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For a quick background check, I'm Josh Katherman and new to the forums. I have aspirations of making my own guitar building business, whether on the side or potentially full time. I've played guitar for 14 years (i'm 23) and have been modifying/repairing/redoing guitars here and there throughout my entire guitar playing era.

This is the my first attempt at a full build, this will be the key showcase piece for my website and (if it turns out good enough) my #001 guitar for my company!

I started the project a little while ago and I'll post pics of some of the progress and ideas that I have for it. I hope for some suggestions, ideas, and opinions on where it should go and the final outcome that we'll see at the end of this thread!

Unfortunately most (pretty much all ha..) of the pics were taken with my cellphone but it's 2mp so they turned out good enough to get the general direction of ideas by =] This won't be a full step by step guide since I JUST decided to post my progress and I dont have pics of everything.

This guitar is going to be a Thinline Custom Archtop. Now I say this loosely because the construction process and size is vastly different than a standard archtop guitar. This guitar will be made to play anything from jazz/country/pop/rock/and hopefully metal if construction implementations are as solid as they're planned to be.

LesPaul-ish body style modified
25" Scale
Ebony fretboard
24 Jumbo Stainless Steel Frets
5 piece laminated neck w/ Wenge supports
Bent 1 7/8" sides, Quilted top and back
Ebony Accents (pickup covers, tuners, truss cover)
Duncan SH-4's
No Inlays (as of now)
L.R.Baggs TOM w/ piezo
All Hardware Gold/Ebony
Finish:haven't decided!

Here's some pics of various progress points

I dont have pics of making the jigs for the body mold but here's me bending the sides to proper angle

Here's the body shape with sides bent ( i used way more clamps when freshly bent but this is after it's already dried ) It's a bad angle but you get the idea of the shape, essentially lespaul-ish with top curved in instead of straight, this will allow for a much smoother heel and ease of playability.

This is a pic of the BACK quilted maple I received, they sent me the wrong piece for the front but I felt like working on it so I started the back first

This gives you a better idea of the body shape, I didn't want to do anything too off the wall, stick with tradition to some extent while not being an exact copy. This is after I cut out the back, normally I would use a bandsaw but alas, i'm young and broke so I used my scroll saw for the job

Checking fit of top to sides, absolutely perfect!

Pickups Rings routed and sanded. This will be sliced in half/countoured for two graduated rings
This is the headstock shape before it's cut (still isn't cut yet)

Neck Angle and Top Depth drawn out

Full Neck

Which Color do you like best? I'm thinking Tiger Eye for the whole thing, but my girlfriend INSISTS on dark blue but I'll let it up to you guys!

dark blue (no clear):

TigerEye1(no clear):

I'm thinking TigerEye1, it's all tentative for now.

That's essentially all that's done as of this point.. I'm currently waiting on my Top wood and to plane down the Hon. Mahogany neck support.

I have a cool idea for neck mounting that I'll reveal in later posts once I can start assembly of that area. It essentially combines, set neck/deep set/bolt on all in one. It might sound retarded but it's really not I think it's a cool concept I'll explain later.

Pointless but:::

SH4's just arrived mmmm

Some Ziricote I have lying around collecting dust

A customers old BC-RICH they wanted retopped. Just got final buffed in both pics (hence compound everywhere hehe)

That's it for now. I'll be posting more as I progress through this

Take Care, - Josh
This is really nice, and by really nice I mean it gives women orgasms.
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I'd say TigerEye, it's beautiful. The dark blue looks great too though... I'd hate to have to make this decision!
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That Tiger Eye #2 is beautiful. Go with that.
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Wow, the tigereye is sexy. Use it.

Also, nice build. I'll be watching it

Thats a first build? Daaaaammmnnnnnn!

Blue or Tiger eye I though, stunning.

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do a burst with the blue and tiger eye! actually, idk how good that would look, but hey, its a suggestion!
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They stopped asking
very nice man, nice to see a hollow body being built(Y)
did you make the neck yourself ?

and with the blue could you not make the grain pop as much as you did on the tiger eye ?
Quote by admbwr
and with the blue could you not make the grain pop as much as you did on the tiger eye ?

Might be an issue with the picture and lighting quality actually. The lighting seems better on the tiger eye #2 than the other two for some reason... I bet they all "pop" very well in person.
JB in the neck and the bridge? That's interesting. I'd expect it to sound great in the bridge, but the neck I'm not sure about. You'd have to lower it a bit, I'd imagine. I'm interested to see how that sounds.
I know call me crazy =] The Jackson KV2 V uses a sh4 at the bridge so it's feasible.

This time I did NOT build the neck myself simply because, With tools included I've spent almost $2000 on everything, 800 in tools and about 1200 total on the guitar to buy the equipment I need to accurately make necks I would have to fork out I would imagine $1500 plus, if you consider a jointer/bandsaw (over 6") all the fretting supplies I just dont have the money for the tools I would need.

