#1
Hi folks,

about a year ago I was planning on creating a thread on my last build, but somehow that didn't work out. The build itself turned out pretty well. I made a couple of mistakes that I intend to improve upon for my next one. It's going to be a Dean VMNT shape, the Dave Mustaine signature model with some small changes. Not that I like the guy or Megadeth so much, but I do like his gear.

Moving on to the specs:
Maple/greenheart 5-piece neck through construction. Not sure if greenheart is the actual English name, but it's the only translation that makes sense to me.
Zebrano for the wings of the body.
Ebony fretboard, although it is a b*tch to sand.
The wood will be clear spray painted to keep the natural wood looks, and hopefully create a fancy color scheme with gold hardware.

Below a piccie of the wood in the most decorative of settings I could think of. I suck at photography, so you'll have to forgive my bad pictures, but you get the idea.


Hardware:
24 frets, 25'' scale.
Kahler 2300 tremolo. Not sure about the locking nut yet, whether I'll use the Kahler one or a Gotoh one.
EMG 81 twice. Together they cost me nearly as much as my amp, but even through a solid state amp they sound amazing.
Gotoh sg381 tuners
One master volume pot and maybe one master tone pot. I usually tend to twist that thing to the max anyway, so I might leave it out.

Below is the Kahler tremolo I got last week. I put a 7300 on my last guitar, and since that moment I'm completely in love with that system.


This build will take me a couple of weeks to complete. Don't expect a lot of updates during the coming days. I am currently in the process of gluing the neck pieces together one at a time, and since it'll take a day to fully dry it's a slow process.

Comments are always welcome of course so feel free to either adore or criticize this build in the upcoming weeks. I'm already looking forward to getting started on the woodworking.

Cheers.
#2
I'm also a fan of that guitar, even though Mustaine can talk nonsense, so I'm looking forward to this!

Good luck with the zebrano too - that stuff stinks to high heaven.
#3
Christ, four days of waiting, glueing, waiting, and waiting some more and I have only this to show for it:


The final slab of wood is now clamped and I'm waiting for the glue to dry. Tomorrow the real work starts. Sanding the neck for an even surface and drawing out the body shape. Time to get dirty!
#4
Finally some real progress today!
All the pieces of the neck are finally glued together, and the seams turned out very neat. Been sanding the front part with grit 40 to create flush surface, but it still needs a lot of work before I can start shaping. I also sawed the Zebrano into two triangles for the wings, but I'm not quite sure how to align the grain to the neck wood. I've got two options.

Number one, a more traditional look:



And number two, a more star destroyer look:



Any of you guys particularly like or dislike any of these looks? I'm leaning towards the first one, but let me know what you think.
Also, the zebrano wood turned out to be more warped than my own wood wait, wut? so it'll need a load of sanding and planing before I can start fitting the pieces together. But so far I'm quite pleased with how the color scheme turned out.

Cheers
#5
Since it's a neck through, it shouldn't really matter. I'd go with the first one because people usually shit the bed when end grain is glued anywhere. It won't be taking any real strain though. The first one also looks better IMHO.

If you've got plenty of waste on those blocks, it might be worth cutting some parallel surfaces into them to make gluing easier.
#6
Hi gain folks,

it's been way, way too long since my last update, but I've had a couple of exams last week. Something to do with my future 'n stuff. Anyway, I've got all the time in the world to actually get dirty now.

Started today with planing the ebony fretboard with my router. It was rougher than acne when I bought the piece, but now it's smoother than a baby's bottom. In my enthusiasm I might have taken of a bit much, though. The board is only 5 millimeters thick now, but if I'm careful when sanding the 20'' radius it'll be enough. I couldn't get a decent picture so I won't bother posting it.

I also sawed what will become the headstock off the neck wood, piccie below. I'll be the first to admit that it looks fugly, but with the router and after I build myself a 10 degree jig I'm confident that I can fix this.




Lot of progress today with other stuff like sanding and design aspects, but nothing worth shooting pics of. Up next is smoothing out and gluing the scarf joint, and gluing the body wings. Can't wait to get started again tomorrow!
#7
It's been slow going the past few days and I don't have much to show for it. Been having a lot of trouble with my band saw but that seems to be fixed alright. Building the 10 degree router jig also took a lot more time than I anticipated

Below a shot of the jig. Crude and far from perfect, but it worked like a charm.

The headstock is glued to the neck now. Up next is attaching the wings and recessing the body to give the fretboard some extra height with respect to the bridge. According to Kahler Diagrams it needs about half an inch of headroom, but I'm not sure whether that'll look any good.
#8
Welcome to disasterville. Population: me.

