#1
I've been working on a guitar with the help of my father as my major work for IT Timber (Woodwork) in the 2017 HSC (Higher School Certificate). The guitar is based on a Jackson Soloist SL1, with a HSS pickup configuration and three separate on/off switches for the pickups. As of today (7th May 2017), the body is near completion, and the neck hasn't been started yet. I'll update this thread every now and then with progress on the project. Images are at the bottom of this post.

Specifications (As of 7th May 2017):
Specifications striked through denote completion of that part of the guitar.

Body woods
Wings: Australian Blackwood
Top: Australian Cherry
Centre Stripe: Birdseye Maple and Purple Heart


Neck woods
Neck: Birdseye Maple
Fretboard: African Ebony


Hardware
Neck pickup: DiMarzio True Velvet (Neck)
Middle pickup: DiMarzio True Velvet (Middle)
Bridge pickup: DiMarzio D Activator (Bridge)
Bridge: Floyd Rose Original (Chrome finish)

Tuners: Schaller Non-locking

Wood joints
Headstock joint: Scarf joint, 12°
Neck heel joint: Set-neck

Miscellaneous specs
Fretboard inlay shape: Sharkfin
Fretboard inlay material: Mother of Pearl (white, gold)
Frets: 24
Fretboard Radius: 12"



Guitar body (top view, 7th May 2017). The switches are only installed into the body, not wired to anything yet.
 

Guitar body (rear view, 7th May 2017). This was before I drilled the holes in the control cavity for the pots and switches.


The Floyd Rose bridge test-fitted into the body, 30th April 2017. This was before cutting the body shape.


The pickups and Floyd Rose bridge test-fitted into the body, 30th April 2017. This was before cutting the body shape.
"There was Pope John, if you remember. Now there's Pope John Paul. The next pope's gonna be Pope John Paul George, and we can see where they're going. It's that more populist edge Pope John Paul George and Ringo, he's going to take off; he's going to have songs in the charts."
~Eddie Izzard, "Circle", 2000

"Boy bands should be exploded from a great height. They’re just pretty people singing music written by others."
~Eddie Izzard
Last edited by lizzyg1958 at Aug 11, 2017,
#2
Nice work. I always loved guitars with separate on/off switches for the pups.
#3
Way Cool JR. Thanks!

Yeah, the cool thing too with the switches that I'm using in this guitar is that they're not like the normal small toggle switches used on old Jackson Soloists, but they're larger switches with about a half an inch shaft diameter with an extremely satisfying click :P
"There was Pope John, if you remember. Now there's Pope John Paul. The next pope's gonna be Pope John Paul George, and we can see where they're going. It's that more populist edge Pope John Paul George and Ringo, he's going to take off; he's going to have songs in the charts."
~Eddie Izzard, "Circle", 2000

"Boy bands should be exploded from a great height. They’re just pretty people singing music written by others."
~Eddie Izzard
#4
Quote by Way Cool JR.
Nice work. I always loved guitars with separate on/off switches for the pups.

 I have a Carvin DC-135 with separate switches for each pickup. 

The good news is that it's easy enough to see what you've got set, and you can pretty much tell by feel what you've got selected as well. And it's pretty fast to switch them. 

The bad news is that it's also easy enough to switch the entire guitar off in the middle of a performance. 

Not mine (mine's black with gold hardware):



These days my favorite setup is a fiveway, master volume, master tone, usually with an additional one-three miniswitches. 

In one configuration, I have a mini-switch for each humbucker (coil split) and a bridge pickup add-in switch.

But I recently put together a guitar with Gibson's M-III setup, which is a five-way with a single miniswitch.
The miniswitch is used to flip between two completely different wiring configurations on an HSH guitar. 
One configuration automatically puts the humbuckers into single-coil mode, and the five-way works exactly like a strat. 
The second configuration uses the first three positions as you would with a Les Paul, and the middle pickup is inactive. In the fourth position, you have an "enhanced" both pickups selected, and in the fifth, the guitar is off. 

Last edited by dspellman at May 10, 2017,
#5
Forgot to update this sooner, quite a bit has been done since. Images are in the spoiler.

The cavities have been shielded with copper paint and aluminium tape.

I decided to make a laminate for the neck, instead of using one piece of maple, as my maple timber is very bowed, and to cut a scarf joint in a piece of bowed timber would most likely be problematic. The other pieces of timber used for the neck are Jarrah (two dark brown stripes) and Blackbutt (centre stripe), while the birdseye maple makes up the outside stripes.

Also I've received the mother-of-pearl and abalone for the inlay work on the guitar.


Body, front view as of 22nd May 2017. Aluminium tape and copper paint has been added into the cavities.


Body, rear view as of 21st May 2017. Copper paint has been added onto the edges of the aluminium tape since this picture was taken to increase area of conductivity.


