#1
'Sup GB&C,

So, I'm in the process of planning my 1st build, and I would like some input from others who have experience, on whether it sounds good / stupid and why, and whether or not anyone can foresee any possible problems.

A bit of foundation first: I'm well aware the it will cost a lot of money with getting all the materials and tools needed. This is not an "I'll do it myself 'cause it's cheaper" -kind of thing - I'll do it myself because I want to, and have for a while.

I'll also want to avoid getting anything done for me - I'm applying for a luthier school next spring, and they'll be all the more impressed if what I present to them as my own work is actually my own work.

My workplace has a wood workshop, which I believe I'll be able to use for things that require large tools I can't get myself (big saws etc), but I've got plenty of dough and I am willing to spend it on this.

SO, finally here's some specs and why I think they would be good:

Body: T-style, Mahogany (T-style doesn't need carving or much contouring so I'm figuring it's good for 1st build, right? Also, mahogany, because I don't want alder, and I hear that swamp ash is notoriously inconsistent in quality and density)
Neck: Bolt-on, 25" scale (like a PRS), mahogany (I like the sound of guitars with a mahogany body & neck, like an SG.)
Fretboard: Ebony, 22 frets (Either Jumbo or Xtra Jumbo, not sure yet), 430mmR radius
Nut: Graphtech, 43mm
Tuners: Gotoh Magnum Locking (3 on side style alignment with PRS -style headstock - I've heard that it's good because the strings travel in a straight line)
Electronics: H/S/H pickup configuration W/ 5-way switch. Also, possibly a "fast lane"-type of gimmick. Pickups hardmounted if it's something I think I'm able to pull off.
Bridge: Hipshot fixed 6-string bridge.
Finish: Not sure at all yet. I'm thinking if the mahogany looks nice, I might want an oil finish, but I hear that if you mess it up it might ruin the whole guitar, as if the wood absorbs too much of it, it'll never dry out properly.

Other things I'm thinking / wondering:

I'll probably order the fretboard wood pre-slotted. A luthier who sells guitar building woods offers an option of doing this for fretboards, and he's listed the 25" scale as an option on his site. I want this done by a professional, since I hear that it'll ruin the guitar if done wrong.

I'm also thinking a special red inlay on the fretboard - anyone know if it's easy to find material for it, or if I can dye it myself?

So, yeah, I think that's a start of a plan, at least. It's got absolutely nothing to do with a tele except for the body shape, I know. My idea of it is a versatile guitar for modern rock / metal. I'm thinking some really hot pups - BKP's, probably. Also, even though it's a H/S/H, the neck pup will be a P-90 - A BKP Stockholm, which is a P-90 in humbucker size.

I'm not sure yet, since I've never built a guitar, but I'm also thinking of making the tele body a bit slimmer & sleeker than normally, contouring and rounding it around the edges just to make it a bit less bulky.

I've not listed every single detail I have in mind here. I'd be copying the neck dimensions from my SV5470F, so I've got them down.

So, anyone, anything? Have I not considered something I should have? Am I grabbing too big a bull by the horns here? I want this thing to happen and to be good, but I'll need help from experienced people - Help me build the best electric guitar I can, people! A million thanks in advance for any input on anything.
Gear:

Guitars: Ibanez SV5470F, Ibanez Xpt700, Fender MIM Standard Stratocaster ('04-'05), Jackson Ps-2
Ashton AG200,
Amps: ENGL E530, Bugera 6262-212,
FX: TC Electronics G-major 2, Behringer EQ700, Morley Volume / Wah
#2
it sounds just fine to me, and it should be very possible. i did mention to another guy what i found in my first build - be open to change. you have a plan for what you want, but sometimes things go differently. thats not at all to say you cant end up with exactly what youre aiming for, but building is tough. with all the right tools of course it will make things easier, but keep your mind open to little changes here and there and dont get frustrated if they happen. my build didnt go quite like i thought, at all, but in the end, im still happy.

i think if i had had a really set goal in mind, i would have been more upset because things change a lot, some things dont work out, etc. the thing is, i now know a lotttt more than i did before, and next time i will be able to have a more set path.

also, do a google search for guitar inlay tips, and youll find all sorts of ways to inlay with different things including colors

and please, please post pics as you go along =D we like pics.

edit - and to clarify, the main point of my post is: let the learning and fun outweigh disappointment, if there is any. i let myself get frustrated when things went wrong, but in the end i had a great time and learned a ton. thats what the build is about. and if you can get the product you want while doing it, then more power to you! patience is absolutely key
Last edited by xadioriderx at Jun 21, 2011,
#3
I like how it sounds, but here is my 2 cents:
I think that a maple neck might suite you better. I love working with mahogany, but I have found that its just easier to make a neck out of maple. Plus it is stronger and will last longer without bending.
As for the finish, I love the look of mahogany with an oil finish. I normally use a danish oil followed by lacquer. Using danish oil you don't have to worry about over oiling, but it isn't sufficient by it self, hence the lacquer. Linseed or tung oil is fine using just the oil, but you can over oil. Don't worry to much about it, if you follow the directions on the can, you will do just fine.

