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Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

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Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Dan Hehnke » Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:23 pm

It's been a while since I've been able to start a new project, so I thought I'd start from the beginning on this one. I've got the body and top wood on order, and it should be here this week.

Here is a Solidworks mockup of the design. I'm hoping it's not too much a copy of something I'm not realizing, but obvious influences include the SG, various offset guitars, and maybe not as obvious is Trey's Languedoc guitar.

The top will be carved (was too lazy to program that into Solidworks) Olive, the piece in the model is the actual piece, minus the way it wraps around the sides. The body will be Khaya. I've never used this, but it sounds like a more sustainable version of Honduran Mahogany, and I try to stick to more sustainable woods when I can. The neck will be curly cherry, as it's still my favorite for workability and stability in a neck.

So far I'm planning to go with triple mini-hums with vol/tone 5-way and a mini-switch for each hum to switch to single coil individually. I think I'm going to wind my own pickups again, starting with the Stewmac kits.

I'll post as I progress, thanks for looking!
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Brian Evans » Tue Nov 15, 2016 9:16 am

It looks "right" to me, and that is about the only way I know to say a design looks good or not. With those cut-away horns and a carved top, you could do some real nice recurve work around the points.
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Dan Hehnke » Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:39 am

Thanks Brian. I agree, I keep trying to find some rhyme or reason that certain designs look "right", but I sure don't have enough design or art background to know the whole theory behind it. It seems to be some combination of proportions, "weights", and familiarity to some reference seems to help.

Adding pickups always changes the look alot to me. A strat body for example with the pickguard and pickups removed doesn't look very "right" to me. On the flipside it seems most of the shapes I try to design look great before adding pickups, then once pickups are in the proportions don't look right.
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Jason Rodgers » Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:06 pm

Dan Hehnke wrote:Thanks Brian. I agree, I keep trying to find some rhyme or reason that certain designs look "right", but I sure don't have enough design or art background to know the whole theory behind it. It seems to be some combination of proportions, "weights", and familiarity to some reference seems to help.

Adding pickups always changes the look alot to me. A strat body for example with the pickguard and pickups removed doesn't look very "right" to me. On the flipside it seems most of the shapes I try to design look great before adding pickups, then once pickups are in the proportions don't look right.

Now that you mention pickguards and looking right, there's something about these retro, offset designs that seem to need a huge, funky pickguard that stretches across the top. At least, to my eye.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Dan Hehnke » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:00 pm

I love this piece of Olive. Can't wait to start carving away...
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Dan Hehnke » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:59 pm

The olive top rough cut out to shape. I like the way the olivewood works. It reminds me a bit of pistachio, but a little lighter.
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Dan Hehnke » Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:01 pm

I got some work done today. Chambered the body, glued the top on, and started the carving. I really do like working with this olive. Very hard, but still pretty easy to work.
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IMG_5792.JPG
IMG_5791.JPG
IMG_5785.JPG
painted with conductive paint
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Dan Hehnke » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:27 pm

Next up I need to get the cherry neck roughed out and shape the heel to final shape so I can route the neck pocket.

I decided to go with a trio of GFS alnico fat mini-humbuckers for now, instead of winding my own this time. I read good things about them, and I've had pretty good luck with GFS humbuckers in the past. On one guitar I went through several high end bridge humbuckers before settling on a GFS one in that position being the best. I got two bridge-wound ones and one neck position. I like using a bridge-strength pickup in the middle so that I can keep it pretty low from the strings while still balancing output, keeps it more out of the way of my sloppy picking.

I still need to design the headstock, as the model I showed is just a quick idea I had. I don't know if I like it yet, or if it's very feasible.

I'm also still trying to decide what to use for the tailpiece. I may go the JM trem direction, or I may make a fixed wood tailpiece out of macassar ebony to match the fretboard. I'm definitely using a TOM bridge of some sort, and will use a roller version of I go the JM trem route.
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Bob Francis » Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:39 pm

Looking really nice.
What sort of weight does Olivewood have?
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Dan Hehnke » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:01 pm

Thanks Bob. The olive is pretty heavy. I'd say maybe pretty similar to a denser piece of maple, maybe a little heavier? I'm planning to carve a good bit of it away to get to the weight I want, in addition to the chambers I added to the body wood.
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Dan Hehnke » Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:38 pm

Got the neck partially shaped and the neck pocket routed. Now that I have my guaranteed centerline and bridge location I can start routing for pickups.
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Steve Sawyer » Fri Dec 02, 2016 5:23 pm

I think that is going to be amazing. Looking forward to seeing it when finished!
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Dan Hehnke » Fri Dec 02, 2016 5:42 pm

Thanks Steve!

I just had the idea to make it swappable for either JM trem or hardtail carved ebony tailpiece, so it could be used either way. I just have to design a pretty sizable tailpiece that would cover the footprint of the trem route, and maybe use a couple of the same mounting holes. It would be a good test to see how the sustain and tone/feel of the same guitar changed with a trem vs wood tailpiece.
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Dan Hehnke » Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:43 am

Updates!

Neck is mostly inlayed and carved. Body is ready for final carving and sanding. I decided to use offcuts from the olive wood for the inlays as well as headstock overlay since it's such a cool piece of wood. Finding a headstock shape that would fit in the offcut was challenging, but I think I'm about there. The weight is feeling good, and I think this is going to be a good sounding guitar.
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Dan Smith » Tue Dec 13, 2016 8:24 pm

The Olive is quite lovely Dan!
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Dan Hehnke » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:12 pm

Latest progress: It's almost done, it just needs final sanding and the good 'ol Tru-Oil finish. But I've learned I like to set the whole thing up, do electronics, and play it before doing that, for a couple reasons. First, I often end up doing something dumb and nicking the finish on the back when installing and soldering the final electronics. This way that's mostly done already. Second, since I never make the exact same guitar twice, I never know if I'm going to want to change something small until I actually play the thing.

In the case of this one, I actually really like the Mosrite style trem, and the resonance and sustain are still really good, but I still might play with the idea of an alternative ebony fixed tailpiece that uses/covers the mounting holes of the trem.

It sounds really good though, even with the cheapo GFS mini hums. Over time I may switch one or two out for something better, but for now they do sound good. In split mode they don't sound as good as some of my favorite humbuckers do, so I may eventually wind my own and make one coil hotter than the other to try and get that better single coil sound, since I haven't found anyone that does this on minis like I've seen on regular humbuckers. Plus it's alot cheaper to do it myself.
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Bob Francis » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:52 pm

That is really sharp.
I like the offcuts being utilized too.
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Beate Ritzert » Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:47 pm

Please let me admit that i had my doubts when i saw the initial CAD drawing. But the resulting guitar is *really* nice in my eyes.
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Dan Hehnke » Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:43 pm

Haha thanks! Yeah often models don't quite look right unless you take the time to really contour things right, which I don't have the patience for.
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Re: Finally starting a new project: Olive topped offset-SG-something shaped guitar

Postby Dan Smith » Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:26 pm

Looks great Dan!
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