#1
Hi guys from New Zealand!!

I thought I would put together a thread for my progress on building an 'Arm The Homeless" guitar in 2016 and the issues faced.
I suspect there will be some issues due to the age of sourcing parts near on 30 yrs old now!

I will say that I never have ever attempted to build an electric guitar but I have a local Luthier helping with the setup. So this is all new to me
and I have had to learn some jargon relatively fast!

I am also hoping as the information is very vague on exactly what the Arm The Homeless guitar uses that the community here at UG
will be able to contribute as I have read a few threads here and found scattered information but also never a complete ground up build.

Here is the gear specs I have come across:

- Fender Strat body
- Kramer style Banana Headstock 22 fret with 56mm heel (To fit fender strat body)
- Ibanez Edge Original Tremolo
- EMG H/81 pickups
- Gotoh Crownhead Tuners
- Custom toggle switch

Where am I at with things?

Well after a few months of scouring eBay and looking for items and advice from a guy who has built an Arm The Homeless guitar
I have at the moment bought the Ibanez Edge Original Tremolo. I probably consider this one of the most important parts in the build.
Its new and unused in the box from prior to 2002 apparently.

Here's a few pics!

Ibanez Edge

I am hoping it is a genuine Ibanez Edge Original it looks it at least...If anyone has any exact way to tell that would be appreciated!

Thats all I have at the moment, I DID buy a Kramer Pacer 84 neck with a Banana Headstock but it wasn't until I spoke to a few various
custom guitar body shops that advised that the Kramer neck (54mm heel) will not work with a typical 56mm neck pocket. I put that down to a Rookie Mistake!
I did also have Kramer tuners on the way but have had to return those too (for the yet to be acquired Gotoh Tuners).

After dealing with a body shop in the UK, then Warmoth, I was then advised by Warmoth to look at using ET Guitars in Australia!

There was a few reasons for this:

They can make the Fender Strat body from Alder and provide a route from their factory for the Ibanez Edge Tremolo (which over here in
New Zealand has been impossible to find help with EVEN Warmoth said they couldn't do it). ET Guitars can also do the custom 3 way toggle switch route and omit the typical pickup selector slot/route + EMG pickup slots and custom paint to match Arm The Homeless

Ernie was dealing with me direct and even advised that I would need to shim the middle saddles of the Ibanez Edge Trem to match the neck radius (expected to be 12") but the ibanez edge bridge radius is 17".

Unfortunately there is a few months delay on building the body so it won't be until Jan/Feb next year till it gets CNC machined to "Arm The Homeless" specs.

Thats not a big issue as I still have to save to acquire the parts!

With the body and bridge locked down I have shifted my focus back to the kramer style neck banana headstock 22 fret.

After my first error with the Kramer neck I have found this one on eBay, what's people's thoughts on this?

Info:

Floyd nut Maple/Rose 22 Fret Banana Guitar Neck NK2
Great made necks, nice and straight, frets well packed

Canadian maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, nice fast neck.
Finished with a light clear varnish.
The dual truss rod is adjustable at the heel.
The grain will vary as this is a photo of the first one out of the box.

Here is the spec:

• Width at Nut: 42mm
• Number of Frets: 22
• Frets: heavy/jumbo 2.9mm wide
• Neck Wood: Canadian Maple
• Fingerboard Wood: Rosewood
• Width at Heel: 56mm
• Depth at Heel: 27mm
• Scale length 648mm
• Neck radius 12"
• 10mm peg holes

It's a 56mm 22 fret neck with a banana headstock, it has a 12" radius so the bridge will need to be set to the 12" radius to match.
The guy from the company has advised that a R2 Floyd Rose Locking nut will need to be used with the neck, which is a concern, as
that matching radius for the R2 (42mm) locking nut is a 10" radius. So I have asked for clarification. You might ask why I am not using
the Ibanez Edge locking nut but the specs say in the manual here that a range for the locking nut is 14 31/32" to 17 23/32".

Reference material
Adding a pickup discussion on what Tom supposedly uses here

Signing off for the night, I welcome any comments & feedback!