Have fun with it. And remember, the mark of a good craftsman is NOT how well you can build something, it's how well you can hide your mistakes.
#5
Quote by xadioriderx
it sounds just fine to me, and it should be very possible. i did mention to another guy what i found in my first build - be open to change. you have a plan for what you want, but sometimes things go differently. thats not at all to say you cant end up with exactly what youre aiming for, but building is tough. with all the right tools of course it will make things easier, but keep your mind open to little changes here and there and dont get frustrated if they happen. my build didnt go quite like i thought, at all, but in the end, im still happy.

i think if i had had a really set goal in mind, i would have been more upset because things change a lot, some things dont work out, etc. the thing is, i now know a lotttt more than i did before, and next time i will be able to have a more set path.

also, do a google search for guitar inlay tips, and youll find all sorts of ways to inlay with different things including colors

and please, please post pics as you go along =D we like pics.

edit - and to clarify, the main point of my post is: let the learning and fun outweigh disappointment, if there is any. i let myself get frustrated when things went wrong, but in the end i had a great time and learned a ton. thats what the build is about. and if you can get the product you want while doing it, then more power to you! patience is absolutely key

Thanks for the tips! I'll make another thread of it once I start and actually make some progress, but you can be sure that I'll document every little thing I'll do, so there will be piX!

Also, I'm also aware that with a 1st build, things most likely won't go just the way I want them to, and so I'll have to adjust to the project changing with progress. I'll try to have fun and worry about problems when only when they present themselves, lol.
I actually was in the tryouts for the luthier school this year, too - I just didn't realize that they mostly take in people who already have some experience, even if just putting together a building kit. However, the teachers recommended for everyone a certain guitar building book that will in good detail go through the entire process of building a telecaster-style electric. It's supposed to be for everyone who wants to build guitars and wants actual and specific instructions on how to do it, from start to finish. The book is also in Finnish, so I won't have to worry about not knowing the translation for a particular tool or a type of adhesive or anything like that, so I'm hoping it will help me come along.
Gear:

Guitars: Ibanez SV5470F, Ibanez Xpt700, Fender MIM Standard Stratocaster ('04-'05), Jackson Ps-2
Ashton AG200,
Amps: ENGL E530, Bugera 6262-212,
FX: TC Electronics G-major 2, Behringer EQ700, Morley Volume / Wah
#6
Quote by kingnothing7718
I like how it sounds, but here is my 2 cents:
I think that a maple neck might suite you better. I love working with mahogany, but I have found that its just easier to make a neck out of maple. Plus it is stronger and will last longer without bending.
As for the finish, I love the look of mahogany with an oil finish. I normally use a danish oil followed by lacquer. Using danish oil you don't have to worry about over oiling, but it isn't sufficient by it self, hence the lacquer. Linseed or tung oil is fine using just the oil, but you can over oil. Don't worry to much about it, if you follow the directions on the can, you will do just fine.

Have fun with it. And remember, the mark of a good craftsman is NOT how well you can build something, it's how well you can hide your mistakes.

Thanks, man! I'm also a big fan of oiled mahogany, and what you said about applying oil finish cleared away a lot of doubts for me. I just hope the grain is sexy on the particular plank I get!

I've also been considering a maple neck, as I'm a big fan of maple fretboards - which would also allow me to make the inlay with black material - but I hear that it's:
-Easier to match the neck and the body plank for resonance if they're the same material
-That the neck material affects the overall tone of the guitar way more than the body material, and I'm also very curious about a mahogany neck, as all of my guitars now have maple necks W/rosewood 'boards (Well, the ibby's actually have 5-piece maple / walnut necks, but I'm not sure if the 2 thin, little slices of walnut affect the tone a whole lot - do they?)

What do you mean about maple necks being easier to make? Is it just that mahogany is more straining to work in general? But, I must admit, I had not thought of the toughness factor at all. It's a good point - is that why SG's and other mahogany necked Gibsons mostly have painted necks? To better protect the neck from wetness / dryness related problems?

