Viewing 32 posts - 1 through 32 (of 32 total)
  • Any luthiers in the house?
  • Premier Icon ajantom
    Full Member

    I fancy a project, and want to build an electric guitar from scratch.

    Done a kit before, but that’s more akin to a jigsaw with a bit of soldering.

    Bear in mind I’m a woodwork/technology teacher, so have ‘some’ skills, and workshop/tool access 😉

    Body will be fine I think. Just need to download some templates and fire up the router. Thinking of a Tele shaped body, so keeping it simple for a first build.

    My main concern is building a neck.
    I can buy a pre-built one to fit the body, and probably will, just to get it up and playing initially.
    But how difficult is it, and what specialist tools will I need?
    Guessing at least a fine fret saw and something to sand/check the fretboard radius.
    I have plenty of random timber offcuts, I quite fancy something interesting for the fretboard, a dark hardwood of some sort, and maybe beech for the neck & headstock?
    How difficult is fitting a truss rod?
    Then cutting and fitting the frets….it will definitely be a fair amount of work!

    Premier Icon lesgrandepotato
    Full Member

    I’d deffo build a body for an existing neck first.

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
    Full Member

    You can buy a neck blank then still have the fun of setting your own frets without the angst of doing the whole neck from scratch and building in a truss rod

    Premier Icon Tiger6791
    Full Member

    Then cutting and fitting the frets….it will definitely be a fair amount of work!

    Solid body is a shortcut 🙂

    Linky to album
    Dad's Guitar Build

    Guitar Build

    However those photos are from 2011 and it’s still not finished

    Premier Icon mahowlett
    Free Member

    If you’re handy with wood, it doesn’t seem that hard, very time consuming though…

    Premier Icon ajantom
    Full Member

    You can buy a neck blank then still have the fun of setting your own frets without the angst of doing the whole neck from scratch and building in a truss rod

    I know, but I quite fancy the challenge. Idiot that I am!

    I will build the body first, and fit an existing neck.
    I have a no-name 90s SC style guitar that I can nick the neck from, crap guitar, but surprisingly nice neck!

    Just been looking online for hardware. Need to decide whether to go cheap and functional, or a bit fancier.

    Gear4music seem to have a good selection of bits at reasonable prices.
    eBay would be cheaper, but quality is more of a gamble I suspect.

    Premier Icon edhornby
    Full Member

    Wilkinson for hardware, cheap tuners and cheap bridges on a guitar you’re trying to get accurate fret spacings on to tune properly will be a nightmare

    Premier Icon MrSparkle
    Free Member

    Martin Luthiers?

    Premier Icon howsyourdad1
    Full Member

    My friend is a luthier. He is fairly talented, put it that way.

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Free Member

    Heres what I’d do, and I’ve done this before (a long time ago)

    I made a Strat body out of Ash, routed the cutouts for the PU’s and Neck and Controls, then used a drill for the Jack.. All simple enough, although Ash is quite a “hollow” grain and needed a lot of sanding and filling to get it down to smooth enough for painting (I painted it a faded Purple, like Jake-E-Lee’s from Bark at the Moon era)

    The Neck I bought a cheap Squier lefty (upturned headstock) and that was unfinished, there are people who stock unfinished Necks, try Allparts. Back then I got the neck from a music shop in B’ham.. simple enough to just bolt it all together etc..

    Then I thought I’d go for building a neck from scratch, and TBH it was tricky to say the least. I wanted an upturned Charvel type headstock and you couldn’t buy them on their own back then, so I set about building my own.

