Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Please put your pickup/wiring discussions in the Electronics section; and put discussions about repair issues, including fixing errors in new instruments, in the Repairs section.
Doug Shaker
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Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Doug Shaker »

Care to share what you are working on now?

I'm a hobbyist luthier. If I ever start making instruments that musicians don't want to give back to me when I ask them to test play them, I'll start charging. But for now I have a day job doing contract technical writing in Silicon Valley. It's a good job, but it's a job and I've been doing it for almost 20 years. This forum provides me with some sort of connection to a more creative way of living. It isn't your job to keep me amused while I work at my computer, but I would LOVE to hear what people are working on.

Personally, I am working on an classical-sized steel string using the Gore and Gilet construction techniques detailed in their recent two volume work. The back is myrtlewood, the sides are a lamination of myrtlewood and Port Orford cedar. The soundboard is Port Orford cedar. The bracing is falcate bracing.
It's slow going because I am learning at the same time as I build, so there is a lot of ramp time, a lot of anxious planning, and a lot of jig building. I am learning to build to 1/2 millimeter tolerances, though I have not yet mastered that skill.

After I get this one done, I plan to build a baritone.

So what are you working on?
-Doug Shaker

Rodger Knox
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Rodger Knox »

Reading the "Build" volume of the Gore/Gilet books. I finished the Design book a couple of weeks ago.
A man hears what he wants to hear, and disreguards the rest. Paul Simon

Doug Shaker
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Doug Shaker »

I liked both. They clearly have a well-reasoned approach to guitar-building. They understand more of the physics and engineering than I do and they have used that understanding to motivate a particular and detailed approach to guitar building. I'm enough of a nerd that such approach appeals to me. I just don't know if I will like the sound of the instruments that result.

As a friend once told me, "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different."
-Doug Shaker

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Wrong forum for this, I know, but it's what I'm working on. I gave up acoustics this year after building two last year - these Fenderish things are much easier for a novice.

The lonely neck on the left is going to get an HSS body, but I really have to buckle down and make myself learn how to finish the others first.

I'd like to get the Gore books, but I'd have to read and study them to get my money's worth, and I'm afraid I'm too lazy.
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Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

Doug Shaker
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Doug Shaker »

Goodness, that's a lot of guitar bodies there. Yes, I agree that electrics are easier to build and, if you do the drop-top thing, you can
make beautiful instrument in a much shorter period of time. And if you don't have the patience to go through the Gore/Gilet books,
yes, they would be a complete waste of time. For me, though, they are great.

What are the woods here? Mahogany and maple? Are you selling this litter?
-Doug Shaker

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Peter Wilcox »

The bodies are all alder, three with maple tops (and two also have maple backs), the necks all maple - one with Honduran rosewood fretboard, two with unknown hardwood fretboards from pipe saddles. They're not for sale - I'm making a strat and tele for a friend at cost, and since I made templates and have lots of wood, I figured I'd make a few more. I'll probably donate them somewhere, as I have too many instruments lying around as it is. The easy parts are done - now it's on to finishing which is where I really need experience - I'll get it with these.

I didn't mean to imply that the Gore/Gilet books would be a waste of my time - quite the contrary. But at $240 they would be a waste of my money if I weren't serious about reading/learning them. Unfortunately I learn best from my mistakes, not from following directions.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

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G.S. Monroe
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by G.S. Monroe »

What I'm working on...
I just finished a custom order hollowbody electric, with an L.R.Baggs T-Bridge & EQ-7545R Equalizer Pre-Amp.
The guitar is made from recovered Florida Cypress, with a 3 layer laminated Heart Cypress & Cherry neck.

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Doug Shaker
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Doug Shaker »

The fingerboard is the cherry? Or is the cherry part of the neck proper and the fingerboard is something else?
-Doug Shaker

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G.S. Monroe
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by G.S. Monroe »

Doug Shaker wrote:The fingerboard is the cherry? Or is the cherry part of the neck proper and the fingerboard is something else?
The fingerboard is Rosewood, the neck itself is a 1 inch stripe of cherry with heart cypress on either side. The neck is hand carved to '53 Boat neck specs, and the fretwork is PRS standard 25" VSL.

