Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

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Scott French
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Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Scott French »

Hey All,

I've been waiting for the board to switch over before I posted my latest project. I started this almost 2 years ago with the intention of making a bunch of these but soon decided to stick with one and build from there. Basically this is the prototype and I hope to improve with each new attempt. I'm already planning the next one which will likely be some kind of carve top.

With this project I decided to reevaluate every area of the instrument to see where I could find options that were more local, more sustainable, more recyclable, more eco-friendly, etc. Being in Northern California "local" basically meant USA made if possible. The claro walnut I used is very local (within 50 miles) and almost everything else is USA made. The pots were one concession but Canada is close enough and I like the build quality a lot. I was also able to use a few recycled products, some FSC certified products, etc. Here's some info on the various parts and features:
  • One-Piece Claro Walnut Body Blank
  • Flat Top & Back with Comfort Carve/Belly Cut & Roundover
  • RPI Black Plastic Pickguard - Recycled, Made In USA
  • Allback Triple Boiled Linseed Oil Finish
  • 25 15/32" Scale Length
  • 3-Piece Maple Neck with Green Lams - FSC Certified
  • Obsidian Paperstone Fingerboard - Recycled, FSC Certified, Made In USA
  • 12" Fingerboard Radius
  • Maple Headcap with Green Lams - FSC Certified
  • 22 "Gold" Evo Medium Frets
  • Standard "C" Neck Profile
  • LMI Double Adjustable Truss Rod - Made In USA
  • Individual String Guides with Zero Fret
  • Light Green Anodized Hardware Finish with Brass Accents
  • Nordstrand NCD Humbuckers - Made In USA
  • Sperzel Locking Tuners - Made In USA
  • Custom Strap Buttons
  • Hipshot Baby Grand Bridge - Made In USA
  • Master Volume/Master Tone/3-Way Pickup Selector
  • Precision Electronics 500k Pots - Made In Canada
  • Switchcraft 3-way Pickup Selector Switch - Made In USA
  • Switchcraft Locking Output Jack - Made In USA
  • SoZo Vintage Mustard Cap .047uF - Made In USA
  • Consolidated Hookup Wire - Made In USA
  • Hipshot O-Ring Knobs - Made In USA
On top of the eco stuff there was also some other fun firsts. My first bolt on SF guitar, first time making any metal parts, and the first time I ever got any custom anodizing done.

As always I'm looking for any feedback on where to improve... on this project I'm specifically interested in options and ideas for increasing the eco-friendliness of future instruments.

I also have a bunch of progress photos but didn't see that the policy is on posting those. I also didn't see anything about max number of images per post. I tried to keep the images smaller although the only guidelines I could find were for attachments, not sure on the limits for linked images. Anyway, here are some photos:

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Bill Machrone
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Bill Machrone »

Wow, there's a lot of work in that. Being green is likely to come with a hefty price tag!

Speaking of green (I like your thematic, but subtle use of the color), what are green lams?

Dave Higham
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Dave Higham »

Nice work Scott and nice to see you back. I've always liked your sense of design and aesthetics

Dave Locher
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Dave Locher »

Nice! That might be the best use ever for a baby grand bridge - I like how you mimicked the curve with your body.
How is the three-screw arrangement working out on the neck? It certainly looks like a less awkward approach than the traditional 4-screw arrangement. Is it nice and stable?

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Scott French
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Scott French »

Bill Machrone wrote:what are green lams?
They're just plain dyed maple. I couldn't find any colored FSC veneer. Lot's a of places to improve and that's one of them.
Dave Higham wrote:Nice work Scott and nice to see you back. I've always liked your sense of design and aesthetics
Thanks, Dave! Glad to be back and glad to be using some software written within the last decade.
Dave Locher wrote:Nice! That might be the best use ever for a baby grand bridge - I like how you mimicked the curve with your body.
How is the three-screw arrangement working out on the neck? It certainly looks like a less awkward approach than the traditional 4-screw arrangement. Is it nice and stable?
Thanks! It's been a happy coincidence. I designed the guitar before I found the bridge but they do work perfectly together. The 3-bolt heel seems fine to me, no problems at all. I would avoid brass neck screws though. They look nice polished up with the green aluminum but don't seem very tough. I'll be using something else on the next one.

