View Poll Results: 1st Build Floater Suggestions

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Posts 101 to 150 of 160
  1. #101

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    Ended up stuck at home today and was able to finish planing the second brace and shaping them to size:
    First-timer Archtop Build-adc45b80-1da6-4ea3-a7d5-f68ba88db67e-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-84cec020-96d1-4e53-986f-9b47c5bd31f2-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-eee7901f-20f8-4a1e-8f96-a98ede43e110-jpg

    Took a few pics outside in better lighting:
    First-timer Archtop Build-088ca2d1-cc43-428d-8512-04ed0f82952f-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-cbd9e741-d550-4164-af2f-2aaf5d294a99-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-32df3de5-be8a-4846-934c-9c72df008bdb-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-0ba42a8b-9069-4cd6-8e67-1e079577e563-jpg

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  3. #102

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    In general you want your brace ends to feather out rather than come to an abrupt end. That helps prevent a stress riser at the end that can ultimately lead to braces coming loose down the line.

    Also, a rough and ready way of knowing if your braces are still too tall is to place the plate on your work surface and press down with your thumbs about where the bridge will be. Press like you mean it, but obviously not with all your weight. It should give just slightly, but noticeably. If it doesn’t give at all with just your arm strength then shave them down a little. Double check by holding the plate lightly about an inch in at the top bout and give it a good rap with your knuckles at the same bridge spot. If it sounds like a Tom you should be ok. If it sounds like a snare shave them down a little.

    Good luck! Looks great.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  4. #103

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    In general you want your brace ends to feather out rather than come to an abrupt end. That helps prevent a stress riser at the end that can ultimately lead to braces coming loose down the line.

    Also, a rough and ready way of knowing if your braces are still too tall is to place the plate on your work surface and press down with your thumbs about where the bridge will be. Press like you mean it, but obviously not with all your weight. It should give just slightly, but noticeably. If it doesn’t give at all with just your arm strength then shave them down a little. Double check by holding the plate lightly about an inch in at the top bout and give it a good rap with your knuckles at the same bridge spot. If it sounds like a Tom you should be ok. If it sounds like a snare shave them down a little.

    Good luck! Looks great.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Thanks for the tips, Rhett! Always appreciated. I’ll tweak them into a more gradual taper and test it out.

  5. #104

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    Next step I decided to get the end-pin jack hole made. Decided to take advantage of not having the body together yet, and do this on the drill press

    Measured to the halfway point of sides and used the end-graft butt joint as my bullseye. Marked the spot with an awl and placed some masking tape over to protect the sides (covered in sawdust and not well-seen):
    First-timer Archtop Build-2fec8e31-8f4a-4e10-8941-5f879381c6a7-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-3909ee87-0e87-41d0-b185-c6ff314863df-jpg

    Used a regular 15/32” drill bit as per Benedetto, and can always enlarge to 1/2” with hand reamer if needed once I get a jack:
    First-timer Archtop Build-c8a65f02-2d75-40ff-957e-f217d5d28bb1-jpg

    Easy peasy.

  6. #105

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    Nearing time to close the box, I applied 3 coats of shellac to the inside of the top plate. I reapplied the side rib shell and retraced the glue surface to ensure I didn’t get shellac in that zone:

    First-timer Archtop Build-c9652fef-93e1-474a-9899-03acde155831-jpg

    After 3rd coat:
    First-timer Archtop Build-bf5101dc-9949-4e45-b968-8a636237ba93-jpg

  7. #106

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    Seemed it varies widely who glues the back first vs the top first, and decided I’d do the back first. I spent some time and thought a bit of what to clamp against and decided to cut out a guitar shape using the guitar mold from a piece of 3/4 plywood, so that I could get the clamps in close. Made it without a cutaway to keep the clamping pressure even:

    As I mentioned before, I am using the info from Matt Cushman’s thread for closing the box. Although I’ve used HHG for everything so far, I made the call to accept my fear and use Old Brown Glue as I’m not skilled enough yet to close up the box with HHG. I wanted to keep the benefits of hide glue, but also wanted the comfort of a bit more open time. I placed a bead of glue around the top plate without brushing, and brushed a thin amount on the side glue surface and lining. I’m glad I went warmed LHG, because it did take me a few minutes and I bet I wouldn’t have made the tack time. Overall, I was happy with the fit as there was no obvious gaps.

    First-timer Archtop Build-095b465a-2fc8-43c6-8d63-7f4af1231223-jpg

    Left it clamped for approximately 22hr and took it out of the mold. There was some glue squeezeout onto the extended top plate edges, but not much on the interior of the back plate. It is hard to get good photos of the glued pieces because of the squeeze-out I’ll have to sand off. Another advantage of the hide glue is that it is easily removed and is transparent with stain:
    First-timer Archtop Build-f599bae4-573b-41ae-91db-573c1b9dc4b3-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-6e6c812d-251f-4bf9-8674-84872656b4a8-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-f65f4637-b952-4b13-aed5-c8b48599f59b-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-d86cb8d2-c167-4c93-8852-0aba0eaca670-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-41badd7a-f875-42b3-9d12-27cf51f08795-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-f599bae4-573b-41ae-91db-573c1b9dc4b3-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-003ca7b0-66ce-4d6a-9d93-3050b6e26c3d-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-bfc82774-7980-403a-9d1a-aa88e6038970-jpg

    Until I have further detailed inspection after cleaning up the glue showing any issues, I’m happy with it.