Neck blank before sanding, as of 3rd June 2017.


Neck blank close-up after sanding, as of 3rd June 2017.


African Ebony fretboard wood, milled to ~7 mm thickness


Inlay material, received 5th June 2017


White mother-of-pearl, which will be used for the fretboard inlays except for the 12th and 24th frets.


Gold mother-of-pearl, for the 12th and 24th fret inlays.


White mother-of-pearl side dots, 3.17mm (1/8") diameter.


Paua abalone dots, 12.7mm (1/2") diameter.
"There was Pope John, if you remember. Now there's Pope John Paul. The next pope's gonna be Pope John Paul George, and we can see where they're going. It's that more populist edge Pope John Paul George and Ringo, he's going to take off; he's going to have songs in the charts."
~Eddie Izzard, "Circle", 2000

"Boy bands should be exploded from a great height. They’re just pretty people singing music written by others."
~Eddie Izzard
#7
Update 17th June 2017:

- The scarf joint has been cut and glued.
- The headstock has been widened to allow for the width of a Jackson 6-in-line headstock shape.
- Drilled holes for and tested the tuners (Gotoh non-locking tuners)



Jig made to hold the neck blank at a 12° angle to cut the scarf joint. (12th June 2017)


Scarf joint cut. (12th June 2017)


Headstock being widened to allow for Jackson-shaped headstock. (12th June 2017)


Jackson neck and headstock shape marked on neck blank. (17th June 2017)


Gotoh tuners test fitted into the headstock blank. (17th June 2017)


Gotoh tuners test fitted into the headstock blank. (rear view) (17th June 2017)
"There was Pope John, if you remember. Now there's Pope John Paul. The next pope's gonna be Pope John Paul George, and we can see where they're going. It's that more populist edge Pope John Paul George and Ringo, he's going to take off; he's going to have songs in the charts."
~Eddie Izzard, "Circle", 2000

"Boy bands should be exploded from a great height. They’re just pretty people singing music written by others."
~Eddie Izzard
Last edited by lizzyg1958 at Jun 17, 2017,
#8
Update 4th July 2017:

- Rough cut the neck shape
- Refined the neck shape
- Routed the truss rod cavity
- Stained the headstock
- Created the neck heel joint


The neck shape rough cut on the band saw. (19th June 2017


The neck shape, refined to the marked lines. (24th June 2017)


The truss rod cavity routed. (24th June 2017)


The truss rod test fitted in the cavity. (25th June 2017)


The headstock masked for staining. (25th June 2017)


The headstock after staining with two coats of colour-reduced black stain. (25th June 2017)


The headstock after applying methylated spirits to reduce the colour further. (25th June 2017)


The neck heel marked for the mortise-and-tenon joint. (1st July 2017)


The neck test fitted to the body. (front view) (1st July 2017)


The neck test fitted to the body. (rear view) (1st July 2017)
"There was Pope John, if you remember. Now there's Pope John Paul. The next pope's gonna be Pope John Paul George, and we can see where they're going. It's that more populist edge Pope John Paul George and Ringo, he's going to take off; he's going to have songs in the charts."
~Eddie Izzard, "Circle", 2000

"Boy bands should be exploded from a great height. They’re just pretty people singing music written by others."
~Eddie Izzard
#9
Very cool.

Are you going to sculpt the neck heel? With enough sanding, you should be able to make that thing look like a neck thru.
Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
#10
T00DEEPBLUE I'm going to sculpt the neck heel a bit, but I don't know if I'd go quite as far as to make it look quite like a neck-through, as I'm slightly concerned for the structural support at that point if I go that far, and also because the stripes in the neck and the stripes in the body are two different woods (Purple heart in the body and Jarrah in the neck), so it would never look perfectly like a neck-through.

I'd probably do it more like Ibanez do on their bolt-on models, where the neck heel is carved back only a little bit:
"There was Pope John, if you remember. Now there's Pope John Paul. The next pope's gonna be Pope John Paul George, and we can see where they're going. It's that more populist edge Pope John Paul George and Ringo, he's going to take off; he's going to have songs in the charts."
~Eddie Izzard, "Circle", 2000

"Boy bands should be exploded from a great height. They’re just pretty people singing music written by others."
~Eddie Izzard
#11
Update 8th July 2017:

- Cut the fret slots in relation to the scale length
- Milled the neck to be flush with the body when joined
- Installed posts for the Floyd Rose bridge system
- Marked cutouts for the inlays

The scale length turned out to be almost 25.3" instead of the aimed 25.5" Fender scale length, so it was rounded down to 25.25", directly between a Paul Reed Smith scale length (25") and a Fender scale length (25.5").




