Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 48 of 48
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    I found this body on E bay. I have always liked semi hollow body guitars so whenever I see one of these bodys being offered without a neck I will put in a modest bid and sometimes I win the auction. That is how I got this body. You can not buy the plywood to make a body like this for what I paid! Often no one will bid on one of these neckless bodies. Most people want the neck with the body, but not me.

    The body is most likley made from maple plywood. The plywood has no figure to speak of but the grain lines look nice and is probably good looking enough for a transperent finish. I have a big leaf maple 3 piece laminated neck blank left over from another project that I can use with it. I really like the soft maple for necks. It is just slightly heavier than mahogany. I like to select 3 extra straight grained pieces to laminate together for a neck that has the neck joint at the 19th fret. The neck is often what makes or breaks a guitar. A full bound neck carved down to your own ideal size and shape is always a good start for any guitar. The body is nice and light at just under 3 pounds. With a light body, I want to keep the weight of the neck low to achieve a good balance point.

    I enjoy building with these pre assembled bodies. It's like instant gratification compared to carving an archtop. I didn't get any hardware with this one so... I am wide open to ideas for a finish or for pickups etc. I will post some photos of the neck as it progresses. Questions comments and suggestions are welcome.
    Attached Images Attached Images DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010021-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010020-jpg 
    Last edited by Matt Cushman; 12-03-2016 at 10:10 AM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Love it! Promise to keep us posted on the progress of the build - I'd really like to see it in its finished form.

    My suggestion would be a tinted clear laquer - I'm a sucker for blond ES guitars!

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Hey I actually will be getting a kit from that company for an ES175-ish guitar. I'm thinking about taking up building as a long-term hobby and decided to start at the end--see if I can do the final assembly and finish well, and then work backwards to fabricating the various elements.

    Maybe a thread on kit assembly would be a good idea for some us who are dipping our toes into the water?

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Well, obviously you need humbucker-size pickups, and a standard TOM with bushings and stop tailpiece. The holes pretty much dictate the hardware. As for finish, that's really a subjective decision. I like red, but I'm being converted by violin finishes. A nice red-brown would look nice on that body, I think. But it's your guitar, so pick your own color.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    Hey I actually will be getting a kit from that company for an ES175-ish guitar. I'm thinking about taking up building as a long-term hobby and decided to start at the end--see if I can do the final assembly and finish well, and then work backwards to fabricating the various elements.

    Maybe a thread on kit assembly would be a good idea for some us who are dipping our toes into the water?
    That sounds like a really good idea. I help teach at the Palomar College lutherie program and we are often telling the students that the finish and finishing details are as important and almost as time consuming as the construction of the body and neck.

    PS, what is "that company"? Matt didn't say who on eBay he got the body from.
    Last edited by rlrhett; 12-03-2016 at 03:04 PM.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Matt, what is your take on the quality of the body? Does the neck pocket seem routed well and centered? Is the binding done well? Are there any flaws that you would find unacceptable on your own build? I know you make very nice guitars from scratch, is the quality something you would feel comfortable putting your name on?

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    This is just like building a kit with the exception of the neck. I have a neck from a different kit that I can show along with my neck for comparison as I advance. It is a great way to learn about guitar construction and setup. The finish is what kit building is all about. Choosing hardware and pickups is also part of the fun. It can be a fast rout to a custom guitar. I like blondes and I do have yellow trans tint dye. The Quality looks OK. I need to have a closer look to be sure. I plan to put Cushtone on the headstock rather than my name.
    Last edited by Matt Cushman; 12-03-2016 at 03:35 PM.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    That sounds like a really good idea. I help teach at the Palomar College lutherie program and we are often telling the students that the finish and finishing details are as important and almost as time consuming as the construction of the body and neck.

    PS, what is "that company"? Matt didn't say who on eBay he got the body from.
    I can't say for sure, but it looks a lot like the kits you can actually find on Amazon. "Solo" is the name of one seller. Each of the 3 or 4 kits I've been able to examine in the box has a similar look, feel, and even packing, so I am assuming there is one company that makes these and then several distributors who sell them under their own label.

    A key consistency is the neck joint. The glued necks don't use the kind of joint we see in the books but a different one-I don't know the names, unfortunately, but it definitely is a different looking type of joint, consistent with all the archtop kits I've seen using the glued neck.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    I like it that the kit supplier included a deep neck tenon pocket for "historic accuracy". Very thoughtful.

