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Well, it's apparently been three months since I posted here. Look at that.

Luckily (well, unluckily for me), there's not much i have to tell to keep everyone in the loop. I've gotten the wood joined, rough cut and routed to shape from the template. Now I'm working up the money to mass order the neck building equipment and another pickup template. Then I can start routing out the pickup area and constructing the neck.

Pictures:






And before you say anything... no, that is not the final heel shape. I'll get to it.
I've been busy with school, but there is at least some progress to be reported. I've finished the MDF template (the heel is probably just flowing into the neck, so I'll tackle that in actual wood), and come up with a headstock design. Pics below:




Now, I was doing some research on different neck joints at Sam Ash and realized that there were no set-neck guitars in stock with fender-style, non-angled headstocks. Is there a specific reason for this? I asked one of the sales guys but he just said the word "break angle" a few times, so that wasn't particularly helpful.
Thanks all! I'm starting to order stuff for building the neck and I want to make sure the prices are justified... mainly for the Essential Fretting Kit and the Miter box with Japanese Saw. Are these tools worth it for neck building? (It's worth noting that I will be building more later on, and may be doing some repair work soon). Any input is appreciated.
Quote by homeless-john
The shape of the body is great but personally I would extend the upper horn on the pickguard a little and move it further away from the edge. Maybe that's just the drawing though.

Whatever you do, I look forward to seeing this progress!

Thanks, the pickguard will actually be farther away from the edge in the real thing since I haven't taken edge beveling into account for the drawing. As for extending it to the upper horn, I'll have to see, but that may just be a stylistic difference.
Quote by W4RP1G
I love everything about it, but the heel looks kind of odd. Or maybe it's just me?

Heel is tentative, just filled in for design purposes

Anyways, just picked up most of the wood for this yesterday. Found a beautiful piece of redheart I'm going to be using as the fingerboard; it's very striking and deep. I had my eye on a piece of marblewood before, but someone bought that before I had the chance. I'll be making the pickguard out of wood most likely, so I'm keeping a lookout for a piece of figured red wood wide enough to be a one-piece pickguard - though my fallback plan is a veneer. Body and neck will be out of mahogany to give it a warmer tone (picked something less exotic to draw more attention to the red in the fingerboard). Pic of redheart is below, even though the shot doesn't do it near the justice it deserves.

...which I am settling via the internet. Which is cuter: baby foxes vs. baby red pandas.




Choose wisely.
I'm working on starting another guitar (first build thread in my sig), and decided that I'm going to build one from the ground up this time (neck + body). Specs are as follows:

Construction: set neck
Frets: 22
Bridge: hardtail
Body Wood: Mahogany
Neck Wood: Mahogany
Fingerboard Wood: Redheart
Pickguard Wood: Tentative

Wood choice isn't final yet as I need to go to the store and check out their selection, but I want an overall warmer tone than the first build, but still with a good upper range for attack. This build will again be slow as I'm still in school. Any input anybody has on what woods sound best/are easy or difficult to work with, it would be much appreciated!

Also, body shape:

Thanks, everyone! It was meant to have sort of a live show vibe, so I guess it's good I accomplished that I may go back and see if I can give the boogie stick a little more breathing room, I don't think there's a truly balanced set of speakers in my house for me to hear these things on...
Can't really comment much on the screams as that's not really my style, but they seemed more jarring in the beginning than later in the song... dont ask me how, but they blended more after the first chorus to my ears. Everyone in the band clearly has a lot of talent at their disposal, and good job on the writing of the instrumental parts! I'll be honest and say that a lot of this genre sounds the same to me, but i can't fault anything in this other than some screams so it must be good
Just listened to 44 Magnum Opus, nice stuff! The strings in the first part did sound really artificial, I suggest looking into some orchestral sound library if you're going to do stuff like this, but I liked how it was written. It did feel very fragmented (which was probably planned), but cool parts throughout, and I really dug the bass groove that came in halfway through. Good job!
It definitely has a nice groove to it, though I still wouldn't class it as funk, like others have said. I do think there should be more of the jamming aspect of it, and less of the riffing. It gets sort of repetitive after a while, though riffs are good. You can get a lot funkier of a sound if your drums aren't as straightforward as they are (basic 4/4 rock beats), plus turn down the gain like some others have pointed out. Try throwing some offbeat (figuratively and literally) drumming in there and it should help as well!

c4c? https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?p=30103298
Just got done with a new song (first in a few months), just wanted to put it out here and see what people thought! It's also the first one since getting Logic 9 and my Mesa. C4C!

http://soundcloud.com/rickyhopper/dirty-gypsy-magic
I bought the combo version of the VHT Special 6 Ultra for my girlfriend recently.

