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First build, thoughts?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Rick Olsen, May 21, 2020.

  1. Rick Olsen

    Rick Olsen

    Oct 23, 2019
    Well, this was a fun project. My first ever build. I ran into surprisingly few major issues. It is a seven piece neck plus the “wings”. The neck is canary wood, Purple Heart, and maple with an ebony fingerboard. The body is walnut and maple.

    I am interested in some honest feedback regarding the design and appearance. I will be loaning it out soon to get input on playability and sound.


    Attached Files:

  2. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Very nicely done! Please tell me you have some previous woodworking experience, that looks like you have inhaled some sawdust in your time. Nice Alembic/Hippy Sandwich vibe going there. Oil finish?
    Reedt2000, 2saddleslab and Beej like this.
  3. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Well, I think that’s absolutely smashing for a first build! I really like your wood choices, and you clearly have some prior woodworking experience. Visually and ergonomically everything looks great to me, with the possible exception of the lower cutaway - is it perhaps a tad small for people with fat mitts? And that forward strap button looks a little weird off to the side like that, but now I’m just nitpicking....

    I ran the numbers just now, and by my calculations, yours is 5839.32% more impressive than my first build!
  4. howardf


    Jan 28, 2020
    I'm not a fan of the chunky, squared off edges, but that's a personal aesthetic preference, not a reflection of your craftsmanship. The woodwork is very well done and beautiful. Great material choices, and a great finished product.
  5. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Looks fantastic, especially for a first endeavor. :thumbsup:

    How does it play? Getting some feedback from players and other builders is useful, but good to keep in mind that people's opinions will reflect their own interests, values and priorities. Which is why I don't care what anyone thinks.:smug: (total lie, I'm a glutton for kudos :woot: )

    My only thoughts are, on the next one maybe try using magnets to attach your truss rod and control covers to enhance the clean look, and maybe consider custom pickup covers and/or knobs for more personal details. Looks great IMHO tho.... :thumbsup:
    Reedt2000 and 2saddleslab like this.
  6. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    Looks fantastic! It's certainly a unique design and good wood choices.

    How's the upper fret access? It's hard to get a sense of scale in terms of how much room you have with the lower bout there, since it kind of hooks back towards the fretboard at the tip. I have done a few designs with a similar hook back towards the fretboard and I've found them a minor annoyance in that I sometimes hit the horn with the back of my hand when I'm reaching up high.
    Reedt2000 likes this.
  7. Rick Olsen

    Rick Olsen

    Oct 23, 2019
    Thank you all for the comments and tips. I’ll try to address them.

    -The finish is simply Linseed Oil.
    -The fret access could be fine tuned for sure.
    -I think it plays great. I may slim the neck slightly. No real buzz unless I get into it, everything seems straight, action is fast.
    -I have some basic wood working experience.
    -Magnets! Thanks Beej, that was one of the items I kicked around, and wasn’t confident on. Do you have to add a finger slot to the Control cavity cover? I may mod the truss rod cover.

    thanks again. Can always improve!
    Beej, 2saddleslab and dwizum like this.
  8. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    That bass does nothing for me aesthetically. We all have different tastes, mine run primitive. Having said that, that bass is freaking amazing, especially for a first build. Well done! What I've done are builds: buying pieces, manipulating them to one degree or other, and assemble. You've gone much deeper than that. Full credit for taking this project on and see it to it's obviously successful conclusion.:thumbsup:
    GravyGoodness likes this.
  9. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    I really like the body shape, for the record. It's unique and coherent. Many builders start out by doing carbon copies of famous designs, which is great in it's own right of course - but I always love seeing builds on here where you can really see the builder's own vision, versus them just using tracing paper on someone else's vision. To me, that's the whole point of building - to make something that's all yours.

    The way I do my magnetic control cavity covers is to do a full cavity route, the actual outline of the cover (without leaving a ledge for the cover to sit on), except two or three little "islands" to which I stick the magnets. I position the islands towards the middle, with the ends of the cover unsupported. This way, I don't need a finger slot - to get the cover off, you push down on one of the unsupported ends, and it levers the cavity up off the magnets.

    And in most cases, what I've done is to glue magnets to the back of the cover, and then use a small flat head steel screw or bolt into the island inside the cavity for the magnet to stick to. This way, the depth of the cover is adjustable by turning the screw. This lets me fine-tune and get a perfectly flush cover. Although what I usually like to do is have the cover ever so slightly recessed, so there's less chance of it getting caught or knocked off by something.

    I like to do magnetic truss rod covers, too. You can bury a small magnet in the very end of the truss rod slot for it to stick to, and then no screws show. For wood truss rod covers, I like to laminate two layers of wood veneer to the back of the cover at opposing grain directions, to sort of create a mini plywood effect, to help reduce the chance of the wood splitting from being pulled up to release the magnet.

    I was a little nervous when I did my first magnetic covers that they might not stay put but they've done really well, including holding up to my guitarist doing his "flying crab dance" while playing a guitar I'd built on stage. That's good enough for me!
    S-Bigbottom and Beej like this.
  10. Palomo


    Jun 16, 2017
    it looks good! pretty awesome for being a first build. i'm on my 4th build and your first one looks more complex compared to mine. well, actually im on my 5th but i believe i want to keep it simple and improve playability. i've posted something last week and no one answered me back :help:.

    Congrats on the design also, its great!
  11. It's not my cup of tea personally, but holey moley well done bro!! Great wood choices, the shape is unique (which is better than 75% of the "boutique" makers out there) and your craftsmanship looks second to none. Even if you work somewhere you have full access to any woodworking tools you could possibly want, it's great work and you made it! I worked in a machine shop for many moons and it was always so satisfying to make something. Congrats on a job well done! I would love to see your next one.

    Added: that electronics cover is just the bee's knees. Looks so good, shame it's on the back!
  12. Frety_Kruger

    Frety_Kruger Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2020
  13. ArtGuy9516


    Apr 10, 2012
    Richmond, VA
    Me like it!

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