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#1
Ok, so I know of a manufacturer that will supply me with basically any color acrylic I want, and I recently decided to build my own guitar. I have decided to build my guitar body out of the acrylic, but after its all put together, I wouldn't mind putting in some LED striplights and an audio sensor so when I play, the sound pulses to the sound (it won't be perfect pulses, i know, but for slower solos, it should prove to be nice). I figure I'll use a yellow acrylic and some white lights, for a nice yellow glow. I know can connect the lights to the guitar with no problem, but my question is:

1. what do I connect the lights/sensor to? the input port is my only thought.

2. will connecting the lights cause any shortages / interruptions in the pickups or guitar in general?

3. Are lights in the guitar just an all-around bad idea?

any and all suggestions are very welcome

Dizzy
#2
1. what do I connect the lights/sensor to? the input port is my only thought.
make a cavity for some battery's to fit into maybe?
2. will connecting the lights cause any shortages / interruptions in the pickups or guitar in general?
no clue really
3. Are lights in the guitar just an all-around bad idea?
no it sounds awesome
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#5
all the acrylic guitars i have ever played were extremely heavy.

the lights sound interesting, but i would worry about it causing noise in the pickups.
#6
^^^
Yeah acrylic is super heavy. An acrylic snare drum can weight about as much as a Les Paul
What you could do is have two cords going to the guitar, that way one could go to the amp and the sound wouldn't be crappified by the lights, and the other would be going back to the guitar. You could build a pedal that doubles the signal into two output jacks.
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Didn't Kerry King use MGs at some point?

I think he just endorses them because he likes sacks of money
#7
Quote by PimpedOutSquier
^^^
Yeah acrylic is super heavy. An acrylic snare drum can weight about as much as a Les Paul
What you could do is have two cords going to the guitar, that way one could go to the amp and the sound wouldn't be crappified by the lights, and the other would be going back to the guitar. You could build a pedal that doubles the signal into two output jacks.


That's true, but I really would like to avoid the multiple cables situation.

Actually, what I just realized is that this project may not be able to use acrylic.
If you take a solid block of acrylic and machine it down, the faces you machine will no longer be transparent, they "fog up". This in mind, the lights wouldn't get through enough to make a good effect. The only other option I have is to make a mold, and then pour the molten acrylic into the mold. This, however, is extremely hard to do. For one, the mold has to be perfectly smooth and polished, which takes quite a bit of work. Making the mold itself is also quite an adventure lol.

I may have to resort to a traditional wood body.

I will keep pics of my progress updated when I can.

If anyone has ANY suggestions, or if I'm mistaken in my above explanation, please let me know.
#8
A square guitar


JK
Quote by Chaosinborn

Quote by gh0sthack

Didn't Kerry King use MGs at some point?

I think he just endorses them because he likes sacks of money
#9
Quote by PimpedOutSquier
A square guitar


JK



lol don't tempt me; I might.
I can basically do any shape, design, or body extension I want. I have access to a machine shop, as well as a wood shop, so anything I need is available lol.
#10
Cant you sand and polish the acrylic, making it perfectly clear again just like you would a finish? I'm almost 100% sure you can I see no reason why you couldn't.
#11
^ you can plus the light would go through the acrylic even if it was foggy,

why dont you use (minature sensitive) microphones for the light sensor, you could flush mount it directly under the strings between the pups, and it would change the lights depending on the acoustic sounds you are producing, instead of relying on an electrical input.


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#12
Quote by carousel182
Cant you sand and polish the acrylic, making it perfectly clear again just like you would a finish? I'm almost 100% sure you can I see no reason why you couldn't.


No. The acrylic, as a solid block, is basically one big light refractor. When you machine it or alter it in any way besides melting it, like sanding, drilling, or cutting, it basically interrupts the clarity of the acrylic, making polishing pointless. All polishing will do is smooth it out, not make the acrylic fragments re-align and transparent.
#13
yup, it sands really well, just sand it smooth, then rub some varnish on, clear as it was before, there are other products you can use, but I find varnish works great, even better than the stuff meant for acrylic.

EDIT - I was yupping carousel's reply
#14
Quote by Dizzy772
No. The acrylic, as a solid block, is basically one big light refractor. When you machine it or alter it in any way besides melting it, like sanding, drilling, or cutting, it basically interrupts the clarity of the acrylic, making polishing pointless. All polishing will do is smooth it out, not make the acrylic fragments re-align and transparent.