It's a very nice amp for a reasonable price.

It seems like a nice amp, and it does have the watts feature going for it at lower volumes. However, 6 watts seems low for many jamming situations... plus, it's only one channel, though it does have a boost mode.

Quote by icronic
Why not just buy a 1x12 Lonestar Classic combo? They go for roughly $1000 used.

I'd considered it... played through one in GC, liked the tones that were coming out of it. There aren't any in my area though, sadly. Also, I thought both it and the TA-15 Perverockstar mentioned were a little lacking in gain (liked the TA-15 as well, but the head + cab price is something to consider).

HOWEVER. I checked out the guy from craigslist's 5:50... floored. After hearing the tones from that, I'm thinking it really is my best option. I had heard it was essentially a lonestar with a little more gain on tap, and it does sound fairly similar. And it can make some pretty magnificent-sounding noise at socially acceptable volume levels, too.
I get that I won't be able to get poweramp distortion in the dorm. I just want something that can get that in a jam session. It's for an all-purpose amp. This past year, I used the volume control on my multieffects to cut volume between the preamp stage and the poweramp stage, so it'd still be playable without pissing off everyone in the hall. So I get that tube amps aren't ideal for dorm life, per se. But when I do go out and play with people, I want to be able to get that good tube saturation.

Do you like the sound of your RP1000? If so, grab this:http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-...ered-pa-speaker

It will allow you to amplify your RP1000 at jam sessions and essentially use it as an amp, so you won't have to deal with going ampless.

The cleaner models on it alright, but the higher gain sims are mediocre at best. There's only one real usable one on there for me, and it doesn't react like an amp should, so it just feels unnatural.

As for amp suggestions, checked out the Baron Snott Watt: seemed definitely cool, but more like a hair metal amp than what I do. I couldn't really find any demos that sounded like the tones I want to achieve, so I'll have to give that one a pass. Some comments on youtube led me to believe that they're made by someone on UG? If so, cool. I'll be checking out that guys Express 5:50 tomorrow night, so I'll have an idea of what that can do. Played through my friend's 5:25 today and liked the sound, so we'll see how it goes. Also, the tubemeisters... some say they're great, some say they're terrible. Any input from someone who owns one?
Quote by Ian_the_fox
If you're looking for the "full" and "open" sound that you often hear from Mesa Rec's, you don't look to low wattage amps.

Then again, if you are living in a dorm room and playing there most of the time you don't even look at any amps to start with.


You're best off getting a Line 6 Pod HD and a set of studio monitors and some good headphones (Audio Technica ATH-M50's are good for this use). Tube amps regardless of the wattage are never dorm friendly, and you get much more versatility by going digital. Plus, little to no one else is bothered.

You may be attached to the true tube tone but in this situation it's not practical. Wait till you graduate, then get the tube monster.

I've tried going ampless before... let's just say it didn't turn out well :P I get that I'm not going to be able to get "that" sound at dorm-friendly volumes, but I also go places and jam with people and such, so I do need some sort of amp. So it will get cranked on occasion, just not on an everyday basis. I actually do already have an RP1000 that I use for effects, so if I need to be extra quiet, I can make do with the amp models on that. While I said I do want it to be able to sound good at dorm volumes, I'm also keeping jam sessions heavily in mind.
Quote by MonsterMetalMus
I don't have too much experience with the amps you listed, but I might suggest that you look into a low wattage Blackstar HT amps. They're available as either a combo or head and you can get them at either 1, 5, 20, 40, 60 or 100 watts I believe. They're considered to be a bit of a metal amp, but from what I've heard out of them they can handle just about everything. I'm not sure about the 1 watt version, but I know that the 5 watt and above amps have 2 channels.

I've played a few of these... while they can cover pretty much every genre, I wasn't impressed with the distorted sound. I like to be able to get a full sound, and everything I've tried on the blackstars sounds a little thin, like something's missing. I've talked with a few people who think the same thing. Thanks for the suggestion though! I was looking heavily into them for a while, just didn't "fit".
I've asked questions about a few specific amps before, but I keep finding amps that I didn't know existed in my price range and wanting to try them... so I figured I'd ask you guys, since it seems a lot of you know pretty much everything in the market currently.

