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Build No.4 - AnD semi-baritone

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by reverendrally, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. Well, my twin bro (husband of the flowerbass owner) and I are turning 40 come the end of feb, so being an awesome guitarist I thought he needed a 40 bday guitar. He has no idea what I'm doing, although I've felt him out re a baritone. He said, "they're not much use to me, but a guitar in D permanently would do the trick". So the whole guitar scale is 70mm longer than you're average strat. So he can tune it a whole step down and have regular string tension or throw on some heavier strings get down where the real action is! :bassist:

    P.s. remember this is a surprise, so no telling... :bag:

    Here are my templates glued down.

    I've got the following wood already to be edged and laminated;
    Neck, f/board, top and back; Victorian ash
    Body centre section; Kauri pine
    Decorate veneer; figured blackbutt

    I may add a pinstripe with some dyed poplar I bought, or not. The design is heavily chambered, although I may rethink that too as he tends to play a lot of heavy rock in front of 4x12s. All the parts came from an Ibanez LP copy that sustained a broken neck (and wasn't worth fixing). The guitar was free to me, so all I've bought so far was timber and a jack plate. Most the timber was left overs too.

    Got to get this on track as it needs to be finished by Feb 24, 2013... the clock is ticking!
  2. HogieWan


    Feb 4, 2008
    Lafayette, LA
    I am looking at building a semi-bari as well. I have been using a larger gauge to tune down to D, I need room when I capo up.

    I calculated that a 28 5/8 scale puts the second fret just a hair over the 25.5 scale used by fender and a lot of acoustic makers. That is about 3 1/8 inches or ~79 mm longer.

    I also find that most regular sets of guitar strings have enough extra length to keep what you like/are-used-to. I know my regular strings have an extra 6+ inches that I cut off.
  3. That's cool! I can't wait to watch this one take shape!
  4. More progress...

    Core. Kauri pine.

    Back being book matched glued. Went ok... Had to laugh, a little heat and humidity and the back instantly curled up like a blonde on a bad hair day. Typical aussie hardwood. A bit of clamping straightened it out fast enough though. ;)

    Internal chambers in the core. Initially I was going to cut out the bit in the middle between pickup positions, but thought better of it. Now it's just got an air passage to allow the cutaway chamber to interact with the upper larger body chamber. The lower chamber is so I can insulate the electronics effectively. The small passage up the centre is to allow for another pickup later if we go that way.

    Back being glued on.

    Core and back glued together.

    Booked matched top. This turned out a lot better than the back.

    Now, to piece together a black pinstripe out of the gold plated ($$$) dyed poplar I got off ebay.
  5. must stop procrastinating and go glue some stuff up! :/
  6. Well, some more news. I had a go at gluing the decorative laminate together. All looked good when I took the clamps off...

    Then I had a closer look...

    Not happy really, but oh well. This is the body blank. I got the pinstripe glued in well enough, althought top is a little humped (Call it a semi-archtop lol). The top actually looks pretty good I reckon, so I'm seriously considering leaving off the decorative laminate. The top shifted a little during gluing, but not enough to effect the structure of the body really.


    Here is the side view...

    The body is literally only 27.5mm thick and about half empty with just a solid core. With the core being Kauri pine it's also REALLY light. So I'm hoping for a really resonant guitar out it all.

    Just wondering how deep to cut the neck pocket into now? Any thoughts would be appreciated. I looked at my Tele, but of course it's total overkill. Would 10mm of thickness be enough to keep the neck solid enough or would 15mm be more like it?
  7. grisezd


    Oct 14, 2009
    Great timing that you're doing this. I have a super-short scale bass neck a friend dug out of his shop's attic for me, and I've got a hankering to do a very chambered body to go with it. I plan to set it up DGBE with steel strings, or EADG with Kala-type strings. Your approach to "chambered" would save me a lot of routing! Thanks and good luck.
  8. More progress...

    Got a bunch more stuff done on the body last night. Got the top radiused and the roundover finished. This morning I routed the radius on the back and did the socket as well.




    I got the idea for the back mounted socket from the Ritter Benson Tribute

    The neck is now going to be a setneck joint. I looked into bolt on, but the neck would be too high and that would effect all sorts of other things. So it's my first set neck on this project too.
  9. suraj


    Oct 1, 2008
    Mumbai, India
    A set neck is a good decision for a thin body..looking great so far..!!

