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First Project

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by bassestkkm, Mar 27, 2014.

  1. Hey guys I've been lurking around here for quite some time now. A huge fan of the work you all do. Its incredible!

    Now I know most of everyone here is a bit biased towards basses but I'm still deciding between a guitar and a bass as my first build. Its between a carved top Tele, with the Jimmy Page HH wiring, and a Jaguar bass. I'm leaning towards making the Jag second so I'll have some experience points behind me and won't be so bummed if I make dreadful mistakes along the way haha

    As I was typing this I was a little concerned about tools and which ones were available to me and what I would do and then I found out that my best friend has been holding out on me. :p I just found out that his dad has all the clamps, routers, band saws, disk and belt sanders I need to do work! :hyper:

    I'm really excited to get this started and would like to thank all of you for helping me make the final decision to get started on building!

    I think this is going to be an awesome outlet for the rest of my college years! Thank you thank you thank you :D

    (JJust a warning I want to document this and so I'm going to be posting a bunch of pictures. I apologize in advance) :bag:

    So enough about that, here are some specs about the Body: (I don't want to do a neck until summer)

    2 Piece Alder body
    Curly (Flame) Maple Top
    Tele Shape
    Possible Hollowing for lightness
    2 humbucker config
    2 volume push/pull, 2 tone push/pull, 1 3-way selector
    Series/Parallel, Single Coil/ HH, In/Out of Phase

    And here are a few pictures of the wood!




  2. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Sounds great! A couple of suggestions:

    1. If you haven't worked with power tools before, PLEASE be careful and exercise proper safety precautions. Get training if you need to.

    2. Expect to make a few mistakes the first time out. I have seven builds under my belt and am still making mistakes.... So expect them, but don't let them discourage you!
  3. Thanks for that! My best friend's dad is going to be there when I do use the tools and I've used them before but I want to be on the safe side just in case I run into a problem. I'm just planning slow and steady.

    I just finished gluing together everything. The bottle said to clamp for 30 minutes I left it for 3 hours. Its a pleasant day in SoCal so I think that should be okay. I'm not going to be cutting into it until next week or maybe later.

    School starts up next week so It'll be a side project or left until the summer.


  4. Got the body all cut out last night before it started raining today. Now off to school

  5. Thanks for the support! I've got a bit more done. But now I've run into quite a few problems and questions.

    1st. The body is shaped like a tele but I wanted to make it a set neck with humbuckers and a tune o matic like a Les Paul.

    1. How do I get the neck angles correct? There's a 4.4 degree angle down from level as I understand it and that starts with the pocket itself?

    2. If it is a set neck then it should have the tenon and the longer joint piece but I'm still confused as to how to approach the building part.

    I know the neck is at a 4.4 degree angle and the headstock is angled another 17 or so degrees down from the nut. But is the pocket itself at the 4.4 degree angle or is the neck joint itself at that angle?

    I know this is a bass forum but many of you build more than basses so I thought I'd ask. Thanks for your patience :)
  6. 10005871_4165907602914_4817655337893343165_o_zps36ae3222.

    And a bit more progess
  7. I will teach you the mysteries of trigonometry to find your angles!
    Just kidding, I'll do it for you ;)

    First, 4.4 is too much. Waaay too much. You'd need a quarter inch riser under your bridge.
    Ideally, between 0.5-1 degree, or no angle and a taller (in the pocket) neck that meets the strings just above the minimum height of the saddles.

    Here's a quick rundown:
    In my calculations, I'm going to assume that
    A) You're using a traditional bridge.
    B) Your fingerboard, at the end of the pocket, sticks up 1/4" from the surface of the body.
    C) Your scale length is 25" (18" out from the body, 7" inwards)
    Note: I can recalculate with different measurements, just provide me with them - ideally scale length, as well as minimum saddle height.

