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  1. #1
    I've been curious about ergo for a while, with back/shoulder stuff anyway. It's a general class of instrument that is pricing me out, with current life priorities though. Anyway, I also have a son who has been kind of fixated on this notion of lutherie. I've groaned and hem-hawed every time he mentions it, but looking at this instructables project today got me thinking that I may have a synergy/convergence opportunity with my family and my GAS/back-ache needs.

    Has anyone looked into this? I was thinking easy and not too expensive, like a used squire tele for parts etc. I love my squier tele and would like something similar for a starting base. I have zero bench experience. I've built a chicken coop, a loft bed and some other things over the years which didn't really have to be "pretty", but nothing serious.

    What do you think about something like this for a beginner project? How doable is this?
    $150 Custom Ergonomic Guitar

    Says he didn't have any bench experience, but he was an engineering student. Anyway, he also linked this site as a resource: Building the Ergonomic Guitar: Guitar Designs. Ergonomics. Guitar Making.

    Here's another one. Kind of the super nerd version of this type of project. Not even thinking about something that involved, but it looks cool:
    Design and Build a Custom Electric Guitar - All

    Lawson's kit project has gotten me thinking about entry-level solutions to my kid's lutherie-fever. Appreciate your thoughts.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    The link below is from TGP where the individual used Warmoth parts and other available to make a headless. The Warmoth body blank is already routed to accept a typical strat neck so at that point you have a lot of neck options. You can buy the blank with just the neck pocket or get it routed to your pickup configuration. At this point it is doable to someone with hand tools and minimal power tools e.g. a jig saw or band saw

    https://www.thegearpage.net/board/in...dless.1546382/

    Warmoth Custom Guitar Parts - Guitar Body Blanks

  4. #3

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    The first link is priced right and could give the young man a baseline reference for his own design work. His engineering interest should be encouraged. Very few of the objects we create could not be improved, however marginally. And guitar designs that are safer, healthier, and greener are a good idea. If they are also cooler, that would be a bonus.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by rob taft
    The link below is from TGP where the individual used Warmoth parts and other available to make a headless. The Warmoth body blank is already routed to accept a typical strat neck so at that point you have a lot of neck options. You can buy the blank with just the neck pocket or get it routed to your pickup configuration. At this point it is doable to someone with hand tools and minimal power tools e.g. a jig saw or band saw

    https://www.thegearpage.net/board/in...dless.1546382/

    Warmoth Custom Guitar Parts - Guitar Body Blanks
    Thanks. Very cool. I didn't realize you could get that big blank with precut neck joint and pick up cavity already cut.

    Looking at the first link I posted for the $150 job, it has that kind of funny looking tail on it. I'm assuming that's to accommodate actually leaving full headstock on, to keep it balanced? In terms of practical ergonomic considerations, how much of a difference does the headstock actually make?

  6. #5

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    You can buy a strat kit for under $75. I saw one for 58.00 on E bay. I think you can learn about how guitars work from building one or modifying one. A few good books on guitar construction are also a good starting point. Tools are often a limiting factor when starting out with building.

  7. #6

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    "Ergonomic" is usually some klein electric style model (i.e., Forshage, Canton, Victor Baker, etc.), and yes, they're between $2-4K [actual Klein's are $5K]. [NOTE: "ergo" and "headless" are not the same thing!] You can buy plans for a "harp" klein here: Instrument Plans | Guild of American Luthiers [Plan #34, about a third down the page] -- just use the body and neck design, and leave off the harp! With "zero" bench experience, though … it's up to you.

    There's a guy in Las Vegas who sells klein-style for about $300; you can get one and tweak it to your likes.

    I've had a Klein and a Forshage; the Forshage was the superior instrument, and far more reasonably priced.

    For back/shoulder issues, you can't beat these ergo guitars.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    "Ergonomic" is usually some klein electric style model (i.e., Forshage, Canton, Victor Baker, etc.), and yes, they're between $2-4K [actual Klein's are $5K]. [NOTE: "ergo" and "headless" are not the same thing!] You can buy plans for a "harp" klein here: Instrument Plans | Guild of American Luthiers [Plan #34, about a third down the page] -- just use the body and neck design, and leave off the harp! With "zero" bench experience, though … it's up to you.

    There's a guy in Las Vegas who sells klein-style for about $300; you can get one and tweak it to your likes.

    I've had a Klein and a Forshage; the Forshage was the superior instrument, and far more reasonably priced.

    For back/shoulder issues, you can't beat these ergo guitars.
    Very cool, marcwhy. What do you think about balance issues re the harp design, if you leave off the harp? As a complete pedestrian, I'm curious about how you would "design in" balance considerations BEFORE cutting on stuff. :-)

    Who's the guy in LV, BTW?