Thanks Matt
Last edited by Jato_BZ at Nov 18, 2016,
#2
i think that looks like an edge ok, yeah.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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#3
Wow, those Gotoh Crownhead tuners are next to impossible to find! Rather disappointing...Thoughts are if I can't find these the build project will be shelved indefinitely.

Fingers crossed, if anyone knows where I can find some please let me know...

***UPDATE*** 27/11/16
I've decided to get these Gotoh Black tuners that are off a 1985 San Dimas Charvel. They aren't the same as the Crownhead tuners but they're still black and are Vintage hard to find Gotoh tuners. Check them out here

These will do for the meantime but will keep looking for the elusive Crownhead Gotoh tuners in black
Last edited by Jato_BZ at Nov 26, 2016,
#4
Build Update: 10/12/16
So today the GOTOH tuners that I bought off eBay turned up today. They're not the Crownhead version I'm looking for but for the time being will suffice till I find the Crownhead version. I have been speaking to a Crownhead trader so he is fairly confident the version HERE I am after will pop up eventually.

Until then these are the tuners I have in my possession which are off a 1985 San Dimas Charvel,

Neck Update: This is pretty much locked in via an eBay seller who hand makes the banana style neck. The neck heel is going to be built at 56mm however.
Also weighing up whether to go with Stainless Frets or regular frets. I will be painting the back of the neck & headstock in black in due course.

Body update: This is pretty much locked in too, just waiting for a final email back before confirming with this.

Miscellaneous Update:
Have started looking at the strap buttons, these appear to be the Schaller type chrome versions - am trying to source some off a vintage guitar as opposed to buying new. A few pics of Tom's guitar and what's on eBay here

Haven't got the neck plate sorted but this appears to be black so need to investigate a little further.

One huge oversight I missed was that Tom Morello actually runs one of those gimmicky "Fathead" Brass Sustain plates behind the headstock!!! Totally missed that and apparently trying to find one for a banana headstock is next to impossible! Heres a few pics of Tom's guitar with it on the back. Essentially from I can tell and have read is it gives the headstock more mass and apparently the result is more sustain. Seems questionable on the net however. So the chances of finding one is next to impossible, however from what I've read it's 1/16th thick (1.5mm) so if need be I will make one up. The big kicker IS, ideally I will need to have the Crownhead tuners otherwise I'll have two sets of mounting holes in the plate due to the 1985 GOTOH's mounting slightly different to the Crownhead variety.

Thats about it at the moment...
Last edited by Jato_BZ at Dec 9, 2016,
#5
If there's a big price difference, just go with nickel silver frets; they'll last fine until you hit your next project and build something better. Try not to overthink all of this stuff on your first project.

Also, do all of the set-up work yourself. You'll learn more valuable skills from improving playability than screwing parts together or painting a body; you need the experience and have to start somewhere, so might as well start now.
#6
Quote by -MintSauce-
If there's a big price difference, just go with nickel silver frets; they'll last fine until you hit your next project and build something better. Try not to overthink all of this stuff on your first project.

Also, do all of the set-up work yourself. You'll learn more valuable skills from improving playability than screwing parts together or painting a body; you need the experience and have to start somewhere, so might as well start now.


Hey thanks for stopping by -MintSauce- ! There's only $40USD in difference so not a lot, I wasn't sure if there were advantages running Stainless frets over Nickel frets apart from wear/corrosion benefits. At this stage the guitar isn't going to be used all day everyday, more of a weekend thing and possible odd gig so I don't think the frets are going to get worn quickly if Nickel is my guess.

That's true - if you actually knew me then you would know I am slightly over analytical on a lot of things! Just the way I'm wired I guess...

I will see how I get on, a Luthier is going to set up the Ibanez edge bridge (shimming the inner saddles) to match in with the fretboard radius of 14 inches as I have no radius gauges to do that.

I plan to fabricate the "Fathead" style sustain plate in brass once I have confirmed the plate thickness so i'm not too bad on the tools.

