1st Guitar build - father/son project

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Rob Ficalora
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:12 pm

1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Rob Ficalora »

I started another thread to get some info on build sequence but it's morphed -- and I'm very glad it did -- into an education on the neck angle & height.

I'm going to use this thread to document the build as we go.

So today was day 1 of our second attempt (our first attempt got a nasty tear out on the end grain when my son was routing flush to a template we'd made so we're starting over). We 1st made a thicker template because I thought it'd be easier to keep the pilot bit on the template than the 1/8" template we'd made last time. This one is 1/2" thick & is already proving easier to use.

We then drilled the holes/cut out for the pots. The rest of the time we had today was spent figurnig out the neck angle so here's where we are so far...
Beginings of body blank
Beginings of body blank
Determining the neck angle
Determining the neck angle

Nathan Dodd
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:56 am

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Nathan Dodd »

Hi Rob,

I see that you're using a pre-made bold on neck with the idea (I guess) of gluing it in. remember to keep an eye on that scale length and adjust accordingly - distance from nut to 12th fret is equal to the 12th fret to the bridge. I'm sure you're already on it but I thought I'd highlight it before you rout any pickup cavities or drill post holes! ;)

Looking forward to seeing this one progress!!

Rob Ficalora
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:12 pm

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Rob Ficalora »

Thanks Nathan. The neck is a pre-made from Warmoth. It is a LP neck and the frets do line up with the ones on the plans but I'll double check the measurements. What we did do is modify the plans where the bridge mounts because we're using a tremolo. We just figured out where it needs to be such that the string saddles are in the same place as the saddles on the plans. Knowing the distance from the 12th fret to the saddles should be the same as the 12th fret to the nut will let me double check that we got it right.

Warren also suggested routing some pockets in the body to lighten it. The body is genuine (Honduras) mahogany so it's a little lighter than African but it's still pretty heavy. Does routing extra pockets affect the sound? If so, how?

Nathan Dodd
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:56 am

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Nathan Dodd »

Many Les Pauls have cavities actually, the 2008 had extensive cavities. It will make the guitar lighter. As it's quite a hot topic and many guys here know a lot more than me about how it would affect the sound if at all, I'll let someone else answer that one.

Warren May
Posts: 246
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Warren May »

Rob, yes, it can affect the sound, but the suggestion was more for the African mahogany since I think Honduran should come in a little lighter. You will also be taking some material off by routing a tremolo cavity in the rear. And some guys like the feel of 20 pound axes. As Nathan says, its a hot topic and interested in what others think about it, especially since Rob is using Honduran.

James Tonguet
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:13 pm
Location: Duluth,Ga

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by James Tonguet »

I have a 34 yr old LP Custom . and it weighs 10lbs , which gets real heavy towards the end of the night.

I have made several chambered guitars , the last a solid walnut which is inherently quite heavy, with the chambering it is just a shade over 5 .

As far as differences in tone , my experience has been with the last half dozen that the sound opens up a bit more , not necessarily more sustain . just a somewhat more full ,warmer tone.

Louie Atienza
Posts: 275
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:35 pm

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Louie Atienza »

Good luck, it's nice to see a project like this! Wish you and your son the best on this one.

Rob Ficalora
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:12 pm

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Rob Ficalora »

OK, next question... for the toggle switch the plans call for a 2 3/16" diameter depression so the back cover plate will flush mount. I have 2" and 2 1/8" forstners; haven't found a 2 3/16" at any of my normal tool sources. Even checked ebay and didn't find one there. Are there different size covers available?

What do you guys do?

Art Davila
Posts: 292
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:07 am
Location: Chicago, Il U.S.A.

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Art Davila »

you could use a router template to get the right diameter for the cover plate. I have seen the templates i think at stu mack I got mine for free from a guy who was selling a drill press and he gave me the templates for free.
I have a lot of experience on how "not" to do things.

Louie Atienza
Posts: 275
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:35 pm

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Louie Atienza »

I have a Forstner bit set in the basement... will have to check what sizes I have, but I know I have larger than 2". You could use a fly cutter to create a template for a router to make that recess...

Warren May
Posts: 246
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Warren May »

I drill the hole for the switch first using a forstner bit. Then, I use my binding router bit with exchangeable bearings to route the recess. That way, you can custom fit the cover.

Rob Ficalora
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:12 pm

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Rob Ficalora »

Perfect. I have a fly cutter; should have thought of using it to make a template. I've always been better with the actual doing vs. coming up with the ideas for how to do things. I also have a rabit bit set with about a dozen different bearings so that idea might work too & would be even easier if so.

In the meantime we started mocking up the bridge. Didn't worry about making it pretty; mainly wanted to see how deep to inset it. Just used some forstners & free hand routing. Right now we have it 1/4" inset. My son likes the look with it that way. Assumig we go this way, the actual routing on the guitar will need to be a shade bigger and more precise but it let us see how high the saddles are. Measuring them to the wood surface, I get a little over 7/16". On the plans, the tuneomatic saddles to the wood are about the same; maybe 1/64 to 1/32 higher. Since the Tremolo has plenty more adjustment than that, it's looking like the 4.4° neck angle that's on the plans is going to work. We're going to finish making the mock-up, but that's what it's looking like currently.
Attachments
Tremolo mock-up - front.jpg
Tremolo mock-up - front.jpg (84.01 KiB) Viewed 13021 times

Louie Atienza
Posts: 275
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:35 pm

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Louie Atienza »

Gibson has a Neal Schon model, which has a Floyd Rose bridge. Pretty cool to see something similar being built here.

Art Davila
Posts: 292
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:07 am
Location: Chicago, Il U.S.A.

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Art Davila »

Any progress? Hit any road bumps?
I have a lot of experience on how "not" to do things.

Rob Ficalora
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:12 pm

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Rob Ficalora »

Only road bump has been time. I had to go to Miami for work, then a week in Mexico to build a house as part of a mission group, then a week in Singapore. In the middle of that, my other son ran the mower with no oil & blew up the motor so I had to fix the mower & then my wife's car needed new belts.

We did get a little shop time on Friday though & made some progress. Here's where we are currently...
Attachments
Back...
Back...
Front...
Front...
Maple top...
Maple top...
Glue up...
Glue up...

Eric Baack
Posts: 639
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:28 pm

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Eric Baack »

Looks like that is going to be a beautiful top!

Rob Ficalora
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:12 pm

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Rob Ficalora »

Thanks. It is about 1/8" thinner than it should be but it was too pretty a piece to pass up. We'll compensate for the thickness when we carve it.

Eric Baack
Posts: 639
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:28 pm

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Eric Baack »

You could make binding go down into the mahogany and that will cover up the thinner maple edge.

Rob Ficalora
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:12 pm

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Rob Ficalora »

That's a good idea. Right now my son is saying he doesn't want binding but we'll see if he changes his mind. If not, the carve will just have to be a little less pronounced.

Nathan Dodd
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:56 am

Re: 1st Guitar build - father/son project

Post by Nathan Dodd »

Looking good rob!! That is a lovely piece of maple! Just remind your son that Les Paul studios and juniors have no binding but Les Paul customs do :D

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