So I proceeded to remove all the excess material with 2 millimetres to go.
In order not to torment the neighbours with the router, I used a method. Japanese saw and chisel.

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It's time to radius the fingerboard.
This is clear to me, I don't know about other fretboard woods, but I don't go through all the work it takes to radius an ebony fretboard. It's not because of the fatigue (I spent 2 hours radiusing until I got more or less a rough radius) but because it requires a very careful technique. This is by far the part I have stressed the most.
Getting the perfect radius is not about sanding like crazy, you have to have a thousand eyes to see how you are sanding, be aware of where you are applying more force when sanding and a long etc...
Before I got down to it, I did a lot of research. The best way to see if you are doing it right is to paint the whole top of the fretboard. In cases like mine, where I have already cut the fretboard to its exact size before radiusing, you have to take into account that it is not radiusing as if you hadn't cut it at all.
The area of the upper frets, being narrower and therefore having less material to remove, will radius faster than the back of the frets, where there is more wood and therefore it will cost more. If you don't have this clear and you sand without knowing what you are doing, you will get a nice ebony wedge.
The ideal is to mark the fingerboard with white paint. Sand little by little (I started with 80 grit) and you will see that the side marks will fade away. We have to make sure that the pencil marks are uniform from the beginning to the end. If, on the contrary, you have more width in the marks in a certain area, it means that you have to remove more material from there in the other areas.
Following this guideline and about 4 or 5 hours later, I managed to radius the fretboard to 16 inches, completely even in all areas and with no support errors in the corners.
Next time, I will either buy the radiused fingerboard or make myself a fingerboard radiusing jig as they already sell them (80/120€).
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VicenT-Tele

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I take advantage of this and deepen the fret grooves to the right depth. For this I use a stop on the saw, in this case a steel ruler.

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Now we are back to the desired size. First fret 20 mm, 12th fret 21 mm.

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Before using the rasp, I make the approximate measurements in a vector program and I draw lines with their measurements to know how to attack so that I get an exact profile like the Ibanez.

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I use yellow tape for the sanding stops. Pen or pencil marks do not show up very well on Wengue.

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You will see that there are areas where it is still impossible for me to see where I am running the rasp and how much material I am taking. To do this, I take a piece of chalk and dirty the wood in order to make it more visual. This is already at the end of the process, when at the time of rounding you have to remove a few millimetres of material.

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And this is what it looks like after sanding up to 300 grit paper. This time I really enjoyed shaping the mast. It's also true that I spent the whole afternoon alone, no kids, no rush...

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To shape the heel, I used a radial saw with an 80 grit sandpaper. It helped me to remove a lot of material to finish it off with a cylinder and sandpaper.

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The side indicators are white dots. I made myself a height stop with a folded piece of plastic in which I drilled a hole at the exact height where the indicators should go. This way I would only have to worry about marking the centre of the frets and use a dremel with a 2mm bit.

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VicenT-Tele

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Time for the frets.
To install the frets I bought a 16" Stewmc gauge, very well carved with no imperfections (not like the ones from Aliexpress). Being an ebony fretboard I made a little invention with a wide mouth clamp and attached the headstock.

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I can assure you that the pressure exerted by this thing is enormous. In order to see if the frets were well seated, I took the finest gauge I have, 0.02 millimetres, and I am checking if the frets are well seated.
I never thought of applying cyanoacrylate before putting the frets on, as they are made of stainless steel, they are supposed to last a lifetime. I will apply cyanoacrylate later on the side slots.

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While it is true that this makes a lot of force, you also have to apply it with your hand. After 24 frets, my hand was pretty sore. To cut the frets I used a Knipex pliers, which I used to cut the back of the soundhole to make the cut as flush as possible. The frets measure 2.80 crown width by 1.47 height. I can tell you that they cut very well.

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After flushing the frets and chamfering them at 30 degrees this is how it turned out.

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I have to say a couple of things that I don't know what to do.

The first is that with a special fretboard ruler, I have barely had to correct the bowback of the neck when installing the frets. Now I have it so flat that I can't see any light between the fingerboard and the ruler, and the 0.02 mm claw does not fit either.
I checked the frets with another ruler and they are all level. I can't get the 0.02mm gauge on any of them, and I don't have any rocker arms using the blade method on 3 frets at the same time.
Having these results on the frets, would you level them anyway or, having checked that they are perfect, would you not touch them?