I had my friend Doug, from SoulMate guitars make it for me. He's made necks for Jeff Miller and a toonn of do-it-yerself-ers and hobbiests but lemme tell you, you WONT find a better neck!

I'll be doing it this way for a couple guitars until I make enough profit to buy the tools needed =] I'm current with the methodology of neck building though.

Yeah the pictures didn't turn out the best, plus the other two pics didn't have a buffed clear so they wont pop as much.

I think I'll post my concept of a neck joint/construction tomorrow once I get some sleep, it's cool i'm excited to see how it sounds! and to hear your opinions on it
Im pretty interested in how this is going to be constructed, its looking pretty good so far.
I'll post the neck jointing concept by tonight

here's tigereye1 redone with a better pic, NO clear

that looks tasty, i cant wait too see this thing finished
this looks like a kid drew it but I didn't have time to do a photoshop mockup of the concept

The quilted top and back are still glued on but the neck pocket extents all the way under where the TOM bridge mounts, all sides and front are nothing but wood to wood contact.

My reasoning for this is, typically set necks are essentially covered in a thin, yet tone-dampening glue layer. This solves this problem for around 60% of the coverage area, it has about 5 times more wood to wood contact than a standard bolt on, set almost as deep as a neck through, less weight, more pocket than a normal set neck.

I've seen some instruments made that are bolt on all the way through but theres always neck bolts sticking out, this is my concept for a clean, maximized wood-to-wood neck pocket

take care - josh
So it's pretty much a super bolt on neck? It looks really interesting.
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I don't know if I can help it.

Member #6 of the "I play my guitar as high as Tom Morello does" club
Nice idea for the neck joint and this is looking great

The tiger eye two is the best looking to me, followed by blue, followed by Tegier Eye 1.

great build
How are you going to bolt and unbolt it if the screws are horizontal under the tom mount?

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

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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
Well in that manner it's like a set or deep tenon neck, it can't be bolted on or off, it's permanent; But it employs concepts to maximize tone throughout the entire neck pocket.

- Josh
plus it will be glued on the bottom and the top

I need some ideas for a good tailpiece, has to be pure ebony besides mounting piece but design wise I'm not sure i drew these up quick

ehh, i'm not sure what I want to do yet ideas plix

As of the "super bolt on", are you speaking on like from JEH guitars? I guess that's essentially what it is though set in the body rather than attached from the back. I never saw this concept before you mentioned it though i swear! hehe
Last edited by AviaCustom at Apr 4, 2008,
I love it so far and Tiger's Eye #2 is just amazing. As for a tailpiece, I like the bottom one more, the top one is too jaged IMO. As for the neck joint, I really like that idea. If it works I might have to steal it for a thinline tele I'm planning.
By the way, nice Zircote! I've always loved Zircote, has such a unique look. Pity its cracked...
Last edited by XibanezedgeX at Apr 4, 2008,
cheers brotha =] Please use it! It'd make me happy to see ya use something I came up with I'm just hoping there's a noticeable improvement in tone transfer! The concept makes sense anyways :P

That ziricote is a pretty big piece though could easily be used for p/u rings/tailpiece etc it's like 4" thick too O_o
I'm not sure heh It'd be expensive! and really neat lookin =] I'm going to plane the mahogany neck pocket and braces tomorrow might have pics
quilted top came today, it's better than I expected this is easily 5A Private Stock quality

just got done glueing top should be cut tonight, I might route some if I feel ambitious
Couple new pics of tonights progress.. top cut, contour graduation lines drew. it's not being glued together in the last pic I just was making sure the sides were straight, dead on

toodles =]
Wow, can't wait for this to all come together!
Looking great, hmmm, quilted top!
A man said to the universe:
"Sir, I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
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I didn't do much today just cut the ebony p/u ring in half, my scroll saw has a natural slight tilt in the blade which isn't good normally but in this case it worked out because of the bridge and neck angle it saves sanding down some =]

Took some double sided tape, stuck some wood on both sides, clamped wood on each side as a guide to keep it centered and cut. who needs a bandsaw anyways

hey, thats probably not a natural tilt, look at the bottom of your scroll saw, theirs usually an angle adjuster for the table from what i've seen.
I dont know why, but this is totally making me think of the guy they just featured on the April Premier Guitar magazine.... The Abyss Guitars.
Is it wrong to be strong.... You decide.
it's probably because of the bottom horn, gotta have inspiration from somewhere Kevin Pederson rules!
Beautiful... Can't wait!
Dean MS STD V w/ Dimebucker
Dean ML '79
Jackson DKMGT
Randall RG75
Peavey Bandit 112
Boss NS-2
aren't hollowbodys carved on the inside too ?
Thanks for posting, and good luck with your company! We can never have enough luthiers (well, good ones at least).

Yup they're carved on the inside as well, but I'm trying not to go TOO acoustic on this build because I want to be able to add a decent amount of distortion without uncontrollable feedback. The more acoustic an instrument, 'typically' the more feedback prone it is, it's just where you cross that line ya know?

It will at least be carved underneath the f-holes for aesthetics WORD?