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#1
I recently decided I was going to try my hand at building a custom guitar. My dad's a woodworker so I have a ton of help shaping the body & everything, and I have a awesome peice of cherry for the body. It's only in the planning stages right now, so I have alot of questions to ask since I'm a total beginner at this.

First of all, I might as well show you the plan. This was basically me fooling around on photoshop trying to find a nice body shape. I think it turned out pretty good. Give as many suggestions as you can.



Here's the peice of wood I'm going to be using. 2" thick, 5" wide and about 10' long. I'm not sure what a cherry solid body would sound like, if anyone knows please tell me! I'm going for a warmer sound.


(It's cut in half and stacked in photoshop to fit on screen)

Before I start the body though, I'm going to choose the electronics to install. I'm leaning towards humbuckers. My other guitar is more of a twangy, high end guitar and I want some variation in my collection. Every once in a while I find myself searching for a tone I just can't go down to on my guitar. I have no idea how to start with choosing suitable pickups though... I want something with a low heavy vintage garage rock sound. The neck I'm going to order, i'm just building the body from scratch. I was planning on putting the cherry as a laminate on the headstock, and I want that airline sort of shape as in the picture. Can you buy necks without the headstock cut, so I could shape it myself? Finally, the bridge. I prefer the action low, so I was thinking of getting a strat style tremolo bridge. I'm not sure about a whammy bar. I don't find myself using it too often so I guess it would be better leaving it out so I don't have to worry about it going out of tune. That's pretty much it, please give me as much advice as possible!
#2
you can get necks without a cut headstock at:

www.warmoth.com
www.carvin.com

just make sure the neck pocket is the proper size!


for pickups. i thinks you'd like a DiMarzio Tone-Zone in the bridge. and maybe an Air-Norton in the neck. but remember: a Duncan JB/59 combo can give you almost any sound you want.
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#3
pup-gibson burstbucker
bridge-gibson tune-o-matic bridge (i like it because of the adjustability)
if u really want a whammy i would go for a floating trem and a floyd rose
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#4
This is going to be a good project. I'll defer to the pros to talk about the tone property of cherry.

For hardware and electronics, consider Guitar Fetish. Lots of modders have had good experiences with them.

I know you can get blank headstocks from Warmoth or Musikraft.



Edit: Kinda reminds me of the Gretsch "Billy-Bo" Jupiter Thunderbird ...
Last edited by Ippon at Jan 28, 2007,
#5
I'm guessing the "angled paddle" necks are the uncut ones...

When you suggest pickups, please elaborate more on the range of sounds you can get out of them. I can't really make a decision based on simply names.

Thanks!
#6
Just gotta say, the design is awesome dude.
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#7
yeah but billy bo is better
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#8
I was checking out the DiMarzio pickups. What's the main difference between a Air Notron and the Air Zone? I was thinking I might like the Air Zone better based on the description.

As for the neck, how should I choose it? I know there's not much choice of uncut headstock necks but how should I pick one...

I was also checking out some bridges. I decided I just want a stop tail bridge. All the bridges I found of that type were pretty cheap, does the choice of bridge not really matter much? Will it not affect the sound significantly?
Last edited by Pyroiguana at Jan 29, 2007,
#10
A) You totally stole my avatar >:O

B) That wood looks amazingly scrumptious. If you pull this off, it will be one of the most gorgeous things ever. Let's just hope it sounds as good as it will look

C) You're lucky. My dad is a woodworker(for a hobby), but damn good. He made half the furniture in the house and has even been offered a couple grand for our kitchen table and chairs he made. However, he won't help me do anything with my guitars At least he lets me use his equipment though...
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#11
Quote by Pyroiguana
I was checking out the DiMarzio pickups. What's the main difference between a Air Notron and the Air Zone? I was thinking I might like the Air Zone better based on the description.

As for the neck, how should I choose it? I know there's not much choice of uncut headstock necks but how should I pick one...

I was also checking out some bridges. I decided I just want a stop tail bridge. All the bridges I found of that type were pretty cheap, does the choice of bridge not really matter much? Will it not affect the sound significantly?