The fret slotting jig


The fret positions marked


The fretboard after cutting the fret slots


The neck heel joint flush with the body
"There was Pope John, if you remember. Now there's Pope John Paul. The next pope's gonna be Pope John Paul George, and we can see where they're going. It's that more populist edge Pope John Paul George and Ringo, he's going to take off; he's going to have songs in the charts."
~Eddie Izzard, "Circle", 2000

"Boy bands should be exploded from a great height. They’re just pretty people singing music written by others."
~Eddie Izzard
Last edited by lizzyg1958 at Jul 8, 2017,
#12
Update 1st August 2017:

- Cut the 12th fret inlay (gold MOP rectangle with two 6mm white MOP dots)
- Drilled slots for the dot inlays (6mm for frets 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9, and 1/8" for frets 15, 17, 19, 21 and 24)
- Routed 12th fret inlay slot
- Inserted inlays
- Glued fretboard to the neck
- Trimmed fretboard width to width of the neck
- Sanded the radius on the fretboard
- Installed the frets
- Stained the body top with approximately 50/50 mix of black stain and colour reducer

26 images are in the spoiler area below.


Drilling the holes for the 6mm white MOP dots in the gold MOP material. Dimensions of the gold MOP are 22mm x 63.5mm x 2.5mm (15th July 2017)


The white MOP dots tested for fit in the gold MOP (15th July 2017)


The 12th fret inlay rough cut with a jeweller's saw (15th July 2017)


The 12th fret inlay after refining the shape, and with the 6mm dots inserted again (15th July 2017)


The 6mm dot inlay slots drilled (29th July 2017)


The 6mm dots test fitted in the slots (29th July 2017)


The 1/8" dots glued into the fretboard (29th July 2017)


The slot for the 12th fret inlay routed (29th July 2017)


The 12th fret inlay glued into the fretboard (29th July 2017)


Applying glue to the neck where the fretboard meets the neck. The masking tape is to help prevent the glue from getting too close to the truss rod and seeping into the cavity (29th July 2017)


Clamping the neck and fretboard to glue overnight (29th July 2017)


The sanding block made for this fretboard width to round to a 12" radius (30th July 2017)


The fretboard after rounding to a 12" radius (30th July 2017)


The fretboard after rough cutting with a scroll saw to the correct width (30th July 2017)


The neck after refining the fretboard width to the width of the neck (30th July 2017)


Inserting frets (stainless, Jumbo size) (30th July 2017)


Trimming fret ends. Note: these cutters aren't made for fret edges, and therefore don't cut flush to the edge of the neck (30th July 2017)


Fretting almost finished (30th July 2017)


Purple Heart shim glued under where the Floyd Rose locking nut will be installed (30th July 2017)


The Floyd Rose nut shown for context, with the edge of the shim trimmed to the width of the nut (30th July 2017)


The body masked for staining (31st July 2017)


One wing of the body stained (31st July 2017)


Both wings stained, and the masking tape removed (31st July 2017)


Close-up of the stained top, Australian Cherry (aka Tasmanian Myrtle) top and Australian Blackwood body (31st July 2017)


The body after creating the reveal binding around the edges (31st July 2017)


Close-up of the reveal binding (31st July 2017)
"There was Pope John, if you remember. Now there's Pope John Paul. The next pope's gonna be Pope John Paul George, and we can see where they're going. It's that more populist edge Pope John Paul George and Ringo, he's going to take off; he's going to have songs in the charts."
~Eddie Izzard, "Circle", 2000

"Boy bands should be exploded from a great height. They’re just pretty people singing music written by others."
~Eddie Izzard
#13
Update 10th August 2017:
The guitar has been finished, and has been submitted to school, along with the folio for it, for marking in a few weeks.

- Created the cover plate for the control cavity
- Refined the fret ends
- Installed the side dots
- Rounded the neck profile
- Levelled and crowned the frets
- Glued the neck into the body
- Carved the heel away to allow for better upper fret access
- Enlarged the Floyd Rose cavity to allow for further travel distance of the bridge
- Drilled holes for the tuner screws
- Drilled holes for the nut screws
- Signed the headstock
- Marked the date (month/year) on the headstock
- Coated the guitar with Danish oil (except the fretboard)
- Coated the fretboard with lemon oil
- Coated the guitar to a (mostly) smooth finish with Danish oil
- Installed the pickups
- Installed the bridge
- Installed the tremolo springs and tremolo claw
- Installed strings
- Wired the controls to the output jack and the pickups
- Installed the output jack
- Applied aluminium tape to the cover plate for the control cavity
- Installed Grover tuners (The original Gotohs had a faulty tuner)
- Installed the strap buttons

Video demonstrating the clean sounds of this guitar:
The song played is "Lost In The City" by Mal Eastick, from his 2000 album "Spirit".

26 images are in the spoiler area below.