    The figure of the maple looks nice enough for an antiqued natural finish. But that is so predictably safe. I would go for a nice deep purple aubergine finish, perhaps with glitter or mica flakes.

    This could really stand out with a funky headstock.

    Do you know if the holes for the TOM saddle and stop tailpiece are correct for good intonation? Plug them up and drill your own. Use traditional ABR-1 saddle posts. How about a compensated ebony saddle? Plug those holes with ebony and drill them for traditional brass posts.

    I would also consider an archtop tailpiece that allows for break angle adjustment. One of those Mojoaxe Compensated Wraparound Trapeze Tailpieces maybe?

    Hot hide glue in neck pocket, HHG fretboard to neck blank.

    Multiscale fan fretted fretboard?

    It would be a pity to turn out just another ES-335 type. Where's the fun in that?

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Matt, be inspired by what Jimmy D'Aquisto did with those factory-sourced plywood boxes. Still considered genuine D'Aquistos. I guess it is the neck and the intonation of the fretboard that makes all the difference.

    This could turn out well.

    Spanish Cedar (Cedrela odorata) neck.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    You can find many different styles of kits online. I have this body as a result of bargain hunting. I would prefer a trapeze style tailpiece for a guitar for myself. I could plug the holes and go that route but this guitar isn't for me. I might use a trapeze. I haven't ruled anything out. Even the scale length could be changed. There is no need to move the bridge post holes as long as they drilled them close. Since I am making the neck, it will be up to me to have the neck to body joint in the correct position. The scale length could be changed for this build by placing the neck body joint in a different location. That being said, I have a nice ebony fingerboard all slotted for a 24.75" scale. It may take me a couple of weeks to get this together, so please, no wagering! I have some other builds in progress simultaneously with this one. The neck joint is about all there is to assembling a kit but it has to be perfect. Then it is mostly finish work. I could paint the guitar just about any color. I have already owned several purple guitars in the past. I had a metal flake purple Washburn strat style elec. It was a good guitar but it was too heavy for me.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    How about all black hardware? Not common on a semi, would look cool & unique. My Carvin:

    DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-sh575cedar-jpg

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Your Carvin looks great Woody! I like black hardware and it would look great with this ebony tailpiece I made a while back. I made this to save some weight but I didn't use it for some reason. It weighs only 18 grams.
    Attached Images Attached Images DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010002-jpg 

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    I like that tailpiece. Excellent work.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman
    Your Carvin looks great Woody! I like black hardware and it would look great with this ebony tailpiece I made a while back. I made this to save some weight but I didn't use it for some reason. It weighs only 18 grams.
    Nice! And you could get tuning pegs with real ebony buttons. Or, if you want something fancier looking:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Grover-109BC-Guitar-Super-Rotomatics-Black-Chrome/132021795390

    or the frugal version:

    Wilkinson Guitar Tuners - Black 3x3 Imperial Style Guitar Tuning Pegs WJ-309-BK | eBay

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    I like that tailpiece. Excellent work.
    Thanks, sgosnell. I think other hardwood could be used for these also. I might have to try one made from maple.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    Nice! And you could get tuning pegs with real ebony buttons. Or, if you want something fancier looking:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Grover-109BC-Guitar-Super-Rotomatics-Black-Chrome/132021795390

    or the frugal version:

    Wilkinson Guitar Tuners - Black 3x3 Imperial Style Guitar Tuning Pegs WJ-309-BK | eBay
    That a good idea. I like both the look and feel of ebony buttons.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Other woods should work, but maple might be problematic. The light color shows dirt and grime very easily. You would have to add some kind of durable finish to keep it looking nice, and that may wear off in time. I like maple for lots of things, but the light color can cause problems. Rosewood would look nice, I think, especially if the fretboard is also rosewood. I would tend to match the fretboard and tailpiece as closely as possible. But that's just me.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    When you have a pre-built body with the neck pocket already cut how do you go about finding the body centerline and ensuring that the neck is correctly aligned? I have a single cutaway body sitting here [probably from the same factory] and the neck alignment issue is what is holding me up!

    Cheers

    TLB

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by thelostboss
    When you have a pre-built body with the neck pocket already cut how do you go about finding the body centerline and ensuring that the neck is correctly aligned? I have a single cutaway body sitting here [probably from the same factory] and the neck alignment issue is what is holding me up!