Thanks for the pointers, man, I'll consider them!
Gear:

Guitars: Ibanez SV5470F, Ibanez Xpt700, Fender MIM Standard Stratocaster ('04-'05), Jackson Ps-2
Ashton AG200,
Amps: ENGL E530, Bugera 6262-212,
FX: TC Electronics G-major 2, Behringer EQ700, Morley Volume / Wah
#7
This looks like it'll be interesting. The scale length and mahogany means it should sound fairly unique for a tele. About the inlay, you can inlay just about anything you want, even some red plastic or some light colored wood like maple and dye it red. I'd inlay something thick though because it's easier to inlay before radiussing the fretboard.

You'll need some fairly specific tools for the job. Since you've got access to a workshop i'm assuming you have some basics such as a bandsaw and router etc. To do the inlay you'll need either a small router or a dremel with a base (such as this ) and some small cutting bits. You'll also need some decent glue (can't go wrong with regular titebond), some clamps (the workshop should have thse), plenty of sand paper, a set of rasps for shaping the back of the neck, some files for fretting (a good set of needle files would do fine) and a radius sanding block for the fretboard. It's a good idea to read up about the order of doing things too, specially with the neck, most of it is fairly intuitive though. It's helpful when working on anything that's going to have a curved surface, such as the back of the neck, to do all you can with it flat so it's easier to work on and then curve it after. Also one area to be mindful of is the neck join. Since you're having a bolt on neck, the tightness of the wood in the join will make a big difference. Starting out, always try and cut things undersize and then sand back because it's hard to put wood back once you've removed it.

Anyway looking forward to seeing how you go.
Last edited by matt154 at Jun 22, 2011,
#10
i searched all over, couldnt find any anywhere! stewmacs are reverse spiraled and it appears thats not very common
edit- looks like "downcut bit" is the correct term, found more that way
Last edited by xadioriderx at Jun 22, 2011,
#11
Quote by matt154
easier to work on and then curve it after. Also one area to be mindful of is the neck join. Since you're having a bolt on neck, the tightness of the wood in the join will make a big difference. Starting out, always try and cut things undersize and then sand back because it's hard to put wood back once you've removed it.

Anyway looking forward to seeing how you go.

Thx for the tips, man, though I already knew most of it - it's still very nice and helpful to have someone else confirm theories in my head to be right, lol.

Anyway, about the neck joint, it's another thing I've been thinking about - I really dig joints like the AANJ on a lot of Ibanez guitars - do you think this would be considerably more difficult to do than a plain ol' regural joint?
Gear:

Guitars: Ibanez SV5470F, Ibanez Xpt700, Fender MIM Standard Stratocaster ('04-'05), Jackson Ps-2
Ashton AG200,
Amps: ENGL E530, Bugera 6262-212,
FX: TC Electronics G-major 2, Behringer EQ700, Morley Volume / Wah
#12
It's not really that hard at all. I've done it once and i just eyeballed the dimensions based on photos. Since i was making both the neck and body from scratch i didn't have to make it exactly the same. It's a good idea to make it authentic though if you wish to replace the neck at some point.
You can use the same rasps used to shape the back of the neck to smooth over the heel. One difference is you need to find some ferrules to go around the screws since you can't use a plate like on fenders. There usually hard to find and you need a spade bit or forstener bit to install them. Here's some that stewmac sell: http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Hardware,_parts/Electric_guitar:_Ferrules/Neck_Mounting_Ferrules.html It's up to you whether you want to make the extra effort, fender heels aren't all that bad.
#13
Quote by matt154
It's not really that hard at all. I've done it once and i just eyeballed the dimensions based on photos. Since i was making both the neck and body from scratch i didn't have to make it exactly the same. It's a good idea to make it authentic though if you wish to replace the neck at some point.
You can use the same rasps used to shape the back of the neck to smooth over the heel. One difference is you need to find some ferrules to go around the screws since you can't use a plate like on fenders. There usually hard to find and you need a spade bit or forstener bit to install them. Here's some that stewmac sell: http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Hardware,_parts/Electric_guitar:_Ferrules/Neck_Mounting_Ferrules.html It's up to you whether you want to make the extra effort, fender heels aren't all that bad.

Thanks, man,
Yeah, I've got nothing in particular against "normal" heels, it's just that I absolutely fell in love with the AANJ on my SV. It's okay, though - I can get the exact dimensions from the SV. I'll probably need to take the neck off it at some point anyway, since I'm planning on shaping the neck based on the Wizard Prestige on the SV.
Gear:

Guitars: Ibanez SV5470F, Ibanez Xpt700, Fender MIM Standard Stratocaster ('04-'05), Jackson Ps-2
Ashton AG200,
Amps: ENGL E530, Bugera 6262-212,
FX: TC Electronics G-major 2, Behringer EQ700, Morley Volume / Wah
#14
Quote by The^Unforgiven

-Easier to match the neck and the body plank for resonance if they're the same material
-That the neck material affects the overall tone of the guitar way more than the body material, and I'm also very curious about a mahogany neck, as all of my guitars now have maple necks W/rosewood 'boards (Well, the ibby's actually have 5-piece maple / walnut necks, but I'm not sure if the 2 thin, little slices of walnut affect the tone a whole lot - do they?)