The other question I have is about the nut. I bought a Tusq Xl pre-slotted one, the one compatible with Schecter 7-string guitars. The thing is that if I remove the piece of fretboard where the nut goes it won't give me enough height, and I'm afraid I'm going to have to lower the area of the fretboard where the nut is located in such a way that it leaves me some string height margin. Is this normal?
I must say that in a PRS I have, a SE Custom 24, the nut is about 2 millimetres above the fingerboard, but I don't know if this is due to a manufacturing fault.

Thank you very much for following the thread.
 

JohnnyThul

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2. Tru-Oil is fine for under-the-bed closet queens, but a heavily gigged guitar will get dirty and the wood will respond to moisture very quickly. Same reasons that Alaska hunting guides use stainless guns with plastic stocks while their clients show up with wonderful oiled walnut stocks and blued guns and go home with sad messes that need to be refurbished as soon as they get home.
Sorry for side tracking here, but, is that really so much of an issue? I more or less exclusively used Tru Oil on all my builds so far and haven't noticed any heavy wear over the past 6 years. But, I am not a pro gigging 100 gigs a year.
Do I really have to worry with Tru Oil finishes not being rigi enough for heavy use? I knew from the start, that at some point, I may have to reapply some oil, but having the finish deteriorating in short time so I would have to restore it, that would leave me uncomfortable (though I won't go hunting in the snow with my guitars :)).
 

Moldy Oldy

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If you think it’s that close maybe wait to level the fretboard. You can always level it after the guitar is assembled and you see how well it plays.

For the nut, make one from scratch that fits your neck properly. They’re a bit tedious but not really that difficult if you go slow. You obviously have the patience required.
 

Freeman Keller

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A quick comment about your neck and its relief. I recently made a standard scale neck with two carbon fiber reinforcing rods and a double acting truss rod. I fret before gluing the board to the neck. Truss rod was set neutral, top of the neck is as flat as I could get it, after the glue up the frets required very minimal leveling, almost none at all. Under 165 pounds of string tension it pulls two or three thousands of relief. The neck is almost too stiff, but that is OK.

Make a nut from scratch to fit your guitar, the width and string spacing and gauges. I would never trust a premade nut to fit any guitar. I can't what you left for a nut channel in the end of your board, fit the blank and shape it as required.

I like the laminations, looks good.
 

VicenT-Tele

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If you think it’s that close maybe wait to level the fretboard. You can always level it after the guitar is assembled and you see how well it plays.

For the nut, make one from scratch that fits your neck properly. They’re a bit tedious but not really that difficult if you go slow. You obviously have the patience required.
Hello!

I think I'll take your advice. I'm not going to level the frets until I have it fully assembled.

I bought the nut pre-slotted because I don't have the right tools to make the string grooves, I saw that it was a good option, but seeing the problem I have with the height....

Thanks for your advice!


A quick comment about your neck and its relief. I recently made a standard scale neck with two carbon fiber reinforcing rods and a double acting truss rod. I fret before gluing the board to the neck. Truss rod was set neutral, top of the neck is as flat as I could get it, after the glue up the frets required very minimal leveling, almost none at all. Under 165 pounds of string tension it pulls two or three thousands of relief. The neck is almost too stiff, but that is OK.

Make a nut from scratch to fit your guitar, the width and string spacing and gauges. I would never trust a premade nut to fit any guitar. I can't what you left for a nut channel in the end of your board, fit the blank and shape it as required.

I like the laminations, looks good.
Hello Freeman!

I don't think I'm worried about it being stiff, since the gauge I'm going to use for the string will require some tension, otherwise I've checked how a double action truss rod works and I have play to correct both ways. Of course all this is on paper, with the strings we will see....

About the nut, as I mentioned to my colleague. I was advised not to worry about making capos because Tusq has pre slotted.
Seeing that I have the necessary height problem, I will have to investigate if they have higher capos. If they don't, I'll have to make one. The problem is the tools, I don't have any and from what I've seen they are very expensive!


Thank you very much for your contribution!
 

Freeman Keller

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Hello Freeman!

I don't think I'm worried about it being stiff, since the gauge I'm going to use for the string will require some tension, otherwise I've checked how a double action truss rod works and I have play to correct both ways. Of course all this is on paper, with the strings we will see....

About the nut, as I mentioned to my colleague. I was advised not to worry about making capos because Tusq has pre slotted.
Seeing that I have the necessary height problem, I will have to investigate if they have higher capos. If they don't, I'll have to make one. The problem is the tools, I don't have any and from what I've seen they are very expensive!


