#1
We've had pretty good weather today so I've finally managed to make a start on my next build. I've had all the parts for a while, just sat there, begging me to get a move on.



In a nutshell, it's a basswood superstrat with spalted maple top fitted with a standard strat configuration of single-coil sized rails and an LFR bridge.
Here's the full parts list, with prices to give newcomers an idea of how "cheap" it is to build your own guitar - and bear in mind this is all pretty much budget stuff.

Body Blank Basswood nottinghammusicshop, ebay £36.00
Top Spalted Maple Oregon Wild Wood £50.00
Neck Eden 24 fret, paddle head bigfishforever158, ebay £52.00
Pickups Jailhouse Rail set Axetec £75.00
Volume Pot 500k Audio Taper Axetec £2.75
Tone Pot 500k Linear Taper Axetec £2.75
Tone Cap 0.22uf Orange Drop Axetec £1.45
Knobs Black, knurled Axetec £5.70
Jack Socket Cylinder, Mono Axetec £5.45
Strap Buttons Black Axetec £2.15
Truss Rod Cover Axetec £1.50
Neck Screws & Bushes Axetec £4.45
Locking Nut Black, 43mm AxesRUs £5.50
Bridge Licenced FR. Lo-Pro AxesRUs £44.00
Machine Heads Gotoh style, black, LH CH Guitars £15.00
Back Plate Magnets Neodymium 6mm x 1mm dicky5050, ebay £3.90
DPDT Switches On-On-On warman-guitars, ebay £10.47
Strings Ernie Ball Super Slinkies stringsdirect £4.99

TOTAL £323.06

As with the last build, it's all been modelled up in CAD so I can print off plans for making templates. This is what I'm aiming for.



And the wiring. One volume, one tone and a separate on-on-on switch for each pickup to give off-split-full. While this may not be as convenient as a multi-position switch, it's probably the most straightforward way of getting maximum options (I'm not fussed about series/parallel or phasing). Ultimately I'll probably only use one or two configurations anyway and I almost never switch mid-song.



Started on the headstock. Here's my make-shift sanding table.



And off to a flying start. Somehow the drill drifted on the last hole. I think I may have to fix that.



No, I'll definitely have to fix that. It'll be getting a veneer, so it's not such a big deal.
#3
A little progress today.

First body template made.





Maple cap jointed. I figured I'd try it this way as glueing to the body in two halves didn't turn out brilliantly in my first project.



And the body blank thicknessed and rough cut...



...it's dusty work.

#5
A mixed day today, averaging out at, "disappointing," I think.

Anyway, this is what happens when you drill right through wood without having something sacrificial under it.



In this case it's fine as they're just pilots for larger holes which I will start on one side and finish from the other.



So all the through cavities are drilled and ready for routing.





And after a few passes with the router...



There's a couple of tiny tear-outs that I will worry about later. And only one that my be of any consequence.

So now I can start shaping the arm contour. First, roughing with a rasp.



And final shaping with a sanding block.

#6
So, confident in the knowledge that this had worked fine on my first build I set about forming the cap to the carve. There's a fair distance to cover, but I'm sure it's no worse.



So I set about it with damp sponges, a steam iron and clamps, much like last time.



But after an hour at it, I've got so far and it's going no further.



And on top of that, I've managed to put a crack in it. It should be repairable but still, it's not ideal.



So I have decided that perhaps it will be best if I do away with the arm carve and just have a flat top. Not really what I was after but I can't see things going well if I carry on down this path. Unfortunately this also calls for drastic measures.



And that's where I've left it for now.



It might look a bit odd from the back, but it'll be a talking point. How does that saying go? If you can't be a shining example, try to be a terrible warning.
#9
It just wouldn't be as much fun if eveything went perfectly, would it? ;D In all seriousness, you learn more from failure than success, and you've been able to recover... so BOOM!



This is what I tell myself to sleep at night anyway, because I seem to spend most of my build time solving problems.
#10
This evening was for fettling.

First up, the cracked cap was stuck back together.



Then the new body piece was shaped. It's nowhere near as bad as it looks and there was still a little levelling to be done when this picture was taken. Also, this is the top side that will be covered up.



And now it's all clamped up.



Because I now have a flat top I did wonder about binding. The neck has plain black binding and I thought matching the body might look nice. However, I don't have a rebating router bit (£25) or any binding (£10) so it would be a costly exercise and I don't fancy doing that really pointy lower horn at all. So I've written that idea off.