I'm looking for a low wattage amp (read: can sound good in a dorm room, so probably something that's either under 20 watts or has a low power setting), with at least 2 channels (footswitchable preferably). I've currently got an Egnater Rebel 20 head + cab, but the single channel bugs me and I find I could use a little more gain on tap. Also, if I could find a combo, that would be great (I'd like something easily transportable). With that being said, I'll try to provide a fair amount of info.

Budget: <$1000, though it is fairly flexible for the right thing.

Genres: Rock, fusion, some bluesier stuff, jazz (for an idea of some of what I do: my soundcloud)

Amps I'm currently considering:
- Mesa TA-15
- Mesa Mini Rectifier (given that these two would need cabs, they're more "out of reach")
- PRS SE 30
- Mesa Express 5:50 combo (found one on craigslist for 950, asked the guy if he still has it)
- Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 18 (haven't actually played it yet... heard mixed things)

If you can't tell, I like the mesa sound :P Big andy timmons fan, his lead sound is a semi-good example of the distortion I'm going for.
The family. Custom Build, Schecter C-1+ (modded, prototype finish), MIM strat (modded), Ibanez acoustic/electric, Egnater Rebel 20, Squier Affinity J Bass.

^i would if cash were more disposable... it is 1k, I was just saying the other amps I was trying were around 600. That's more of the price range I'm able to operate in. For this amp, I'd have to shuffle gear around/sell off some stuff.

and gregs, it's mainly people saying it's not worth it, and hating the lead channel.
So I was walking around Sam Ash yesterday looking at combos, and I saw that a few PRS SE's had just come in the other day (the 30 and the 50). I had been trying out amps at around the $600 range, but I'd plug in just for kicks and giggles. Plugged into the 30, fired it up... and whoa. Some of the best response to touch in any amp I've played (I normally don't let myself play the excessively expensive ones, though), great cleans and a nice, smooth distortion that'd be exactly what I need with a nice drive pedal in front of it.

However, when I got back and looked it up online, people really don't like this thing. They tend to approve of the cleans, but then go on to say that the distortion sounds fizzy, like a "can of bees". Before I go saying I'm fairly certain we played different amps, does anybody else have experience with these? I only got the master around 9 o'clock and the drive at noon, but does the amp not do as well at normal jam/gigging volumes? IMO, the lead channel makes the higher gain on my Egnater Rebel 20 sound more forced by comparison. I was way too impressed by this amp to take the bad reviews without any question.
Thanks all!

Poisonouspot, for the guitars, I ran the signal through my amp with my RP1000 with some effects on, then put that in garageband with a cab / poweramp sim. The bass was direct in with some GB amp simulation, and the drums were programmed with Dimension LE and an extra drum plugin.
I'm listening to Somewhere Out There... I'm with most people in that it's not really my style of music, but it is very catchy. I'm not sure what to think about the vocals honestly, but I like the other instrumentation aside from maybe the synth that comes in early in the song (about 28ish seconds in?). It has a good feel to it!
Completely agreed on the Robert Plant vibe. I like how the electric guitar comes in in the background to supplement the music in general. The whole song is very well crafted. The fact that there was no percussion never occurred to me until the solo part came in. I feel like some sort of tribal hand percussion could really round out the sound in that section, but that section only, then into the end minus the outro. The whole thing sounded very deep, and it definitely drew me in to it. Awesome work!

C4C? https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?p=29748340#post29748340
Nice! I really like how you actually use the bass as more than just something to hold together the bottom end, really helps a lot of rock when you can actually hear it and it's doing something cool. I agree with the Ramones comment, I can definitely hear that sort of sound in there. Nice work overall.

C4C? https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?p=29748340#post29748340
Really nice ambient feel to it, I found myself getting all introspective and forgot I was actually listening to it Which I guess means you're doing the ambient thing right haha. I do think it could use a little percussion here and there, mainly as accents. I personally thought the wall of effects was a little too thick; but that may just be stylistic differences.

