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Old 05-27-2015, 07:58 AM   #1
billyTheShears
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NGD: Nathalie Silmeria (Warning! gaudy content inside)

Billy, why again?
My first build, Valkyrie (link in sig), didn't quite look as I've envisioned so I've tweaked the design a bit, moreover this time I wanted to build it completely by myself. The name Silmeria is borrowed from the Valkyrie Profile video game franchise.

Body and neck
The body of my other guitar was built by a friend and I didn't have any woodworking experience before (I'm not counting the Tone Tank that some of you might remember).
Overall it went pretty well, the neck pocket is tight (though I should have routed it a couple of millimetres deeper) and everything aligns correctly, one thing I should have done better is the middle pickup cavity, I didn't want it to be too large so the top of the cavity is smaller than the baseplate of the pickup, it's carved inside but not enough, so I've got to keep the pickup 5mm from the strings because it can't be raised any higher; at least it doesn't get in the way of my picking.
I've ordered the half paddle neck from guitarsupplies.nl, it's pretty basic but quality is good, the frets are level and my only gripe with it is the fretboard that protrudes over the body quite a lot without an apparent reason.
It's the heaviest guitar I own, it weighs 4.1 kg (9 lbs).

Electronics
I've ordered almost everything I needed from Axetec.co.uk , this time I had to pay for the slab of wood (a single piece of maple) so I wanted to save some money on the parts.
I've purchased 4 push pull 500k pots, I've measured the actual resistance and in general tolerance is good, <5% for 3 of them, the other one is about 455kohm, still good as a tone pot for the bridge pickup. They are a bit scratchy, though not more than the push pulls pots I've got on my other guitars.
Their resistance is negligible when it should be so (for example to let the signal through when the volume is at 10), and the same applies for the push pull part, for the 3 way pickup selector and for the 3-way mini switches, so overall I'm pleased with the quality of the electronics.

Wiring
I've decided to stick with a Les Paul style 2 volume - 2 tone - 3 way selector wiring. Only the neck and bridge pickups have a tone and volume control, the middle pickup can be activated with two push pulls, either in parallel, or in series and out of phase. It can still be used on its own by turning it on in series with another pickup and turning down the volume of that pickup to zero.
The mini switches are for the usual series/single/parallel wiring for the humbuckers.

Pickups
I've chosen an overwound Rolling Mill (bridge), a Steel Foundry (middle), a Rolling Mill 2 (neck).
They were packaged very well, with a protective film on the cover and pre-peeled wires.
With a resistance of 13kohm (for what it's worth), to my ears the overwound Rolling Mill is voiced for rock/hard rock, it sounds slightly more single coily and "bridgey" than the diMarzio AT-1 in my other guitar (actually the AT-1 is about 3mm closer to the saddles and it's reversed so the comparison is flawed).
Still it's hot enough to be splitted without sounding too weak, so it can cover a lot of ground.
The Rolling Mill 2 is 13kohm too, quite a lot for a neck pickup but I wanted something thicker sounding than the PAF 36th anniversary in my other guitar, also I've never tried a mini humbucker before.
It sounds syrupy (does this make any sense?) but not muddy, coil splitted it sounds brighter and clearer but it keeps its smoothness.
The Steel Foundry in the middle is supposed to be a Telecaster neck pickup, even if it's in the wrong position it has definitely a strong Telecaster vibe especially when playing slightly overdriven chords. In parallel with the other pickups it's not as quacky as on a strat even when the humbuckers are splitted (maybe because it's not exactly in the middle and it's voiced too differently), but it can deliver that bright note attack typical of strat's middle position, and also a nice and sparkly clean sound together with the bridge.
Overall these pickups don't feel like a downgrade in any way compared to the big brand pickups in my other guitars, and they are going to be my first choice in the future.

Hardware
The bridge is poorly designed, it's a top loader but the saddles are clearly supposed to be used on a string through, the strings pull up the back of the saddles and even touch slightly the tip of the adjuster screw, quite surprisingly this doesn't seem to impact tuning stability and sustain.
On the other hand string tone seems good, on my previous build the high E is too bright and piercing, on Silmeria it sounds more balanced, actually the difference is quite big considering that both guitar are made 100% of maple and the bridge is the only major difference, really discussions about tonewood make little sense.
By the way, I've also tried to knock the wood before and after the finishing process and I couldn't hear any difference, but after mounting the hardware the response changed quite dramatically.
The graphite nut could be better, it's hollow inside, this doesn't seem to have any adverse effect but still I'd prefer to have a solid nut.
I've also purchased the locking tuners but decided to mount them on Valkyrie and use the Schallers on Silmeria because I liked them better from an esthetic point of view (I know it's silly). Anyway they are good quality, maybe actually a bit smoother and more consistent than the Schallers (I've never been very fond of them, they work but for the money I expected better, they didn't feel as good as the Grovers on the Les Paul I've sold)

Finish
The guitar colour is a violet/purple burst, I think it's quite girly and, together with its shape, it makes the guitar look like a Sailor Moon's magic wand but in my opinion it had to be like this for the following reasons:
- Violet is the colour of Valkyrie Silmeria's outfit
- There will never be a more fitting situation to paint my guitar violet, it's now or never
- Someday I'll need an excuse to build/buy another guitar
- I'm not the girl, but the guitar, so she's dressed like a girl
- this and this
- my other option was cherry burst but my trials on scrap wood brought clown burst to a new level
- I think I'm man enough to allow myself a girly guitar
- I've actually copied the hair colour of that Nathalie, I thought it was pretty cool and anyway I like how the name Nathalie Silmeria sounds... nothing else, it's not like she's following me back on Twitter

The finish is quite far from being perfect, I didn't sand between coats because I didn't want it to be too flat, as usual it bubbled, mostly on the back and the edges, still much less than my other guitar. That water based paint is quite finicky.

