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Unread 10-20-2003, 02:55 PM   #1
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Wanting to build an electric

I want a cheap guitar. Cheap as in not cost me an arm and a leg. I have a good neck I got. so thats out of the way. I will not be skimping on electronics. However does the wood blank make that big a sound difference in an electric. If so, what woods contribute what to the sound? Where does one buy well cured exotic chunks of wood like that. I don't want a body blank, thats semi shaped. This one will be kinda funky shaped, how I have always wished someone would make one. Not as in freaky weird, but as in, highly curved, easy fret access and certain shape so I can hold it how I like for soloing (a highly modified sg shape probably). I keep finding like strat sort of bodies.

so I would like

relative virtues of maple, alder, mahogany, etc for sound.

vendors to get chunks of the wood I decide on

and a reference to know how to cut, shem, and set the neck, bridge, etc.

I am no novice with wood, but I am a complete novice at instrument building.

also any input on pickups would be appreciated. I want high volume pickups that sound impeccably clean. If the combos are odd that you suggest, more power to ya. I have a set of spare Ibanez electronics for very temporary ue, so I could make sure the body does what I want first, s the body will be the first issue. That said, can anyone here help?

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Unread 10-20-2003, 03:22 PM   #2
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hey bill. first off i think it's GREAT that you're going to build a guitar! i would cut my own from a blank too if i had access to the right tools, but i don't so i just have built from warmoth parts. now i'm going to try to help you get the information you need.

*first off for a good look at woods, and the different properties they have go to:

http://www.warmoth.com/common/goodwood.htm

*for places to buy body blanks that are pretty much ready to be cut and shaped to how you like them i know of two places right off hand:

http://www.warmoth.com
http://www.carvin.com

for tips on actually shaping, and making the body work for the neck you have you may want to go over to:
http://www.mimf.com
and pose your questions there. they will also be able to tell you other places to buy wood from so you can find what is right for you at the price you want to pay..

*now once you get your instrument built and pre-assembled it'll be time to take it apart and finish it.
in which case http://www.reranch.com is the best site i've seen on the net with free information on finishing as well as selling the products..you may also want to consult http://www.stewmac.com
if you were to decide to go with some sort of simple clear coat finish such as tung oil, then post back here i can give you some tips on that myself..otherwise, the guitar reranch is the place to go..

*high volume pickups that sound impeccably clean?
you just described EMG active pickup my friend. NOT the emg hz pickups..i'm talking emg active. so yah they require a battery, but if you want high output super clean pickups this is the way to go...you have single coil and humbuckers to choose from of course..
http://www.emgpickups.com

you can hear a sample of my thinline tele style guitar i built from warmoth body and neck and various other parts by either cutting and pasting or typing in the link below on your browser...clicking it will not work..
this is the emg ft tele neck pickup..but since you're making your own body you could fit this pickup into it no problem....the guy that answers the tech support e-mail at emg actually thinks this is the best pickup they make..and just b/c it's designed for tele certainly doesn't mean it won't work on other guitars...
here's the link:
http://jg7.tripod.com/clean.mp3
that is played through a danelectro pedal eq'd to my preference and then direct into the computer recorded at cd quality...
emg's website also has sound samples so you can hear the various pickups they have..

now once you get your guitar ready you need to know how to solder as well if you don't already so you can install the electronics...which isn't that difficult, it just takes a little practice to get the feel for it..i have soldering tips on my website...you can get a soldering iron that'll work just fine for guitars from wal-mart for about $5 then of course you'll need some 60/40 rosin core solder (must be rosin core)...
another thing to note, if you do go with emg pickups it's important to know whether or not you will use a pickguard and put the control knobs through that or go through the body...IF you go straight through the body of the guitar with the control knobs then you will need LONG shaft 25k pots..it has to be 25k pots to use with emg's...you can get them and other wiring supplies at:
http://www.guitarelectronics.com (that's where i like to get my electronic stuff)...
also, if you use emg pickups you won't have to connect a ground wire to the bridge and there is NO need for shielding at all because as an added bonus these pickups are excetptionally quiet..no 60 cycle hum that most other pickups have...all that in itself is another HUGE reason i like emg actives..
of course even if you decide on using some passive pickup instead you still will have to have long shaft pots if you are going through the body with the control knobs, they just won't be 25k pots..they'll be 250k or 500k instead...

