second electric done

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John Sonksen
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 12:16 pm
Location: Portland, OR

second electric done

Post by John Sonksen »

Hi folks, here are some specs and pics of my second electric, this has been a long time coming but I'm pretty happy with how she turned out. Like my first it's a double cut, Les Paul type, although this one has a relief carve at the higher frets a la a PRS Santana. The body is Sapele with a quilted maple top, ziricote fretboard, quilted belly cut and headstock with a Kingwood ribbon and green fiber accents. I inlayed black MOP for the lettering, and used paua abalone for the fret markers.

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I cut the truss rod cover in the shape of a vacuum tube and attached it with a hobby magnet epoxied into the headstock. I snagged a piece of lumber strapping out of our bin at work and cut it to fit into the truss rod rout so that it engages the magnet and aligns the cover at the same time.

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Similarly, I used mags to mount my electronics cavity cover. I first bored holes a bit larger than the magnets diameter with a forstner bit, then I used the hole made by the tip of that bit as a guide hole for a deeper, more narrow hole that I tapped to receive an allen head set screw which I could adjust up and down until the mags were the right height. Once that was set I glued the screws in place with a bit of wood glue, placed the magnets on top of the studs, added some epoxy to the top of them and set the aluminum cover plate in place. I clamped it for about five minutes with a quick clamp, pulled it off and the mags were glued and located on the cover plate.

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The back cover plate has since been toned and lacquered to be closer in color to the bridge.

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The tuners are planet waves locking tuners, and I really like them, super clean function. One thing I learned is it helps to give yourself a few extra winds around the post while you're still doing your setup as the cutoff function of these tuners doesn't give you enough length to easily rewind strings if you have to remove them for any reason.

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The bridge is a wraparound by Graphtech, which is pretty slick. I like the look of the single element here rather than the bridge tailpiece combo. Pickups are Bareknuckle Warpigs in burnt chrome finish and I think they really pop against the green toner. These are high output pickups with the neck registering 17Kohms and the bridge at just below 23Kohms. They are wired up with a rotary switch following a PRS configuration. Kind of a pain but I had to reverse the polarity on the bridge pickup which entailed taking the cover off, disassembling and flipping the magnet over. I was very relieved to get it done and have the pup still work, as they are pretty spendy.

Knobs are handmade by our Portland's very own David King out of Bolivian rosewood I believe, and fit nicely with the darker wood elements elsewhere on the guitar.

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Pickup rings are made from scraps of quilted maple left over from the top wood. First time making these and I'm happy with how they turned out but this is delicate work! I soaked them in CA glue to harden them up a bit.

Neck is quarter sawn maple with curly maple/walnut laminations. Did sort of a unique carve at the base of the neck which may not be as functional as I had hoped. It's asymmetrical and was meant to create a pocket for your thumb that would shift your hand over the top of the fret board. Fret board is a compound radius from 12 to 16" and is a 24 fret with a 25" scale length.

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I've got a few touchups to do before I hand it over to my friend who commissioned it. I dropped one of the pickups on the face leaving a tiny ding which is being dropfilled as I write this. Also I carelessly backed the screws out of the neck attachment holes while they were covered with a film of lacquer and pulled the toned lacquer off around them. I've had to use a combo of toner and lacquer to try and clean it up.

Set up has been a bit of a challenge, my buddy is into doom/sludge so I've set it up with some DR drop tuning strings which need some wider fret slots than normal and sit at lower tension as it's tuned C F Bflat Eflat G C. It's impossible to play without it sounding malevolent and otherworldly, but it's also been a challenge setting the intonation and action. I've got it dialed in but the action has to be just a bit higher than I think I could otherwise get it since the strings are a bit sloppy.

Well, that's it. I tried a few new things on this one and actually managed to do all of the wiring myself this time, although I did spend hours yesterday trying to track down a buzz which it turns out was caused by a ground wire from the selector switch that I failed to put in! Ugh, spent a long time checking for cold solder joints, pulling wires back out, swapped my output wires and then finally realized what I'd left out. Hopefully I won't make that same mistake again in the future.

Thanks for looking!

Henrique Schneiter
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:59 am

Re: second electric done

Post by Henrique Schneiter »

I like it very much, although the pickups seem way too hot to my taste. These knobs look terrific, could you post some close-up pics? Also, your neck attachment screws seem to go inside the neck pickup cavity, how did you deal with that? Shorter screws perhaps?

Great job anyway.

John Sonksen
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 12:16 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: second electric done

Post by John Sonksen »

Thanks Henrique, I will post some closer pics of the knobs later tonight. Yes the screws are shorter than what I've used in the past, they are a fine thread metric screw which I threaded directly into the neck, after which I soaked the holes with CA glue. I think they were about 1.25 long with about half of that length going into the neck. I got plenty of turns on these screws so I've got confidence in them.

Jason Rodgers
Posts: 1554
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:05 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: second electric done

Post by Jason Rodgers »

Excellent work, John! That green finish and orange sapele compliment each other in a way that is pleasing to my eye. And dang, those are some hot pickups! This interests me, as I'm sure you know. I look forward to a closer look, and listen, tomorrow.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

John Sonksen
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 12:16 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: second electric done

Post by John Sonksen »

Jason Rodgers wrote:Excellent work, John! That green finish and orange sapele compliment each other in a way that is pleasing to my eye. And dang, those are some hot pickups! This interests me, as I'm sure you know. I look forward to a closer look, and listen, tomorrow.
Thanks Jason, it'll be cool to see how you like playing it! Were you going to bring yours over tomorrow?

Jason Rodgers
Posts: 1554
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:05 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: second electric done

Post by Jason Rodgers »

Yes, indeed. We'll take a selfie.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

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Hans Bezemer
Posts: 373
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 1:01 am
Location: The Netherlands
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Re: second electric done

Post by Hans Bezemer »

John,

I've missed this one, because I was out camping, but this is a very nice guitar you've made.
A job well done!

John Sonksen
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 12:16 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: second electric done

Post by John Sonksen »

Hans Bezemer wrote:John,

I've missed this one, because I was out camping, but this is a very nice guitar you've made.
A job well done!

Dank je wel Hans!

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