Without knowing the tonal property of cherry, it'll really be very difficult to propose the proper PUs. I recommend that you PM AlgeeEater, 12stringtex, Ormsby, Callum, etc. and the other luthiers. They'll be able to definitively say whether your wood is warm and/or dark like Mahogany, mid like Alder, or bright like Maple.

As far as the bridge, this is a custom guitar. I'd personally go for the best bridge I can afford for a build from scratch guitar. The Guitar Fetish link I provided above is a pretty decent place to get some hardware, including locking tuners, wiring harnesses, pots, etc.

Good Luck! This guitar will probably go to your future kid.
#12
TOM WITH STRING THRU!!! Definitely all gold hardware too.
"Everybody, one day will die and be forgotten. Act and behave in a way that will make life interesting and fun. Find a passion, form relationships, don't be afraid to get out there and fuck what everyone else thinks."
#13
Sorry about the avatar : P

I just decided, since this is the first time i'm making a guitar and the woods so nice, that i'll do a practice guitar. I'm going to get another peice of cherry from my dad's huge wood collection and build the same guitar from that. For trying out electronics & stuff I'll buy a cheapy guitar and scrap the elecronics and neck and put it all together. That way I'll have a good understanding of how it all works and a chance to correct any flaws in the design before I use the nice wood. I'll still try to find a good peice, but my dad dcoesn't have any wood near as good as that peice.

And as for gold hardware, i'm kinda going for chrome, sorry...

Some more questions....

1. How should I start with the template? Should I base it off of another guitar's dimensions and simply adjust it to fit my body shape?

2. I want a sunburst effect on the wood. Whats the best way to do this? My dad had a interesting idea for this. Apparently cherry naturally darkens quickly and there's a chemical that speeds up the aging process. If I could apply that to the edges much like painting it, do you think it would come out nicely?
Last edited by Pyroiguana at Jan 29, 2007,
#14
Cherry is a ****ing pain to work with, I know that. Hard as a damn rock.
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#15
I think if it's super dense, it would be a lot brighter. Maybe you could have a mahogany body with a cherry top? You could do a fair few guitars if you went along this route. For the size, I drew my models up in TurboCad and then printed them to full scale. It's a pity I never got them finished though
"Everybody, one day will die and be forgotten. Act and behave in a way that will make life interesting and fun. Find a passion, form relationships, don't be afraid to get out there and fuck what everyone else thinks."
#17
+ 1 X 23784628374 for gold hardware; it would look amazing dude.
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#18
By the way my dad made 99% of the furniture in the house too, including the whole kitchen (cabinets, everything) and my whole room. He's remodelling our house.

And I still think I want chrome... I guess it's just my preference.

I found a guitar to scrap for my "prototype". It's a Yamaha ERG 121 for only $40. It's in perfect condition except for the input jack, and it has everything I need: two humbuckers, a good neck, electronics, and a good bridge (even though it's a tremolo). So i'm going to pick that up soon and start trying my hand at making my first guitar body... Maybe if it turns out really good I can give it some good quality electronics.

Also, I still have alot of questions I want answered (previous posts) If anyone could help?
Last edited by Pyroiguana at Jan 29, 2007,
#19
Awesome man Its cool that you found the yammy. ABout the quesitons Im not too sure about number one, but number two, if you know what that chemical is then do that burst! It would come out as a natural yet not natural look. T'would rock.
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It's pretty hard to find someone as hardcore as Tom. The race for hardcore supremacy would be pretty close but i think Tom's got his nose just in front for now...
#21
That sounds really sweet dude, I can't wait to see what it looks like!
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#23
Quote by Pyroiguana
Yet another question. Does anyone know any good guitar crafiting site other than project guitar? I need tutorials on guitar finishing (sunburst), wiring, etc.

i belive its called http://www.ultimate-guitar.com
Member #5 of the UG Luthier's club.
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EDIT: t heff wins the for the best response.

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#24
Quote by Pyroiguana
Yet another question. Does anyone know any good guitar crafiting site other than project guitar? I need tutorials on guitar finishing (sunburst), wiring, etc.


