Trying to get started

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by zach920, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. zach920

    zach920 TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    11
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Pomeroy, Ohio
    I'm getting an order from Stew Mac ready and wanting to get everything right so I'm gonna ask a few dumb questions. I've been looking around but can't find what I'm looking for.

    I'm getting a pre slotted fingerboard. They have a 25 1/2" scale-12"radius-1/8" Flat bottom nut slot board and they have 25 1/2", compound radius(10" at the nut, 13" at the 12th fret to 14 1/2" at the 22nd) with an 1/8" flat bottom nut slot.

    First of all, which is the better board to go with?
    Second, I would like to get a shaped nut. I know that the radius' have to match, but does a nut with a bottom radius with the same as the top work in a flat bottom nut slot?

    I want to be sure of everything being right before I go pick it up.

    Thanks
     
  2. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,173
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Location:
    Northern Va.
    I'd go with the single radius, at least the first time out. Learn to install and level the frets on a single radius board first. There's a lot involved in that. I'd learn the basics on a single radius first, then move up to the slightly more involved compound later.
    As to your second question, no, a radiused bottom nut will not work properly in a flat bottom slot. Get a pre-shaped bone nut with a flat bottom and you're set. You may want to consider some nut files while you're at it. Or, as an alternative, you could buy a pre-slotted tusq nut. /these have a radiused bottom, but have a center "foot". You would remove the center foot for a radiused nut slot, or leave it in for a flat slot. I've used these before with good results, but I always seem to switch to bone as soon as I can. Good luck with your build. I'm prepping to build a neck and body this year, and the above is the way I'm going.
     
  3. zach920

    zach920 TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    11
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Pomeroy, Ohio
    Know of any good places to get pre slotted nuts? That was my plan in the first place but after looking at the fingerboard and nut selections at stew-mac, I can't get them to match up. The reason I'm buying most of my stuff from them is that I can call in an order and then drive 10 minutes and pick it up.

    They have 2 different 25 1/2" scale fingerboards. The one was the compound radius and the other a 12" radius. The only pre slotted nut is for a 7 1/4" radius. Should I just go ahead and buy a blank nut and try my hand at shaping/slotting it?

    I'm wanting to do as much wood work as I can on this project and then get into the more high tech stuff like fretting, nut slotting, etc. on the next one.

    Any suggestions?
     
  4. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,173
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Location:
    Northern Va.
    Stewmac used to sell slotted for a strat, but I forgot it was 9.5 radius, not 12". However, I see they do not offer it anymore. You used to be able to get them straight from graphtech(the manufacturer). But now I see they don't offer any pre-slotted electric nuts anymore. The site says they will make them to order, but they want precise measurements using a caliper for measurements.
    You'd be better off just to make your own. But to do this IMO you'll need a set of nut files(Stewmac or other). People post all the time about using all kinds of things to file nut slots, but to be perfectly honest with you, IMO there is NO SUBSTITUTE for the proper nut slotting files. Doing it without them, especially the first time, is inviting all kinds of problems you'll spend an incredible amount of time trying to track down(buzzes, dead strings, tuning issues, intonation issues, etc). The nut is one of the most important parts of any guitar as far as the issues I already mentioned as well as playability. Your chances of a well made nut go up incredibly with a decent set of nut files, and the time, aggravation and frustration you save will be well worth the price you'll pay. IMO the double sided nut files in the link below(part #FNS) is bare minimum.
    http://www.lmii.com/CartTwo/thirdproducts.asp?searchtext=nut+files&Submit=Quick+Search&NameProdHeader=Nut+%26+Saddle+Files
    You can get their equivelent at StewMac, but you'll have to buy 4 to get all the sizes and it'll cost you $100. As far as wanting to save fretting and nut slotting for your next build, if you build a neck, fretting and nut work are not optional. In truth, even if you buy a pre made neck, 95% of the time you'll still need to level and crown the frets and install a nut if you want it to play it's best. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, and good luck on your build.
     
  5. zach920

    zach920 TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    11
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Pomeroy, Ohio
    I didn't realize I'd be that involved with it. No biggie. I'll just have to go for it.

    Thanks for the info. Bear with me, I'm still learning.
    .
     