C4C? https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?p=29748340#post29748340
First thing I noticed was the guitar tone was very in-your-face; it's a good thing! Second thing I noticed was that the main riff reminds me of You're A Lie from Slash a lot... I don't know if that was intentional or not. Some studio magic on thickening up the guitar tones a little more (like fake double tracking, or just go ahead and actually double track?) wouldn't hurt. Also, this kind of music has to have vocals to carry it IMO... or some sort of main melody part. It felt like a collection of riffs meant to be fleshed out in a full band setting with a vocalist to me.

Overall, VERY straight up rock and roll. A lot of people don't do that anymore, I like it.

C4C? https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?p=29748340#post29748340
Hey guys, I haven't put anything up here in a while, but I just finished building a new guitar so I decided to write a song on it, so I wanted to know what you think. As always, C4C!

http://soundcloud.com/rickyhopper/flying-free

I'll get back to you as soon as I can, but it may be a day or two depending on how my trip out of town is. I'll try to be quick regardless, and thanks for any critiques!
^We'll see how long I hold out

Also, if anyone wants to hear how she sounds, I just finished up a song where the guitars are exclusively this one here: http://soundcloud.com/rickyhopper/flying-free. It's not a straight-in sound demo, but doing this was way more fun than those.
Lots of playing :P I've got no plans for another build as of now, but should the opportunity present itself (read: money/time willing), I'd love to do it again.
Quote by michaelbot9000
thats kick-ass dude ! might need a string tee or two though

Thanks! Actually the tuners are staggered so it's designed not to need one... haven't come across any problems without any, and I've been playing it a lot.
Thanks all; a quick bathroom scale measurement showed it to be around 10-11 pounds. So she's definitely a hefty one I think I see some sort of load-distributing strap in my future.
Some proper lighting, a better camera, and a father who actually knows how to use a camera worth anything later, I've got some good quality pictures for you all! It's all set up and plays awesome; I spent a few hours today of nonstop playing before I made myself go get a hardcase for it. Strangely, since the body is a little larger than a standard guitar, it'd only fit in a bass case. So it's got some breathing room around the headstock, but it holds it firmly and protects it quite well (that I made sure of).

And thus completes the build thread. This was an awesome project, and I was glad to have the support of UG during it. And now, as promised... high quality pics.








I named my Schecter Amber because of the finish (Tribal Amber). Then, everyone said I gave my guitar a stripper name, so I decided to at least deserve it. Thus, a glorious tradition was born.

Now, my strat is named Scarlett and the guitar I just finished building is named Jazmine. All my guitars form here on out will have stripper names.
Quote by Explorerbuilder
Looks good.
Why is your neck pickup so low?

Gracias. I'm waiting until I can get the truss rod adjusted to do a complete setup. I won't know how high I want the pickups until I know where the action is.
Quote by n1ckn1ce
Congrats! She's amazing.
BTW, how did you ended up shaping the contours? I saw your message a little late, sorry...

Thanks! I used a strip sander, a jig I built, and a lot of hand sanding for the back contour, and just a belt sander for the forearm contour.
BUILD IS DONE!

Finished it up today! Everything works great, I just have to take it to my tech to get the truss rod adjusted in such (make fun of me for building a guitar and still being afraid of truss rods if you will, but I'd rather not break the thing ). I had no idea how good it would feel to have strings on this thing.

Pics were taken with a camera in hopes of them being better quality... I may very well get more later on. If I do, I'll show them to you guys. Thanks to everyone who helped answer my questions and provided support!







It's pic time, guys. 4 coats on the body, 3 on the headstock. I'm leaving the neck unfinished for the feel of it. Oh, and the finish on the neck pocket made the fit even tighter, so now the neck is held up with no support under the headstock. It's awesome. All that's left is buffing and assembly.







Mm. Excitement.
^It's not an oxidation reaction, it's from UV exposure. It will turn browner over time, but I've seen faded pieces of padauk. It'll still look nice, and it'll give it another dimension of character IMO. It will need some sanding/polishing, but not too much.

And I'm looking forward to hearing the tone too - from what I've read, it should be a brighter sounding guitar counterbalanced by my pickups (they emphasize the lower end). Should be nice.
It's been too long without pics.





That's with 3 coats of finish on it, and there's a 4th one on now. I can't do anything until after finals over, but the end's in sight!
I think second one's better too. I don't really understand your placement of the blade switch though... seems very accident-prone. And why are there 2 switches (blade/toggle)? I'm not entirely sure how variaxes work, is one for a certain "model type" and one for pickup?