You're already on it. Talking about any other sites is forbidden
Pretty much everything guitar wise would have been covered by at least one, if not lots more members in these forums.
"Everybody, one day will die and be forgotten. Act and behave in a way that will make life interesting and fun. Find a passion, form relationships, don't be afraid to get out there and fuck what everyone else thinks."
#25
www.mimf.com

You have to sign up to view the library, but it's well worth it. All of your questions WILL be answered in there.

Chris
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#26
I Lol'd ^^
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LesPaulMarshall, you friggin rock!
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It's pretty hard to find someone as hardcore as Tom. The race for hardcore supremacy would be pretty close but i think Tom's got his nose just in front for now...
#27
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Pretty much everything guitar wise would have been covered by at least one, if not lots more members in these forums.

Not even close.
'Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable. However, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose despondency and laziness make them give it up as unattainable.'
#28
Well, I sort of meant a detailed tutorial rather than a forum, if you know what I mean.

Still waiting on a answer from the guy with the yamaha... It's on craigslist, so as soon as he replies I'll stop by and pick it up. (of course, if he still has it)

I'm going to go and search through some wood for a good prototype body now
Last edited by Pyroiguana at Jan 30, 2007,
#29
Quote by AlGeeEater
Not even close.


Well, it was maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but anything that a first time builder needs to know, he should be able to find or be helped in this forum
"Everybody, one day will die and be forgotten. Act and behave in a way that will make life interesting and fun. Find a passion, form relationships, don't be afraid to get out there and fuck what everyone else thinks."
#30
Found some wood! It's not even close to as good as the other peice but it's the next best we have. It's just a normal pic - the other peice had oil on it to bring out the grain and was cropped & adjusted in photoshop. I just got this one out of the stack, planed it, and took a pic of part of it. It all is about as interesting as that, though without the weird "X" pattern... overall, it's pretty nice.

Well, anyways, here it is:



Oh yes, and to quote AlgeeEater:

Cherry is somewhat warmer than maple, but is brighter & has more 'bite' than mahogany. You will probaly get a tone close to alder, maybe somewhat like ash.
Last edited by Pyroiguana at Jan 30, 2007,
#31
I think the Yamaha I found is already sold - the guy on craigslist hasn't emailed me back all week. I guess I'll have to keep looking.

Since apparently the wood has a brighter tone, is there a way I can still get the low sound I'm looking for but just with the extra bite of the cherry? Or would it be a better idea to go with the sound of the wood?
#32
You could use the cherry as a top and use mahogany or something with a darker tone as the main body. You could use an all mahogany neck with ebony or rosewood as the fretboard. Or you could just use darker sounding pickups.
"Everybody, one day will die and be forgotten. Act and behave in a way that will make life interesting and fun. Find a passion, form relationships, don't be afraid to get out there and fuck what everyone else thinks."
#34
hipshot makes the best looking hardtail bridges ever, but they all cost like $100.
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#36
What about these or putting a Graph Tech GHOST system in it? I think it would sound excellent with the cherry's tone
"Everybody, one day will die and be forgotten. Act and behave in a way that will make life interesting and fun. Find a passion, form relationships, don't be afraid to get out there and fuck what everyone else thinks."
#37
Still going for a standard, relatively inexpensive bridge.

And what exactly does the GHOST do??? It's a little expensive isnt it? Just asking out of curiosity though, i'm not gonna get the GHOST system.
Last edited by Pyroiguana at Jan 31, 2007,
#38
It uses special saddles to make your guitar sound like an acoustic. I was suggesting those bridges as they seemed to be cheaper than the Hipshot you mentioned.
"Everybody, one day will die and be forgotten. Act and behave in a way that will make life interesting and fun. Find a passion, form relationships, don't be afraid to get out there and fuck what everyone else thinks."
#39
I do like the string mounting on the rear end of those bridges, is there in other good bridges like that that are a little cheaper? Maybe $40 or probably less? I'm not going to spend too much money on the guitar. I figured about 30 for the bridge, around 100 for both pickups, around 200 for a neck... and maybe about 50 more for the miscellanious hardware. (Does all that seem right?) So the total would come out to about $400. But i'll probably try to get the best deals I can and maybe I might find some cheaper items so i'm going to try and get it down $300.

How much should you typically spend on a custom guitar?

Also, the bridge was almost the same price.
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