The cover plate after cutting on the scroll saw. (2nd August 2017)


Using a Dremel tool with a cutting disc bit to remove the bulk of the material off the fret ends. (3rd August 2017)


The filing block used for refining the fret edges further and creating the bevelled edge. (3rd August 2017)


The fret edges after being refined. (3rd August 2017)


The fret edges marked for the side dot inlays. (3rd August 2017)


Gluing the side dots into the fretboard (3rd August 2017)


The neck profile carved. The profile is much thicker than a normal Jackson -- just over 1 inch thick throughout the whole neck thickness. (4th August 2017)


The guitar with the neck glued and clamped to the body, (4th August 2017)


The neck heel with material taken off to allow for better upper fret access. (4th August 2017)


The Floyd Rose bridge cavity before extra enlarging. (5th August 2017)


The Floyd Rose bridge cavity after extra enlarging. (5th August 2017)


Gotoh tuners installed to insert screws for the tuners. (5th August 2017)


The Floyd Rose nut screws installed. (5th August 2017)


The headstock signed with silver paint pen. (5th August 2017)


The date of completion (month/year) marked on the back of the headstock in silver paint pen. (5th August 2017)


The guitar after the first coat of Danish oil. (5th August 2017)


The guitar body after about 4 more coats of Danish oil, lemon oil on the fretboard, and pickups installed. (9th August 2017)


The Floyd Rose bridge installed. The springs and tremolo claw are also installed in the rear. (9th August 2017)


The strings installed on the guitar (9-46 gauge). (9th August 2017)


The wiring done outside of the guitar body. (9th August 2017)


The output jack wrapped in aluminium tape to prevent noise. (9th August 2017)


The output jack installed into the guitar body. (9th August 2017)


The controls wired to the pickups and the output jack. (9th August 2017)


The underside of the control cavity cover plate covered with aluminium tape. (9th August 2017)


Strap pins installed. The strap pin on the horn was first installed on the wrong horn, so the guitar now has three strap pins, so it can be worn either right or left-handed. (10th August 2017)


The finished guitar, with a strap installed. (10th August 2017)
"There was Pope John, if you remember. Now there's Pope John Paul. The next pope's gonna be Pope John Paul George, and we can see where they're going. It's that more populist edge Pope John Paul George and Ringo, he's going to take off; he's going to have songs in the charts."
~Eddie Izzard, "Circle", 2000

"Boy bands should be exploded from a great height. They’re just pretty people singing music written by others."
~Eddie Izzard
Last edited by lizzyg1958 at Aug 12, 2017,
#14
When I get the guitar back from school later in the year (after it's marked) I'll record a distortion demo with it, so far I've only had time to do a clean demo before it was due to be handed in.
"There was Pope John, if you remember. Now there's Pope John Paul. The next pope's gonna be Pope John Paul George, and we can see where they're going. It's that more populist edge Pope John Paul George and Ringo, he's going to take off; he's going to have songs in the charts."
~Eddie Izzard, "Circle", 2000

"Boy bands should be exploded from a great height. They’re just pretty people singing music written by others."
~Eddie Izzard
#16
Tony Done Well let's hope so
"There was Pope John, if you remember. Now there's Pope John Paul. The next pope's gonna be Pope John Paul George, and we can see where they're going. It's that more populist edge Pope John Paul George and Ringo, he's going to take off; he's going to have songs in the charts."
~Eddie Izzard, "Circle", 2000

"Boy bands should be exploded from a great height. They’re just pretty people singing music written by others."
~Eddie Izzard
#17
ID pay farrrrrrrrrr more for that thing than for a jackson.. or a prs.... or any of the garbage the average custom builder makes wow. BEAUTIFUL tone. Stunningly beautiful guitar. Whatever else youre considering doing... building guitars is something you should consider. You made a piece of art
#18
cdreid Why thank you
"There was Pope John, if you remember. Now there's Pope John Paul. The next pope's gonna be Pope John Paul George, and we can see where they're going. It's that more populist edge Pope John Paul George and Ringo, he's going to take off; he's going to have songs in the charts."
~Eddie Izzard, "Circle", 2000

"Boy bands should be exploded from a great height. They’re just pretty people singing music written by others."
~Eddie Izzard
#19
Here's a slideshow video of the majority of the pictures taken outlining the process of making this guitar.



The music in the background is the list of songs I've chosen for my HSC Music performance pieces.
- The Loner (Gary Moore)
- The Unforgiven (Metallica)
- Time (Pink Floyd)
- Swept Away (Mal Eastick)
"There was Pope John, if you remember. Now there's Pope John Paul. The next pope's gonna be Pope John Paul George, and we can see where they're going. It's that more populist edge Pope John Paul George and Ringo, he's going to take off; he's going to have songs in the charts."
~Eddie Izzard, "Circle", 2000

"Boy bands should be exploded from a great height. They’re just pretty people singing music written by others."
~Eddie Izzard