Appreciate your comments!
#7
I honestly never realized how much of a frankenstein that guitar is until now.
Cry yourself to ash
#8
Vampire_StateAgreed! More Frankenstein than Frankenstein himself IMO!

Probably the hardest issues being faced is, locating the parts (now considered Vintage) from the 80's era and then next it's confirming what parts were actually used. There's plenty of hearsay but no actual formal spec sheet detailing what gear is specifically used.

Thanks for stopping by!
#9
Quote by Jato_BZ
Vampire_StateAgreed! More Frankenstein than Frankenstein himself IMO!

Probably the hardest issues being faced is, locating the parts (now considered Vintage) from the 80's era and then next it's confirming what parts were actually used. There's plenty of hearsay but no actual formal spec sheet detailing what gear is specifically used.

Thanks for stopping by!


I thought my Strat with a Spectrum body, Fender neck, Telecaster, JEM and Hotrail pickups, and Cort Bridge with Ibanez saddles was a monstrosity, then I looked further into this guitar
Cry yourself to ash
#10
Quote by Vampire_State
I thought my Strat with a Spectrum body, Fender neck, Telecaster, JEM and Hotrail pickups, and Cort Bridge with Ibanez saddles was a monstrosity, then I looked further into this guitar
Thats pretty epic in its own right too by the sounds of it! NICE!
#11
Not much of an update this week, although I have secured the Nickel Vintage Schaller strap locks minus the suede discs that fit between the locks and guitar body.

Here are a few pics

I actually asked the Crownhead tuner guy and he had some sitting aside so that's a bonus! Still no GOTOH Crownhead tuners tho.
I've also asked him to keep an eye out for the off chance a Fathead Sustain plate for the Banana headstock may become available.

Neck is locked in for the New Year, think I am going to run with Regular frets.

That's about all before xmas!

The build will continue in 2017...
#12
Thought id stop by, this build is pretty frustrating! Especially first up! 

Some updates:

-Dealing with a new semi local Luthier
-Confirmed string spacing from E to e @ 54mm on the Ibanez Edge Original bridge
-Neck is being built finally! Am going with an oversized heel (57.15mm) due to the wide E to e spacing on the bridge! Butala guitars are doing this. Yes Rosewood Fretboard so have had to get Randy to provide a Permit for export/import since Rosewood is on the CITES Endangered species list!
-Have now secured 2 sets of GOTOH Crownhead tuners but in Chrome - Hardware spec they'll match the black version so if I find them I can swap them out!
-Body is now being machined by KnE guitars in the U.S! am just wanting to tweak the bridge / neck pickup routes ever so slightly 
-Locked in the paint code for the body - Ice Blue Metallic (Fender colour) and have sourced the paint here in New Zealand - DuPont 4692.
-Painter sorted to paint body and neck when ready
-Updating pickups to EMG H (same) & EMG 85 (Was told to use 81)

Thats about it at the moment! 

Any Q's...just shoot! 
Last edited by Jato_BZ at Aug 8, 2017,
#13
Quick update: Just purchased the EMG Pickups off evilBay, why? cos there was FREE worldwide shipping. So it was $198USD for the EMG 85/H pickups combined & landed! Versus $254USD from EMG themselves! Another item checked off the ATH list! 

In other news I have sent off the specs to Mitch & KnE guitars, I ended up tweaking:

-Neck Pickup Route
-Bridge Pickup Route
-Bridge Route
-Tone pot Route
-Both Volume Routes

hopefully can get that locked in soon! 

Thats all...
#15
Ippon Good call! I have attached some via URL links then the app I used to host them made it difficult :-o, couldn't work out how to embed them into the thread...I have a bunch of gear turning up in the next month so will try work out how to get the pics embedded then. Should be the body, neck, pickups, second set of GOTOH crowned tuners (altho Chrome).... >< 
#17
Ok, so here's one pic - test, this is the routes I sent Mitch @ KnE to route the body to. 



I drew the CAD layout from this pic, I only knew the width of the pick up covers @ 1.780 inches. Used that as a scale on the pic to work backwards to work out the positioning. 