  6. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,173
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Location:
    Northern Va.
    You can learn everything you need to know online, which is a far cry from the way it was just a few years ago. There are lots of resources. A few I'd recomend are Frank Ford's site,http://www.frets.com. Lots of info there about all things guitar. It's mostly acoustic, but the techniques are the same on electric. Youtube is a great source of info. Spent some time searching there and you'll find lots of tutorials. StewMac has a lot of free info to make your life easier. There are a lot of knowledgeable people on this forum as well. I'd spend some time searching here for build threads. Ron Kirn, JWells, Buckocaster and a ton of others have posted lots of step by step threads. It's a great time to want to build guitars.
    But I would actually encourage you to build a parts caster your first time around. There's still a lot there to do and learn. Fretwork, finishing, setup, wiring/soldering, nut work, as well as how things generally go together. IMHO, you should know or at least be familiar with these things before you start trying to build anything from scratch. And you can end up with a really nice guitar from a parts build. Either way you go, have fun, take your time, and good luck.
     
  7. BAW4742

    BAW4742 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,537
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland's Eastern Shore
    I agree. Learn how to cut your own. It's not that hard and the more you do the easier it gets. Good nut slotting files were the biggest help that I got doing this.

    Buy several blanks as you'll probably cut one too low and have to start over. (Voice of experience here)

    Check out Jaydawg's layout tool here too. This should be a help.
     
  8. porkadon

    porkadon Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    231
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Location:
    Willimantic, CT U.S.A.
    I built mine with mostly Stew-Mac parts, using their ebony boarded neck. I bought a Graph-Tech blank and the files, which their rep suggested, and cut my own. Also got their spacing ruler for the slots. Just take your time. It's worth the effort!
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Old Cane

    Old Cane Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,835
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Even if you buy a pre-slotted nut like a tusq (which I'm sure stewmac still sells) you're going to need to file the slots. It ain't plug and play, exactly. That is if you want it the way you'd want it.
     
  10. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,173
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Location:
    Northern Va.
    The guitar in my avatar is a partscaster, mostly from StewMac except for the string trees and 3way switch , which are Fender and the pups which are Duncans. It is hands down among the very best guitars I've ever owned or played.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,173
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Location:
    Northern Va.
    Yep. I used the pre slotted before I learned to cut nut slots. What I did was actually sand the bottom of the nut until the nut slots were close to the proper height off of the board. But I would not recommend this for a few reasons. 1, it's easy to sand too much and blow a whole nut. 2, you can get close, but using a proper file and filing the individual slots will allow you to do a much better job, and 3, if you're going to do it, you may as well learn to do it right. And yes, StewMac still sells preslotted nuts, but they don't sell them in 9.5" or 12" radius(which the OP indicated he needed). It's not in their current catalog, nor can I find it online. You can, however, still find them in 7.25".
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  12. zach920

    zach920 TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    11
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Pomeroy, Ohio
    A few months ago I stripped my old Squire Strat bare. Changed the tuning machines/bushings, all new pickups, pots, switch, jacks, wiring, string retainers, bridge/saddles, pickguard, tremelo cover. I even set it up(truss rod adjustment, checked the radius and set my saddles, action. I am by no means saying I'm a world class luthier based on that. But just having all of the parts there on the bench and a bare guitar and going back together with it really got me thinking about building one from the ground up.
    Granted, I haven't done any fret and saddle work but I'm willing to learn. I've got a lot of good resources going for me. Friend from work has a saw mill and I can get wood from him, plus he's got a really nice wood shop. At work I've got access to a band saw, drill press and paint booth. Plus I have a completely bare 68x32 basement that I can do a lot of work in.

    I know this won't be a 3 month project or anything. I want to just take it one step at a time and try and learn as I go. Buy a little now to get it started and buy a little later when it gets further along. It'll take a while I know. We'll see what happens.

    I did get a piece of poplar from a buddy of mine today that i'm gonna practice the neck layout/shaping with. I'll ruin it before I ruin the piece of curly maple haha.
    Thanks for the help guys.
     
  13. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,173
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Location:
    Northern Va.
    It looks like you're off to a good start. I'd definately go for it. I hope you weren't feeling discouraged by my posts. I didn't know the level of knowledge you had and so tried to give the best advice I could based on that. There's absolutely no reason you can't do this. Good luck to you.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.