    Next step this weekend will be to shellac the inside of the back plate and sides, sign the back plate, and glueing on the front- super exciting!

  8. #107

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    This looks SUPER AWESOME! Congrats!

  9. #108

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    Went back into the shop with a lot of momentum to close the box, but ultimately veered off into the grass.

    Started off by removing the LHG squeeze-out on the exterior using a scraper held flat, which seemed to pick up the glue pretty well. I then sanded with the sandpaper double-stuck to small rulers to remove the remainder both against the side as well as the protruded edging:
    First-timer Archtop Build-396b8255-1ac6-4930-a239-5a8f54f8696b-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-f68ec170-7a3e-4ac5-a781-4190c5ac688d-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-aaaf5d2a-cca4-463d-9b46-2c0ad35b4f21-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-4ffa2954-27af-472d-8b7d-9d21c1edc994-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-396f658c-fffd-4f5c-8ee6-8641f9cae955-jpg

    Again, I’m satisfied with the result of the glued surface.

  10. #109

    User Info Menu

    After I did a general glue cleanup, I applied 2 coats of shellac to the inside of the back plate and sides, as well as the side braces:

    First-timer Archtop Build-13b3e23e-9dbd-46c0-ace8-410431a9a408-jpg

    I then became uncertain that I should sign the back plate directly on the wood, and didn’t have access to print a label I could sign and affix to the back plate.

    Additionally, I thought it may be foolish to close the box, and end up having difficulty with the endpin jack/wiring because my f-holes are fairly thin (bottom area just over 5/8”).

    For both of those reasons, I decided to abort and wait to print a label and have the endpin jack in hand. Ordered an L.R. Baggs jack from LMII along with some 2mm turquoise stone side dot position markers.

    Having more time to think, I also realized I wanted to put a strap button just lateral to the neck on the side itself, and not on the neck heel or neck block area. I then took a saved spruce cutoff and glued it to the side to accept a future screw. I spared this area when applying the shellac:

    First-timer Archtop Build-e2453410-e0de-4e61-9b24-bb9a748d533e-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-6b16aa44-d70c-425d-85ab-6655686c53dc-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-d7d26d7f-5112-4ec0-a8e8-e960735c0a7d-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-3abcfbba-d4b2-4e06-9f32-837a417f5e85-jpg


    Also noted a split from the cutaway bend that I’ll repair before I close up the box:
    First-timer Archtop Build-0c407a28-343b-43d6-a59c-3bd641a767f5-jpg

    Until the jack arrives, I’ll start final planning and get going on the neck.

  11. #110

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    L.R. Baggs StrapJack arrived quickly from LMI. I measured the jack with my digital calipers and realized I may need to modify my tailblock for it to fit. I cut my tailblock at 1” + 3/32” for the side, meant that it wouldn’t be long enough to protrude far enough into the strap button (the end has to be at or just a hair past the end of the strap button to ensure the cord jack will adequately make a connection for the electronics to work).

    I also discovered the 15/32” hole as instructed in the Benedetto book doesn’t cut it as the jack wouldn’t easily slide into the hole, so I used a hand reamer to correct the fit to 1/2”.

    I needed to use a slightly larger Forster bit to lower the surface against which the washers/nut screw- to allow for adequate protrusion. Because the Forstner bit requires the center point to grab and drill without moving all over the place - you can’t just put it over the jack hole and widen it - I know because I tried on a practice piece. I came up with the idea to cut a 1/2 dowel exactly the depth of the hole distance and then I’d have the necessary surface so the Forstner bit would cut properly. I measured using the depth gauge on the calipers with a piece of wood as a stop block, marked and cut the dowel, popped it in, drilled away, and voila- presto:

    First-timer Archtop Build-886c6b50-3f29-424c-b3e3-af8c46517c98-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-3ff8a160-3e64-48fa-882e-0ed23d1d7141-jpg

    Now I had the appropriate amount of tail block to work with and was able to thread the end jack and screw to the appropriate place:


    First-timer Archtop Build-9b3c28d1-f06e-4a39-af7b-d342e34320cb-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-659dcff9-3b39-4bb7-864e-7dd0a619a24a-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-a3da624f-7049-434d-8607-bcd2b9921478-jpg
    Last edited by sbeishline; 09-07-2019 at 09:55 PM.

  12. #111

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    After completing the endpin jack installation, I made a move on the neck. Figured out the dimension issue and decided to keep the nut on the headstock angle thus it’s not included in the flat portion distance. I also decided to stray from the Benedetto plans of a 1/2” dovetail and go with 3/4” as it’s a bit more robust.

    So, I took the measurement value from the fret calculator at the distance from the nut to 15th fret (24.75” scale), 14.344” plus the dovetail 0.75” and got 15.094”. I then used my previous plywood template to trace some of the lines ending up with the new appropriate numbers for my guitar:
    First-timer Archtop Build-752336c3-2c69-499a-8178-0451e9070ffa-jpg

    I then retraced the outline using the new appropriate template.