    Cheers

    TLB
    Neck alignment is a little different on a kit as opposed to a scratch build. If the kit has the holes for the bridge predrilled you will need to have the neck placed so that your strings will be in line with the bridge placement. I mark the body to show the string locations at the bridge saddle. When positioning the neck, I clamp the neck in place to fit in the same position as it will be in when it is glued in. After clamping the neck in place, I check the placement with a straight edge. Measure from the nut to the bridge saddle location for the correct scale length. Remember to compensate for intonation. The string action also needs to be checked and rechecked before you glue. Keep in mind that string tension tends to lift the nut end of the neck just slightly so figure on possibly a slightly higher action than what a straight edge shows. It depends on how well the pocket and the neck joint were cut. If they cut the neck and pocket correctly then just a bit of sanding or shimming should be all that is needed before you glue. With an adjustable bridge you have the ability to raise or lower the action a little after assembly.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    I can't say for sure, but it looks a lot like the kits you can actually find on Amazon. "Solo" is the name of one seller. ...
    Here:
    SOLO Music Gear - Do It Yourself (DIY) Guitar Kits, Build Your Own Guitar Kit Canada
    They are located in the suburbs of Toronto.
    Ownership recently changed (among friends) - I know the former owner and he's a good guy.
    He originally had these Chinese kits as well as high-quality wood and metal parts from Korea (Wilkinson) and Japan (Hosco & Gotoh). The new owner is ramping up and will be offering higher-end parts like these eventually as well.

    Original guy also had a stash of hardwood from a now-retired Canadian builder well-known for his solid-body neck-through guitars and his winning personality. Nothing like instrument-grade hardwood that's been air-dried for over 30 years! Here's some Acer Saccarinum:
    Attached Images Attached Images DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-img_6504-jpg 
    Last edited by Hammertone; 12-12-2016 at 05:28 AM.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    I took a closer look at the body and I found three separate areas on the ribs where the outer lams had " blistered " like little bubbles that were hard to photograph. Two of these blisters were at the edge of the binding and were easy to fix. The worst blister was cracked open and had some type of black stain around it. I did a quick repair on the crack but I was left with a small area that was slightly stained. Here are a few photos of the repaired area and a photo of the neck, headplate and fingerboard.
    Attached Images Attached Images DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010039-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010021-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010035-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010038-jpg 

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    The neck pattern I used for this neck is one that I use for several neck types. For a guitar that has a 19th fret neck joint I add a neck heal, the portion of the neck that extends under the pickup. The heal is parallel to the fretboard. After I measured the body mortise for depth. I cut down the neck to just over an inch. I then I cut a heal from a matching piece of wood and added it to the neck. With the heal added I put the neck on my neck taper jig and cut a mark in the neck with a safety planer. After I marked the neck, I took the neck to the band saw and cut as close as I could to the final thickness. Then I added the ears to the head stock and tapered the headstock in my homemade thickness sander. Here are a few progress photos.
    Attached Images Attached Images DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010003-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010012-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010014-jpg 

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Here I cut the truss rod pocket with my mini mill. It could be done by hand with a small chisel but the mill cuts the angle so cleanly and quickly that I take the time to clamp the neck and mill it out. The washer for the truss rod bears slightly on the headplate so I milled that at an angle also.
    Attached Images Attached Images DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010025-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010031-jpg 

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    I had a little spare time yesterday so very early in the morning I glued on the headplate and the fiber veneer to the headstock ( I had all the parts readied with locator pins for precise alignment of the plates). Then after the glue had cured for about 8 hours, I mounted the shaping block and penciled in the headstock shape. I then cut as close to the line as I could on the bandsaw. After sawing as close as was possible, I mounted the shaping block to the headstock with three wood screws that are inline with the soon to be drilled tuning key holes. With the block to guide the sanding drum, the final shape only needs a little touch up and it is ready to be drilled, bound and decorated.
    Attached Images Attached Images DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010007-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010009-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010014-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010017-jpg 

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Thanks for keeping us updated!

