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Photos Something Different - Guitar Build

Discussion in 'General' started by BentAnat, 16 Jan 2018.

  1. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    [​IMG]

    So this happened last night.
    That means that Ferrules are in, and the neck is screwed in.

    The Guitar is coming to my place on Sunday (my dad is making the trip for work), at which point all the bridge-mounting, nut-filing, electronics-soldering, etc will happen... expect a flood of pics next week (if I can contain my significant excitement long enough to pause to take photos).

    It's a weird thing to spend so much time and money on something that's "perfect on paper", and not have any certainty that it'll work (besides "it should")...
     
  2. Tichinde

    Tichinde Active Member

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    I know exactly what you mean, mine's in the process of getting colour sprayed and I have a drawer full of new bits.
    But it's certainly fun and a really cool project.
     
  3. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    So yesterday, we realised that we may have missed something.
    A hole for an output jack...

    So we added that.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    the hardware is just in there to "test fit" at this point.
     
  4. yuusou

    yuusou Well-Known Member

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    Slightly important bit you forgot there. :)
     
  5. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    In fairness, my Dad forgot that... I told him about that, and had all the parts there.
    Him being the "woodworking guy", I blame him. ;)

    Either way - not a giant issue.
     
  6. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    So the guitar arrived at my place yesterday afternoon for some final touches and assembly.
    Of course, as these things go, one runs into minor issues.
    Pickup wire-holes not quite big enough meant drilling at strange angles with ancient hand tools, etc.
    Rather than boring everyone with photos that show nothing but a hand that's in the way, a quick summary of what was done:

    Bridge ground wire hole was made.
    Pickup wire holes enlarged
    Tuning peg-holes were slightly off where they needed to be for the Gotoh tuners (by 1mm or so), so they were plugged and new ones drilled.

    so that leaves us here:
    [​IMG]
    what looks like a ding just looks like one there.
    The bridge is grounded and fastened, and the electronics are screwed in, but not wired yet.
    [​IMG]
    and machine heads were installed. Gotoh SG381 I want to say. Definitely the locking variant.
    One catch here was that the headstock (remember that the neck is an old one) was not the same thickness all across.
    That meant that, while the bass side (where the tuners were specced) has tight tuners, the treble side tuners were all wobbly around. We solved this by nicking spacers/washers (albeit silver ones) from the old machine heads and doubling up on the washers. We're doing this across all tuners, and it works, even if they're silver, since it now kinda matches the locking wheels.
    No photo of that just yet, but there will be...
     
  7. Tichinde

    Tichinde Active Member

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    That is looking lovely, fair dues to you.
    Something I wondered about (I have similar tuners with one offset screw) is how do you manage to make them all line up nice.
     
  8. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    simple: They all rotate around the same place, once placed.
    They all have a flat underside (above the pilot screw hole). Once the tuners are rotated to vertical (relative to the upper edge of the headstock in most cases), you can use a steel ruler (rest it on the screw holes), and aligne them all against that. The flat sides should all be flat against the ruler then.
    Then you fasten all the top nuts, then place one pilot screw after the next, checking and rechecking.

    Bottom line: they're flat at the bottom, the "screw hole" is not full height, and a ruler will align things fine once it's resting on that bit.
     
  9. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    Loads of handy tricks like that are over at StewMac's and Crimson Guitars' Youtube Channels
     
  10. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    Got some soldering done last night... I am following the standard Duncan 2 humbuckers, 1 volume, 1 tone, 3 way toggle recipe for this.
    I had various bits of appropriate wire lying around, so I can pick and chose a bit.
    I decided that the cream coloured wire is ground (save for the one coming from the bridge - because I decided on this too late), and the black cable is hot

    Starting with the output jack.
    [​IMG]

    That got screwed in then
    [​IMG]

    ...grounded
    [​IMG]

    And some more grounding (including the black bridge ground wire)
    [​IMG]

    Then adding the treble bleed resistor to the tone knob.
    [​IMG]

    And some more grounding, this time on the volume pot (make sure to not build a loop here)
    [​IMG]

    And then I added some of the hot cables.
    [​IMG]

    The plan for tonight is cutting the nut and rechecking the neck/fretwork.
    After that (but probably not tonight), it's pickups (which are not wired yet - they go in dead last, after all the potential dust and metal shavings are gone).

