Tuesday, March 1, 2011

routing the body 2

This weekend I got a fair amount of work done.

The biggest task I tackled was creating an MDF template for the pickup routes and control cavity rout. I wanted to include the neck pocket rout on this template, and I did, but I may not use it. More on that later.

I wanted to create a template that had the control cavity, pickup, and neck pocket routes all in one place so that I could use the same template to create a guitar, no matter what the body shape of the guitar is.

The body that I have designed here is my first effort, and I have already found parts of the design that I want to change on the next go-round. I do, however, love the Telecaster bridge design, and the Telecaster bridge pickup sound, and I know that I want this element on every guitar that I make for a while. With this template, I can rout the Telecaster bridge pickup and control cavity and neck pocket routes into any piece of wood I like, carve that wood to any shape I like, and boom, that's a guitar.

So, for this universal template, I wanted to incorporate
  1. The Telecaster bridge pickup rout
  2. The Telecaster control cavity rout
  3. A "swimming pool" rout for the middle and neck pickups wide enough to accommodate a P90, Mini-Humbucker, full size humbucker, STratocaster-style single coil, or Telecaster style single coil in either position
  4. A Telecaster dimensioned neck pocket
 As you can see, the template I created includes all of the above, and after I finished the template, I secured it to my mahogany body slab with wood screws and began the routing process.

I had to find a new anchor point for the template, as my previously used anchor point (that I used for attaching the body shape template to the mahogany slab) was not available this time around, as that part of the template was routed out for the neck and middle pickup rout. I found another anchor point in the thin isthmus between the bridge pickup rout and the neck and middle swimming pool rout. I then traced the routs onto the mahogany slab with a pencil (for reference) and began hogging out wood with a forstner bit chucked into my drill press. I only got five 1" diameter holes drilled before something else popped up and I had to quit for the weekend, but I am pleased with the progress.

Before I did any of this, I did the roundover on the body. Standard Telecaster roundover radius is 1/8", and a Stratocaster roundover is more like 1/4" (don't quote me on these, just shooting from the hip) so I went in the middle with a 3/16" roundover radius. It came out exactly how I wanted it to (radius selection, that is).

As you can clearly see in some of the pictures, I let the roundover bit sit a bit too long in some spots, which resulted in some burns. It's no big deal though, for two reasons - one is that those burns will sand out, and the other is that this guitar will have an opaque finish (white).

Also, big news!

I ordered the neck for this guitar yesterday. I called Tommy at USACG, and I have to say, he is about the nicest person in the world. He gave me his undivided attention, heard me out on everything I asked about, and gave me an unbelievable price for the neck. He remembered my mom from when she called to order the slab of mahogany that I'm working with now and the gift certificate she got me, and asked me to tell her hello - now that's good customer relations!

Anyways, here are the specs for the neck that I ordered:
  • 25.5" scale length
  • US-2 Reverse headstock
  • Tele dimensioned heel
  • Maple neck
  • Ebony fretboard
  • "Fat Back" contour, 1" the whole way
  • 1 11/16" nut width
  • 10" radius (a la PRS)
  • Creme dots
  • 6150 frets
So, basically a gigantic baseball bat of an ebony board neck with a reverse Strat-style headstock and huge frets.

Yeah buddy,

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