    It was recommended to me that following the Benedetto plans for laminating three 3/4” pieces (totaling 2 1/4”) really cuts it close when band sawing to size. So, I used the other half of the mahogany board which I hadn’t milled and milled it to just over 7/8”. I plan to use the thicker laminate in the middle and the 2 3/4” pieces on the outsides. This should allow a little padding during my narrowing and shaping:
    First-timer Archtop Build-3e2c319c-268c-4355-9154-3727c207c24a-jpg

    I then proceeded to band saw the laminates:
    First-timer Archtop Build-353c3bc2-589b-4825-ae7d-373813b51082-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-79e2e0a9-760d-47a1-9551-94cbbca12fad-jpg

    And glued them up using heated Old Brown LHG:
    First-timer Archtop Build-3d7e2944-71de-4cec-b28b-b4bfb5f6cbb6-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-8bdde0e1-ca28-47ed-adaf-ecccea064e92-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-efa71202-d857-44f4-9c3e-9daff5bf0de7-jpg

    Of note, I decided to try out a 4° neck angle as opposed to the Benedetto 4.5°.

    I’ll head back in the shop tomorrow to remove the clamps and proceed to jointing the surfaces, and planning for the truss rod routing.

  13. #112

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    Took the neck out of the clamps after about 42hours, and overall I thought the LHG looked okay:

    First-timer Archtop Build-c1f21470-b644-4133-a6a2-edb3ecefec1d-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-f95da152-7287-44e3-ab0c-10d82f901212-jpg

    I then moved over to the jointer (set to remove 1/16” per pass) and took 2 passes to flatten the fingerboard surface. I then angled the neck and took 2 passes on the headstock.

    When I inspected the result, I noticed the setback at headstock angle wasn’t square to the neck (1/8” or so off):
    First-timer Archtop Build-3a71df7c-0c0e-4e75-bc04-56b26b4b9edc-jpg

    After some deliberation, we decided the angle location wasn’t square was because the neck didn’t have a solid reference surface when jointing because the laminates were different thicknesses, so we decided to hold the neck against the fence and evaluate what happened to the angle. We noticed it was near 90° after 2 passes, and decided to take one more pass, which ultimately square it up:
    First-timer Archtop Build-9c46e30d-efba-433d-9e9c-4396a63630ec-jpg

    I also realized that each time you joint the headstock face it moves the setback location toward the dovetail joint - and vice versa- towards the top of the neck when you joint the fingerboard surface. When we measured to ensure we had the length needed to get the 15th neck/body joint + 3/4”, we realized we’d now be cutting it close to move the setback location. Unfortunately...the few passes we needed appears to have gotten us over the edge and I’m going to have to re-start the neck over again.

    Some wind out of my sails, I took this as a learning opportunity to practice routing the truss rod channel and eventually practice cutting the dovetail.

    But first, we set the table saw mitre gauge to the 4° angle and freshened up dovetail side of the neck as well as the heel side on the rip fence:
    First-timer Archtop Build-63a6c1a4-9cd0-42f6-8a66-f3733a061ca0-jpg

    I bought the StewMac Hot Rod truss rod (4mm Allen) and it’s companion router bit. This was super quick and easy taking 2 passes on the router table:
    First-timer Archtop Build-da9143cc-d931-474f-b4a9-458a3b24ee19-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-91a14a6d-aad1-45d1-8f0f-146a95c99a9e-jpg

    I didn’t have my Dremel with me at the shop, so I penciled in the dimensions for the pocket hole (that will be hidden with the truss rod cover) in which the Allen nut will reside:
    First-timer Archtop Build-43a0e8ea-589b-4f8f-8de5-934ad5f60993-jpg
    Last edited by sbeishline; 09-08-2019 at 09:47 PM.

  14. #113

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    This is fascinating to me. Many thanks for the continued posts.

  15. #114

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    Quote Originally Posted by wengr View Post
    This is fascinating to me. Many thanks for the continued posts.
    Appreciate your following and comments.

  16. #115

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    After I arrived home, I decided to practice Dremeling the pocket for the truss rod nut.

    I started using this bit for for most of the shaping:First-timer Archtop Build-3f3da260-749d-49cf-84f1-f7dbef772321-jpg

    Refined it a little with this:
    First-timer Archtop Build-c5d482e4-426e-458d-aaa5-07b4e493cacf-jpg

    And trialed this to see what it did (not too much different):
    First-timer Archtop Build-251eba50-f3fa-45e0-8604-613f4433ae7e-jpg

    This is how it looks now:
    First-timer Archtop Build-ceaaa034-eea6-4cf4-af8f-8a259826603c-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-a8cc95c9-8e80-4816-b28d-365fe7f935b8-jpg

    I forgot to bring the truss rod with me to check the fit.

    Back to Northland Forest Products for another board or 2 of mahogany on Tuesday. Before I left the shop, I remade a new template with bigger dimensions to ensure I can joint to appropriate squareness with an adequate amount of wood leftover for shaping - forgot to take a pic.

    Im planning to trial 2 different methods of laminating the neck to determine the most reliable method that I won’t explain here. IMO, Benedetto’s template doesn’t have enough room for error for a novice. It does have plenty of room for learning.

    Have a great Monday, forumgoers.

  17. #116

    User Info Menu

    Looking good. However, since you are starting over I can offer a few suggestions:

    1) Benedetto’s heel is VERY dainty. When you cut out your blank I suggest you make the heel/tenon an extra .5” thick. This gives you the chance to make the heel a little more robust and gives you a little insurance if the apex of the nut moves on you when flattening the neck. You can always cut it short if you want that dainty heel later but you can’t add wood.

    2) Old brown glue is NOT the same as true hide glue and is generally avoided in luthier communities for its tendency to fail. Original wood glue (Titebond I) is a perfectly good glue with all the open time you need. Otherwise fish glue (Stewmac sells a good one) is the closest to hide glue that doesn’t require a hotpot.