I don't really think that it makes much a difference on an electric, at least I've never noticed a difference. (Getting told I'm tone deaf by an audiophile in 3..2..1..)

Quote by The^Unforgiven

What do you mean about maple necks being easier to make? Is it just that mahogany is more straining to work in general? But, I must admit, I had not thought of the toughness factor at all. It's a good point - is that why SG's and other mahogany necked Gibsons mostly have painted necks? To better protect the neck from wetness / dryness related problems?

Like I said, I love working with mahogany, but because of the "stringy-ness" of the grain, its just kind of a pain to get it nice and smooth after that kind of shaping. A laminated neck would be nice. Ive done a neck that was mahogany, maple and walnut, it came out really nice. But that's just my opinion. As long as you're happy with it, then you made the right choice.
#16
Quote by xadioriderx
i knew i should have gone with a metallica name, as kingnothing replies to the unforgiven. lol

Lol. But, seriously, I wish I could change it. Was very big into Metallica at the time, and currently I've got nothing against them, even if the music they've made in the last 10 years hasn't been getting top ranks in my books. However, everywhere else over the web I'm know as Angsthyrkh, so for consistency I'd wish that were the case here, too '._.
Gear:

Guitars: Ibanez SV5470F, Ibanez Xpt700, Fender MIM Standard Stratocaster ('04-'05), Jackson Ps-2
Ashton AG200,
Amps: ENGL E530, Bugera 6262-212,
FX: TC Electronics G-major 2, Behringer EQ700, Morley Volume / Wah
#18
Quote by C_Hart
I would get melvyn hiscock's book "how to make an electric guitar." draws your attention to things in the building process you wouldn't think about, and helps you know what really needs more attention to get right, etc. It's not a complete guide, but it was incredibly helpful to me for my first build

I used that book for my first build. It's a great resource.
#19
Normally I would say don't spend quite so much on your hardware/pups for a first build, to avoid disappointment if it doesn't work out how you wanted. However, it seems you work in a woodshop so you probably you know your way around the necessary tool etc.

Contoured heels are pretty easy, just one word of advice - make the ferrule holes a tiny bit oversize. Not much, about half a mil. I found that out the hard way, when you trial fit the neck for marking bridge holes you can't get the ferrules out! I ended up wrecking the corners of the holes and it bugs me = But I've never seen a mahogany neck without either a gloss clearcoat or paint, I think feel is much more of an issue than stability though, the pores will feel odd if the neck is only oiled. Mine has a sort of LP style carved top, it's really comfy, or you could put strat contours on it. I think teles with strat contours look awesome =]

Best of luck =]
#20
Quote by lozlovesstrats
Normally I would say don't spend quite so much on your hardware/pups for a first build, to avoid disappointment if it doesn't work out how you wanted. However, it seems you work in a woodshop so you probably you know your way around the necessary tool etc.

Contoured heels are pretty easy, just one word of advice - make the ferrule holes a tiny bit oversize. Not much, about half a mil. I found that out the hard way, when you trial fit the neck for marking bridge holes you can't get the ferrules out! I ended up wrecking the corners of the holes and it bugs me = But I've never seen a mahogany neck without either a gloss clearcoat or paint, I think feel is much more of an issue than stability though, the pores will feel odd if the neck is only oiled. Mine has a sort of LP style carved top, it's really comfy, or you could put strat contours on it. I think teles with strat contours look awesome =]

Best of luck =]

Thanks, man! I appreciate the tips and especially your input on an all-mahogany tele.

I've thought about not spending a whole lot of money on big brand parts and having all the bells and whistles... but in the end, I just can't do it like that - it's against my very nature to do something without trying to go for the best results possible, lol. It's a bitchy attitude, since I always set the bar too high for myself, but I'm still going to try this one!

But, you know, it's top notch hardware and pickups we're talking about here, so you know, if the build turns out shitty, it's easy to salvage the parts and use them some other time <:
Gear:

Guitars: Ibanez SV5470F, Ibanez Xpt700, Fender MIM Standard Stratocaster ('04-'05), Jackson Ps-2
Ashton AG200,
Amps: ENGL E530, Bugera 6262-212,
FX: TC Electronics G-major 2, Behringer EQ700, Morley Volume / Wah