    I think the standard thickness for a neck with the fretboard is a little under an inch, about 19-24mm Which is very close to your body thickness of ~27mm..So the bottom of your neck pocket I guess would be only 3-7mm thick. I don't know if that is too thin for a set neck, but I would go for a deep set neck on that guitar (further into the body), for structural stability.
  10. Thanks for insight Suraj. I was going to go really deep, but another luthier suggested a little shallower might be better. Like say 18mm, which leaves me with 9mm of timber under the pocket.
  11. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    My thinnest body is 1 1/8 thick which works out to pretty close to 27mm. Worked out just fine in the end, but it's a neck through. I'd second doing a deeper set neck. I used rock maple for my core to keep it strong, but with your lighter core, you might be better off with a deeper tenon...
  12. After trying to figure out about neck joints for a few days, I pitched in the last 24hours and started get some thing done on the neck.


    As you can see, I've cut the headstock back angle into the blank rather than doing a mitre joint. I did this because the timber is extremely stable and strong, so it allows pretty much anything you want to do with it. Then it was time for trussrod slots... ably assisted by...


    Mr Muffin, my 4yo son. Truth be told, at his head height the router blew shavings straight into his face and he gave up after about 5 min, but he is keen... in a distracted, short attention spanned kind of way.


    Trussrod in. But really that's only half the story. The doubleacting rod came from the same broken necked Chinese LP copy that the other hardware came off and it was a bitch to get in. The welds on either end of the rod required clearancing and while it's nice and tight, it's not nearly as neat as the slots I've done in the past for the Stewmac Hotrods. So while I save a little cash on the rod, I think I wish I'd spent the $20 on the hotrod and saved myself a few hours of screwing around.

    Anyhow, with that done, it's time to start drawing up neck joints properly...
  13. I like the idea of the rear input...a cleaner front is always good ;)
  14. Did a bunch of drawing and measuring last night and got the neck tenon rough cut.


    Lot of finishing to do on it yet though...
  15. suraj


    Oct 1, 2008
    Mumbai, India
    He is right..!! Considering a sectional view, you don't want to go too deep into the neck pocket in the vertical axis. My earlier calculation was a little off. You can have the fretboard surface about 10mm higher than the body surface, so the wood under the neck should be plenty thick. When I said go for a deep set neck, i meant that you need a long tenon that goes further into the body (no pun intended :D), called a deep set neck. I see you have cut a long tenon, so it should work out pretty well.

    A good build, waiting to see further progress :)
  16. Final rout is 18mm deep like you suggested.

    Template in place.

    Pocket routed.

    Test fitted after lots of sanding, shaving and scraping...
  17. After a few hours with my friend and mentor yesterday, the neck is now as it should be and properly seated in the pocket. I can't believe how many "cheats" there are to a mortice and tenon joint. Suffice to say, I now know a few of them.

    So I started trimming it and the headstock down to shape...



    I tried using a printed template to mark the frets out, but after printing out 2 different templates multiple times and finding them both out to the tune of 5-10mm, I gave up and marked the fingerboard out by hand. Laborious, but at least I know it's right now.


    Then out with the fretsaw and guide and the board it slotted.


    BTW, the guide I use for my fretsaw is a rosewood offcut my mentor gave me a few years back. I just clamp it to the board against the line and lean the fretsaw against it. When we first used it there was a lot of falling about and laughing after I suggested jokingly that "coz rosewood is a 'tonewood' it will give the fretslots superior tone". Both of us nearly wet our pants laughing at the time... which tells you what I think about tonewood nazis...
  18. More progress...

    Fingerboard glued on.

    I then radiused the board (which I should have left til later really). Then I worked on the back of the headstock and neck.

    I've added a really big volute on the back of the headstock to avoid the broken headstock that the donor guitar had. I'll pare this down as I go.
  19. Spent most of the evening shaping the neck. I've decided I love my scrapers. I made them out of my grandfather's old saws... which is about all they were good for. I did most of the shaping with rasps, followed by the scrapers and then sandpaper. The generally shape of the neck is pretty much done. However, the volute and the heal have a lot of work left in them...


    I couldn't resist putting the neck and body together tonight to see what it feels like...


    So far I'm very happy with it. The whole instrument is VERY, I repeat, VERY light. There's still a lot of fitting and triming to do round the cut away and joint, but I think I might make it yet. The guitar has to be finished for Sunday the 24th of February. A long way to go yet, but I'm feeling like I'll get there.
  20. With a public holiday today, I got stuck in (between a family outing). Got the neck joint pretty close to perfect. I could screw around with it for another year, but I thought, "nah, just put it together and finish it already!"

    Before gluing



    And then for some wedges under the the sides of the unsupported fingerboard


    I also spent a little time finishing the volute properly

    Now to plow on to get it finished. Frets next I reckon! :hyper:

    Better cook dinner first though. ;)