Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

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Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Jason Rodgers » Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:30 pm

Hiya, gang! Here's my third completed guitar, second for this year.

This purdy little thing was started back around the beginning of the year, but sat on a shelf while I built my friend's 5-string fretless bass (viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3932). Some of you know I'm a middle school music teacher in my day job, and this summer I've had more time off and to myself than in about a dozen years. Once we got back from my buddy's wedding in June, I cleaned out the shop and went pretty much full-time building this guitar, and its sort of fraternal twin. As of yesterday, I'm calling it complete (and the twin is a couple weeks out).

It started out with some of that same walnut stash that I used for the bass. I have enough for about 8-10 more drop-tops, if I resaw it right, and it's all frickin' gorgeous.
Rough top.JPG

This was a one-piece spalted maple body blank that I bought from David King at the Portland Handmade Musical Instrument Exhibit about 3 years ago.
Rough back.JPG

The body was chambered a bit (no pics) and glued up in a vacuum bag (also no pics). I'm really happy with how that is going, and I have a new fridge compressor and will be gluing up bodies that way from now on. Edges were chamfered on the router table. It was tough with the spalt, though, as it kept blowing out. I soaked this piece in thin CA, but still needed to apply CA between almost every pass to prevent big, punky chunks from flying off.
Rough body.JPG


More...
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Jason Rodgers » Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:46 pm

I didn't take a ton of progress pics (funny how you stop documenting every 10 seconds after your first build), so let's go straight to the cheesy photo shoot I did this morning.

Multi-scale spread is 25" to 26", with the perpendicular fret at the 12th on the walnut fretboard (16" radius). I REALLY like this layout. You don't notice the fret splay at all.
Full front.JPG

Finish is tung oil over shellac.
Body front.JPG

So this shot captures a bunch of cool stuff. First, you might have seen my thread about making templates for accurate reproduction of the bridge plates I designed (viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3934). Well, there is the first product. It's working well. Also, I have thermoformed some custom pickup covers (viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3573). Those are the first products from that adventure. And then, my struggles with the DiMarzio Super Switch (viewtopic.php?f=10&t=3952). I found a diagram that worked for me, but needed to do a little modification to the switch. This is a tall switch, requiring a full 1-3/8" headroom in the control cavity. This guitar is only 1-1/2" thick, so I bent the toggle switch 90 degrees and cut that smiley-face slot for it to run in! It works!
Controls closeup.JPG

Angle front.JPG

3+3 Hipshot Griplock locking tuners on the head. These are great tuners: smooth, simple action, cool-looking, and affordable. 1/4" carbon fiber tubes in the neck, with a double-action truss rod. The truss rod cover is the same 1/16" black textured ABS that I used for the pickup covers.
Headstock front.JPG
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
Jason Rodgers
 
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Jason Rodgers » Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:54 pm

Full back.JPG

This spalt is some cool looking stuff. A challenge to work with, but worth it. Thanks, David!
Body back.JPG

I use hex head hardware that I get at ACE everywhere on the guitar. These are 1/4-20 furniture bolts. I use them on the neck joint and for the strap buttons (wide, flat head, no slipping straps!).
Neck joint back.JPG

This picture shows how the tree was punky on the inside, with the fungus stripes at the edge of that, and then some perfectly healthy heartwood. Very different densities! Along with the chambering I did, this makes for a light and resonant body. Total weight came in around 6-1/4 pounds.
Back closeup.JPG

Neck is Home Depot maple, with a 13 degree (I think, maybe it was 15) scarf.
Headstock back.JPG
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
Jason Rodgers
 
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Jason Rodgers » Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:10 pm

Ok, just a couple more, for the pickup and electronics nerds.

Here is what's inside those pickups. This was TOTALLY an experiment, shooting from the hip. Each pickup has:
- Blade coil, ceramic magnet, 5000 (neck) or 6000 (bridge) turns of 42awg wire.
- Slug coil, neodymium magnet, 5000 (neck) or 6000 (bridge) turns of 43awg wire.

The Super Switch gives me:
1- Bridge
2- Bridge + Neck blade coils
3- Bridge + Neck
4- Bridge + Neck slug coils
5- Neck

They sound pretty good. Both have good string separation. The bridge is pretty edgy and cutting, and the neck is full and warm. Not surprisingly, the isolated blades and slugs have their own distinct sounds: blades alone are very dry, with a stark, crisp tone. The slugs alone have a lot of depth and clarity. I guess another way I would describe it is the blades are sort of 2-dimensional and the slugs are more 3-d (if that makes any sense).
Blade-slug hybrid.JPG

Here is that switch tipped on its side! I'm telling you, it works!
GutsRED.jpg
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
Jason Rodgers
 
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Jason Rodgers » Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:12 pm

Clearly, this guitar is a product of many experiments and firsts for me, and many of you helped out as I posted my conundrums here on the Forum. Thank you! Thanks for checking out this thread. Let me know if you have any questions.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby David King » Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:24 pm

Congratulations Jason!
Glad to see that wood come to fruition. No questions yet.
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Chuck Tweedy » Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:01 pm

That is AWESOME!!
I have to say, like many acoustic guitars, I like the look of the back better than the front. :-)

Dig it dude!!
Likes to drink Rosewood Juice
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Mark Swanson » Thu Aug 20, 2015 10:13 pm

That looks great Jason, I'd play that! I sent you an email also.
    Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Randy Roberts » Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:45 pm

WOW !
When you finally get rolling you really get rolling.