Thank you very much for your contribution!

As I mentioned in a post way back at the beginning, I have built one long scale instrument that made me very aware of the need to think about strings, gauges, tunings as they relate to your scale length. A baritone 7 string just makes everything more important. I humbly suggest that if you haven't already you spend some time with a string tension calculator and a manufacturer's page of string parameters. D'Addario's is good even if you are not going to use their strings.

Here is the neck I built with the CF reinforcements. I did them for a different reason than just stiffness (altho Bob Benedetto recommends them) - I wanted to float the f/b extension off the top of the guitar and the CF gives it some strength.

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I know a double acting truss rod can put relief into a neck if needed but I use them because I like the way they impart forces to the neck. I've never been crazy about single acting compression rods so I use these. I like to build the neck dead flat and let the string tension pull whatever relief it is going to into the neck, then remove that with the rod if necessary. On classical guitar necks where there is not enough tension I will plane the relief and fall away into the neck before putting the f/b on. Your neck should be very stiff.

And I'll just add that I think making a nut to fit a guitar is just part of building or setting up that guitar. Factories that can build necks to high precision with their mills can also make nuts to high precision (one big advantage of Tusq is that it can be molded and milled). I would never trust a premade nut to fit one of my guitars (and most of the time I feel that factory nuts are too high).

None of this is meant as criticism, just some things I've run into with the odd ball things I've built. I'm enjoying watching yours come together.
 
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dspellman1

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Sorry for side tracking here, but, is that really so much of an issue? I more or less exclusively used Tru Oil on all my builds so far and haven't noticed any heavy wear over the past 6 years. But, I am not a pro gigging 100 gigs a year.
Do I really have to worry with Tru Oil finishes not being rigi enough for heavy use? I knew from the start, that at some point, I may have to reapply some oil, but having the finish deteriorating in short time so I would have to restore it, that would leave me uncomfortable (though I won't go hunting in the snow with my guitars :)).
I have two tung-oil finish guitars from Carvin. One is a '91 (they only made this particular configuration one year) all-koa neck-through superstrat. The wood is gorgeous, but the body is dirty, especially around the pots and pickups, and it can't be cleaned normally. It's now in the wood, through the finish. The neck wasn't very well protected by the oil finish, and there are dirty spots and even one splinter. Carvin/Kiesel and I agree that restoring the guitar will require sanding the finish off and starting over.

OTOH, I have a second Carvin guitar that's tung-oil finished, but it's been pretty much a closet queen, and it's very pretty and there aren't any issues with it. It's a bit younger, too, at somewhere in the very early 2000's.

As a comparison, I have another five Carvins, all done in whatever poly they were using in the late '80s and early '90's, and they're near perfect.

Carvin was offering tung oil finish on its necks fairly often, but mostly on guitars that had polywhatever-coated bodies in those days. I've generally steered away from those; I have a few guitars now that have UV-catalyzed polyester matte finishes on the necks; that stuff protects well, is self-leveling, and can be applied with a very thin coat that will still protect really well.

As a side note, there's a friend of a friend who builds ukuleles in Honolulu (lots) who set up his own UV-cat polyester booth after having worked with both oil finishes and nitrocellulose for years. He's delighted. Says that his production has been sped up a bunch (dry to dry in under 24 hours and ready for final sanding) and his clients are very happy. Lots of koa being used there, obviously.
 

dspellman1

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I never thought of applying cyanoacrylate before putting the frets on, as they are made of stainless steel, they are supposed to last a lifetime. I will apply cyanoacrylate later on the side slots.​


I think most builders gluing frets during construction are actually using something like titebond (longer setup time) and filling the slots with that as they go. It's pretty hard to find a production guitar with glued frets these days; only the custom builders do this any more.

But rather than sliding it into the side slots, you can actually wick it into the tang cavities from the face of the fretboard (https://www.stewmac.com/video-and-i...-setup/super-glue-your-frets-for-better-tone/ ). I've been having it done to my guitars when I take them in for a PLEK fret level. While StewMac is pushing it for a tone upgrade, I'm more concerned with making sure that the expensive PLEK job isn't screwed up by having some fret sprout due to a humidity or temperature change. I've also noticed that the guitars with glued frets don't have "dead" frets the way the unglued fretboards do. Something about the fret making a more solid connection to the neck. With a PLEK job running $275, give or take, a fret superglue at $20-40 is cheap insurance.
 




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