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Old 12-18-2012, 12:43 AM   #1
squidlips
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Hybrid Telecaster/Stratocaster/Les Paul

Hi UGians!

I'm going to start building a hybrid guitar, a combination of (arguably) the three biggest guitars in the game: Telecaster, Stratocaster and Les Paul. I'd like to be able to get the jangle, the wail, the sing, the growl AND the chug.

I noticed PRS have attempted to do this (scale length, pickup configuration and wood selection mostly) and I may end up just going down that route however there are features that I haven't found on a PRS yet that I must have.

Scale length
The Telecaster and Stratocaster have a 648 mm/25.5 in scale length, the Les Paul 629 mm/24.75 in (the shorter scale length contributing to it's darker sound) and the PRS sitting roughly in between at 635 mm/25 in. I've chosen a 640mm/~25.2 in scale length, almost exactly half way between the Fender and Gibson classics.

Frets
24, because 22 is 2 short of 2 octaves. :P

Inays
None, if you were supposed to play on mother of pearl the whole neck would be made of it. Just some dots on the edge of the neck is enough for me.

Pickup configuration
The Telecaster normally has three positions: single coil neck pup, single coil neck and slanted single coil bridge, or slanted single coil bridge. The Stratocaster has 7 positions, single coil neck, single coil middle, slanted single coil bridge, neck and middle, middle and bridge, and neck middle and bridge together. The Les Paul is much more simple with neck humbucker, bridge humbucker or both. I've chosen a two humbucker + slanted single coil pickup configuration. With coil taps/coil splits I will be able to access any of the Telecaster/Stratocaster/Les Paul configurations. I'm not sure what pickups yet however?

Body wood
No idea yet! I wanted to go a one piece neck through (instead of bolt on or glued on set-neck) so I'm only mentioning woods that are suitable for bodies and necks. I feel Indian Rosewood or Mahogany might be too dark, and Maple maybe too light. Koa, Lacewood, African Padouk or Wenge would seem be the most appropriate just going from this Warmoth URL.

Freboard wood
The Telecaster is known for it's baked maple. The Stratocaster and Les Paul seem to normally alternate between rosewood and ebony. If maple is bright, and rosewood is dark, maybe the super hard ebony will be the best option?

Machine heads
This doesn't effect the tone so much as the time taken to setup. I'm going with either Planet Waves Auto-Trim Locking Tuners or Sperzel Trim-Lok Tuners for my machine heads. Should be great, but I'd like opinions on which one to choose as I haven't used either yet.

Strings
I know the conventional wisdom is thicker strings equates to more tone, and while I agree I'm playing 4 hour pub cover shows which are barre chords alot of the time. Tone goes out the window when you're fingers bleeding and your hands are so sore you can't barre that full F chord anymore. So I'm going with the Elixr Nanoweb Super Light 9-42 strings. I hate changing strings so the Nanoweb coating which increases lifespan is good. I also like the tone, and the guage should help me with my playing as well. Tone is all in the amp anyway

Other hardware
At the moment I'm planning on using either an Earvana or Graphtec nut. As far as bridge and saddle goes I'm torn on what to use. I was considering maybe going string through instead of getting a saddle but I'd love some suggestions on nut/bridge/saddle combinations for a versatile, live guitar. Maybe a Flloyd Rose with whammy will give me the best tuning stability/tone and the ability to dive bomb?

If it helps, the best guitar tone for me comes from Johnny Buckland of Coldplay, John Mayer, Johhny Greenwood/Ed O'Brien/Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Dave Knudson of Minus The Bear, and Fredrik Thordendal of Meshuggah. I'd need an extra two string for Meshuggah but :p


Please give input on any or all of the categories! I've got access to a nice chunk of cash for this so it should be a very entertaining build for you!
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:37 AM   #2
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Scale length
A friend just reccomended 25.25 because it's a more standard length. If I end up getting a precut body and/or neck this might help.

Frets
22 my friend also said, apparently having to move the neck pickup for the 24 frets messes with the sounds. Stainless steel frets as well as it lasts a lot longer than standard wire.

Inays
None confirmed.

Pickup configuration
Bareknuckle has been reccomended. I wonder what combination to get two coil tapped humbuckers with a slanted single coil?