    3) you should true up the sides of the neck blank before you attempt to flatten it. You can pass one side on the jointer and then through the planer. Now you have parallel sides from which to register the face on the planet to ensure 90°.

    4) 1/16” is a HUGE cut on the jointer. I think you’ll have better luck and your blades will last longer if you set it to 1/32”.

    Take my suggestions for the price you paid for them, you seem to be making great progress on your own.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  18. #117

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    Went to the lumber yard yesterday AM before traveling out of town for the rest of the week.

    I picked up another board of mahogany to redo my previous neck blank. While there, I also bought a board of Spanish cedar as I’ve read that makes a nice neck as well:
    First-timer Archtop Build-56c93f92-bf00-468f-8421-ae97b2e3d7a9-jpg

    Below is my redone, beefier neck template made from leftover mahogany piece:
    First-timer Archtop Build-570e60cd-51c0-40a0-ba28-8c1322db7d4c-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-32ffb99c-aac6-476d-b09a-9e8cf3613ed5-jpg

    This time, instead of just band sawing out my 3 laminate tracings and gluing them up, I decided to take it a step further. For each band sawed laminate, I double-stuck taped it to the template and pattern routed each one on the router table. I felt a little better about them being exactly the same shape and size.

    Of note, another thing I did different is the laminate thicknesses- this time, I make the outer 2 laminates 7/8” and the center laminate 3/4”. This will provide a tad more meat on the sides for joint/planing and other shaping:
    First-timer Archtop Build-f8931beb-152a-44bb-8b54-6a2493f78d2f-jpg

    Used this flush trim router bit:
    First-timer Archtop Build-5c422d88-f597-4a24-8d8f-2662089d3916-jpg

    Parts set for glue up with clamps ready:
    First-timer Archtop Build-d7e8675a-e6bd-46b7-90e0-4ed1685d8b2a-jpg

    Glued up and drying till I’m back next week. Once out of the clamps, we’ll start by jointing 1/32” from 1 side of neck blank and planing the other side to create solid reference edges (as explained by Rhett) before jointing the fingerboard and headstock surfaces, and routing truss rod cavity again.

    First-timer Archtop Build-d5b95af1-5e40-4955-8a7f-282c9aed2206-jpg

  19. #118

    User Info Menu

    Got back into the shop yesterday and de-clamped the neck blank. Looks a lot better than v1.0 - glad I pattern routed before laminating:
    First-timer Archtop Build-241390cc-47fa-4cd5-b1bb-39fbc3ae297f-jpg

    Took 1/32” pass on the jointer on one side and then cleaned up the opposite side (minimal removal to clean the face) on the planer:
    First-timer Archtop Build-3c6243ca-8e75-4e82-a286-7236676ef3a7-jpg

    Then took 1 pass (1/32”) on the jointer on the fingerboard side and 2 passes (1/16”) on the headstock face being sure to hold firmly on the reference surface. Went much better this time and have about 1/2” extra over necessary 15 3/32” for dovetail from nut/headstock angle. Result:
    First-timer Archtop Build-fbeb8011-41a4-4120-94ae-d4678069457e-jpg

    Then set up the cross cut mitre gauge to cut the dovetail surface at 4°:
    First-timer Archtop Build-09992fa2-a1c7-4e52-a614-26a68719beac-jpg

    And ran it along the rip fence to clean up the heel surface:
    First-timer Archtop Build-3cce370e-a611-4c00-91cc-952405a6e901-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-68545c8c-a402-4e00-8eba-f997402debc6-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-eb4657ff-4400-4d72-b7a9-8bc6790b0006-jpg

    Then set up the 7/32” truss rod bit on the router table and cut the channel in 3 or 4 passes until it sat a hair below the fretboard surface:
    First-timer Archtop Build-964d8ee0-b12e-4605-a6b7-9a5ae1108d0b-jpg

    As you can see, this blank is much more robust than v1.0. I decided not to make a taper jig for the STP, as I will shape and taper the neck by hand. I probably will STP the back of the headstock.

    Additional time not in the shop allowed for some pondering about cutting the dovetail tenon on the neck and body mortise, as I wasn’t sure how I could cut it with protruding edges- no good way to get a template/jig on there if using a router. I’m thinking it’s real easy to end up with a misaligned neck cutting it by hand. It dawned on me to look back at my original model (Moffa) and it turns out he tapers the protruding edges to be level with the sides at the top of the body, which allows for the use of a jig.

    Because of these reasons, I think I’m going to move forward with closing up the box, so I can start sanding the edges down in prep for the routing the mortise. I did obtain the Schatten control wheels, but think I may wait and solder/run the wires for the electronics down the line. Other builders agree?

    Optimistic timing for next steps: Tomorrow- mark up the neck blank for important landmarks.
    Saturday- make the jigs for cutting the dovetail and body mortise and hollow the cut truss rod nut access cavity.
    Sunday- start to sand down the protruding edges and ready body for mortising.

    Other acquisitions over the last week or 2:
    Carbon fiber strips (Dragonplate)
    Jescar 45100 fretwire
    12° radius block from LMI
    Schaller tuners/T-O-M bridge (vintage copper)
    Bunch of fret specific tools from StewMac
    And after a lot of consideration on method to cut fret slots, as much as it hurt, I dropped the cash on the SM mitre box/fret saw/24.75 template

    Each step always takes much longer than I plan, so stay tuned..
    Last edited by sbeishline; 09-20-2019 at 09:18 AM.