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    Very cool, marcwhy. What do you think about balance issues re the harp design, if you leave off the harp? As a complete pedestrian, I'm curious about how you would "design in" balance considerations BEFORE cutting on stuff. :-)

    Who's the guy in LV, BTW?
    Hey, I barely know how to use a hammer, so I'm not giving design advice!

    I couldn't find the Vegas guy's web site, but this is him: https://www.thegearpage.net/board/in...guitar.686151/ Try emailing; I have one for practicing in my office at lunch, but I've never played it at a gig.

    Marc

  10. #9

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    Your only limited by your imagination if you can find a way to cut and shape wood with accuracy. When I wanted a more comfortable elec. bass to play I used a free plan from R.M. Mottola's website. I changed the shape of the body a little. I also made the body fully hollow with a center beam, bent ribs and top and back plate construction, to make the body lighter. He calls this a mezzaluna (half moon) electric bass. This is by far my favorite bass to play. She weighs in at 5.4 lbs. I am planning on a guitar version. The guitar version should be even lighter!
    Attached Images Attached Images DIY Ergo-Parts-Caster?-p1010028-jpg 

  11. #10
    Cool. My main concerns, to start, would be about sitting posture ergonomics, and esse of build cost.

    I guess, to accommodate standing, most ergo instruments are probably going to be some type of hollow body or semi, to keep eight down?
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 01-15-2017 at 10:37 AM.

  12. #11

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    For playing guitar while seated, it helps if the guitar is evenly balanced while resting on the leg. Lightweight is also a big plus. Oddly enough the mezzaluna shape rests comfortably on your leg with neck held high or low. A guitar version would probably need to have the area that rests on your leg extended slightly. My problem with the $150.00 ergo guitar is that you are forced to hold the neck at an elevated angle while seated. I guess that is the point. However, in my case this would be uncomfortable, I have limited mobility in my right wrist. This is probably not an issue for most players. Sometimes only a custom build can get you everything you want in a guitar.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    Cool. My main concerns, to start, would be about sitting posture ergonomics, and esse of build cost.

    I guess, to accommodate standing, most ergo instruments are probably going to be some type of hollow body or semi, to keep eight down?

    The kleins, Forshages, Cantons, etc. are both solid and hollow/semi-hollow. Balance is the thing, though.

  14. #13

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    https://www.facebook.com/H%C3%B8ybr%...4059405779214/

    There's some pics and videos of an ergo partscaster that I built on my facebook page. I designed it to rest over both legs so that it would balance on its own. My main reason for building was right shoulder pain. This design helps with that a lot. If I were to build another I would build on a Strandberg body shape. You can download the plans for free on his website.

  15. #14

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    I'm in a related position where I'd love to have some ergonomic-shaped guitars (like Tim Miller's Klein) but sound quality actually is not a priority, long story short. I would be very happy with a mid grade acoustic in an ergo shape and even lower quality for the electric. I'm thinking guitars that might cost $400-$700 otherwise, simply with a different body shape. I don't know if the steep prices for most ergos is because of the shape alone, or if it's because anybody who wants to get a custom-shaped guitar is probably also particular about, well, it sounding good, being able to performa and record with it, etc.

    Jake

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    I'm in a related position where I'd love to have some ergonomic-shaped guitars (like Tim Miller's Klein) but sound quality actually is not a priority, long story short. I would be very happy with a mid grade acoustic in an ergo shape and even lower quality for the electric. I'm thinking guitars that might cost $400-$700 otherwise, simply with a different body shape. I don't know if the steep prices for most ergos is because of the shape alone, or if it's because anybody who wants to get a custom-shaped guitar is probably also particular about, well, it sounding good, being able to performa and record with it, etc.

    Jake
    An acoustic guitar in the $400.00 to $700.00 range is going to be made from plywood and made by some type of mass production. For the average builder it can be costly for materials if you want to build with something that looks nice. Even if time and effort were of no concern the costs can be quite high. For a back and side set you need to spend a little money to get good quality stock worthy of the time needed for a particular build. The same holds true for top and neck woods. For this and other reasons costs climb quickly when gathering materials for a project. And for an experimental project it is very hard to predict how much time and effort will be needed to get er done.
    Last edited by Matt Cushman; 02-05-2017 at 12:55 PM.