Body wood
Koa, Lacewood, African Padouk or Wenge still options, so I can have the neck and body one piece and get a medium warm/bright tone. CRAZY IDEA: Body/neck AND fingerboard made out of a single piece of wood (either Indian Rosewood for warm, Wenge for medium or Maple/Bubinga for bright.

Freboard
I'm thinking a completely flat fretboard to match my acoustic and current electric, it's what I'm most used to. Baked maple, rosewood or ebony however? The question remains.

Machine heads
Planet Waves Auto-Trim Locking Tuners or Sperzel Trim-Lok Tuners.

Strings
Elixr Nanoweb Super Light 9-42 confirmed.

Other hardware
Graphtec TUSQ XL nut reccomended, Tonepros for bridge and tail piece. I'm still thinking about just having an acoustic style (but stainless) fixed bridge that can be dressed to change the action, it would just be so simple and look so clean with a string through.

Last edited by squidlips : 12-18-2012 at 06:32 AM.
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:02 AM   #3
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The fretboard part comes down to personal preference, as does body wood. Those are two things we can't decide. I bring this up because you posed the question of ebony vs. maple vs. rosewood, as well as the body wood part.

I say Sperzel for tuners, as I've never used a guitar with the Planet Waves ones.

As for the fret thing, you could just do what Joe Satriani did and place a single coil DiMarzio right at the fret board, choose a um cancelling one and then do that.

Sounds like an interesting build though, I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Also doesn't a typical Strat only have 5 positions? Hence the 5 way selector, or am I missing something? Every Strat I've played has been single bridge, middle neck, neck + middle, bridge + middle.
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:40 AM   #4
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One thing I've noticed is that part of that classic fender neck pickup sound is that the pickup sits directly where the 24th fret would be. If you were looking for that tone, I'd reconsider the placement.
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:49 AM   #5
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As far as the wood goes I'm choosing almost purely on sound, certain woods would be too bright (Maple), or too warm (Indian Rosewood). At the moment I'm thinking a one piece Wenge body/neck/fretboard and the Sperzel Trim-Lok Tuners. I assume they were good if you reccomended them?

Style: Les Paul
Scale: 24 3/4 "
Frets: 22, no inlays
Fretboard: between 12" and flat
Neck width at nut: 1 11/16"
Bridge string spacing: 2.062" - 2.187"
Body/neck/fretboard/headstock: 1000 x 400 x 70 mm of Wenge for $$$
Fretwire: 55.4 feet of Jescar FW55090-S for $58 + p/h I'll have enough to do another 14 guitars so I'm going to sell it for $5-10 per piece
Fretwire crown width & heigh: .090" X .055 (2.28 X 1.40 mm)
Pickups: 2 x Bareknuckle humbuckers and 1 x Bareknuckle single coil for $$$
Machine heads: Sperzel Trim-Lok Satin-Chrome Tuners for $78.91
Strings: Elixr Nanoweb Super Light 9-42 for $14.50
Nut: Graphtec TUSQ XL Jumbo Gibson Slotted nut for $14.95 + p/h
Bridge/tailpiece: Tonepros T3BP Bridge and T1ZS Tailpeice for $119.00
Electronics: don't know for $$$
Knobs: don't know for $$$
Strap locks: don't know for $$$

SUBTOTAL: $285.36 + wood, pickups, electronics, knobs, strap locks.

Electronics/pickup selector/strap locks I will need help with choosing. I will upload HEAPS of pics once I get started!

This is gonna be rad!

Last edited by squidlips : 12-19-2012 at 02:23 AM.
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:44 AM   #6
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Cool idea but if you are going neck through its really not going to be a hybrid of any of those three guitars. The interaction of the different pieces of wood is really important for those. A neck through is something else entirely.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:25 AM   #7
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I'm not 100% sold on neck through, I was actually talking about a one piece body/neck/fretboard. Apparently the sustain on them is crazy. From my understanding the only reason bolt-on/neck through is popular is the decreased cost of wood. Like I said, I'm not 100% sold on anything yet, I may end up getting a PRS and change a few bits of hardware but this is looking cheaper and better if you recheck my last post with edits.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:12 AM   #8
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Bolt on necks also allow you to replace JUST the neck if the headstock gets mangle, neck through means either an expensive repair, on a new guitar. Bolt on is popular because it's cheap, but it also has benefits over set neck and neck thru.