    I am quite chuffed with my soldering, actually.. .It's not the neatest ever, but it looks a lot less akin to penguin droppings than I had anticipated, and all solders are solid.
     
  11. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    Progress was made.
    First bit of "progress" was me stuffing up the nut slots:
    [​IMG]
    as you can see, the string spacing there is no good, and the slots are rubbish.
    Fortunately, I had a Les Paul replacement nut (also Graphtec Black Tusq) lying around that was way too thick and too tall. Nothing some patience and some sandpaper can't sort out.

    No images of making it fit though. That would include people photos... nobody wants to see that.
    After that, we rechecked the neck again (found it to be true), and started putting in pickups.
    Since insert nuts in any small gauge are all but impossible to buy around this part of the world, and I forgot to import them when I imported all other parts, we direct mounted the pickups. That meant that the pickup screws needed some cutting (they were simply way too long).
    So out comes the Dremel.
    [​IMG]
    The sandpaper is just there to clean up the new points, and make the screws actually go into the holes (considering that we screwed up the thread wit an appropriate cutting disc).

    And here she is with one pup wired in. Meet the Seymour Duncan Jazz (SH2N for those so inclined).
    [​IMG]

    At this point I did the old "plug it in, tap the pickup with a screw driver and see if you get sound", only to notice that no - I am not getting a sound.
    A few minutes of mild panic later, we established that my Dad, in his good intentions (normally not one to build electric guitars), shielded the Output Jack hole with copper tape. That was causing the output jack to short out.
    So we removed that shielding (no photos because it would be boring, and the aforementioned mild panic), and retested.
    Go figure, the pickup selector switch is wired the wrong way around. This is why I wired only one pup in at that point. Because the switch and the wiring diagram were not entirely the same format. Once that was corrected (literally one cable that needed a quick desolder and resolder), we were moving again.

    The second pickup went in, was "screwdriver tested", and strings went on (this is what I ordered fancy NYXL 10's for... again - almost impossible to get here, and I had to import them).

    As I strung up, I realised that the staggered posts are not going to fix the break angle all by themselves. Fortunately, I have some Graphtec string trees (isn't anticipation sometimes a wonderful thing). So they went on.
    [​IMG]

    At this point (rear cavity still open and such), I decide this needs playing. So I noodled around for a while.
    Observations - the volume pot doesn't actually kill the volume entirely, but does turn it way down. Good enough to play with, but this will need some "debugging". It's either a faulty pot, or it's a wiring issue... either way. It's 21:30 by this time. I am not bothering with it now.

    So we closed her up, add some DiMarzio ClipLocks, declared her "done", and had a suitably nice whisky (Ardbeg, for those interested)

    A (basically) complete pic from the front:
    [​IMG]

    and the back side
    [​IMG]

    Attentive eyes will notice some minor flaws (the ferrules at the back not being spaced right, the pickup cavities being on the big side, etc.
    We chalk this up to learning.

    Some things also still need to be done:
    Proper setup (not done just yet, because we figured we'd give the various pieces of wood some time to "settle", considering we just added 40-or-so kg of tension and brought it from the coast to an extremely dry climate, we thought that reasonable. This includes things like final nut slot depth, bridge adjustment, intonation, neck relief (though that looks pretty spot on).

    One thing I am not SUPER happy with right now is the bridge saddle height. they can go down a LITTLE bit more, but are near as low as they can go... another .5mm downwards space would be good here.
    This can be fixed with a simple shimming of the neck, though.
    Another is the bridge pickup height. It's a bit low. Since they're direct mounted, I'll have to shim that up a little as well.
    Obviously, the volume pot issue needs addressing.