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    good stuff mc!...like that ebony tailpiece...be a good idea for a one piece compensated bridge/tailpiece

    DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-tp-0401-001_b2c068bb-487d-4c13-a477-a83bc2632478-jpg

    brazilian walnut another super hardwood that would work nicely, besides ebony

    cheers

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    good stuff mc!...like that ebony tailpiece...be a good idea for a one piece compensated bridge/tailpiece

    DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-tp-0401-001_b2c068bb-487d-4c13-a477-a83bc2632478-jpg

    brazilian walnut another super hardwood that would work nicely, besides ebony

    cheers
    Thanks Neatomic ! A one piece T P bridge is a good idea. I think if I add a slot to fit a fret with the proper slant for intonation it could work. A few machine screws fitted with brass inserts could bear against the mounting posts and serve as fine tuning for better intonation.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    What a fun project. Since it has multiple binding maybe you should go for the full on cease and desist es355! Trans cherry.....ebony board with blocks......split diamond head veneer. I would fill the bridge post holes and redrill to accept post without bushing as jabberwocky mentioned.

    The ebony stop tailpiece you made is of the hook...love it.

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    I drilled the headstock for tuners. Then I cut a double rabbet around the headstock. The body has multi line binding but no side stripe. I thought the headstock and neck should match the body so I will not be adding a black line to the side of the neck or the headstock. This is my first Cushtone, so I altered my usual signature a little. Finding a slab of MOP that is long enough was a challenge but I found one in my stash. I have a small band saw that has a diamond coated blade that runs through a tub of water for cutting small stuff with no dust problems. The wet blade does a number on the paper patterns I use. There are many ways to add a pattern to the shell blanks but I use double stick tape to stick down the pattern and then some clear tape over that to make it more waterproof. This is quick but the pattern is usually soaked and needs replacement before I have finished with the more intricate pieces I cut. I have learned to love this little saw. It looks funky but that is because I rebuilt it and used an old electric drill for a new motor. They say necessity is the mother of invention and I guess that's true. Here are some progress photos in no particular order.
    Attached Images Attached Images DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010001-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010009-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010015-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010018-jpg 

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    terrific craft and ingenuity! kudos..

    cheers

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Sorry about the delay. I needed to order some plastic binding strips to match the binding on the body. I still don't have an exact color match with the abs plastic. The body binding is slightly off white. I bound the headstock with fiber and that is a good color match with the body binding. I forgot to take photos of the headstock binding process but I did cover that in an earlier post about fiber binding. After I finished with the headstock, I cut the neck joint on the band saw. Then it was time to ready the slotted fingerboard. I use my band saw for tapering the fingerboard. I use masking tape to mark my cut line. Then I saw the taper free hand. Then a pass or two on my power joiner and it is ready to radius to 12''. I use a finger plane and a sanding block to radius the board (it is a good workout for the forearms). I use a simple jig to keep the block 90% while sanding. Here are a few photos.
    Attached Images Attached Images DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010001-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010006-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010014-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010017-jpg 

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    Here are some photos of placing the fretboard markers. The mill does a clean and uniform cut out for placing the mop dots. I then glued the fingerboard to the neck with Smiths all wood epoxy. After the epoxy had cured overnight I sanded the mop dots flush with the board with 150 thru 320 grit sand papers. With the board polished I used a small file to bevel the top of the fret slots. Then I glued the laminated abs plastic binding around the fingerboard with Weld-on cement, once dry I scraped then sanded the plastic flush with the fingerboard. I then pressed and glued in the pre cut and rounded frets. I cut as close to the binding as I could on the band saw. Then I use a fingerplane and a rasp to carve and shape the neck.
    Attached Images Attached Images DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010027-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010022-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010031-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010005-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010010-jpg 

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Thanks, Matt! I am enjoying this glimpse into where my guitar was born!

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    I really like the fingerboard's color variation. I may be an outlier, but to me the inherent characteristics of the wood are as, if not more, beautiful than strict uniformity, structural issues aside. When I think of all the ebony wasted because of color non-uniformity, it's just sad.

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    terrific craft and ingenuity! kudos..

    cheers
    Thanks Neatomic!

    Thanks, Matt! I am enjoying this glimpse into where my guitar was born!
    I still have some of the sawdust here from when I made her!
    citizenk74
    I really like the fingerboard's color variation. I may be an outlier, but to me the inherent characteristics of the wood are as, if not more, beautiful than strict uniformity, structural issues aside. When I think of all the ebony wasted because of color non-uniformity, it's just sad.
    This is Macassar ebony. Macassar ebony can be very black or have brown and black stripes. I like to see a few variations in the color. This is a "second" grade fingerboard but it is well quartered. With time it will turn nearly black anyway.