I like Sperzel. I've never had an issue with any of their products

What will you be playing, you list so many different artists, almost no guitar is going to be able to do them. Especially not the Meshuggah stuff.

Where are you located? If it's in the US or Canada , shipping on BKP's will be fairly hefty, you could get DiMarzio's or SD's of equal or greater quality for a similar price.

Two Painkiller humbuckers and a Piledriver Tele pickup in the neck position equates to $480 roughly. Not including shipping and handling fees. That's assuming you're in the US or Canada, I just did a conversion from GBP to both currencies.

I'd look at options other than the BKPs
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charvel1995
Bolt on necks also allow you to replace JUST the neck if the headstock gets mangle, neck through means either an expensive repair, on a new guitar. Bolt on is popular because it's cheap, but it also has benefits over set neck and neck thru.

I like Sperzel. I've never had an issue with any of their products

What will you be playing, you list so many different artists, almost no guitar is going to be able to do them. Especially not the Meshuggah stuff.

Where are you located? If it's in the US or Canada , shipping on BKP's will be fairly hefty, you could get DiMarzio's or SD's of equal or greater quality for a similar price.

Two Painkiller humbuckers and a Piledriver Tele pickup in the neck position equates to $480 roughly. Not including shipping and handling fees. That's assuming you're in the US or Canada, I just did a conversion from GBP to both currencies.

I'd look at options other than the BKPs



wut. bkp has american dealers all over the us.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:22 AM   #10
Charvel1995
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Really? I've never heard of any.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:09 AM   #11
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A hybrid of all three of those guitars should be a bolt on or at least set neck. Neck through instruments have a fundamentaly different quality that isn't usually associated with the "vintage" guitar sound.

This page explains it better than I ever could - http://www.frudua.com/bolt_on_vs_neck_through.htm

Quote:
Neck-through solutions will deliver a longer sustain, a more defined attack and a higher note definition, especially on the fundamental harmonics, which is good for the low B for example. In brief, a less personal but more HI-FI tone, with a more even and standard quality.

Bolt-on solutions deliver a "wilder" tone, where harmonics and volume are accentuated and therefore associated to a more "vintage" feel.
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:27 PM   #12
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If I was going for a bolt on or set neck then I might just buy the body and neck/fretboard rather than having them made. Check this... I know Maple is traditionally a really bright wood but the Les Paul has a lot of wood in it's body and the humbuckers as well should help get a more balanced tone.

Wesbanez, that quote you posted makes alot of sense. The truth is I'd like to be able to have both of those tones so maybe I'll end up getting two new guitars, one bolt-on and one as a one piece.

I'm located in Australia. Starting to think buying an older PRS with really nice wood and having a luthier put on some higher-tech hardware might not be a bad idea.


Pickups: 2 x coil splittable humbuckers for $$$
Strap locks: Schaller strap locks for $7

Last edited by squidlips : 12-20-2012 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 12-23-2012, 08:16 PM   #13
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Bump!

So how am I going to wire in two coil tappable humbuckers? Any pre-existing wiring kits or maybe you've got an ingenious idea?
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:37 PM   #14
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If you decide to do inlays, I think you could blend the dots on Teles and Strats with the blocks on Les Pauls to form an ellipse shape- just a thought.
This is a diagram for two splittable humbuckers and a master volume and tone, here you go.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squidlips
Bump!

So how am I going to wire in two coil tappable humbuckers? Any pre-existing wiring kits or maybe you've got an ingenious idea?

Assuming you have 4 conductor humbuckers, just hop on over to Seymour Duncan's website and look for the right wiring diagram you want. Keep in mind that if you don't have SD pickups your wire colors may not be the same, so do a little Googling to figure out that company's color coding.

I also noticed earlier that you want a completely flat fretboard, chances are, you don't. 99.9% of all production guitars nowadays have some sort of radiused fretboard. Gibsons have a 12" radius and Fenders usually have a 9.5" radius, or 7.25" radius if it's a vintage style neck. Either way, a flat fretboard is going to be pretty uncomfortable.

