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Thread: First Guitar Build

  1. #1
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    First Guitar Build

    I previously hinted that I was going to do some electric guitar building and am happy to say that I completed the first build today with the exception of a little more setup work. The things I've been working on are Telecaster inspired because of the simplicity of the instrument geometry including the neck and body being parallel. This activity is pretty much my current answer to having a hobby in my woodworking shop while I'm not working on client work. I transitioned to a business after retiring from full time work a year and a half ago and this fills the relaxation bill for me right now. It's extremely interesting work and I'm enjoying it a lot as well as learning many new things. And like any good branch of woodworking...it was an opportunity for...more tools. LOL I guess I can blame Dennis Peacock for this "bug" after seeing his build awhile ago.

    The body, neck and scratch plate were all produced using my CNC machine. I have an extensive build thread at TDPRI in the "Tele Home Depot" area if you are interested in the nitty gritty. This body is made primarily from a hunk of Sitka spruce I found in the "shorts" bin at Willard Brothers in Trenton NJ a few months ago with a little d-fir added in to make up for a short fall. The neck is hard maple as is the fretboard. Frets are medium. The low noise "Hard Vintage" pickups and control setup is from Guitar Fetish and features their KwikPlug system...ZERO soldering. Finish is Target Coatings EM6500 tinted to a BM shade and top coated with EM7000HBL.

    I have some friends coming over on Sunday to put this thing through its paces. I'm a keyboard player with only rudimentary guitar skills that are very rusty. I think the surgery I had on my left wrist a couple years ago doesn't help there, either...oh, well. I'll work it out.



    And here's a sneak peak at number two... a "thinline" inspired body...

    Last edited by Jim Becker; 07-12-2019 at 10:59 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #2
    Very nice. Looks like quite a challenge.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  3. #3
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    Jim,

    Enjoyed the Tele Home Depot build thread.
    You are a guy of many talents.

    Bruce
    Epilog TT 35W, 2 LMI SE225CV's
    CorelDraw 4 through 11
    CarveWright
    paper and pencils

  4. #4
    Nicely done, Jim!! Where did the weight end up on this guitar? If it's Spruce it must be on the lighter side of most Telecasters.

    Building an electric is on my bucket list but it's pretty far down since I play acoustic and would rather build those. I started #2 a while back but have had so much custom work (i.e. paying customers ) that my own work takes a back seat. I also want to build an electric bass but it's down on the list, as well.

    Looking forward to seeing your second build when it's finished.

    David
    David

    Nothing to do with woodworking at all, just our music at church (I'm the guy with the Koa Takamine) - Go to YouTube and search for Airline Baptist BC - enjoy!
    YouTube Woodworking Channel for David Falkner (just search for me by name)
    Romans 3:23

    Etsy shop - CurlyWoodShop

  5. #5
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    I haven't weighed it yet, David, but it's "on my list". I also do intend to do a bass at some point since I sold mine a few years ago to a high school student so she had her own for jazz band.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    Wow, you got a lot done since I was over the other day, looks great! Can’t wait to see the sunburst.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Cherry View Post
    Wow, you got a lot done since I was over the other day, looks great! Can’t wait to see the sunburst.
    Yea, it was at the cusp of just needing the electronics, etc., to complete the work and they arrived on Thursday after lunch. So I was able to spend the day on Friday working on it while starting on the clear coats for the 'burst body. I have some friends who are players stopping by tomorrow afternoon to make it create some organized noise for the first time, even though I still have to get the action lower....'just didn't have time to do that yet. The tone is pretty darn nice, however.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
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    I don't know if this is good or not...but finished weight is 8.2 lbs. It's certainly lighter than my Kramer!



    Friends of mine stopped by today to give this instrument a test drive. Here is one short clip of the neck pickup clean...pardon my friend Lee's playing as he's a little rusty because of theater taking time from music as of late. His comments were positive and other than my needing to complete some work on lowering the action a little, I'm pretty happy.

    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #9
    Nicely done Jim! I really like watching guitar making, but would probably never attempt.

  10. #10
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    Brian, the "making" part is actually pretty approachable, especially for the simpler Fender type designs. I'm not a very good guitar player and my left wrist surgery a few years ago makes it harder, but I'm really enjoying this "hobby within a hobby/business" and honestly, folks will actually buy this stuff, either assembled or for parts. So I'm not worried about ending up with a wall full of guitars that I can't actually play. LOL
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
    Awesome, Jim! There's something about building a guitar you can't get anywhere else in woodworking. It certainly hones skills you have and introduces you to things no woodworking project ever will. And then there's the satisfaction of hearing it play. Sounds great!
    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..." - Mark Twain

    Diapers and Politicians need to be changed often... Usually for the same reason.

  12. #12
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    I agree, Julie. Even though I am challenged around playing as I previously noted, hearing the sound come out such that it actually had the tone I was expecting was a wonderful thing. There are quite a few workmanship issues with the woodworking on this build, but it's flat, straight and came into intonation easily. 'Can't ask for more than that on a first build!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
    On my first build, Jim, I too got the intonation right. I was pretty surprised. And the guitar stays in tune. I thought, "This is easy!"

    On the second one, I got the intonation but it doesn't like to stay in tune. Then the next two did. Even the bass stays in tune. I've gone over the 2nd guitar again and again but can't figure out why it goes out of tune, and rather quickly. Maybe it's the Fender tuners? If I was a player, I'd buy new tuners but since I never progressed past what I learned in 8th grade...
    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..." - Mark Twain

    Diapers and Politicians need to be changed often... Usually for the same reason.

  14. #14
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    For the first build, I bought "decent", but not high-end hardware. I didn't want to spend a fortune but at the same time, didn't want to compromise for junk and a potentially frustrating experience. Honestly, I've not gotten really interested in using actual Fender branded stuff...there are so many great choices. One other choice I made was to go "solderless" so I didn't have to futz around with that. GuitarFetish's KwikPlug setup is a no-brainer and for the money, their pickups and harnesses are decent. I chose the "noiseless" "Hard Vintage" pickups and they sound darn nice!

    I do think I'll go with locking tuners on the next builds...makes stringing a snap! And yea, I have a bass on the build list, too.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
    Here's one of mine (I didn't build it).

    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

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