The past weeks, I have been toying with different f-hole designs and by collaborating with my wife, I arrived at something eventually. I wanted a play on my logo (which is featured all over this site, with the ‘.’ and ‘*’. I started with flowing designs that started with a dot and moved via a wave to the star. But this didn’t really balance out and by shifting the order, the relative sizes worked out better. The decreasing size holes was originally also following a wave shape, like the stem of a flower (credit the wife). Then, to make it more “masculine” I put them on a straight line. I had a helper line going through them when I was drawing and as it turned out, it looked better with the helper line than without it… So, here it is:
I also routed recesses for the bridges today.
They go from 1 mm in the middle, to 1.5 and 2 mm deep. This will allow me to have a similar height of the saddles although the actual string heights from the surface differs. Additionally, having the base plates recessed gives an exclusive look.
Here is an update on the progress of my demo guitar:
The body has been bound and the binding scraped flush. I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the look of this guitar – I think it will look beautiful. Latest idea is to stain back ebony black. I will consider this for a little longer before going ahead.
I tried out the string locks for the first time.
Since there is no material in the middle of the neck due to my truss rod experiment, I had to create a small mounting plate for the string locks to sit on. In the above image, I also cut off the fretboard and the total length of the neck.
Prior to that, I had planed, crowned and polished the frets.
I also fixed the chip out. It will require a little more polish, but will get to that later.
The body after binding.
As said in the previous post, I am going on Monday to leave the new batch of tuners/bridges for finishing. They will be either tumbled or blasted and then finished in regular black or shiny black. I have some more turn-out samples that I have not even seen yet, so have to make a decision on the spot.
I have recived a few samples of new finishes back. I am only keeping this open until 6 am CET Monday morning, since that is when I go to drop the pieces off. Note that I will be keeping a batch unfinished to allow for custom orders.
Please help me by voting for the finish you prefer (from left to right):
Which finish do you prefer?
Total Voters: 22
Over the past few days, I have been working on the neck.
I don’t think I have told anyone but Rick, but it’s going to be a Trapezoidal Neck Profile. Above, it has been shaped roughly with a rasp.
Some base oil finish (Watco Danish Oil) applied, and fretted.
Unfortunately, I had a huge chip-out of the fretboard. But considering the number of unknowns on this build (Semi-Hollow, Trapezoidal Neck Profile, Fanned Frets, Carbon Truss) I will not worry too much about it. It will not affect the playability, but doesn’t become the nice show-off instrument I had planned.
Weight: 475 grams. Compared to Ibanez Allan Holdsworth neck (maple/ebony) 575 grams and Squire Strat (maple/rosewood) 625 grams.
I also routed the channel for the binding in the body, and had planned to fit it today. I had ordered the wrong kind though, so need to wait until the new one arrives.
With less than a month to the Uppsala International Guitar Festival and several steps remaining on the build, I will not have a lot of time for finishing. The process I have used before with great success takes several weeks and goes like this:
So, I have dug out what I had laying around and found:
I have applied all three, twice now, to pieces of ebony and maple to see if I can make out a difference. At the moment, I think the linseed/wax oil has a nicer sheen to it. The others have quite strong smells as well. Also, I have used the Rustic Oil on our dining table (which is featured in most pictures on this site) and it turns a bit “milky” over time. Also, it does not provide a very good protection against liquids. I can’t speak for the others, but at least my original process described above impregnates the wood very well.
Lastly, with the rear of the body being swamp ash, I feel that some epoxi finish would be more appropriate to make it harder. I have used this on previous builds where the rear was cedar with good success, but it was a ton of work applying and sanding to get a smooth finish, since the wood absorbed so much.
On the other hand, oil/wax ages more nicely and can easily be repaired. I want to keep the natural wood color, as I have done on all my instruments.
Please share your thoughts with me regarding finishes. I need to get started within the next few days.
I cut the fretboard to size and and radiused it today.
I have spent this weekend working on the neck for my EGS demo guitar. My original thought was to use an old Ibanez Allan Holdsworth neck and replace the fretboard with a fanned fret version that I would make myself. But as it turned out, the Ibanez neck had somewhat of a back-bow and I also got a truss-rod idea that I wanted to try out.
I had this old blank laying around from my Kebbon Bass build. It is what was left over from underneath the neck of this through the body construction. So, it’s been drying and settling for about 20 years…
Now, I have nice fret-slot jigs for regular scale lengths, but not for fanned frets. So, I made a really simple one with a CAD-printout as a base and an aluminum saw guide that I moved around and clamped in each position. Here is a tip for cutting fret slots to the right depth: I used bamboo barbecue skewers on each side of the fretboard. As the saw came to the right depth, it would roll on the bamboo skewers rather than cut through them. My saw is a Japanese razor saw, which is incredibly sharp, so this really helped.
I created a routing template and cut the shape of the neck. Prior to this, I had milled it to the right thickness in the metal mill that use for the hardware.
Quick test of alinment.
Here is a picture of the truss-rod arrangement. This will be the subject of a separate post.
So now the fretboard is setting overnight.
I need a demo instrument, and I need it quick. Those of you that have been following this blog since its inception know that the reason I started developing hardware is that I don’t have access to a wood workshop, but I do to a metal one. Since then, just keeping up with the hardware has taken all my available time.
But now with my second batch coming up, just in time for the Uppsala International Guitar Festival, I thought I would have something more to show than my nylon string mockups that I had last year.
I have put every single idea I originally had on the shelf in order to gain some time:
Here is how far I have come to date:
And here is how I got there:
I have had wood laying around since the last time I built a guitar, some 16-17 years ago.
First a nice piece of ebony.
And some flamed maple. I went over to a friend of a friend at Aros Snickeri and got some help cutting and planing them to size.
I got five fingerboard pieces out of the ebony and enough for two bookmatched maple tops. I also found some wenge that I cut into a bookmatched top in case the maple didn’t turn out. Underneath it all is some Louisiana swamp ash that I bought on eBay earlier this year.
The swamp as glued together.
I started by drawing out the cavities for the body in the template that I had left over from the carbon fiber mold plug.
The template done.
I routed the neck pocket and pickup cavities while I was at it. My plan is to be able to ease the pickups into the holes from behind and not have any mounting rings in the top. I tend to use my router for most work since I don’t have access to a band saw.
The body weighs a ridiculous 1077 grams, compared to 2080 grams for a Strat body. I probably will not make any more progress until next weekend, but hope to have received the remaining parts from Stewart MacDonald by then.