As I read this thread, it seems you want a perfect hybrid of 3 vastly different guitars, and that's going to require some awkward compromises. (I'm assuming this is your first build.) I suggest you sit down, and figure out what you actually like about those different guitars, and how you want your sound to turn out like, and base your build off of those aspects, you'll be a lot happier in the long run. Happy building!
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Old 12-24-2012, 09:46 PM   #16
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I've decided to go a slightly different route. I'm still trying to get something that has versatile sounds, but I've decided to just stick with the Les Paul scale length and dimensions. I'm going to do the body slightly slimmer than a traditional Les Paul, but not quite as slim as the junior. One piece of Wenge will make the body, neck and fretboard.. unless I found some great tops and necks at good prices.

Style: Thin Les Paul
Scale: 24 3/4 " or 628.65 mm
Frets: 22, no inlays
Fretboard: 12" or 304.8 mm
Neck width at nut: 1 11/16" or 42.8625 mm
Bridge string spacing: 2.125" or 53.975 mm
Fretwire crown width & heigh: .090" X .055 or 2.28 X 1.40 mm

Fretwire: 55.4 feet of Jescar FW55090-S for $58 + p/h
Pickups: 2 x Bareknuckle VH II humbuckers for $342.25 + p/h
Machine heads: Sperzel Trim-Lok Satin-Chrome Tuners for $78.91
Strings: Elixr Nanoweb Super Light 9-42 for $14.50
Nut: Graphtec TUSQ XL Jumbo Gibson Slotted nut for $14.95 + p/h
Bridge/tailpiece: Tonepros T3BP Bridge and T1ZS Tailpeice for $119.00
Strap locks: don't know for $7.50
Body/neck/fretboard/headstock: 1000 x 400 x 70 mm of Wenge for $$$
Electronics/input jack: don't know for $$$
Knobs: don't know for $$$
SUBTOTAL $635 + wood, electronics/input jack, knobs

Questions!
  1. What electronics should I use on this guitar?
  2. What knobs should I use on this guitar?
  3. Where should I source the 1000x400x70 mm of Wenge if I go one piece?
  4. Where will I source the body and neck if I decide to go bolt-on , glued through option?

Last edited by squidlips : 12-24-2012 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:43 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squidlips
Questions!
  1. What electronics should I use on this guitar?
  2. What knobs should I use on this guitar?
  3. Where should I source the 1000x400x70 mm of Wenge if I go one piece?
  4. Where will I source the body and neck if I decide to go bolt-on , glued through option?

1. Just about any will do, but Alpha and CTS are popular choices for pots, you'll probably want push-pull. Switchcraft for output jacks.
2. It doesn't really matter, as long as its a standard size. 4 knobs will probably cost your around $20.
3. I'm not the one to ask, but you could give your local lumberyard a call to see if they have any.
4. Huh? Can you clarify a bit more?
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Last edited by mtshark : 12-25-2012 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:12 PM   #18
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Thanks for the reply.

1. I know 'popular' doesn't always equal 'best'. Switchcraft is known to be quality so I'll use their jack, but I'd like some more information on which pots and the other bits of wire etc are the best quality.

2. I'm hoping to have a mini 3-way selector for each pickup (coil split front pup, humbucker, coil tap back pup) and a full sized 3-way selector that handles regular LP switching (neck pup, both, bridge pup). I was thinking just having a volume control for each pickup would be cool. I'm definitely going to have to start another thread for the wiring on this unless someone very knowledgable might help me out for a little bit of money.

3. I wasn't sure about the local lumberyard, it's probably not the same quality as say a PRS 10 top or a AAAAA top (which are just judgements about the appearance but you get my point). I'm not skimping on this guitar, it's going to be my main player. I figure a specialist guitar wood store will have a better suited quality than a traditional lumber yard, I'd love some more input on this.

4. I just meant which online shops do people go for great quality body blanks, precut bodies, neck blanks, premade necks etc.


Just a quick update, the Sperzel tuner holes are 25/64 " so that's what will be getting drilled.
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Old 12-27-2012, 03:39 AM   #19
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CTS pots will do you fine. The wire brand isn't going to really matter, the stuff at Radioshack or somewhere will do just fine. 22 AWG stranded copper wire is standard for guitar builds, although 20 and 24 AWG wire will work too.

I can't really help you here. Check the Wiring Thread, or Google around for a diagram.

Warmoth is really popular for pre-made bodies and necks, and I've heard great stuff about USACG and Allparts too. None of these places stock a solid wenge body, but Warmoth offers a wenge top, and USACG might do one if you supply the lumber.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:26 PM   #20
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Bump for the last 4 questions I asked!
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