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Scott French
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Scott French »

Bill Machrone wrote:Wow, there's a lot of work in that. Being green is likely to come with a hefty price tag!
There is a lot of work in it, but most of it was the research and part sourcing. I've made very similar guitars previously so other than the new neck joint there's wasn't even a lot of design/planning. Some of the parts were actually cheaper, for example the pickgaurd stock was very inexpensive compared to guitar specific options. Depending on how you buy it the Paperstone can be cheaper than the ebony it's meant to replace. It's also recycled and made in USA instead of importing something from thousands of miles away. The place where things got expensive were the electronics... 2 nice pots and a nice cap are probably close 10x more than I usually spend on that stuff. That being said it's a tiny percentage of the overall cost to build an instrument so it's easy to spring for the good stuff when you only build one a year (give or take).

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Mark Swanson
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Mark Swanson »

That's a great guitar!
I want to ask, what is FSC veneer?
Everyone here on the MIMForum should get used to me asking what their abbreviations mean, because I often don't get them and even though everyone is not as thick as I am, many people still miss true meanings when they don't understand those things. So please everyone, let's limit the use of SC (short-cuts) in our messages and please take the time to type it out. There are many like me, and lots of folks here don't even use english as a native language and it's troublesome for them too.
Great guitar Scott and thanks for letting me make an example of you. :roll:
  • Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff

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Scott French
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Scott French »

No problem, Mark. FSC = Forest Stewardship Council. They're an organization that promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. I'm sure there's all kind of politics surrounding this kind of lumber certification, but for me it's at least a step towards knowing the wood I use has been sustainably harvested in an ecologically friendly way (not to mention legally).

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Mark Swanson
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Mark Swanson »

Ahh, thanks Scott!
  • Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff

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Paul Rhoney
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Paul Rhoney »

You have one of my favorite headstock logos, ever.

Andy Barth

Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Andy Barth »

Very nice looking guitar Scott!

Markku Nyytäjä
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Markku Nyytäjä »

That playful body shape should put everybody in a good mood. Very nice!

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Scott French
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Scott French »

Paul, Andy, and Markku... thanks guys!

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David Schwab
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by David Schwab »

Beautiful guitar, as always! I enjoy your designs Scott.

Patrick Hanna
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Patrick Hanna »

Man...that makes me want a solid body. That is wicked cool. Nice axe!

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Scott French
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Scott French »

Thanks David and Patrick!


Here's a few random progress/detail shots.

Set screw securing the locking output jack:
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Scarf joint and side dot:
Image

USA 3-way and Potentiometer from Canada!:
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Beatrix in front of a big pile of Sacramento/Davis Claro Walnut I bought for this project:
Image

Dave Locher
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Dave Locher »

I was just looking at your photos again, and I didn't notice the first time but I am a little baffled by your headstock - are those round metal dots somehow acting to locate the strings on the zero fret? I can't figure out what's locating your strings other than the straight pull to the tuners?

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Scott French
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Scott French »

Dave Locher wrote:I was just looking at your photos again, and I didn't notice the first time but I am a little baffled by your headstock - are those round metal dots somehow acting to locate the strings on the zero fret? I can't figure out what's locating your strings other than the straight pull to the tuners?
Dave, I use tiny slotted metal rivets for string guides. These ones are anodized aluminum but I've also used stainless steel and brass in the past.

Michael Sankey
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Michael Sankey »

I think many of us have made it a goal to try and use more local sources for our instruments, but for myself I'd always thought of it solely in terms of the wood. It's great that you committed to north america even for the electrical components. I'd never even heard of a locking output jack before! Where did you get it?
Also glad that we of the great northland could make you those pots...

Matthew Lau
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Re: Scott French's "Eco Guitar" Project

Post by Matthew Lau »

Scott,

I didn't know you're in my neck of the woods!
I'm up in Davis.

In any case, nice work.

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