I'm going to attempt my first build soon, using almost exclusively hand tools. Tentative specs:
-huge neck profile, probably asymmetrical
-roughly 1 3/4" body, Gibson Flying V shape, possibly an altered neck joint
-neck through or possibly set-neck (fret access is a priority)
-probably a 5-piece laminate neck, I like maple and walnut, but open to suggestions
-not yet sure about body wood or construction, something hard and heavy to balance out the massive neck - maybe oak, walnut or maple?
-a big, symmetrical headstock, maybe typical open-book, but I'm leaning away from traditional flying V headstock
-figured veneers/top on headstock and body
-all chrome, string-through, T.O.M., Seth Lover pickups, simulated bone nut of some kind, some classy 3+3 tuners
-probably matte-clear finish, maybe gloss or oil
With regard to the neck, I'm looking for stability and reliability first. I really don't like the tendency of some necks to throw things out of tune when playing aggressively. Quarter sawn has a good reputation for necks, but if I'm doing a laminate should I alternate quarter and flat sawn? I'm thinking maple and walnut laminate, but would a couple strips of quarter-sawn oak sandwiched between maple work?
I want to do some veneers that will break up the symmetry of the rest of the design. No bookmatching. If I can find a one-piece veneer or top to fit the body, that'd be great. I want something that looks kind of funky and off-balance, not typical quilted or flamed maple stuff. Suggestions for finding something out of the ordinary with some interesting movement to it?
For the body wood, job 1 is counterbalancing that neck. I don't really buy into tonewoods, and I'd rather not pay a premium for the traditional stuff. If there's something heavy, stable, domestic (US) and cheap that's perfect. Tree frogs don't need to die for my tone.
I'm still setting up my toolkit, but in the meantime I roughed out a sketch with approximate dimensions. I won't be using this as a template or anything (got a V blueprint coming...fingers crossed it isn't totally wrong). This is just to help me visualize and figure out what dimensions of lumber I'm going to need. I need to design the headstock and get a better idea of the neck profile. Right now, I like the idea of an assymetrical profile that's fatter at the top and moves toward a v-neck at the nut side. I'll be shaping the neck with drawknifes, planes and chisels.