  20. #119

    User Info Menu

    Do you mean pulltruded carbon fiber rods for the neck that you bought from the company called Dragonplate, or strips of the product that is a composite of woven carbon fiber and Kevlar referred to as “dragonplate”?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  21. #120

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    Do you mean pulltruded carbon fiber rods for the neck that you bought from the company called Dragonplate, or strips of the product that is a composite of woven carbon fiber and Kevlar referred to as “dragonplate”?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Pultruded CF from DragonPlate.

  22. #121

    User Info Menu

    If you have a tech that sets up your guitars, or a repair shop that you trust, ask them what they think of CF in the neck. The CF certainly makes the neck more stable but greatly limits the adjustability and effectiveness of the truss rod. There are good reason on both sides of the argument, but I would suggest making an informed decision.

    Personally, I stopped using any CF in the neck... and I make a carbon fiber archtop guitar!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  23. #122

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    If you have a tech that sets up your guitars, or a repair shop that you trust, ask them what they think of CF in the neck. The CF certainly makes the neck more stable but greatly limits the adjustability and effectiveness of the truss rod. There are good reason on both sides of the argument, but I would suggest making an informed decision.

    Personally, I stopped using any CF in the neck... and I make a carbon fiber archtop guitar!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Rhett- I don't have any history using a tech or repair shop. You certainly make an argument, as CF reinforcement seems to be a trend. If I abandon the CF on this one, another plus is not having to make the necessary jig.

    In my 20 years playing my purchased guitars, (Fender Strat/PRS Archtop/GB12/Godin Flat Five X) I have never had any neck issue that couldn't be solved with a truss rod adjustment...

    Others want to add their $0.02?

  24. #123

    User Info Menu

    Made the markings for the nut/headstock angle as well as the truss rod nut access cavity. I then used my loupes for magnification, and marked the 1st fret (1.389”). I used 1 25/64” or 1.390” using a 12” ruler on the 64ths scale:
    First-timer Archtop Build-28d4a8d5-893a-4464-b424-23571523b30a-jpg

    Next, I marked the 10th fret (10.860”) using 27.5/32 or 10.859375”:
    First-timer Archtop Build-71918be1-991f-4fa9-92e3-2b67744b6863-jpg

    Then I placed the 24.75” fret scale slotting templates my markings. I made a mark at the 15th fret, and confirmed using a tape measure that this matched the calculation from the nut at 15.094” or 15 3/32” (15.09375”):

    First-timer Archtop Build-a9c14871-3e7e-460b-95aa-23ad96362511-jpg

    Finally, I marked the dovetail end at 3/4” from the 15th fret as Matt Cushman recommended- the joint should be at the fret should it ever need to be removed.
    First-timer Archtop Build-ae1b12ca-666d-47e0-8c15-c5b02f3e76ff-jpg

    The fret scale template was very reassuring as it confirms the measurements.

  25. #124

    User Info Menu

    Went into the day hoping to get the dovetail and body mortise jigs made, and hollow the truss rod access cavity.

    First thing after getting to the shop, I realized I needed to close up the box in order to start sanding down the edges, so I fired up the LHG glue pot.

    I then started explaining the mitre box instructions to my woodworking pal. We got some discussion momentum going with it, and milled a piece of cherry similar size as the ebony fretboard to practice. However, I felt I was being unfocused and realized it wasn’t the best use of time, as I needed to get the jigs and box closure done, and set the mitre box aside:
    First-timer Archtop Build-fe964efc-1357-44ab-ad46-059d292f7704-jpg

    Then, it dawned on me that I hadn’t printed the label I designed on a free iPhone app (Canva). Unfortunately, my buddy’s printer was printing lousy resolution and sizing. I made the call to abort, and run back to my work where I had trialed them before, and this set me back a whole hour. The final result was acceptable and I was able to get it to a decent size. Once back, I gave my first guitar body it’s honorary signature:
    First-timer Archtop Build-37203a2c-182e-4049-b037-f3988d22e9bf-jpg

    When I was ready to glue, I almost forgot to prep the spot as the inside was completely shellacked. I placed some Post-Its around the label, and sanded the shellac with some 150grit sandpaper:
    First-timer Archtop Build-be770b12-8c2b-4dc2-89cd-a7c226421ba7-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-397c9f3b-f6b3-4391-b59d-1f4f61a27db0-jpg

    Then added some HLHG and slapped it on:
    First-timer Archtop Build-893154ef-8670-4f9f-9849-9f82cb03bb71-jpg

    Appearance after gluing:
    First-timer Archtop Build-922a2cfb-194d-448c-af82-a1d5f77bb05c-jpg

    A view with the top on:
    First-timer Archtop Build-ecfce2f6-fc11-475f-86af-459eb02ea761-jpg

  26. #125

    User Info Menu

    After gluing the label in, we tried to think of anything that I was forgetting to do before we lose access to the inside.

    Because I don’t have the guitar strap button/screw, I decided it’d be fine to drill into the side to the screw block later on.

    I removed the end pin jack and ensured it fit through the F-hole, which it did. I also watched a YouTube video to be sure I had clear explanation on a way to get the end jack back inside.