I am still pondering recessed controls though.

And I'm running through ideas as to how I might be able to achieve the "lion claw" trem rout but that would definitely be one to practice a few times first. And I'm not sure I even want to do it - it would lose more of the figured top wood.

Quote by -MintSauce-
It just wouldn't be as much fun if eveything went perfectly, would it? ;D In all seriousness, you learn more from failure than success, and you've been able to recover... so BOOM!
This is what I tell myself to sleep at night anyway, because I seem to spend most of my build time solving problems.
Well that's reassuring, because a lot of the time I figure that I'm just too much of a ham-fisted jack-ass for this hobby, even if I do (pretty much) know what I'm doing.
Last edited by von Layzonfon at May 7, 2013,
#11
Dang. That sucks, but you're battling through! I'm excited to see this one through!
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#12
Sometimes things don't go to plan.
Sometimes we have to adapt the plan.
Sometimes there is no plan.
But it's all part of the big plan.

Sharp tools to ya.
#13
I'd personally do a solid finish so nobody could see the incongruity
HILT!

Where's Waldo?

#15
Quote by Explorerbuilder
That is a REALLY bad idea joining a new piece at an angle onto end grain like that man... Wont last even a year like that...

Aaaaand here's Explorerbuilder with his usual upbeat words of encouragement.

Don't get me wrong, Luis, I have a huge amount of respect for the fact that you've obviously built many, many more guitars that I have and there's no question that your work is stunning and expertly executed, but man you always seem to crop up saying this, that or the other won't work or is a bad idea.

Like I said, you obviously have years of experience so maybe it's just unfortunate that you end up being the constant bearer of bad tidings. And I'm sure, most of the time you're right.

I this case, though, I'm struggling to understand why you think this "won't last even a year". Time will tell, I guess. I'll see you in 12 months. Or less if your prophecy comes true any sooner.

Anyway, it would be nice if the good old British weather would sort itself out and let me get on with this.
#16
He's probably concerned about the strength of the join, in that it looks like its a flush to flush surface glue and clamp finish onto an end grain.

Did you use dowel rod inserts to add strength? If you did, there's no real concern.

Having said that, its not an area that will undergo a lot of structural stress (unless you really beat on your guitar while using it hehe), so it will probably see the year through

Either way I admire your perserverance! Good stuff
'It takes 100 guitar players to change a light. One to change the light and 99 to stand around pointing, saying..."Yeah man, look...I can do that too"...'

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Last edited by Phoenix V at May 16, 2013,
#17
Quote by Phoenix V
Did you use dowel rod inserts to add strength? If you did, there's no real concern.
Nope, it's just a straight butt joint. But it does have a 10mm cap glued onto it and I wasn't planning on felling trees with it or anything - just hanging it around my neck and doing some light-to-medium strumming. I'm certainly not going to deconstruct it again to do more fixing, so the die is cast and it will last as long as it lasts.

Seriously, I do appreciate all feedback and I wasn't really meaning to bitch at Explorerbuilder quite so hard.
#18
Quote by von Layzonfon
Aaaaand here's Explorerbuilder with his usual upbeat words of encouragement.

Don't get me wrong, Luis, I have a huge amount of respect for the fact that you've obviously built many, many more guitars that I have and there's no question that your work is stunning and expertly executed, but man you always seem to crop up saying this, that or the other won't work or is a bad idea.



And there is a reason i am usually the one that ends up saying it. Because i used to be the person that was doing things incorrectly, and people either never told me or i didnt listen, and it cost me MANY guitars and many failed attempts, which also almost caused me to stop building very early in my career.

I dont just point out things to sound arrogant or to bring people down. I point them out so that somebody might have a chance to not make the same mistakes, or to avoid one they are about to make.

They way i see it, there are 2 ways to do things.
You can do things at the minimum, where it MIGHT work and risk it,
Or you can take the extra time to do them the best possible way, even if it takes longer and is more difficult. That is really the only way you can improve at anything in life.

Again, didnt mean to bash. I just know there are better ways to do things, and that you can probably do better.
Last edited by Explorerbuilder at May 16, 2013,
#19
Hey, I understand entirely and I wasn't really taking it as harshly as it may have seemed, although I confess I may have been teasing you a little unfairly.

You are, of course, completely right and I do understand. I just didn't think it was quite worth all the capital letters and high drama.

If this stuff was even remotely important I'd've put that body aside to use for another project later on, got another blank and started again for this build. But I'm sort of hoping this'll be the last one I do for a while (they're kind of expensive projects) so I wasn't going to just toss out £35 of salvagable material.