    I used a very close grain Maple, and quarter sawn it. That was easy enough, I followed the profile of the Squier neck I had then just adopted/formed the new style headstock design to it. All good so far. The routing for the truss rod wasn’t tricky, I placed the neck in a long bench vice and built a saddle around it flush so I could route the router along it and took about 4/5 passes to the depth. The truss rod measurements were easy enough to get, they’ve got (or did back then) two lugs on them so when in situ the lugs hold the tension and you wind on the tension via the allen key head. I mounted my adjustment nut at the PU end and this was a mistake, as I needed a decent cut out for the allen key to slot into/through the body into the neck shoulder… really I should have set it the other way around, but hey I was just playing about at it. The fret board I used ebony, I had an easy job of plaining that down and setting on top of the blank neck, I just used strong wood glue. After sanding it down to the same measurements as the Squier neck I set about measuring the scale length from a Strat I already had and copied all the measurements, that’s easy. Then used a fret saw for the frets (obvz) and got hold of some fret wire form the same guitar shop in B’ham. and went about setting them in the neck. The Nut was simple, the holes for the tuners was simple, the string trees were set by eye.

    As far as the finish goes that was simple, I oiled the back of the neck and fretboard, Nitro finished the body. There wasn’t a scratch plate just the routed holes for the PU’s and the jack went on the end butt of the body near the strap lock.

    The intonation was a bit tricky at first.. setting a guitar up from scratch caused a headache, then I decided to just copy all the string bridge settings off the Strat and that gave a decent base to work with.. then fiddled with a tuner to find an optimum position..

    The PU’s were a Semour Duncan set bought as a set (two Humb’s) and the pots and switches came from an electrical supplier (can’t remember their name, but I’m sure they were part of a big guitar importer at the time)

    It played nice enough, I played it like a donkey TBH and didn’t like the upturned headstock. Sadly I’m not George Lynch and thats kinda what I was going for. I sold it to a mate who managed to sound like Warren D’Martino and he played it for ages, then I lost contact with him.. I wonder if he’s still got it.

    IME the whole process was made easy by using a Mule to get all the settings and profiles from, in my case my Strat. So if I’ve got any advice is beg/borrow a Mule to get all that off. I didn’t have any neck relief problems at all, in fact it was stable as any guitar is. You don’t actually put that much tension on the truss rod, if you do you’ve got more issues than just neck relief.

    I did have the use of a workshop with planers/routers/standup drills/tools and all manner of woodworking equipment.. I used to make antique Golf Clubs for a friend back then as a bit of a hobby so had some experience with woods/finishes/tools.

    I’d say do it. It’s a brilliant way to hold something and strum on something you’ve made.

    I have some pics at my mothers of it (back when pics were taken with a camera and film) but they’re buried deep within all my old books and stuff… I should get them out.

    Premier Icon MrSparkle
    Free Member

    What did you do in the afternoon?

    (Well done, btw. Impressive mate)

    Premier Icon anagallis_arvensis
    Free Member

    Talented luthier

    Premier Icon tillydog
    Full Member

    But how difficult is it, and what specialist tools will I need?
    Guessing at least a fine fret saw and something to sand/check the fretboard radius.
    I have plenty of random timber offcuts, I quite fancy something interesting for the fretboard, a dark hardwood of some sort, and maybe beech for the neck & headstock?
    How difficult is fitting a truss rod?
    Then cutting and fitting the frets….it will definitely be a fair amount of work!

    Go for it!

    It’s not that hard if you’re methodical. You will need a fine kerf saw for the frets – best done by trial and error once you’ve got your fret wire. You can file / grind the set out of a junior hacksaw blade if you’ve nothing better. The other thing is some nut files. You can improvise them too, but real ones are so much easier!

    I started with an electric uke

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2i2tTzj]DSC_1319[/url] by tillydog, on Flickr

    No truss rod. Made from scraps and painted with a Halfords rattle can.

    Then went on to what I really wanted:

    I turned this:

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2i2u6wf]DSC_1714[/url] by tillydog, on Flickr

    Into this:

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2i2rvHp]DSC_2409[/url] by tillydog, on Flickr

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2i2tVBA]DSC_2381[/url] by tillydog, on Flickr

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2i2tVFt]DSC_2377[/url] by tillydog, on Flickr

    Ebony fingerboard with edge binding; Steinberger gearless tuners, single piece truss rod.