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    i like streaks in ebony too..more natural, & gives a 3 dimensional look...nowadays, a lot of ebony is stained to get that uniform color anyway

    cheers

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    After I shaped the neck I used a half round wood file to smooth it then sanded it with 100 grit garnet sandpaper. I glued the neck to the body with HHG. I used an adjustable cradle to hold the body and propped up the neck with a stack of scrap wood. The neck joint fit well and every thing lines up for good string spacing and intonation. Now for some final sanding and clean up. I need to decide what the finish colors will be?
    Attached Images Attached Images DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010016-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010020-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010022-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010025-jpg 

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    Here is the finished guitar. I had some gold Grover tuners and some other gold hardware so I went with a gold and black combo. The guitar is dyed with yellow dye so the color is hard to capture in a photo. She plays and sounds great. The frets are very comfortable. This is the first time that I rounded the fret ends before their installation.
    Attached Images Attached Images DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010019-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010021-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010008-jpg DIY Semi-hollow body guitar-p1010009-jpg 
    Last edited by Matt Cushman; 06-14-2017 at 12:28 PM.

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    very nice mc...some jumbo fretmarkers!..is there a trick to the one screw trussrod cover?

    good stuff

    cheers

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    very nice mc...some jumbo fretmarkers!..is there a trick to the one screw trussrod cover?

    good stuff

    cheers
    Thanks neatomic! I like markers that are easy to see. I ran out of my usual store bought MOP dots. These markers I made from some select MOP. They are easy to cut with the wet band saw.

    The truss rod cover only needs one screw. The trick is a small shim is placed behind the screw on the underside. With the shim in place the front of the cover is pressed down firmly to prevent any buzzing.

  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    One-screw trussrod covers aren't uncommon. Both my Eastman and Benedetto have single screws. The nut prevents movement. The screw is usually in the other end, but either will work, I suppose.

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    Came out great!

  45. #44

    User Info Menu

    Holy cow! That's beautiful! And what a craftsmanship, very impressive!

    The only thing I would change is the golden pickup ring screws: I like those black, looks better to me.
    (Hey, I'm Dutch, I gotta have something to nit-pick!)

    How does it sound and play? You say it sounds and plays great, but I like that a bit more specific. How about a (sound)clip?
    (I am not demanding at all ;-)

    Enjoy it!
    Last edited by Little Jay; 06-23-2017 at 04:05 PM.

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    One-screw trussrod covers aren't uncommon. Both my Eastman and Benedetto have single screws. The nut prevents movement. The screw is usually in the other end, but either will work, I suppose.
    I prefer a TR cover that has no screws. I have used a no screw TR cover on some of my other builds. It is a bit time consuming to make a no screw cover. The no screw cover I used had a clip on the under side that "snapped" firmly to the Allen head sleeve type TR nut. I have also seen builders that use small powerful magnets to hold the cover in place.

  47. #46

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by TOMMO
    Came out great!
    Thanks TOMMO!

  48. #47

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay
    Holy cow! That's beautiful! And what a craftsmanship, very impressive!

    The only thing I would change is the golden prick up ring screws: I like those black, looks better to me.
    (Hey, I'm Dutch, I gotta have something to nit-pick!)

    How does it sound and play? You say it sounds and plays great, but I like that a bit more specific. How about a (sound)clip?
    (I am not demanding at all ;-)

    Enjoy it!
    Thanks Little Jay! It is easy to change a few screws and I might try it some time just to see how she would look with black screws. The pickup rings are Rosewood veneer over black plastic. My thinking was all the metal is gold plated. The black screws may contrast slightly with the Rosewood pickup rings.

    I will try and get a sound clip for you. First I will have to get her back from my brother. He is giving her an extensive test. He says she has become his most recent favorite guitar.

  49. #48

    User Info Menu

    I've recently found diy guitar kits on this website. To be honest, I didn't hear about them before. They are not expensive (much cheaper than buying a good guitar), so I started thinking about buying one of them. But I had doubts. Having looked through this discussion, I decided to do this. Thanks for sharing your experience, guys. But does it matter what kit I'll choose?