OK, so I'm pretty well outfitted now --- I have enough tools to build, at the very least, a rough guitar body that you could put strings on and play. I am not fully set up for finishing yet, but, as they say, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
I had started making templates for a Telecaster style guitar - noting that Telecasters are generally the easiest starting point for a novice builder (no carved top, no tummy cut, no forearm contour, etcetera), but I began to realize, the guitar I want to build is not a Telecaster, so why warm up on a Telecaster --- why not warm up with the guitar I have in my head?
So, I got out a piece of cardboard, and started drawing lines. I traced the lower half of a Telecaster body, and then I traced the upper half of a PRS Singlecut body. I like Telecasters and I like Les Pauls, but I have always found the PRS Singlecut shape to be a better fit for me, if not slightly less cliche.
My first draft looked like this:
I drew it on New Year's Eve, on the floor of our living room. In the above picture, you can clearly see the Telecaster shaped lower bout, and you can also see the signature Singlecut shape on the upper bout, but with a confusing neck joint intersection.
Because of the neck joint issue, I had to make a revision to the first template. I like how far up the neck the upper bout comes, so I decided to simply round the upper bout down to meet the neck heel. Here's what I came up with:
I drew this template on 3/4" MDF, rough cut the shape with a jigsaw, then did a lot (but definitely not all) of the sanding on the oscillating spindle sander to remove MDF down to the line that I had drawn.
In the above template, I still want to:
1) Round out the upper bout, near where the strap pin will be --- it's not perfectly rounded yet, and I feel like the overall look of it could benefit from having some more material removed
2) Finish sanding the bottom / endpin area --- sanding a flat spot is remarkably difficult with a spindle sander --- it's tough not to get a scalloped looking edge, like a cartoon of the ocean's surface. I have a belt sander attachment for my oscillating spindle sander, but I screwed up the adjustment on it last night, and got tired of tuning it, so I just went with the sanding drums for the rest of my time in the shop. If you have advice on getting smooth edges with a spindle sander, please leave a comment. I would love the help.
Also new this week, I placed several orders for guitar parts. Coming to me this week:
1) A big sheet of tortoise shell pickguard material
2) A P90 routing template
3) A humbucker routing template
4) Electrosocket jacks
5) Solid / no holes Tele style control plates, so I can drill my own holes where I want them
6) A Wilkinson Tele style bridge - string-through + toploader
7) An aged white Tele style pickguard with a humbucker neck pickup rout
I will probably put that aged white pickguard on this body (after I rout it for a neck humbucker), that I received in trade for a pair of Gibson BurstBucker Pro pickups from my good buddy Crane in Boise, ID. Not a bad deal.
He is a DIY CNC'er, and he cut me this crazy one piece purpleheart Tele body. If I had to estimate it's weight, I would say it's just slightly lighter than a Ford truck. It will probably sound like heaven high-fiving hell.
Until next time,