    Thus, it was time to close the box! I took some final photos of the last time the inside will see outside:
    First-timer Archtop Build-7dd8da36-99d3-469f-afca-b08e6bf4774a-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-fa690612-c8a0-4daf-8af9-ba966acd44e2-jpg

    I stayed with the same application amount of glue as last time- a non-brushed bead around the glue surface on the top plate and brushed onto the kerfing, sides, and blocks:
    First-timer Archtop Build-b2a05521-2f9a-4c31-b659-b938f2831a6d-jpg

    Again, took Matt Cushman’s advice and kept the top plate under the body to keep gravity from pulling the squeeze-out down the sides. Because spruce is so soft, I used a towel between the plate and clamp caul. Kept the same caul orientation as the back plate glue-up and I had the previously traced outlines:
    First-timer Archtop Build-b1963172-bc3e-4ff6-91bd-4d717966c03f-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-106c4844-a9bf-4b23-81dc-d2eea6e81ee8-jpg

    The clamping looked great out without any gaps.

    After the glue-up, we looked at a couple examples of dovetail jigs, but I just don’t have my mind wrapped around it and can’t clearly visualize the router cutting the dovetail. We started to mill some 3/4” plywood for one of the sides, but I stalled on getting any further progress as I don’t know what I’m doing.

  27. #126

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by sbeishline View Post
    I removed the end pin jack and ensured it fit through the F-hole, which it did. I also watched a YouTube video to be sure I had clear explanation on a way to get the end jack back inside.
    OK, I'll bite: How are you going to get a wrench in there to tighten the nut that holds the endpin jack?
    "Don't worry about that. Everybody talks about finding your voice. Do your homework and your voice will find you." - Branford Marsalis

  28. #127

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Sherry View Post
    OK, I'll bite: How are you going to get a wrench in there to tighten the nut that holds the endpin jack?
    Ain’t. There’s a locknut washer on the portion of the end pin jack that will be inside.

  29. #128

    User Info Menu

    To cut the body mortise with a router you will need a set of router guide rings or at least one guide ring that is 1" in dia. You will also need to make a holding fixture for the body with a opening above the center line approximately 1 3/8" wide and 3 1/2"long. Measure carefully and remember that the depth of your cut will effect the size of the cut in your body due to the use of a dovetail cutter. Here is a photo of my setup.
    First-timer Archtop Build-p1010031-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-p1010035-jpg
    I suggest making some test cuts on softwood scraps before you put a body in for cutting. With a dovetail bit, your cut must be done with one single pass at full depth. To widen your opening, reset your cutter to a slightly shallower cutting depth and then cut again and that will widen your opening slightly.
    Last edited by Matt Cushman; 09-22-2019 at 12:58 PM.

  30. #129

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman View Post
    To cut the body mortise with a router you will need a set of router guide rings or at least one guide ring that is 1" in dia. You will also need to make a holding fixture for the body with a opening above the center line approximately 1 3/8" wide and 3 1/2"long. Measure carefully and remember that the depth of your cut will effect the size of the cut in your body due to the use of a dovetail cutter. Here is a photo of my setup.
    First-timer Archtop Build-p1010031-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-p1010035-jpg
    I suggest making some test cuts on softwood scraps before you put a body in for cutting. With a dovetail bit, your cut must be done with one single pass at full depth. To widen your opening, reset your cutter to a slightly shallower cutting depth and then cut again and that will widen your opening slightly.
    Thank you, Matt! Invaluable. Do you have similar advice on the neck dovetail jig?

  31. #130

    User Info Menu

    Your welcome. Yes, I will get a few photos of the neck jig for you soon. In my post earlier, I have 1 3/8 x 3 1/2 for the size of the guide opening. It should be 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" I should mention that the length may vary for the opening as the opening must extend beyond the cutting area for space to accommodate the router bit where your mortise cut is to enter the body. The crucial measurement is the width and where the cut stops as determined by the location of the end of the opening that is above the cutting area. I hope this makes sense. Needless to say but be sure to have everything well clamped before doing any test cuts. I mark my dovetail with a fine line in pencil before I begin cutting. Then I adjust the final width of the cut by adjusting the depth of the cut. My router bit is 14% 7/8" deep 1/2 shank.

  32. #131

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman View Post
    Your welcome. Yes, I will get a few photos of the neck jig for you soon. In my post earlier, I have 1 3/8 x 3 1/2 for the size of the guide opening. It should be 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" I should mention that the length may vary for the opening as the opening must extend beyond the cutting area for space to accommodate the router bit where your mortise cut is to enter the body. The crucial measurement is the width and where the cut stops as determined by the location of the end of the opening that is above the cutting area. I hope this makes sense. Needless to say but be sure to have everything well clamped before doing any test cuts. I mark my dovetail with a fine line in pencil before I begin cutting. Then I adjust the final width of the cut by adjusting the depth of the cut. My router bit is 14% 7/8" deep 1/2 shank.
    Very helpful, Matt. I think I understand the cutting a bit better and why it has to be fully down in depth and cut once only at that level to ensure the opening at the superficial level isn’t too wide. I’d guess making the jigs will give me the most trouble.

  33. #132

    User Info Menu

    Got the body out of the clamps and cauls, and I think the overall glue-up is a success:

    First-timer Archtop Build-712ce80f-d441-4fcf-991a-d8315713e3a7-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-cc677554-ba62-4d77-84fa-c145cfd41a3e-jpgFirst-timer Archtop Build-b9203775-4107-4735-a25d-fa35e50264b1-jpg

    I was most excited to hear what the tap tone sounded like with the full hollow body. Being the first time I’ve built an instrument, I have zero clue if this is a desireable resonance or not. Can’t be any worse than a solidbody!


  34. #133

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    Haven’t been able to be in the shop to work on the dovetail business, so I decided to get the truss rod cavity completed. I decided to abort the Dremel and have at it by hand.

