1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

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1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Adam Savage » Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:13 pm

Hello,
I thought it was high time I actually got started on my first home built guitar, and here are a few images of the initial work.
My idea was to do an interpretation of Eddie Van Halens' Frankenstein guitar. Its quite a wide interpretation as it will have two humbuckers (Bareknuckle Abraxas), no tremelo and no empty pickup cavities. In fact, the only similarity is the stripey body and the maple neck!
Anyway, the body is padauk with 3/4" routed channels inlaid with maple or walnut.
The neck is of rippled maple with a rippled maple fingerboard (separate) and it will have 22 frets over a 25" scale. Unfortunately, when I came to prepare the blank I had bought, I noticed a fairly deep twist. With some planing and a bit of luck, the twist seems to have been eliminated. I'll leave it for a few days before gluing up the heel and angledd headstock, just in case there is still some twist in the timber.
In fact - would you advise not to use the blank at all in view of possible future issues?
Finishing will most likely be Tru-oil, but I may go for rattle-can lacquer instead.

The following images are self explanatory and essentially show the inlaying of the stripes and a roughly bandsawn body.

IMG_9572.jpg
Initial outline of stripe placement


IMG_9598.jpg
First of 6 stripe layers glued in


IMG_9617.jpg
Clamping arrangment on kitchen table


IMG_9624.jpg
All stripes in, drum sanded top


IMG_9628.jpg
Rough bandsawn body


I appreciate any comments and suggestions.
Thanks,
Adam
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Eric Baack » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:04 am

cool how you have done it with the inlays instead of painting it. clever!!

the neck blank may be fine just let it sit for a while
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Adam Savage » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:40 am

Hi Eric,
Thanks for the comment - I had originally planned on having the stripes run through the whole of the body, but planning the glueing and the actual amount of work involved was going to be too much. So I went with inlaid channels instead :) The effect works, I think, but only on the front face.
I am indeed hoping the neck blank will be fine. How long would you suggest sitting before proceeding? And is any deformity (twist, cup, bend) allowable?

Cheers,
Adam
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Eric Baack » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:12 am

I really don't know how long, if you have a means to test how dry it is that would likely be a good indicator.
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Keith VanDen Heuvel » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:27 pm

I really like the inlay approach to this type of build. A new twist on an old idea. I look forward to seeing the final result.
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Adam Savage » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:32 am

Hi folks,
Thanks for kind comments - we'll see how well it works out when the carving is done...
However, i have a query Id like a little help with.
I left the neck blank a few says, and all was well, so i glued up the scarf joint and extra thickness for the heel (perhaps rippled maple not the best first choice, but never mind), and proceeded to rout the truss rod (dual action, headstock adjustment) channel, which also went ok. However, and here is my query, i glued in a hardwood strip over the truss rod and noticed a dip in one place where i had overtightened one of the clamps (should have used a caul, i realise now). Should i be worried about this? Should i attempt to remove and replace the strip? Or given that there is only 1/8 - 1/4" of strip still in slot after planing flush, will it be ok as it is?
I appreciate any comments before i proceed further with the neck.
Cheers,
Adam
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Rob Carty » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:59 am

What a cool build! Back in 1979-80, when Van Halen was still considered a new thing, I recall a friend telling me that those stripes in EVH's Frankenstein were inlaid marble. I believed it for a while. Anyway, it's nice to see someone make the concept somewhat of a reality! Best of luck!
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Adam Savage » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:16 pm

A quick update....
Thanks Rob - he may not have used marble, but there are one or two more bits of tape on Eddies' guitar than mine.... We'll see how it sounds when finished, but there will be a few differences - no trem on mine, no empty pickup hole etc...

Here's a picture of how the neck stands right now - if you squint you can see the dip in the truss-rod covering fillet (please excuse the vegetable display in the background, when it's freezing outside I tend to take over the kitchen as a gluing-up area) towards the headstock roughly where the car-key fob is. As mentioned earlier, I would appreciate any advice/comment on whether to leave it as is, or attempt to replace.

IMG_9733.jpg


Cheers,
Adam
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Barry Daniels » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:07 am

Can't see the dip from here. Do you have a close up photo? I would probably fill it in with a piece of wood, plane her flat and keep going.
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Adam Savage » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:40 pm

Hi Barry,
I dont have a close up photo unfortunately, and wont be able to now as I have planed the fillet flush to the neck.
I think perhaps I hadnt explained quite what I meant well enough. The fillet stock was prepared on a drum sander so opposing sides were parallel and square to each other. I think I applied a bit more pressure with the cam clamps in one section, causing it to bow a little along its' length. There was no dip beneath the level of the neck, but if you sight along the top of the fillet, it dips in an area nearer the head end.
I think my concern was that I may have distorted the truss rod by direct pressure from the fillet.
Or perhaps I am worrying too much?