Final words
was it worth it? Well, from a purely economical point of view definitely not, the guitar industry can source parts way cheaper than me and my luthier skills and tools are quite limited so my builds are doomed to have some rough edges, however I've enjoyed building this guitar from start to finish and anyway I like the result, so yes, for me it was worth it...though I could change my mind if I'll ever want to sell it

did you read the warning? gaudy content!
show
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Old 05-27-2015, 08:13 AM   #2
K33nbl4d3
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I'm not a pointy guitar kind of person but in a sinful way I really like this. The switches make it, I think.

Nice one!

PS: I'm honoured to be included in your post

PPS: The combination of
Quote:
my luthier skills and tools are quite limited

and the wood-chopping axe in the first picture concerns me...
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Old 05-27-2015, 08:25 AM   #3
The Judist
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You could have someone's eye out with that!
Nice colour. HNGD!
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Old 05-27-2015, 09:05 AM   #4
H4T3BR33D3R
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damn that is certainly a guitar


HNGD
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Old 05-27-2015, 09:23 AM   #5
dannyalcatraz
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I remember you posting sketches of this a while ago.

Congrats on your new guitar and kudos for having the cojones to follow through on a difficult project. If nothing else, you learned a bit about yourself.

HNGD!
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Old 05-27-2015, 11:49 AM   #6
Ippon
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I'd rock it! I'd need an all-White outfit - suit and shoes. Congrats!
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Old 05-27-2015, 01:02 PM   #7
arv1971
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Looks great. Love the paint job!
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Old 05-27-2015, 03:32 PM   #8
Dave_Mc
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sweet
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Old 05-27-2015, 05:13 PM   #9
gregs1020
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ok that's different.

congrats! i hope it's everything you wanted out of it.
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Old 05-27-2015, 05:43 PM   #10
flexiblemile
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that guitar is like falling in love with a stripper
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Old 05-27-2015, 06:55 PM   #11
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Old Yesterday, 12:47 AM   #12
Acϵ♠
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i would play the shit out of that, honestly lol


i know exactly what you mean by syrupy
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Old Yesterday, 01:15 AM   #13
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It reminds me of a butterfly with bad intentions. I like it.=D HNGD!
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Old Yesterday, 02:33 AM   #14
billyTheShears
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Thank you all!

Quote:
Originally Posted by K33nbl4d3
I'm not a pointy guitar kind of person but in a sinful way I really like this. The switches make it, I think.

Nice one!

PS: I'm honoured to be included in your post

Actually I was undecided about that, I didn't want you to think you've contributed to the creation of a monster

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Judist
You could have someone's eye out with that!
Nice colour. HNGD!

I'll be careful, I promise

Quote:
Originally Posted by H4T3BR33D3R
damn that is certainly a guitar
HNGD

Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyalcatraz
Congrats on your new guitar and kudos for having the cojones to follow through on a difficult project. If nothing else, you learned a bit about yourself.

I think the only thing I learned is that I should close my eyes when I blow sawdust out of the cavities


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ippon
I'd rock it! I'd need an all-White outfit - suit and shoes. Congrats!

I could borrow the guitar to you just to see you with that white outfit

Quote:
Originally Posted by arv1971
Looks great. Love the paint job!

Thanks, going back I'd paint the center slightly lighter, under most lighting conditions it's darker than I've planned

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
sweet

And you didn't smell the maple dust, it has become a very familiar scent to me

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregs1020
ok that's different.
congrats! i hope it's everything you wanted out of it.

Yes, it's a very versatile guitar, I've mounted that middle pickup just for the look but it's actually useful, especially since it has got a very different voicing than the neck pup

Quote:
Originally Posted by flexiblemile
that guitar is like falling in love with a stripper

You are a keen observer, there's a story behind this. Soon after building my other guitar I thought that one of the reasons it looked goofy was that the "waist" was too low (I mean, too close to the bridge). So I've literally imported a photo of a woman in bikini inside the project and copied the proportions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Watterboy


Hey, aren't you UG's Yes Man? thanks anyway, I was starting to believe it wasn't gaudy enough


Quote:
Originally Posted by Acϵ♠
i would play the shit out of that, honestly lol
i know exactly what you mean by syrupy

it couldn't be any different with all that maple

Quote:
Originally Posted by GraceByDeath
It reminds me of a butterfly with bad intentions. I like it.=D HNGD!

a friend thinks it looks like the spiderman logo, actually the cutaway around the bridge should look like Valkyrie's wings, that was the main idea of this design
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Old Yesterday, 09:07 PM   #15
Zhaezzy
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Well it is certainly not just another strat. I like it is is very different I hope it plays well and is comfortable to play. Project guitars like this one are the ones their creators love most.
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Old Today, 12:24 AM   #16
jpnyc
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Love that body shape. It has a crazy BC Rich meets Alembic thing going on. Good work!
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