    My wife got me the Rikon wet sharpener for my birthday last month, and I gave it its first run to sharpen a shallow gouge that was with my grandfather’s carving tools- he departed in 1980 (before my arrival), so needless to say, this hasn’t been sharpened in probably 40 years, maybe longer! I think it worked pretty well, and then ran it on the 3 waterstones and finished on the Rikon strop wheel. It’s amazing how making just a few passes on leather will add a noticeable sharpness to the cutting edge.

    Started slow and used the previous blank as a model, working my way to the main truss rod channel:
    First-timer Archtop Build-ca64faeb-43c0-4e24-8d0c-d113553d39af-jpg

    Then cut down to flatten the back with a 1/2” chisel:
    First-timer Archtop Build-c28a6330-a191-4198-8223-4c4b2eb1e07e-jpg

    Dremel on initial neck(left) and hand carved on right:
    First-timer Archtop Build-edfdaeda-471b-4252-9bac-0e52e12d4cd3-jpg

    Gouge used:
    First-timer Archtop Build-3c02c797-d8df-46b7-aba8-6cbb9b256382-jpg
    Last edited by sbeishline; 09-24-2019 at 10:41 PM.

  35. #134

    User Info Menu

    Resonance frequency is a very important aspect to consider in archtop guitar building. It is a good idea to tap and check tones through the entire process of construction. Keep in mind that tap tone will change as parts are added. You really can't know what the final res. freq. will be until the guitar is nearly completed. Even the weight of your bridge can have an effect on the resonance freq. of the guitar when completed. The one thing that you are trying to avoid is a wolf note. A wolf note is likely when the resonance freq. of the guitar is the same as any whole or half note. My favorite tools for checking the resonance freq. are a variety of tuning forks. I try to make notes for myself as I progress with a build. The problem is if you find out that the final resonant freq. is a whole or half note then changing the freq. is a bit more difficult as it must be done from the outside somehow.

  36. #135

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    Since the maintenance update and server change, uploading photos and posting isn’t working (even with Firefox), so the blog is on hold until it’s resolved.

  37. #136

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    No shop access for a bit over a week and attempted to work on some small things in the meantime.

    I needed to lessen the overhang of the edges as I had traced and cut a lot of excess to prevent shortchanging myself. I started to use 100grit sandpaper double-stick taped to a 6" broomstick handle, but this was way to slow. I switched to the LN 101 plane and this worked well, and was much faster. Even the D'A and Veritas double-convex planes wouldn't make contact with the curvy areas of the waist and cutaway:
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4203-jpg

    For those I needed to use the spindle sander, which I did on Monday night. This is where the protruded edges stand currently:
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4220-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4222-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4224-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4223-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4225-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4221-jpg

    I think I'm gonna go back to the spindle sander to bring them down closer to 1/8". It can be a bit tricky - gotta keep the piece moving so you don't stop and create a depression and ridge, especially as it gets closer to being unable to recover.

  38. #137

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    In my continual pondering throughout this process, I figured that accurately cutting fret slots and accurately cutting the neck dovetail/body mortise are 2 of the most important steps in not screwing up this guitar. As such, I dropped the dough on the StewMac Fret Slotting miter box and Japanese fret saw, and I'm not sorry I did. Sure makes for slotting fingerboards in short order. I took the miter box home when I didn't have access to the shop, but I forgot the actual StewMac Japanese fret saw. I was able to spend some time learning the miter setup and was able to practice with my regular Japanese pull saw. It isn't straight like the StewMac fret saw, so it wouldn't cut even depth of frets and I couldn't get this dialed in. Here are some pics of the practicing on a piece of cherry:
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4205-png
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4206-jpg-png
    First-timer Archtop Build-cherryslots-jpg-png

    On Monday, after I worked on the body edges, I took the milled ebony (real fingerboard) and decided to prepare how I'd secure the fret board to the 24.75" StewMac template. I came up with the idea to place the StewMac template up against the jointer fence before applying the fret board prepared with the double-stick tape. First, I checked to ensure the jointer fence was at 90deg:
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4217-jpg-png
    Then I placed the slotting template on the fence held by a little tape:
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4218-jpg-png

    From that particular photo, can you catch what error I would've made if I would've just placed it there? If you're not familiar with a jointer, the out feed part of the surface (left of the minimally pictured cutter) is 1/16" higher than the right side. That means it wouldn't have been flat. You can actually see the gap towards the cutter. Fortunately, I saw this and moved it all over to the right side of the cutter to ensure it was flat. There's probably an inch or so of fret board waste above the slot for the nut, so I took 2 passes to dial in the desired depth. I realized they weren't at 90 degrees, so I had to adjust the actual miter box to improve this. You can see from my 4th and final practice pass that it's still just a hair off of exactly 90degrees. I'll try to resolve that before slotting the whole fingerboard:
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4228-jpg-png

    I think the slotting will go smoothly once I get the setup finalized and get started.

  39. #138

    User Info Menu

    Dovetail bit arrived a week or so ago. I trial placed it in the router with the 1" outer diameter bushing/collar (not pictured):
    First-timer Archtop Build-59122990071__b133c7b9-4cc5-4470-bdec-89bf51f40adb-png
    First-timer Archtop Build-59123057759__42c0337f-e507-4c8e-9bbd-7c7397ad2a79-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4154-jpg

    Being the other really important aspect of the project, I decided to bite the bullet and by the LMI dovetail/mortise templates to use with jigs I make. I'll incorporate the mortise into the body fixture like Matt Cushman posted. I haven't done anything with the neck dovetail jig yet.