    Now just using no angle at all and considering my assumptions, you'd have no downwards adjustment.
    If we go to 1 degree, you get 3mm of adjustment downwards, that's PLENTY, except that means you have to raise your saddles to 3mm at minimum. So, that's not great.
    If we go to 0.5 degrees, you get half that downwards (1.5mm), which is still lots. 1.5mm minimum saddle height isn't bad; so that's an angle you can work with.

    Now, if you can't sand the neck heel down with that kind of precision, consider bolting on and using a shim to get that angle. A bolt-on is much more forgiving then a set neck especially for a first project.
  8. Ohh this makes much much more sense! I think I meant to say a total of 4.4mm down from the bridge. at the nut. That would make more sense. I still don't know whether I want a normal fender neck. So I think it'll be 25.5" scale like a normal fender. We shall see.
  9. I think that'll work perfectly! Thank you so much! I'll just need a tiny shim in the neck pocket where I'll bolt on. And I'll just have to rout everything properly.
  10. No problem! Just glad to help. I'm subbed, I'm looking forward to the final product!
  11. Subbed!
  12. I definitely am too! I am in Riverside and there's a little shop called Wild West Guitars here and I went in for some inspiration and came out loving the look of this PRS. The colors blew me away. So I'm going to try for this... But obviously with a tele body



    Anyways for a first build I think I'm being way too ambitious. But if I land somewhere between awesome and below mediocre I'll be happy haha
  13. The top would be too involved unless you have prior experience with dying and finishing figured wood.
    But I looove the white/Brown combo!
  14. Dead Ed

    Dead Ed

    Nov 24, 2010
    Portland, OR
    I think you could do it. Just use a really thinned down dye, and practice on some scrap wood. Nice work so far by the way!
  15. Dead Ed

    Dead Ed

    Nov 24, 2010
    Portland, OR
    P.S. A lot of that shine just comes from the wood's natural chatoyancy. You just have to make sure you don't smash the grain when you sand. Get progressively finer to say 1200 grit, then wipe it with a damp (not wet) sponge so the grain pops back up. Let it completely dry and sand again. Do that until the wood glows without finish and you'll get the effect you're after.
    signboy likes this.
  16. Thanks! Like I said I'm being a bit ambitious for a first build. But I accidentally bought an extra 2 feet of the top so I'm thinking I'll use that to practice first.

    Thank you! I'm still a bit nervous approaching all of this but its a great learning experience. Thanks for the sanding tips. I'm definitely going to practice on the extra piece first. The white dye on the back was so different that I just wanna give it a try.
  17. I found this article while reading around. I think I'm going to combine your advice DeadEd and this technique and get from there. Well I have no likes so I can't post the link haha Sorry bout that
    Dead Ed likes this.
  18. Dead Ed

    Dead Ed

    Nov 24, 2010
    Portland, OR
    Not a problem! Remember to let the sandpaper do the work, don't bear down on it. I gave you a like, so I expect the link! ;)
  19. Its people like you that make me greatful for being a bassist haha. Yeah Sometimes I forget to let the sanpaper get a rest too! I accidentally burned a little bit of the body in the process the other day. Not a big deal though. Its a learning process. As mentioned here's the link.


    I also managed to find come clever Germans. You can always count on the Germans to get you what you need haha
    This is probably the coolest thing I've come across. Its like candyland for a builder I'd imagine haha

    SmidgeBass likes this.
  20. Dead Ed

    Dead Ed

    Nov 24, 2010
    Portland, OR
    That's a pretty sweet technique in that there link. I personally would "water" the stain down a little more than 50%, but that's just me. When I did a similar project I used approximately 30% stain, but the results that guy got were amazing, so go with your gut (test it on scrap first of course). I always do my finishing sanding by hand. Another sanding trick is to sand a little bit, then wipe your sandpaper clean of dust. I use my work pants, but you could use an apron/rag/vacuum (whatever). This keeps the sandpaper from gumming up with dust which causes bumps/divots. Someone with more experience here may have better tips, but I hope that helps. Good luck sir!