The importance of wood and scale length for sound.

Ryden

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It's time to make another guitar, my daughter wants a Telecaster to accompany herself when recording jazz on her saxophone, her main instrument.

Now,
1. She wants a Tele because they're the coolest. No problem there.
2. She wants to sound like Carlos Santana
Might be hard even with HB's instead of single coils.
3. She, alone in the family, have inherited the short gene from my grandmother and is quite petite. She thinks my LP is to heavy and my other guitars a bit long and cumbersome

I have alder and birch left from previous builds, but that will make quite a bright guitar.

Would it be worth the effort of chasing down an old mahogany coffee table for wood and making a 24" neck?
I thought we might hollow out parts of the body to lighten it.

We could always get a pre routed Tele body and a LP or Mustang neck, but since time spent with teenage daughters is really rare I'd like to start from scratch and make it all ourselves.

Can we get all the requirements do you think, or what would be the best way?
 

Ryden

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If she wants to sound like Santana did at Woodstock in ‘69, than you’ll want a Tele with P90s.
Very true, but I expect she's referring to Supernatural. But I'll have her check that out.
This is 3.5 pounds (extra light swamp ash), will intonate with a Warmoth 24" neck, can be routed for hum buckers, and has the comfort contours.

https://warmoth.com/index.php/guitar-bodies/7-8-t-style/pt-8761-25579
Interesting, Warmoth gets too expensive over here with VAT and customs. But we could easily do a 7/8.

I already joked about scaling up to 125% since she spends most of her time in 5/4 anyway.

That got a rather frosty reception...
 

Marc Morfei

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I plan on making that same build later this year. Tele body, Gibson-scale, HBs with split-coil on push-pull pots. My plan has been to buy a Warmoth neck and make the body from scratch, so I can put the bridge where it needs to be to match the Gibson scale. Otherwise you could buy (or make) a conversion neck, which would fit a standard tele layout. If you make the body yourself you can rout it for whatever pickups you want, plus put in the body contours which will make it comfortable and a bit lighter.
 

Ryden

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Interesting thought. Mahogany body, set neck, shorter scale, Tune-o-magic bridge?

Yeah, that was the idea.

Basically a Tele shaped LP.
I presume that the upper and lower bout don't influence the sound that much so the shape doesn't matter but the, I don't know, feedback loop, eg. the neck and the wood under the strings influence the sound a great deal
 

Ryden

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Is there such a thing as an alder bodied LP and how does it sound in that case?

Edit:
I suspect that the set neck would make a bigger difference than alder vs mahogany
 
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Boreas

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You may be overthinking things a bit. I have seen some pretty small kids play full-size Teles. If she thinks they are cool, I suspect nothing else will do and short-scale may be a compromise she doesn't want.

Take her to a store and have her try a Squier Bullet. The thinner slab makes for a very light guitar, yet full-scale. Have her try a Mustang/Duo or similar really short-scale guitar. See what she prefers to hold and play, don't guess. A Bullet-size (thin) body with a Gibson-scale conversion neck may just be her cup of tea. Who knows, she may like a nice Thinline with WRHBs...
 

Ryden

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I probably am.

I have at least three scale lengths available now, we'll play them and see what she likes.

But scale length has an effect on tone, string tension is different so the makeup of overtones differ.

We'll go and see what the local music store has available and what she fancies.
 

Beebe

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I think it's worth it to hunt down the Mahogany.

Get the Humdinger Blackwatch wind hot Hum-canceling Tele pickups from Revel Custom Pickups in Minneapolis. Or something like it. Jesse there does awesome work and has really fair prices.

Here's an all Mahogany Mustang I built with Warmoth parts. And Kinman P-90 Buckers.

It's a bolt on neck, but the radius is 12" and it uses a tune-o-matic and a hard tail piece. It plays a lot like a Gibson.

This was a really easy finish to do as well (using Rubio stain and hard wax oil) and it shows off the mahogany kind of like an LP or SG Junior.

I like the 3/4 scale idea. Not sure if they usually do these thinner as well, but you could go down to a 1.5" thickness, and I think it would play comfortably for her without any contours. Just make sure you have enough depth for the switch you choose.

IMG_20210627_154932_996.jpg


IMG_20210627_154933_009.jpg
 

Freeman Keller

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It's time to make another guitar, my daughter wants a Telecaster to accompany herself when recording jazz on her saxophone, her main instrument.

Now,
1. She wants a Tele because they're the coolest. No problem there.
2. She wants to sound like Carlos Santana
Might be hard even with HB's instead of single coils.
3. She, alone in the family, have inherited the short gene from my grandmother and is quite petite. She thinks my LP is to heavy and my other guitars a bit long and cumbersome

I have alder and birch left from previous builds, but that will make quite a bright guitar.

Would it be worth the effort of chasing down an old mahogany coffee table for wood and making a 24" neck?
I thought we might hollow out parts of the body to lighten it.

We could always get a pre routed Tele body and a LP or Mustang neck, but since time spent with teenage daughters is really rare I'd like to start from scratch and make it all ourselves.

Can we get all the requirements do you think, or what would be the best way?

Well, part of sounding like Carlos Santana is being Carlos Santana. I've heard him twice and it will be very hard for anyone to duplicate his sound. But she can try.

I associate Santana with Paul Smith's guitars, which are kind of a hybrid between a strat and a LP. Mahogany bodies, set mahogany necks, usually humbuckers. A scale length half way between F and G, many PRS are 25.0. You can, of course, scale a PRS down but that changes a lot of things.

There are several people here who have built PRS inspired guitars, you can find their threads. Good luck, hope she likes what you make for her.
 

old wrench

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A Tele with a short-scale (24") neck and P-90 ???

Why sure - :)

IMG_1407.JPG

Santana-like tones aren't a problem

I don't think it's so much the type of wood (Swamp Ash body and Walnut neck on this one) - I think most of that type of Santana-like tone comes from using a shorter scale length and P-90's

Early on, Santana played a Gibson SG and then later got into even shorter scale necks - I think there were some at 24" and some at 24.5"

I believe some of his guitars also had humbuckers

Of course - nobody but Carlos himself is going to sound just like "Santana" - regardless of which guitar he's playing :)

.
 

dsutton24

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I'd think about a short scale neck on a reduced size body. If you really want to go light weight poplar, cedar, pine or basswood would be great. I've used them all, and they work fine.

At the risk of tipping sacred cows, wood choices mean a lot less to the sound of an electric guitars to a dozen other factors. Chasing a sound like Santana's for a beginner (I'm assuming) is unrealistic. So much of his sound comes from him. Certainly gear plays a part, but a Santana sound is probably years away for a youngster.
 

arlum

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I'd choose a basswood body, (very lightweight, sounds like a cross between alder and mahogany and is supposed to be easy to work with in the workshop). I'd go with humbuckers over anything else. She shouldn't have to put up with pickup noise. Somewhere between a 24" and 24 3/4" scale length. A fret board radius between 9.5" and 12" unless you can build a compound board. Then I'd go to a 9" to 12" compound radius. Stay lightweight , comfortable and fun while avoiding any of those "You'll get used to it" electric guitar eccentricities.

Can we be looking forward to a separate thread on how a father and daughter build a clone of a Mesa Boogie Mark I?
 

netgear69

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Maybe just buy a pre-made raw body chamber it reduce the depth of it on a router sled then cap it with something nice
thats what i do because i am lazy
good luck with your project
 




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