A Humble Guitar Building Thread

Discussion in 'Project Depot' started by rrobbone, May 10, 2015.

  1. rrobbone

    rrobbone Well-Known Member

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    Well, my constant back-and-forthing about building guitars has finally led me to a point of clarity. Or insanity, time will tell - but as long as I get some cool guitars (or guitar bodies) to show for the effort, does it matter which frame of mind I'm in?

    The last month or so has been very interesting, to say the least. It's been a mad scramble to read up on guitar building and wood working techniques, practice those techniques, and acquire the tools to make it all a reality.

    I've decided against doing a blog, but I'll update things here and likely have a much more detailed thread on TDPRI. They have been super helpful with advice and guidance, so I'll post more frequently there. It helps to have a bunch of experienced eyes looking over my shoulder.

    I have a name for the line and am pretty sure about a logo at this point. I'm not going nuts on branding, but you'll know it was a guitar built by me at a glance.

    This is not a "custom shop" and I won't be building to order. I will do a few requested customs here and there, I'm sure - but I won't be advertising that fact. I'll make it, and if someone likes it - they may purchase it.

    I tried looking around for factory guitars to refinish, but that would jack the final cost way too high to be viable. As a result, I'm finally giving in to my urges to build my own. I'll be making bodies only at first, neck building requires a different set of skills and tools. I'll work my way up to that, once I see that what I plan for the first stage can work. The bodies will be all to Fender spec and will sport my goofy finish ideas. I intend to break lots of "rules," such as a Fender neck and scale on what are traditionally Gibson shapes. Here are the planned options, any combo of these can (and will) be used in any one build:

    Shapes:
    Stratocaster/Squier '51
    Telecaster
    Jazzmaster
    Firebird
    Billy Bo/Jupiter
    '51 P-Bass (Tele bass)
    A few ideas I have for original shapes, and also a few from the Fender back catalogue - was thinking along the lines of Maverick/Custom or Toronado shapes.

    Electronics:
    Single HB
    Dual HB
    Tele
    Fat Tele

    Finishes:
    Fabric
    Resin
    Stencil

    Wood choices will depend on what my supplier will have in stock without killing me on price, but I'm sure it'll be mostly alder.

    It'll be the norm to see me working on a Jazzmaster routed for a Tele setup with a fabric finish, or a Squier '51 single HB with automotive signs sealed under resin. I still plan to have these available to sell, and I'm intending to have very reasonable pricing. Well, reasonable considering that these are going to be handmade customs. :)

    In the past few weeks: a ROSS, a jointer, many sheets of MDF, a few router bits, a router table, and a rudimentary dust control system have all appeared in my little workspace. I've been spending free time making master templates and at this point I just need to finish shaping a couple of them by hand. Next up is ordering necks and hardware so that I have the parts necessary for mock up and measuring before I cut into anything. Then I'll be making a few practice bodies out of cheap Home Depot pine to make sure the templates are sound and get some practice before the real thing. I need a few more small matter tools to ensure smoother sailing, but the shop is almost tooled up.

    20150508_113543[1].jpg

    I'm pretty excited about this, and I'm hoping it all works out because I enjoy doing it quite a bit. Thanks to all who are checking in, and especially to RogerC for his help and advice.

    Stay tuned...
     
  2. MrM0964

    MrM0964 Well-Known Member

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    I'm really looking forward to this. Will you be cutting/designing any custom pickguards as well?
     
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  3. rrobbone

    rrobbone Well-Known Member

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    Likely so. Since I'm doing some weird combos, it would be better to at least offer the option. It's no more difficult than getting the material and a 45 degree bit, then drawing up a custom pattern and fashioning a jig from that.

    Gonna try for finishes that no one would want to cover up, tho!
     

  4. Brendan

    Brendan Well-Known Member

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    That sounds awesome. Looking forward to seeing what you make.
     
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  5. ronnx

    ronnx Well-Known Member

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    The best of luck to you in your building endeavor RR. (y)
     
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  6. tvvoodoo

    tvvoodoo Well-Known Member AGF Registered Dealer

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    I too wish you a speedy trip to quality goods, and am impressed by your commitment.
    This is not easy stuff, starting out fresh. much respeck

    I don't have the fight in me to start now, so I will enjoy your builds as if they were mine.
     
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  7. RogerC

    RogerC Well-Known Member

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    What was it you told me on my thread? Oh yeah, Get to work! :smilingimp:
     
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  8. Cyphre

    Cyphre Well-Known Member

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    Cool.
    I want to build guitars too, but I haven't the know how or space or wife who would be open to such activities.
     
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  9. PsychoCid

    PsychoCid Well-Known Member

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    Coooool. Let me know when you're ready for fanned frets :D
     
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  10. rrobbone

    rrobbone Well-Known Member

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    Meh, waiting on parts for now. Just have some light sanding to do, and the templates are done (I hope). I think in the meantime I'll try the sanding scrapers that so many seem to love. If it'll save me the cost of sandpaper and shorten the time needed for the most tedious task, it'll be worth it.

    The info is all over TDPRI.com. Spend enough time in the Tele Home Depot threads and you will learn exactly how to build an electric guitar, with many different methods. I recommend starting in the competition build threads, but be warned: that will only fan the flames of your desire to build. There are guys (and gals) over there crafting incredible works of art.

    Convincing the wife is up to you. :)

    Luckily, my wife is being very supportive - as she has her expensive hobbies, too. All I have to do is keep it all clean and organized. I think she knows me better than that.

    Baby steps to fanned frets....

    4bb95dd2058f8b992c96f53b19768f5f.jpg
     
  11. tomringg

    tomringg Well-Known Member

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    Congrats & good luck! From what we have seen of your work I am sure it will be fun to watch & read. Please post a link to your TDPRI thread(s), kind sir.
     
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  12. rrobbone

    rrobbone Well-Known Member

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  13. JeffBeck

    JeffBeck Baldy McBaldhead Staff Member

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    Cool. Can't wait till you're really rolling with this. Have you decided what body style you'll be doing first? I'm voting Firebird cause Firebird.
     
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  14. Mandelorian1138

    Mandelorian1138 Well-Known Member

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    I'm excited to see where this goes. Wouldn't mind having a Toronado with a single HB with coil splitting. Something like this...

    396e0fec9ee6b996d2e15e8852c6827e.jpg
     
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  15. cantthink0f0ne

    cantthink0f0ne Well-Known Member

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    Subscribing :)
     
  16. funk-n-stein

    funk-n-stein Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Definitely interested. Subscribing, and PM sent.....
     
  17. RogerC

    RogerC Well-Known Member

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    Hey Rob, it's been a few days. Any progress? :whistle:
     
  18. tvvoodoo

    tvvoodoo Well-Known Member AGF Registered Dealer

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    Let's hope he still has all his fingers. I've been joking about that in PMs with him, told him I remain quite attached to my fingers,
    because I stay away from routers and bandsaws and the like - guy has to know his limitations
     
  19. rrobbone

    rrobbone Well-Known Member

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  20. rmfroyd

    rmfroyd Well-Known Member AGF Registered Dealer

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    There are three things I don't like in this world....routers, snakes, and smooth jazz.
     
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