Yes, the past two days have been a complete disaster. I wrecked my fretboard and the scarf joint had a bigger gap in between than my salary and the end of the month. I had to saw through the glue joint to separate the two pieces, sand them flat and glue them again. It took me an entire day to do so, but now it is in reasonable shape.
As for the fretboard, I was indeed too enthusiastic when planing that thing with the router. It's become way too thin, and when I tried sawing some fret slots the thing disintegrated due to its own weight.
Anyhow, I got another piece of ebony from another wood store for just over 20 bucks that I'll get to radiusing in a minute. It's not too thick either, but the huge 20'' radius means I won't have to sand off so much and save me from wrecking the thing again.

I hope.

No piccies yet, but I hope to show y'all some real progress soon.
#9
Finally some good news from disasterville.
The neck seam for the scarf joint turned out pretty well and after some extensive sanding I managed to get it pretty smooth.

The curved shape of the seam would suggest the wood is not as flush as it should be, especially in the middle, but it really is. I'm also quite fond of the near straight angle between the two pieces. The neck is still three times as thick as it should be, but that is future work.

I've also started recessing what'll become the body. It's quite hard to create an even surface with a cheap Bosch router, but with some trial and error I got it the way I wanted. It needs some more routing, but I'll get to that once the fretboard is attached to the neck so I'll know exactly what parts will need recessing.


The fretboard also turned out quite okay. It's got some minor dents near the higher frets, but that's nothing some glue and sanding can't fix. It's only about 1 to 1.5 millimeter thicker than the first fretboard I wrecked, but it makes quite a difference. Below a picture of the fretboard, radiused and slotted. The one fret up high is just a tryout to see if my miter box was properly set up for saw depth.


I'm going to have to build my own fretbender some day soon, since bending the frets by hand turned out a real pain the last couple of time I tried. I've got some bearings on order, so wish me luck!
Up next is gluing the wings to the body, but not before drilling the wiring channel for the jack output and creating some dowels for extra strength. Here's hoping all goes well.

Cheers.
#10
I've been quite busy prepping the wings and the body before putting them together. First and foremost was drilling the jack output hole through the upper wing.

I said, 'let there be light', and I saw that it was good. Think I'm misquoting two or three passages here, but who reads those books anyway nowadays?

Just for the lolz, this is how 'straight' a jigsaw will saw through 'bout 4cm thick wood. I think that's around a 15 degree angle


Routing the truss rod slot was another important thing before attaching the lower wing and losing my straight edge for router guidance. Here it is with the upper wing already glued on:


Right now the lower wing is glued and clamped. Actual proof below that you can never have too many clamps. I've put 10 on, and there is space for more.


While waiting for the glue to dry I've also made a fretbender. It took some time to set it up for the correct radius, but here it is, in all its glory.


Lots of pictures, lots of stuff done. Can't wait to finally start rough-cutting the final shape.
#11
are those bearings on the fret bender? If so, nice. I went cheap and just cut some round wood knobs with my circle cutter and then put it in the drill press to cut a groove with a chisel.
#12
Those are bearings, yes. The only round wood I'll ever get is that from my local hardware shop, and if I use that I'll just end up denting the wood without bending the fret. The bearings cost me about 20 bucks, which is a lot more than a couple of pieces round wood, but still a lot cheaper than the 100 bucks for the Stewmac edition. That thing is essentially the same, but for that money I can make it myself out of gold plated steel.
Besides, it's a small investment for the future. I used to press all the frets individually by hand, but now it takes me a minute instead of an hour.
#13
GLUE THE FRETS!
Not only will it prevent flyer frets due to humidity changes, but filling the tang cavities on the fretboard will make a difference in the sound, trust me.

Titebond will do fine.
#14
The final shape is here! First it was this:


And then it became this:


I finally got myself a planer and went berserk on the body. It's about 32 millimeters thick in the middle now, which is just fine. The neck and the headstock are at their correct thickness as well, and the wings are curved. Now it's a matter of shaping the neck and routing the pickup, bridge and electronics cavities. I've also managed to trim the body recession to support the high bridge:

It's gonna be needin' some more sanding, but I'll do that after I rout the pickup cavities.

On a sidenote, I have a bit of problem with the back of the headstock where the seam of the scarf joint is showing:

You an see the seam clearly in the middle (not the horizontal seam). The issue is the wood glue that is showing. It is a fugly discoloring, and if I sand it away the problem just moves towards the neck, enlarging the seam. Does anyone have any experience with this problem?