    Other than that, this project is complete.
    Final list of spec (again - only for guitar nerds):

    "Cheri" strat knockoff neck, maple.
    16" radius fretboard, rosewood.
    African Walnut body.
    Maple inlay and control cavity cover.
    Steward Macdonald Nickel-silver frets (jumbo)
    Graphtec black Tusq nut
    Graphtec black tusq string trees
    Gotoh SG381 Locking tuners
    DiMarzio Cliplock strap
    Hipshot bridge
    CTS pots
    Switchcraft switch
    Switchcraft output jack
    Mighty Mite jack plate
    StewMac string ferrules
    Seymour Duncan JB and Jazz hot rodded pickup set.
    D'addario NYXL 10-46 strings
     
  12. yuusou

    yuusou Well-Known Member

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    Looking forward to listening to this! Looks gorgeous! :)
     
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  13. Tichinde

    Tichinde Active Member

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    When you've done the whole thing from scratch that is a MIGHTY small list of issues :)
    Congratulations, it does look superb.
     
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  14. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    Thanks, guys!

    it already shrank as well... figured out the volume thing... simple grounding that wasn't clear on the diagram I used.

    Not sure what I'll record with this just yet... it's part of my ever growing collection now... :) but yes - I am looking forward to messing around with it as well
     
  15. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    That's really, really nice work, and a brilliant result for a first-time builder. Well done you (and your dad).

    Now build some more! How about one of these?
    [​IMG]

    or these?

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    thanks, man!

    Next project is in the planning already - just have to see how finances work out.
    Parts aint cheap.
    Also - seems this guitar triggered an order or two for my dad (who did the woodwork - i MAY do the electronics for those... but that's yet to be decided), which I want to let him complete first. More experience in the next build can't hurt.

    Also, 2 new guitars that I got in the last 3 months means I now have to chill a bit, otherwise my better half will question my use of space... :p
     
  17. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    Quick minor update, sans pics:

    I fixed the volume pot. The issue was the #3 lug not being grounded.
    While fixing that, i noticed that, inside a copper shielded control cavity, metal braiding around a cable is probably a bad idea... asking for shorts. So I fixed that while I am at it.

    Also done: String height on the nut side sorted.
    The neck will be shimmed up by ~1mm at some point int he future, I reckon. This would mean I can adjust string height on the bridge side as well. Right now, the saddles are bottomed out.
    Since I need to find prettier screws for the neck joint at any rate, I may as well do it then.

    She plays well, intonation is in the ballpark (generally a little sharp, but not bad, all considered), and I understand why the Duncan JB/Jazz and JB/59 combos are so popular... they're quite "polite" in their output. Definitely not as aggressively voiced as the alternatives I have.

    Another interesting observation is that the string tension on this is ridiculously high. I struggle to get D-Standard without flubbing around too much on most guitars (including the Ibanez) on 11 gauge strings. On this, I reckon I can go to C on 10s...
     
  18. Tichinde

    Tichinde Active Member

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    That is interesting on the tension, I'm assuming it's measured for standard scale?
     
  19. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    Yes, it's 25.5" scale, which is the same as my Ibanez.
    I reckon part of it is the string trees coupled with the "long pull" on the strings, BUT that would only account for the strings from the 3rd down.
    I reckon that between the VERY impressive machining on the Hipshot bridge (this is my first venture into proper hipshot hardware) means less "wriggle" on the saddles, coupled with a long "pull" on that end as well, since we're effectively running the strings though another 45mm of wood before they even get to the saddles.

    The action is also still a WEE bit high on the higher frets, which WOULD contribute, but for now, I am enjoying this. I normally play in D standard for most things (besides the 8 string, which I play in EBEADGBE - that's "standard, drop-E"), so while I am used to lower tension, I don't actually dislike "standard tension". I find little changes like that make for different playing dynamics, which in turn does quite a bit for inspiration.
     

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