I think i believe muikoma, he has experience with it.
#15
gotcha. I honestly didn't think about a varnish.

Now that that's covered, anyone got any ideas as to what shape I should have?

I was thinking something similar to this:
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=&stc=1
souba.jpg
Attachments:
souba.jpg
#16
Make a big semi-hollow like an ES. That'd be nice and big for lights, and the space inside of it would help counteract the weight of the acrylic.
Quote by Chaosinborn

Quote by gh0sthack

Didn't Kerry King use MGs at some point?

I think he just endorses them because he likes sacks of money
#17
Cant say I like those shapes, a traditional guitar shape you be best.


Quote by dogismycopilot
Absent Mind, words cant express how much i love you. Id bone you, oh yea.

Quote by lumberjack
Absent Mind is, as usual, completely correct.

Quote by littlemurph7976
Id like to make my love for Neil public knowledge as he is a beautiful man
#18
Yeah, stick with a traditional shape. I can't tell you how many builds I've seen where the person makes this crazy shape, only to find out that the important part (you know, playing it) is a bitch
#20
I wonder if creating a circuit that went battery>piezo>led would cause the light to pulse. Me thinks a trip to Radio Shack may be in order...
#21
About the light: The Nigel Tufnell "Mr. Horsepower" had a tachometer that was powered by the strings, presumably via the standard pickups, so I know it's possible. That should give you a goal, at least.
#22
Thanks for all the help guys. Since I have no experience in building a guitar, but some in wood and metalworking, what I'm going to do is build some wooden guitars first, just to practice. I'll build the entire guitars, pickups and all (funding is no problem for the most part), and work my way to the acrylic.

What I think I'm going to do for the acrylic is make a mold of the rough, basic shape of the body, then cut and sand to my liking, then do all the routing and drilling, then polish and varnish it all up, then I'll come on back to you guys for the wiring bit.

I'll post pictures of all the guitars in this thread as often as possible.

THANKS!
#24
Quote by Absent Mind


why dont you use (minature sensitive) microphones for the light sensor, you could flush mount it directly under the strings between the pups, and it would change the lights depending on the acoustic sounds you are producing, instead of relying on an electrical input.


what would be better is a piezo linked up to the LEDs
I dont have much experience but Ive heard (from guitar mags)
that they are easy to make
#25
Quote by Dizzy772
Ok, so I know of a manufacturer that will supply me with basically any color acrylic I want, and I recently decided to build my own guitar. I have decided to build my guitar body out of the acrylic, but after its all put together, I wouldn't mind putting in some LED striplights and an audio sensor so when I play, the sound pulses to the sound (it won't be perfect pulses, i know, but for slower solos, it should prove to be nice). I figure I'll use a yellow acrylic and some white lights, for a nice yellow glow. I know can connect the lights to the guitar with no problem, but my question is:

1. what do I connect the lights/sensor to? the input port is my only thought.

2. will connecting the lights cause any shortages / interruptions in the pickups or guitar in general?

3. Are lights in the guitar just an all-around bad idea?

any and all suggestions are very welcome

Dizzy


to number 3 i think its an awesome idea search for "KISS jammin' very cool"
on youtube youll see an awesome custom Steve Perry i think ace frehley guitar

Gear
Gibson Les Paul Traditional
Carvin V3 and Marhall 1960A cab
2 B.C. Rich Ironbird Pro
Schecter Hellraiser 6
Boss ML-2

#26
Quote by Dizzy772
Ok, so I know of a manufacturer that will supply me with basically any color acrylic I want, and I recently decided to build my own guitar. I have decided to build my guitar body out of the acrylic, but after its all put together, I wouldn't mind putting in some LED striplights and an audio sensor so when I play, the sound pulses to the sound (it won't be perfect pulses, i know, but for slower solos, it should prove to be nice). I figure I'll use a yellow acrylic and some white lights, for a nice yellow glow. I know can connect the lights to the guitar with no problem, but my question is:

1. what do I connect the lights/sensor to? the input port is my only thought.

2. will connecting the lights cause any shortages / interruptions in the pickups or guitar in general?