    Then I made a Tele out of an offcut from our hose extension hip rafter for the body and a length of maple for the neck. Homemade truss-rod from B&Q steel rod.

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2i2rAC4]DSC_3815[/url] by tillydog, on Flickr

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2i2rzX1]DSC_3843[/url] by tillydog, on Flickr

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2i2v7Qg]DSC_3821[/url] by tillydog, on Flickr

    I wrote all about it no the fretboard forum, but Photobucket ate all the pictures:(

    Uke: https://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/433/homers-spice-rack-electric-uke-my-first-foray-into-lutherie

    Firebird: https://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/244/firebird-build/p1

    Tele: https://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/14815/wood-butchery-iii-y-a-t-b-yet-another-telecaster-build-done/p1

    I don’t think I bought anything except some nut files (eventually).

    Incidentally, the Fretboard forum is the STW of guitar.

    PS Axes-R-us for decent selection of parts at fair prices: https://www.axesrus.co.uk/

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    “Tillycaster”!! 🤣🤣

    Some talented people on this little ol’ forum, nice work all.

    Premier Icon tillydog
    Full Member

    “Tillycaster”!! 🤣🤣

    😎

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Free Member

    Ohh… that’s just awesome Tilly.

    Great effort.

    What do they play like? Be critical because at some time in the near future I’m going to make another guitar.. I’ve got loads of hardware stashed and fancy a semi-hollow a bit like either a Tele thin line or one of the D’Angelico Bedfords type..

    Exctiting..

    Premier Icon Edukator
    Free Member

    Very impressive, Tilly. I’m happy to put Warmoth parts together. Less time building, more time playing. It takes me a morning just to change a nut on a Tele. I’ve got an old Sigma Martin that needs a refret and the neck profile modifying… one day.

    Premier Icon ajantom
    Full Member

    Good job on those Tilly, gives me hope yet!

    Just ordered some Tele hardware, solid no-nonense mid-range bits.

    Found a deal on some decent looking locking tuners on eBay (much prefer locking tuners over vintage ones).

    ….and also found (and put in an offer) for an interesting looking Tele-style neck. We’ll see if they accept.

    I’ll build with a bought neck first, and then use that as a template/mule for my own.

    Planning on going for a slightly different aesthetic with it from your standard Tele. Dark front (maybe using glued sections of reclaimed hardwoods) and a dark fretboard. Then light on the back – maple neck and a birch ply veneer on the back….it will make sense when I’m done (probably!)

    Premier Icon Edukator
    Free Member

    If you buy a neck make sur it’s Fender compatible in terms of socket and deck height. the Fender and Warmoth necks I’ve got are around 24-25mm thick in the middle at the socket (compound radius or 9.5 radius). A 29mm thick after market neck felt all wrong.

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Free Member

    Can we have some pics, like an update thread please..

    This is exciting innit..

    Premier Icon tillydog
    Full Member

    Thanks!

    What do they play like? Be critical…

    I just a bedroom noodler and I’m probably biased, but I can’t really fault them (ignoring the uke, which isn’t really my thing). They are in tune, hold their tune well and can be properly intonated; I carved the necks to suit my preferences, so they naturally feel good (to me). I’ve fiddled around with pickups (as you do) and I think they sound OK too. I originally did the Firebird with small ‘vintage’ frets, but realised I liked bigger ones after I built the Tele, so I’ve re-fretted the Firebird with jumbo frets and like it more – building one gives you the confidence and freedom to get just what you want. Proper guitar players have had a go on them and pronounced themselves impressed (or were being polite). I know that my Firebird played far nicer than a new Gibson one I tried in a shop, but that’s more of an indictment of Gibson’s QC than a boast by me – It’s the difference between playing an ‘out-of-the-shop’ guitar and one which has been fettled and set up (frets levelled and polished, action and intonation set, etc.)