once you get the guitar all ready, you're ready for setup...in which case you can consult:

http://jg7.tripod.com/setup.htm

that's how i do things as far as setup goes..
you can also consult:
http://www.frets.com
it deals a lot with acoustic instruments but some of the same principles apply
to electric guitars...

sorry if any of this is a repeat of things you know, but i figured i'd try to be thorough just in case...let me know if i can help you with anything else..it's always great to see people building their own guitars...
once you do, you'll probably never want to buy one off the shelf again..i sure don't... (except acoustics, but i want to build one of those eventually too)...
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Last edited by gg7; 10-20-2003 at 03:36 PM.
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Unread 10-20-2003, 04:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSPrestonEsq
relative virtues of maple, alder, mahogany, etc for sound.
Check here:
http://electricguitar.50megs.com/korina.htm
or
http://www.harmony-central.com/Guita...Wood_And_Tone/

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSPrestonEsq
also any input on pickups would be appreciated. I want high volume pickups that sound impeccably clean. If the combos are odd that you suggest, more power to ya. I have a set of spare Ibanez electronics for very temporary ue, so I could make sure the body does what I want first, s the body will be the first issue. That said, can anyone here help?
That sounds exactly like a set of active EMG's, but remember: When building the guitar, leave space for the battery compartment, and also have some way to get to the battery compartment.
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Unread 10-20-2003, 05:10 PM   #4
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I like the pickups. am pricing korina blanks....
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Unread 10-21-2003, 08:37 AM   #5
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Ok, I have found a very affordable one piece mahogany blank. How different do any of you builders think tonal quality will be?
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Unread 10-21-2003, 08:42 AM   #6
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also, how hard would it be to find an inlay saw that would cut jasper. (mohs hardness of 7)
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Unread 10-21-2003, 10:16 AM   #7
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decided to see about getting that mahogany single piece.
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Unread 10-21-2003, 10:29 AM   #8
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If you haven't gotten it already, I woudl recommend checking eBay. I looked a while back and you can find some great blocks of wood cut and aged for a guitar .
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Unread 10-21-2003, 10:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PianoMan
If you haven't gotten it already, I woudl recommend checking eBay. I looked a while back and you can find some great blocks of wood cut and aged for a guitar .

there are I think 3 right now.

This is a third of the price of most of those. Just have to see if its sold or not. (its a closeout).
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Unread 10-21-2003, 11:43 AM   #10
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jasper? wow...
did you check with http://www.stewmac.com ?
if not, call them or send them an email. their customer service is top notch. they've helped me out a lot in the past.
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Unread 10-21-2003, 11:53 AM   #11
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I have done some lapidary work and I would like to cut a symbol in Jasper and inlay it. in what I am thinking will be a black guitar.
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Unread 10-21-2003, 03:50 PM   #12
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If jasper is a 7 on the Mohs scale, then you'll need a killer blade (diamond?) to do the cutting on a heavy-duty scroll saw.

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Unread 10-21-2003, 05:48 PM   #13
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I know that a carborundum or corundum blade would as well, and I know those have been used in fairly recent history, but I have no clue where to find one anymore.

I may go with blue and mother of pearl or blue and malachite, instead of Jasper on black.
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Unread 10-21-2003, 08:58 PM   #14
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either way...I REALLY hope you have a digital camera to post pics as you do this!
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Unread 10-21-2003, 11:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PianoMan
either way...I REALLY hope you have a digital camera to post pics as you do this!
ditto!
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