I have caught bits and pieces of your working up the stuff that went into this, and not understanding very much of it. Also not realizing your overarching grand design, But boy what a grand design it is. Congratulations on creating a gorgeous piece of work. Gotta be pretty proud of what you've created.
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Michael James » Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:14 am

That switch improv is very clever, - elegant even!! :-)
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Hans Bezemer » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:10 am

That's a very nice guitar!
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Jason Rodgers » Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:05 pm

Thanks, guys! I appreciate the compliments!

This guitar (and its twin) represents the beginnings of my attempt to create a "model." That is, a repeatable instrument with some standardized measurements and features. There can be 6-, 7-, and 8-string variations; two hand-wound humbuckers (slugs, blades, magnets, and wire gauge optional); volume, tone, and switch (different switching optional); the same general construction of a fancy drop-top on a body core using local woods; and a maple laminated neck with a non-tropical fretboard (maple, walnut, honey locust, Osage...). I'm in the process of jigging up for this, as my time during the school year is limited, and I want to improve efficiency and accuracy. I don't plan to be cranking them out, but I've decided that I want to have a consistent and recognizable product, and I'm working towards that.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Eric Baack » Fri Aug 21, 2015 4:50 pm

You gave me an idea with the super-switch mounting.... I might have to try making a bit of a pocket in the top of a guitar sometime so I can mount the switch sideways with the lever pointing down as the guitar is held.. Kind of hard to explain but could make for a nice solution as well.
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Jason Rodgers » Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:32 pm

Eric Baack wrote:You gave me an idea with the super-switch mounting.... I might have to try making a bit of a pocket in the top of a guitar sometime so I can mount the switch sideways with the lever pointing down as the guitar is held.. Kind of hard to explain but could make for a nice solution as well.

Do you mean the switch lever would protrude from the side of the guitar, or there would be a slight recess where the lever would appear as like a wiper? I can say from this attempt that it switches smoothly, but it would take some getting used to for quick pickup changes. You can't just flick it.

Also, I should mention that had to extend the switch lever by about 1/4". I did this by cutting a little rectangle of similar sheet metal, drilling holes in the lever and extension piece, and peening little lengths of finish nail into the holes. It was all rather delicate work. This was followed up by some good ol' fashioned JB weld. It's holding solid.

I've seen some cool solutions for knob and switch mounting. This was a fun problem to solve.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
Jason Rodgers
 
Posts: 1554
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:05 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Jason Rodgers » Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:40 pm

I appreciate John Sonksen stopping by today to play this guitar. We poked at it in the shop, then took it inside to plug in. He had some words of advice on the neck profile, and I'm considering tearing it down to remove a little more material. It's good to have constructive critics in your area! Thanks, John!
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
Jason Rodgers
 
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Location: Portland, OR

Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Dan Smith » Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:33 pm

Looks dandy, Jason!
The switch is cool!
Dan
Ever-body was kung fu fight-in,
Them kids was fast as light-nin.
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Jim Bonnell » Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:51 pm

Very nice job Jason. Love the overall look. Clever idea on the switch. Did you make the pickup covers? I like the way they look. You really have been knocking them out. Excellent work!
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Eric Baack » Sat Aug 22, 2015 11:05 pm

Pretty much but I'll probably stick with rotary switches. You do nice detail work.


Jason Rodgers wrote:
Eric Baack wrote:You gave me an idea with the super-switch mounting.... I have to try making a bit of a pocket in the top of a guitar sometime so I can mount the switch sideways with the lever pointing down as the guitar is held.. Kind of hard to explain but could make for a nice solution as well.

Do you mean the switch lever would protrude from the side of the guitar, or there would be a slight recess where the lever would appear as like a wiper? I can say from this attempt that it switches smoothly, but it would take some getting used to for quick pickup changes. You can't just flick it.

Also, I should mention that had to extend the switch lever by about 1/4". I did this by cutting a little rectangle of similar sheet metal, drilling holes in the lever and extension piece, and peening little lengths of finish nail into the holes. It was all rather delicate work. This was followed up by some good ol' fashioned JB weld. It's holding solid.

I've seen some cool solutions for knob and switch mounting. This was a fun problem to solve.
Eric Baack
 
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Dan Hehnke » Sun Aug 23, 2015 12:20 am

Looks awesome. Cool shape, and love the fanned frets and other details.
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Re: Jason's #3: Walnut over spalted maple 6-string

Postby Jason Rodgers » Sun Aug 23, 2015 12:22 pm

Jim Bonnell wrote:Very nice job Jason. Love the overall look. Clever idea on the switch. Did you make the pickup covers? I like the way they look. You really have been knocking them out. Excellent work!

Thanks, Jim! Yes, in my second post, third picture text (closeup of front), there's the link back to my thread on thermoforming the covers in ABS. That texture is probably intended to be on the inside of a product, but I thought it looked cool, and no buffing and polishing plastic!
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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