3. Are lights in the guitar just an all-around bad idea?

any and all suggestions are very welcome

Dizzy


to number 3 i think its an awesome idea search for "KISS jammin' very cool"
on youtube youll see an awesome custom Steve Perry i think ace frehley guitar

Gear
Gibson Les Paul Traditional
Carvin V3 and Marhall 1960A cab
2 B.C. Rich Ironbird Pro
Schecter Hellraiser 6
Boss ML-2

#27
I'm thinking the way to do it would be a piezo into an op-amp, then the output voltage is rectified to give you a semi-constant DC voltage. The piezo itself cannot output enough current to drive a LED effectively (I just tried, if you smack them hard the LED lights up for a brief second, but I think this is more that the output voltage of the piezo exceeds the forward threshold of the LED).
"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."
#29
Quote by Dizzy772
No. The acrylic, as a solid block, is basically one big light refractor. When you machine it or alter it in any way besides melting it, like sanding, drilling, or cutting, it basically interrupts the clarity of the acrylic, making polishing pointless. All polishing will do is smooth it out, not make the acrylic fragments re-align and transparent.


well, i made a perspex scrathplate, and it turned out ok, although i'm looking at the edge just now, and it does look a bit foggy.

What about the BC Rich perspex models, are they casted?
#30
Quote by the_random_hero
I'm thinking the way to do it would be a piezo into an op-amp, then the output voltage is rectified to give you a semi-constant DC voltage. The piezo itself cannot output enough current to drive a LED effectively (I just tried, if you smack them hard the LED lights up for a brief second, but I think this is more that the output voltage of the piezo exceeds the forward threshold of the LED).


Did you use just the element or the whole driver? Because I'm thinking that a buzzer might work as it seems to have the amp built into it.
#31
Or you could put the guts of a boost pedal after the piezo, with a 9v. That'd be more power for the led. Build in the delay too, have a knob on the guitar control rate, and you've got lights that can flash in time...
Quote by Chaosinborn

Quote by gh0sthack

Didn't Kerry King use MGs at some point?

I think he just endorses them because he likes sacks of money
#32
Quote by jimRH7
well, i made a perspex scrathplate, and it turned out ok, although i'm looking at the edge just now, and it does look a bit foggy.

What about the BC Rich perspex models, are they casted?


Those are most likely poured into a one-sided cast. They make a perfect mold and pour the acrylic into it. Then once it cools, they debur it, polish it, paint it, and whatever else they want.
#33
Quote by Dizzy772
Those are most likely poured into a one-sided cast. They make a perfect mold and pour the acrylic into it. Then once it cools, they debur it, polish it, paint it, and whatever else they want.


so, if you can polish it up from out the cast, why can't you polish it up after cutting? is it something to do with it going opaque under stress?
#34
Quote by jimRH7
so, if you can polish it up from out the cast, why can't you polish it up after cutting? is it something to do with it going opaque under stress?


No, it goes foggy after you cut it or drill it. Someone mentioned that you can use a varnish to shine it back up though, so that's what I'll do.
#35
Okay, so I've decided that my first few guitars are going to be made of some russian wood that I have laying around in my garage. I'll have some sketches and pictures up soon.
#36
Make an acrylic one that looks like amber and put a huge fake mosquito or lizard in it so it looks like a fossil.
#37
Alright, picture update time!

I'm using some scrap pieces of Russian Baltic Birch that I've got laying around

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=&stc=1
Guitars 001.jpg
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=61884&stc=1
Guitars 002.jpg
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=61885&stc=1
Guitars 003.jpg
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=61886&stc=1
Guitars 004.jpg
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=61888&stc=1
Guitars 006.jpg

Each board is about a half inch thick, and after sanding and whatnot, the thickness should be pretty good for me.
Attachments:
Guitars 001.jpg
Guitars 002.jpg
Guitars 003.jpg
Guitars 004.jpg
Guitars 006.jpg
#39
So... a plywood guitar? You're probably gonna catch a lotta flak for that, man. And to be honest, I don't think that's gonna be totally awesome either.

However, in a blind test most people actually can't tell the difference in tone (almost nobody can, except Eric Johnson), so perhaps that stuff is gonna hold up fair enough if you go for an opague finish.

...and to post pictures click-free, you'll need to upload them to an image host like Imageshack.us or Photobucket.com and then just follow the instructions.
#40
gotcha. Yeah, its plywood. But that's why they're PRACTICE guitars. I don't plan on playing them very much, if at all, unless, for whatever reason, they end up really REALLY nice, and they don't sound like crap.

NOTE TO ALL - *Remember, these first three guitars WILL be plywood, but they are all leading up to the final product of an Acrylic guitar.*
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