    Not a luthier by any stretch, but very pleased with the way they turned out, and would encourage anyone to give it a go.

    Now an acoustic is a different kettle of fish. Maybe one day…

    PS – loads of templates on the TDPRI forum:

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/on-tele-headstocks.346543/#post4399769

    The original Fender neck drawing is widely available on the ‘net too – it’s what I used to make my Tele neck. (Looks like photobucket ate the pictures on the TDPRI thread too.)

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/truss-rods-how-they-work-including-the-bi-flex.95999/#post1084954

    Premier Icon ajantom
    Full Member

    If you buy a neck make sur it’s Fender compatible in terms of socket and deck height.

    Allegedly it’s built to Fender dimensions, though you do take a risk buying from t’interweb.

    Can we have some pics, like an update thread please..

    This is exciting innit..

    I will update in due course, but it’ll be a while, cos Xmas innit. So 2 weeks school holidays means no access to the wood store or machines.
    Going to be busy fending off the rugrats, and trying to cycle off the extra calories.

    Premier Icon CountZero
    Full Member

    Always fancied building a Tele-style guitar, but never had the facilities to make the attempt. My imagined ‘Tele’ would have a slightly different aesthetic in being a symmetrical double-cutaway, the top identical to the bottom, which would be dead easy with a Tele, with matching symmetrical scratchplate.
    I wouldn’t have the standard ‘ashtray’ bridge/tailpiece, I’d have the sort fitted to the deluxe hollowbody version, with a humbucker at the neck and a single coil at the bridge.
    Just a fantasy, but it’s nice to dream.
    I have to say Tillydog’s Firebird and ‘Tillycaster’ are stunning! Those really are works of art, congratulations and very well done. 👏🏻

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Free Member

    I just a bedroom noodler

    Ha! We all are..

    We’ve got another thread going, Rusty started it, take a look it’s kinda a default thread for “us” lot..

    Premier Icon shermer75
    Free Member

    Reading this thread makes me think of this:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Special

    Premier Icon jjprestidge
    Free Member

    We’ve got a Strat neck from a partscaster that we’ve taken to bits, if you fancy going down that route. Might be easier building a body and attaching a pre-made neck to it.

    JP

    Premier Icon glitch
    Free Member

    Im just finishing my first guitar (well almost finished means I got close last winter and then got on with other stuff all year, and now returning to it!)
    I bought a neck, for my first to make things simpler.
    My only advice is if you haven’t found him already, search on you tube for crimson guitars. The guy on there has done multiple build a guitar in x hours video series and are a very good way to loose several hours of your life. – But he will take you through building necks from scratch in every video.
    It sounds like you definitely have the skills, and all but the specific tools already, and watching it done a few times really helps visualise what you need to do. – But it is all doable for someone who is good with tools.

    Premier Icon easily
    Free Member

    I only came here to find out what a luthier is.

    Premier Icon ajantom
    Full Member

    My only advice is if you haven’t found him already, search on you tube for crimson guitars. The guy on there has done multiple build a guitar in x hours video series and are a very good way to loose several hours of your life.

    Yep, he does some crazy builds.

    I actually met him a while ago as he’s based not far from my school, one of my colleagues knows him, and we sold him a couple of old milling machines and some metal vices for his workshop.

    Nice guy, we had a good chat about guitars and woods. In fact that reminds me, he gave me his card. I’ll tap him up for some advice 😉

    Premier Icon joshvegas
    Free Member

    Melvyn Hiscocks book is still a great book for the subject.

    Explains some techniques etc but probably the design parts are the most useful.

    Premier Icon joshvegas
    Free Member

    . Always fancied building a Tele-style guitar, but never had the facilities to make the attempt. My imagined ‘Tele’ would have a slightly different aesthetic in being a symmetrical double-cutaway, the top identical to the bottom, which would be dead easy with a Tele, with matching symmetrical scratchplate.

    Sounds slot like an epiphone Crestwood shape. Pre or post reshape can’t remember which.

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