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Steven Smith
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Location: East Tennessee

Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Steven Smith »

Hi Everybody, it's been a while since I posted here but I'm still at it. At the moment in the repair section I've got a late 30's re-branded Kay/Regal/whatever in for loose back/braces/bridge reglue, a late 60's Martin 0-16NY (mine) for a neck reset/bridge reglue and a '49 Gibson J-45 being restored to playing condition. For new builds a mahogany/Euro spruce 12 fret size 0 is in the drying cabinet for another week and the box is closed and neck roughed in on a13 fret walnut/red spruce cutaway 000. At the rate I work this will keep me busy for quite a while.

Here's the walnut cutaway before I closed the box.
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Kerry Werry
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Kerry Werry »

A fanned-fret Mandocello.. just started..
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Hans Bezemer
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Hans Bezemer »

Kerry,

Nice project. Could you tell something about the used scalelengths. Does the compound scalelength also affects your bracing?

Hans

BtW: cool jig for holding the body in place.

Doug Shaker
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Doug Shaker »

Kerry,

What's the principal behind the rosette? It isn't axial symmetry, but you clearly have something in mind.
-Doug Shaker

Doug Shaker
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Doug Shaker »

Steven-

The walnut looks great. What led you to use the graphite braces for the head block? And how will you be bracing the soundboard?
-Doug Shaker

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Hans Bezemer
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Hans Bezemer »

Kerry,

Could you also tell us a little bit about your "bodyholder"-jig?

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Beate Ritzert
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Beate Ritzert »

G.S. Monroe wrote: Image
Pretty...

I'm a hobbyist. I recently started an SG bass, and i am working on the restauration of my old Isana archtop. Well, and not forget another bass with a Jaguar shaped body for my son (who does not find the motivation to finish it). And i am still working on a simple bass preamp, especially on the details of its tone stack.

Bob Francis
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Bob Francis »

Kerry's clamps brightened my day. :D

Joel Nowland
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Joel Nowland »

Truss Rods

I decided ( should have done this years ago) to start making my own truss rods due to the fact that I have had two break in the past ten years which is two way way way tooooo many. Another builder friend of mine had one break in a guitar last spring. The small welded on threaded blocks break loose. One of the worst things you can have to do is try to remove a truss rod and install a new one or make a whole new neck.

I could not find any rods I really liked.

Last spring I built 12 of my own design and have used 10 of them so far. They work great. Before even being tightened/adjusted, these rods are much stronger/stiffer and hold the neck straighter than any other rod I have use and they don't have any welded on part to break off.

This is one of the most exciting advances I have made in my own guitar building.

Joel
My own design
My own design
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Steven Smith
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Steven Smith »

Doug Shaker wrote:Steven-

The walnut looks great. What led you to use the graphite braces for the head block? And how will you be bracing the soundboard?
Thanks, the walnut came Larry Davis at Gallery about 10 years ago. He had it labeled as French Walnut. The graphite braces are there because I saw someone do that and thought maybe that may be a good way to stabilize the forward part of the box. Plus it looks cool - I probably won't do it again.

I was looking but couldn't find a photo of the soundboard. Bracing is standard 000 X braced. Braces forward of the soundhole are notched and braces behind the soundhole are tapered to nothing about 1/2" or so from the rims. No scallops.

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Pat Foster
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Re: Wake me up, please. What are you working on?

Post by Pat Foster »

I think those struts to support the upper bout and neck block are a great idea. So many old guitars sag in that area.

I just started the varnish finish on this thing that I call an L-000, sort of an L-00 with and OM lower bout, though all the curves are different from either. Mahogany B&S, Lutz top, EIR bindings, 12-fret neck. I'm thinking the Lutz and mahogany might tend a bit much to the bright side, so I'm considerning an ebony bridge, hoping to take the edge off. The last one like this was cocobolo, and even with its density, a Honduran rosewood bridge left it a bit too edgy for my taste, even a year later.

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While hunting up a case for this unique shape, I decided to dive in a customize a case myself to avoid a 3-month wait, so I removed the side padding that wasn't thick enough for this shape, and make my own. I went down to our local national chain fabric store and found a near perfect match fabric and some foam and about an hour later had great results. Cost was under $10. It was such a no-brainer, I don't know why I didn't do it years ago. I still might make another pass at it to improve the fit around the upper bout, though functionally I think it's fine like it is.

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Another project on my plate is rigging up my esteemed Stew-Mac buffer (if I may plug a sponsor's product) to swing down from the ceiling of my over-full 250 sq ft shop. If anyone has any ideas, I'd like to hear them.

Pat
I like to start slow, then taper off.

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