Quote by dspellman
GLUE THE FRETS!
Not only will it prevent flyer frets due to humidity changes, but filling the tang cavities on the fretboard will make a difference in the sound, trust me.

Titebond will do fine.

Thanks for the advice. I never realized it but I found that many people actually glue the frets. Titebond is a b*tch to find where I live, so will regular wood glue do as well, even though it's wood-metal connection? And is it all about filling the gap between the frets and the wood, or more about the fixation of the frets in the fretboard?
#15
Lots of routing done the last two days. It kept reminding me that no matter how careful you are, things can go wrong in an instant. When that router snags on a piece of wood it'll usually overshoot whatever your marked boundaries are. It happened to me while routing the bridge cavity and the bridge pickup cavity.

The flaw at the bridge will be completely covered by the Kahler frame, but the pickup rings are too narrow to cover the gap at the bridge pickup cavity. Thankfully it's not too big, and a mixture of glue and sawdust might cover it up well enough.
Routing the cavities was a real cringe due to the wings not being flush with the body. It really messes up your router depth and stability.




Also router the electronics cavity, which marks the last of the extensive routing to be done. It oughta be big enough to hold two batteries, two pots, one switch and the EMG pickup buss, plus a shitload of wires. It's gonna be a tight fit, but that's how we like it, innit?


One last shot with the cover.
#16
Started off today with the inlays and recessing the nut space on the fretboard. The inlays are in need of some sanding to make them flush, but otherwise they're quite okay.


Spent the rest of the day sanding the neck into shape. I used to do so by hand, but I got lazy and just used a small sanding machine to do it. Sure looks a lot better now!




Oh, and I also drilled the holes for the tuners. That's where it went wrong with my last build when my drill press snagged and cracked the wood, but no problems this time.
#17
It's all coming together now. I've drilled all the holes for the bridge, pickup rings, tuner screws, output plate, straplocks and whatnot. It surprises me every time how long it takes to drill couple of holes when they need to be really precise. I've also shaped the edges of the V shape. It's just a detail, but it makes the design so much more elegant.

Next it was on to the fretwork. I don't know how long it should take, but when you've been at it for thirty minutes and only managed to hammer and dress two of those suckers it's really a bummer. I worked from the higher frets to the lower frets to make sure I have the space I need for the files. Welcome to my mess.


24 frets and five hours later; a pleasant sight.


Sorry for the horrible pics. Lighting in my garage is far from optimal, and it's been piss-pouring all day outside, so no natural lighting for me.
Anyhow, here it is, almost finished.


Tomorrow will be the first live action test; assembling the basics, stringing it and test-firing it. The frets will probably need some crowning, but since I don't have a fret file I'll just need to hammer my point home. Uh-ra!
#18
After a month of blood, sweat and dust I can finally say: it's done!

After dry-firing the thing it only took one afternoon to fix the teething problems like hammering those frets that were too high, carving some more room for the potmeters and fixing a tuner that's too loose. Although it's the same model as the last axe I built it has a completely different feel to it. The balance worked out quite right, and the neck is a lot thinner.
On to the pics!

The electronics took a lot longer to solder than I expected. The EMGs are solerdless, but when you want to add something as simple as two LEDs that decouple with the pickups it gets a lot more complicated. The electronics cavity was too small as always, but I managed to stuff everything in. Here's the mess just before closing it up:


And here it is:

Sorry for the poor picture quality again, but I think y'all get the idea.









The colors turned out a lot better than I expected after the spray painting. Especially the zebrano, greenheart and gold hardware are very much to my liking.

As with all my other builds I made a lot of mistakes with this one. Especially the scarf joint was a pain to glue, but this means the next one will probably be even better, right?

A big heavy metal thanks to you all for checking out this build in the past month, and feel free to adore, worship or burn it.


Cheers!
#19
wow!

awesome bild dude

My Rig:
Maverick F-1, Ibanez RG1527, Schecter Omen 8
Marshall JVM 410H,
Hand built 4x12 w/ V30s
Current board:
PXL LIVE
TU2
WHAMMY IV
MXR M132
MXR M101
TIMMY
NS2
MXR M108
XOTIC EP
TC DREAMSCAPE
DL8
#20
It looks really nice, but how does it play?
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#21
It had some fret buzz initially, but I fixed that by raising the saddles a little. The action is a lot lower than my previous builds, so it plays pretty comfortable. I'm glad I added a tone pot, since the bridge pickup can be really harsh with the steel/steel bridge. Normally I don't use a neck pup very much, but I'm actually quite fond of the sound this one produces.