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Another custom guitar


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anymore progress pictures? :)


Aye, thought everyone'd be bored already!. Been trying to get some recording done so I can get some samples up, but the phone hasn't stopped ringing. Grrr. In the meantime, here's some more progress pics



Both the pocket and the back of the neck heel itself needed a little bit of trimming and skimming to get everything totally square and the fingerboard height and neck angle (i.e. none) spot-on





As you can see from the pencil line in that second shot, the heel was also a little longer than it needed to be, something I corrected at the same time as thinning the neck itself down:




There, much neater.


Seeing as you liked the routing, here's a close-up of the main control cavity:





I routed the sides of the cavities to pencil lines, holding a straight edge onto the guitar and then running the router against it to stop any unsightly wandering. Once I'd got down about half an inch I switched to a bearing-guided cutter to go the rest of the way. The deeper cuts for the pots and the switch were done freehand - once I'd measured out the precise depth required for each. You can see as well where the original Tele control cavity was, and where the filler piece has been glued in.




Again the FF cavity itself was routed semi-freehand, with the template shown on page 1 being used to cut the cover recess. The areas around the pots and switch have again been routed to the precise depth for the parts I was using, while leaving a "spine" of wood around them in order to avoid weakening the body any more than need be. I cut the other two depressions down the bottom to give some flexibility in case I wanted to add extra controls (was thinking I might want the FF gate and gain out front) in in future. All I have to do to use them is to drill through, no need for major surgery to the finished guitar.


Also you can just about make out in this shot that all the control holes have been drilled out a millimetre or so oversize, filled with metal-loaded epoxy, and then drilled out again to the correct bore. This gives nice uniform round holes without any tearing and should also prevent the controls coming lose due to the wood compressing around them over time.


Here you can see the fit between the covers and the cavities:




Spot the gap! :) In fact once I'd got the lacquer on I had to trim the covers down a tiny bit, because the thickness of the finish was enough to make them too tight a fit!

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Here's how I did the binding channel around the forearm cut:




You can't do this easily with a hand-held router sat on the body, it needs to be done in a way that the cut stays square relative to the body itself, rather than the bit you've just cut away, if that makes any sense.


It can be done reasonably easily with a table-mounted router, but doing it the "other way up", here gave a bit better visibility. I marked a pencil line at the depth I wanted, and then brought the guided rebater to cut up to it, changing the cutter height continuously as I worked my way around so the bottom of the cutter was always just on the pencil line.


This got me a nice square channel with, as you can just about see, little "steps" in the bottom of it, which could be poked away nicely with a chisel. I was thinking of this as a f*ck-up opportunity, so in the end I was pleased it turned out to be uneventful.



Here's the body and neck after staining:




And again after scraping back the binding, sanding sealer, filler and flatting down:




Must admit I was a bit tempted to stick with a satin/matt finish after I saw this. Well, until I started shooting lacquer and saw how much nicer it looked with some shine on it!

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So, I'd bought one of these:




Really nicely made they are as well. Cut the body out ready for it and wasn't expecting anything weird. Then I discovered that the nice Switchcraft stereo jack socket I was intending to use wouldn't screw into it, as the thread was the wrong size. The cheap socket I had hanging around would fit, small thread. Balls...




Still, no big deal, five minutes recutting the thread and all was dandy:




Now came the time to put it all together, set it up roughly and play around with some different pickup combinations. Once I'd settled on the ones I liked, and put the selector in, the cavity looked like this:




I've deliberately left the pickup wires a little longer than they needed to be, just, again, for a bit of future flexibility. Not the neatest wiring job ever but by this time I just wanted to get the making out of the way and start playing her properly! The tone cap's a 22 in this pic - changed since for a 47 once I'd experimented a little.


So that brings us pretty much up to the finished guitar. The only one other thing I absolutely needed to sort was this:




That white switch tip just sucks, waaaay worse than the tort covers, wouldn't do at all. Nearly bought a chromed plastic one, but they still look a bit cheap and nasty and I could see the chrome flaking off pretty quick. Could maybe have got away with a black one, but there's only one thing that would really look (and feel) right. So, chuck some stainless steel in the lathe, and...







There, much more like it, perfect finishing touch. :)

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Cheers guys! And yes, c&tv, I've got a fair bit of experience in those areas, and others, and been slowly building up a really good workshop full of tools for a looong time prior to this. The wood, metal and electrics aspects are all things I've done loads of before, albeit not all as part of the same job. It's surprising how multi-disciplinary building an electric guitar is - not many things where you find precision woodwork, metalwork, electrics/electronics and finishing craft all needing to work well together.


The bit where I was really learning on the job with the guitar was the staining and finishing, so I took that part really carefully. By the time I got there I knew I potentially had something really nice and I didn't want to screw up at the last hurdle!

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