It's good to have you stopping by and it is very much appreciated. Try not to get too irritated by my amateurish fudging. As you have indicated, for you it is a career. For me, fortunately, it's just a hobby and I'm certainly not planning on giving up my day job.

#20
We've had lovely weather this weekend, so aside from shovelling 14 tonnes of hardcore for a new driveway I also got a bit of guitar work done.

Cap trimmed to shape on top.


And rear routing pretty much done. Just a channel for the trem springs left to do.
#21
Not really a fan of metal guitars bt this is shaping out to be quite sexy
You hit 'em and they get back up
I hit 'em and they stay down
- Frank Castle
#25
Quick update and some ropey pictures from the past week or so.

Headstock veneered.


Oiled. The flame looks quite spectacular in the sun.


Shield paint.


Pickups in. That shield paint is awful stuff. Comes off on your fingers as soon as you get near it and then rubs off onto everything you touch.


And neck on.


Just the electrical stuff to do.


It's getting close now. And the closer it gets the more nervous I get. And I hate doing the electrical hookup because it's so fiddly. I'm quite excited about getting something playable soon though.
#27
Quote by -MintSauce-
The cheeky little magnets are looking good ;D
Yeah, I'm quite pleased with those. Fortunately I had a router bit exactly the right size. Of course, a sensible person would've checked their router bits and bought magnets sized to suit but I tend not to work like that. Luckily it worked out okay this time.

So I spent 3 hours hunched over a hot soldering iron last night and it actually went rather well. Solder flowed and bonded well, didn't accidentally burn anything and I didn't even burn myself until right near the very end.

Did as much as I could outside the cavity first.


And then got it all settled so I could hook up the jack and pickups.


This is the first build where I've actually had the courage to chop the pickup wires to the correct length instead of just coiling it up in the cavity.


All in all, I was happy. But plugging in to my MS2 and giving a quick tap on the pickups with a screwdriver did not give a reassuring click. Not from any pickup, however I switched it. At this point I did something unusally sensible: I took a deep breath and went to bed.

However, I did have ten minutes before I left for work this morning to do a quick continuity test with my multimeter and found the culprit:


Somehow I'd managed to dislodge the main hot connection to the jack. Should be an easy fix. *fingers crossed*
#28
Quote by von Layzonfon


However, I did have ten minutes before I left for work this morning to do a quick continuity test with my multimeter and found the culprit:

Somehow I'd managed to dislodge the main hot connection to the jack. Should be an easy fix. *fingers crossed*


Good on you for knowing when to take a break, i have the same problem sometimes when i just ram my head into a wall repeatedly instead of stepping back and realizing the obvious problem sometimes.
#30
very nice
HILT!

Where's Waldo?

#31
Where do the trem springs attach?


Great job man, I would of personally modified the headstock but it looks great either way.
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#32
Quote by Kyleisthename
Where do the trem springs attach?
Usual place.



Quote by Kyleisthename
Great job man, I would of personally modified the headstock but it looks great either way.
It was a paddle headstock that I shaped myself. I sketched and sketched but never got very far from the classic Ibanez look - I was kind of aiming for a hint of Fender in there. But given that I'm not keen on Fender heastocks it really is only a hint.
Last edited by von Layzonfon at Jun 9, 2013,
#33
Awesome parts/custom build you got there. Shame about what happened to the arm rest part of the body. Hope it isn't too uncomfortable being a flat top!

Must say that's some funky tremolo spring layout you have there. Why not have one either end and one in the middle?
"Air created the greenness. And once you've got something, that leads to otherness." - Karl Pilkington.
#34
Quote by Lavatain
Must say that's some funky tremolo spring layout you have there. Why not have one either end and one in the middle?
Dammit. I knew that picture would open a can of worms. So I'll come clean.

Firstly, the hole for feeding the neck pickup wire through prevented me from mounting the trem claw properly centrally, hence the general wonkiness.

Secondly, the block was a little deep (I hadn't allowed for the fact the cover is recessed) so I had to take 5mm off the bottom. Having done that I had to re-drill the spring holes so the springs would sit fully in and unfortunately the drill bit broke off in the middle hole.

Trust me, it bugs me that it's not all nice a symmetrical but at least I don't have to look at it and having got it nicely balanced for my usual gauge of strings I don't fancy messing with it again for a while.

Oh, and not having the arm carve is not a problem at all.