  17. #16

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    You might want to consider something leaning a little more conventional like starting with a lightweight contoured Tele platform. That way you wouldn't have such a strange animal that will be difficult to sell if you need/want to. USACG just lowered their prices on necks and bodies.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman
    An acoustic guitar in the $400.00 to $700.00 range is going to be made from plywood and made by some type of mass production. For the average builder it can be costly for materials if you want to build with something that looks nice. Even if time and effort were of no concern the costs can be quite high. For a back and side set you need to spend a little money to get good quality stock worthy of the time needed for a particular build. The same holds true for top and neck woods. For this and other reasons costs climb quickly when gathering materials for a project. And for an experimental project it is very hard to predict how much time and effort will be needed to get er done.
    Makes perfect sense - thank you. For a solid body, how about a carved up parts-caster? it's not as simple as just cutting up a guitar to a desired shape? not asking rhetorically - I really have no idea with this stuff.
    Last edited by JakeAcci; 02-05-2017 at 03:41 PM.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    Makes perfect sense - thank you. How about a carved up parts-caster? it's not as simple as just cutting up a guitar to a desired shape? not asking rhetorically - I really have no idea with this stuff.
    I would imagine that by the time you cut an existing guitar down that there's not enough wood to balance anything left. Acoustic options have to be pretty expensive I would imagine. Can't see any way around it. I wonder if it wouldn't be easier, on the acoustic end, to retrofit/add on something to a smaller parlor size or something? Seems like it would have to be a smaller size to start.

    But I'm firmly in the "don't know anything" category here.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    I would imagine that by the time you cut an existing guitar down that there's not enough wood to balance anything left. Acoustic options have to be pretty expensive I would imagine. Can't see any way around it. I wonder if it wouldn't be easier, on the acoustic end, to retrofit/add on something to a smaller parlor size or something? Seems like it would have to be a smaller size to start.

    But I'm firmly in the "don't know anything" category here.
    sorry, I should have clarified - thinking about solid bodies in this case. I’ll edit.

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    sorry, I should have clarified - thinking about solid bodies in this case. I’ll edit.
    I understood that, about the "cutting" part. Just kind of combining thoughts haphazardly on a Sunday. Did you see the warmmoth blanks in the second or third post above? You can get a big square blank with holes precut for neck joints, pick ups etc. Strat, tele, etc. cut the blank anywhere you like and bolts on existing neck. Not terribly expensive.

  22. #21

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    these dang things should just be mass produced already.

  23. #22

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    For a solid body guitar you can find explorer style and jaguar style and other various kits that have larger sized bodies that could be cut down to your desired shape. There are also headless kits that could be used in an ergonomic design. I am tempted to order a headless model just to get all the hardware at a good price.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    I would imagine that by the time you cut an existing guitar down that there's not enough wood to balance anything left. Acoustic options have to be pretty expensive I would imagine. Can't see any way around it. I wonder if it wouldn't be easier, on the acoustic end, to retrofit/add on something to a smaller parlor size or something? Seems like it would have to be a smaller size to start.

    But I'm firmly in the "don't know anything" category here.

    I took a cheap garage sale acoustic guitar and cut a wedge off the upper shoulder for an arm rest, and a cutout for the right leg in the lower shoulder. Still a bad guitar, but sits nice in the lap with the neck up design. Over all a nice way to spend a sunday.

  25. #24

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    This thread sparked my interest in an ergo electric guitar build. I ordered a headless bridge and nut plate from a E bay seller in Hong Kong for $ 37.00 with free shipping. That is a low cost setup considering it serves as the nut, tuners, tailpiece and bridge. I have lots of soft maple and a ebony fingerboard for the rest of the build. I may be able to set my own low cost record with this build. This should be fun! I plan on starting a thread after I get the parts.

  26. #25

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    I was interested in the headless guitar kits so I ordered one from an E-bay seller. This model has the same type of bridge that I purchased earlier. I received the guitar kit before the bridge even though I ordered the bridge days earlier. The whole guitar weighs only 5.3 lbs. There is little to assembling the guitar. Just add glue to the neck joint. Drill a few holes and add finish, then mount the hardware. The frets do seem to need some leveling but overall not too bad. I may dye the fingerboard as well.
    Attached Images Attached Images DIY Ergo-Parts-Caster?-p1010030-jpg 

  27. #26

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    Very cool. But how is it ergonomic?

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    Very cool. But how is it ergonomic?
    This guitar is not ergonomic other than it is headless and only weighs a little over 5 lbs. with no neck weight to speak of. The headless guitar that I am planning to build will have similar hardware but a different body shape and neck joint to be more ergonomic. I bought this out of curiosity and it looked like a good travel outfit as it is only 30" long by 8.5" wide and only 2" thick without the tremolo bar. You can't have too many guitars!

  29. #28

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    You can't have too many guitars!
    That's your opinion. It's not my wife's.

  30. #29

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    .

    It can't be that difficult , time consuming yes




    EZ:


    HR

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