Cheers,
Adam
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Adam Savage » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:13 pm

Greetings folks,
After several problems, queries, fantastic advice and a little bit of luck, I have just about finished my first build. The specs are as follows :
Body - padauk inlaid with strips of flame maple, sycamore, walnut and an offcut of indian rosewood.
Neck - flame maple, glued in
Fingerboard - flame maple, 22 frets
Headstock - simillar to body, but in veneer
Scale - 25"
Controls - standard Les Paul arrangement with 500k Alpha pots and cheapo disc capacitors.
Pickups - matched Abraxas set from Bareknuckle Pickups (rather fabulous English company)
Finish - somewhere around 12-14 coats Tru-Oil
Bridge/tuners - Gotoh 510

Some pictures :
IMG_0323.jpg


IMG_0325.jpg


IMG_0328.jpg


IMG_0329.jpg


IMG_0337.jpg
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Warren May » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:28 pm

I love it! The body contours look especially well done and really show off the striping. Great job!
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Rob Carty » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:53 pm

Hear, hear! Nicely done, Adam!
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Pete Halliday » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:00 pm

That is really cool...great job!
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Eric Baack » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:01 pm

Great work Adam!

Now what's the next? ;)
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Adam Savage » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:12 pm

And lastly, a textbook example of how to neatly (!?!) wire up the controls :
IMG_0321.jpg


As it stands, there are a few issues :
Neck is a little 'variable' in its' profile, also a little too thin.
Neck angle is a little low - with bridge at lowest, 12 fret action is 2.5mm. Playable, but not as low as I would have liked. I am not sure how I missed this, as I thought I had worked out the correct angle. Better luck next time.
Frets needed a lot of levelling, so are quite a bit lower profile than they started with.
I somehow routed the neck pickup cavity about 2mm off centre line. I dont think it will be a tremendous problem, but I know it's there.
Bridge could have done with being placed further back as I could set the intonation correctly for a couple of strings.
I havent quite worked out whether the Gotoh tuners and chrome control knobs are the best aesthetic choice to match the rest of the guitar.

But, I am rather happy with :
The body - it feels fantastic, a lot more curvy than the photos suggest, with a couple of rear contours and the sucked-boiled-sweet overall effect.
The finish - not *quite* as matt as I would have liked, but for my first attempt with Tru Oil, Im happy
The sound - very creamy (if that makes any sense at all) when overdriven/distorted, and very clear clean tones that (for the 5-10 minutes I had it plugged in) rival my favourite bought guitar (86 Les Paul custom)
The neck - whilst there are issues as detailed above, the finish is, for me, spot on for hand-feel. And though it is too thin, for my hands it is very nice to play.
The frets - although I had to do a lot of flattening and high-spot-chasing, there wasnt an ounce of fret-buzz when tuned up.

So, many things learned, many silly mistakes made (mostly to do with measurement funnily enough...) and a couple rectified, and a guitar I am rather proud to say I built at home. I think it is fair to say that it would not have been as successful as it is without the very generous help and advice from the folks here on MIMF. I pity you already for the barrage of questions I shall fire off with my next project - a semi hollowbody in reclaimed afromosia.....

Thanks, and any suggestions/comments/criticisms/questions welcomed.

Adam
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Adam Savage » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:17 pm

Thanks for the comments :)

I think, on reflection, I am most pleased with the contours as an aspect of the whole project, as there was nothing 'jigged' or machined about them (apart from using a palm sander), just a few rasps and a little sandpaper. The only thing I would have preferred would be to have the contrasting stripes run right through the body, but I genuinely dont think I would have the patience to square up all those part-end-grain surfaces and deal with the inevitable chipping that padouk seems to produce.

Cheers,
Adam

P.S. As an aside, I have named this guitar 'Pinta LG', as it will be the only one of its kind...
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Hans Bezemer » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:16 am

I love it: Good work!
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Eric Baack » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:12 am

and where are the sound/video clips?
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Re: 1st home-build WIP - A stripey padauky

Postby Adam Savage » Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:57 pm

Thanks :)
As far as sound clips go - well, I havent got around to that yet :( I may get the chance, over the weekend, to do a small video and stick it on YouTube (should be another learning experience), but dont expect EVH style playing!
Adam
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