The area in RED on the CAD pic is the start of the Fretboard, I don't think this was taken into account in previous bodies made as the neck pickup cover would sit right up against the fretboard which is not how it should be...
Last edited by Jato_BZ at Aug 10, 2017,
#19
Ordered the pickups via evilBay a week ago EX USA & they turned up yesterday with FREE Worldwide shipping! 

EMG themselves wouldn't do anything on the shipping otherwise it was going to be $54USD to get them to New Zealand!!!

Running with this configuration: 

EMG 85 (Bridge)
EMG H (Neck)



Will need to lock in the 2 x Vol knobs & 1 Tone Knob + the Pickup rings (relatively cheap for these).

My second set of Chrome GOTOH Crownhead tuners should be turning up next week (these are in immaculate condition). Unfortunately not black but hardware specs they match the "ATH" from the pictures I have viewed. A lot tuners and crownheads have the mounting tab perpendicular to the tuning post, or even at a 45 degree to the tuning post. From what I can tell the mounting tag must run vertically down on the outside and then round back upwards/inwards on a 45 degree angle into the centre. Will upload a pic when I have the new ones. 

The body is locked in with Mitch from KnE guitars & paid for and the neck is still under construction. That's where things are currently at!
Last edited by Jato_BZ at Aug 18, 2017,
#20
New Tuners! Set #3

Got these GOTOH Crownheads in chrome a while back and just got them today in NZ. They went to a good friend in the U.S who on shipped them to me. 

These are immaculate, ideally these would be BLACK! But they seem to be ultra rare to find! So hardware spec, these will do! 

What beauties!

Pic 1

Pic 2



Pic 3



Pretty happy with these overall!

So progress Update:

Body has been machined by Mitch @ KnE, it's in NZ but hasn't cleared customs yet!
The pickup rings, volume & tone knobs + 3 way toggle switch are on their way. 
No word on the neck from Butala's yet :-/ still waiting on the permit to come thru to ship Rosewood ex Canada to NZ

Thats all at this stage!
Last edited by Jato_BZ at Sep 1, 2017,
#21
So, FINALLY I got the body! It was machined by Mitch @ KnE, I had asked for some tweaks to their Tom Morello template they have but it looks like they didn't end up using my measurements I provided which is a bit of a disappointment. So at this stage the body will do but I will probably look at getting another body machined to my specs as I can see errors in this body - mainly the placements of the routes. For the time being this will do to emulate the look and sound hopefully of the #ArmTheHomeless

Pics!

Heres the Ibanez Edge Original Bridge (new) and EMG pickups (85) (H) in place!


Back



Side profile



The pickup rings, vol/tone knobs & kill switch are in NZ so they should turn up in a few days! 
Last edited by Jato_BZ at Sep 8, 2017,
#22
So the pickup rings, volume knobs x2, tone knob & 3 way toggle switch arrived today! Thought it be good to fit it all up too! Turns out the 3 way Toggle switch is too wide for the toggle route :-/ so I did the next best thing & desoldered the switch components just to fit it up...as you do, don't worry I got it all back together!

Parts


The body!


Close up! Maybe my fave pic yet!


Close up 2! Or this one!


So all is not too bad at the moment...waiting really now on the neck from Butala guitars...Im sure its on the way...eventually?
#23
Got to love that wood grain. We're you having the paint done by someone else or would you be handling that yourself? Hoping to see step by step pictures of that process.
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#24
Quote by drunkseph
Got to love that wood grain.                                                        We're you having the paint done by someone else or would you be handling that yourself? Hoping to see step by step pictures of that process.

Thanks for stopping by! I have a car painter friend that will be doing that for me - he's painted a few guitar bodies. I managed to source the original DuPont paint code that Fender used to paint the Silver Blue Ice metallic & reference it to a product here in New Zealand. He is also going to paint the back of the guitar neck and headstock gloss black too. Yip ill be sure to take photos! Never tried to build a guitar before so this is all new to me. I am just sourcing the parts all over the globe it seems. Very exhaustive.