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Thread: New solid body electric guitar

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by fred everett View Post
    Have you decided which pickups you're going with?
    My son is picking the electronics (its going to be his guitar, I don't play) and he's chosen the Fralin Vintage Hots. To be honest I can't hear what a lot of people seem to be able to hear when they post pickup comparisons on Youtube. Strat parts seem to be quite standardized so he will be able to swap them out when he changes his mind.

    I've had excellent success with the fingerboards from LMI. You can cut them yourself, but at some point it's a question of why bother. For just a couple bucks you can get it done perfectly. Unlike shaping the body and neck to perfectly fit your hands, there's not much joy in cutting fret slots--creativity in fret spacing is generally not a Good Thing.

  2. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Yes, StewMac has pre cut and slotted fretboards available. They are quite reasonable in price. While they do have pre-cut fretwire, the prices for that are much better at Philadelphia. Luther Supply. I buy tuning machines from PLS, too.
    Alright you guys have me thinking now. I've poked around on these sites and I see what you are saying. As we say in IT.....I'm going to do a "feasibility study" today.

    Quote Originally Posted by roger wiegand View Post
    My son is picking the electronics (its going to be his guitar, I don't play) and he's chosen the Fralin Vintage Hots. To be honest I can't hear what a lot of people seem to be able to hear when they post pickup comparisons on Youtube. Strat parts seem to be quite standardized so he will be able to swap them out when he changes his mind.

    I've had excellent success with the fingerboards from LMI. You can cut them yourself, but at some point it's a question of why bother. For just a couple bucks you can get it done perfectly. Unlike shaping the body and neck to perfectly fit your hands, there's not much joy in cutting fret slots--creativity in fret spacing is generally not a Good Thing.
    It's hard on Youtube and I've played Strats for 40 yrs, but "noiseless" was the gamechanger. My '73 was very noisy but amazing....traded it for a Kramer as I HAD to have locking trem. I now own an American STD '99 Strat but hate it. If I still had the '73 we prob wouldn't be talking.

    Do you guys find the frets need leveling/crowning? Are you able to get exacting intonation?
    Thanks,
    Fred

  3. #18
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    This raises a couple interesting questions. The instruments I've built before had standard nickel silver frets and I filed them to tweak high spots and such. The request for the new instrument is for stainless frets. The wire just came in, and I haven't done anything with it yet. Any words of advice? I imagine SS doesn't take nearly as well to re-shaping.

    I've always just pounded my frets in before, I'm wondering whether I need to consider a press for the SS? Getting them uniform in the first pace will eliminate a lot of the need for subsequent dressing. I'm assuming that I should be able to make a device that I could affix to my drill press or mortiser to press them in. Anyone have examples of what they've done?

  4. #19
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    Roger, SS frets take more effort in the beginning because they are harder material, but reduce the upkeep, especially for a "player".

    Fred, there are a lot of options for builders around parts and tools and other things. As to intonation, if I can do it, anyone can. I'm not a player. Getting the scale correct first--locating the bridge--makes intonation easy, despite it being tedious. It's best to have an accurate tuner for this obviously, because the plus and minus can be minute to dial in each string.
    --

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

  5. #20
    Elmer Guitar makes a hand held fret press but honestly, I think it better to get their "Fret press caul with 5 inserts" and then use it in an HF 1 ton arbor press or even just chuck it in your drill press (for a one-off job). The hand press is awkward to use; you need a third hand. The drill or arbor presses generate more force more ergonomically which you will need for your chosen fretboard...

    The problem is more with your ebony than your ss frets. Ebony does not compress easily so it requires a lot of force to press the frets in. What i did on my most recent build was file the corners of the fret slots and recut the slots by hand with a .023 kerf blade. You can create just a little bit of relief that allows the fret to go in without a ton (literally) of force. I CA glue my frets after the fact, but I theorized that it would be better to use PVA on the tang to help lubricate the insertion. It's also easier to clean up than CA.

    Stainless will be harder to level. I would also glue on the fretboard to the neck, and re-radius the fretboard by hand until it's level and flat. As long as your slots are adequately deep, the frets will seat flat. After pressing, I use a brass mallet to seat them all completely, checking progress with a fret rocker. If done this way, I don't really have to do much fret reshaping.
    Last edited by Prashun Patel; 02-19-2021 at 3:55 PM.

  6. #21
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    I remember somebody talking about experimenting with frets made from ceramic. That sounded like way too much 'fun' for anyone to suffer thru.

  7. #22
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    I have the Elmer press and inserts for my DP and plan on buying an inexpensive arbor press to modify and dedicate to the process if I continue to build guitars. Elmer is one of the few EBay vendors I buy stuff from. Good values and well...that was also my father's first name.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 02-19-2021 at 6:41 PM.
    --

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

  8. #23
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    Frets before or after gluing the fingerboard to the neck? I was taught and have always done it after, it would be easier to brace the fingerboard against downward pressure before. I was told that you could generate a back bow in the fingerboard doing it before that was difficult to contend with. I already have a saddle I made for the purpose.

    I was also advised (by someone who works on very expensive instruments and has had to go back and refret a couple of times now on instruments he started working on 50+ years ago) never to glue frets in. He would file the tang down if the fretwire was too wide for the slot and add extra crimps to make it fatter if needed. Altering the instrument was a last resort.

    Off to consult with Elmer. I've always hated hitting my new neck with a hammer.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger wiegand View Post
    Frets before or after gluing the fingerboard to the neck?
    'Depends upon the design. It's typical to fret after the fretboard is glued onto the neck for Fender design/influence necks. For Gibson and similar designs, especially if binding is involved, it's common to fret first and then glue the board on the neck. Many hand-makers will do the fretwork, regardless, before carving the back of the neck. We do use CNC for neck carving do the fretwork after carving and use radiused cauls to secure and hold the neck while the frets are pressed or hammered.

    BTW, the Elmer press caul can also use the radius inserts from StewMac if the set that comes with the caul doesn't have the radius you want/need for a particular instrument.
    --

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

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