  40. #139

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    I went out and bought some french curves from Staples to use in designing a headstock. I have a few ideas from other luthiers out there I've borrowed, but haven't decided on one yet. I'm certain of going symmetric, but haven't finalized details. Here's my first sketch onto cardboard, which I don't really love:
    First-timer Archtop Build-img_4216-jpg

    I'll continue this in the off hours, as well as trying to design a tailpiece shape.

    Of note, I was browsing pickup posts and came across someone's HJS "The Rose" that had a maple pickguard (as opposed to ebony) and I thought the contrast looked cool. I'm considering doing that as well. Or maybe I'll make both and decide before attaching the pickup. I ended up pulling the trigger on the Kent Armstrong Handwound 12-pole PAF pickup from WDmusic.

  41. #140

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    The LMI templates for mortise and tenon look as if they may need to be used with a smaller guide ring on the router than the 1" guide ring that I use on my rig. I looked at the LMI template and it appears to be much more narrow than my set up is.
    Attached Images Attached Images First-timer Archtop Build-p1010003-jpg First-timer Archtop Build-p1010006-jpg 

  42. #141

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman View Post
    The LMI templates for mortise and tenon look as if they may need to be used with a smaller guide ring on the router than the 1" guide ring that I use on my rig. I looked at the LMI template and it appears to be much more narrow than my set up is.
    Thanks for the jig pics, Matt! I guess I’ll have to mess around with diff size guide rings. I called LMI and they said it can be used with sizes other than what they state in the instructions, and to test it on scrap before cutting.I will try to copy your 90deg angle jig and neck angle wedge with the guide pin for the neck truss rod slot. Did you cut the wedge on the table saw miter gauge with the blade all the way up? How wide is it, bout 3”?

  43. #142

    User Info Menu

    Lookin' good, sbeishline! For trimming down the outer curves of the plates, I've found a spokeshave to be the right tool for the job, and actually doesn't take long with a nice, sharp iron. (Not much help for the waist, however... where a sharp chisel and a healthy dose of courage can get you most of the way.)

    Matt will probably just tell you to use a router with a flush-cut bit, though. Philistine.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  44. #143

    User Info Menu

    I trim the plates on the band saw. This is not for the faint of heart. One slip and it is all over but the crying. I do take the precaution of wrapping the ribs in a layer of masking tape before I trim the plates down. After I trim on the saw, then I use a router with a flush cut bearing. I don't recommend this method to others. It is much safer to use a variety of hand powered methods. Slow but sure wins the race.

    To cut the wedge for my neck jig, I used a band saw and a steady hand.
    Last edited by Matt Cushman; 10-12-2019 at 07:51 AM.

  45. #144

    User Info Menu

    I had another little look at the lmii dovetail templates and I noticed that they are V shaped. This could complicate fitting of the neck to the body. When fitting the neck to the body, you have to set the height of the neck, a process of removing wood from the under side of the neck to control the height and fit of the neck to body. With a V shaped mortise that could be a bit more difficult. With a straight sided mortise, the height is set by how far the neck can slide into the mortise. With a V shape mortise, the height is set by the fit of the two V shaped walls coming together. It is doable but could be a bit more involved as you will have to set both the fit of the dovetail and the underside of the neck depth. In the Irving Sloan book, "Steel-string guitar construction", James D'Aquisto is pictured hand cutting his dovetail and body mortise. It looks to be a slightly V shaped mortise. This shows that both a V shaped body mortise and hand cutting both work very well for him.

  46. #145

    User Info Menu

    After making my previous post I saw that LMII offers a straight sided version for a dovetail joint.

  47. #146

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jehu View Post
    Lookin' good, sbeishline! For trimming down the outer curves of the plates, I've found a spokeshave to be the right tool for the job, and actually doesn't take long with a nice, sharp iron. (Not much help for the waist, however... where a sharp chisel and a healthy dose of courage can get you most of the way.)

    Matt will probably just tell you to use a router with a flush-cut bit, though. Philistine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman View Post
    I trim the plates on the band saw. This is not for the faint of heart. One slip and it is all over but the crying. I do take the precaution of wrapping the ribs in a layer of masking tape before I trim the plates down. After I trim on the saw, then I use a router with a flush cut bearing. I don't recommend this method to others. It is much safer to use a variety of hand powered methods. Slow but sure wins the race.

    To cut the wedge for my neck jig, I used a band saw and a steady hand.
    Good to hear from you, Jehu! Thanks.

    No way I'll be finessing the edges on the band saw! I've got a long way to go to become a monster with skills like y'all have! I think I'll see how responsive the spokeshave is and if not, just either use the spindle sander a little bit or just sand it by hand with a sanding block.

  48. #147

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman View Post
    I had another little look at the lmii dovetail templates and I noticed that they are V shaped. This could complicate fitting of the neck to the body. When fitting the neck to the body, you have to set the height of the neck, a process of removing wood from the under side of the neck to control the height and fit of the neck to body. With a V shaped mortise that could be a bit more difficult. With a straight sided mortise, the height is set by how far the neck can slide into the mortise. With a V shape mortise, the height is set by the fit of the two V shaped walls coming together. It is doable but could be a bit more involved as you will have to set both the fit of the dovetail and the underside of the neck depth. In the Irving Sloan book, "Steel-string guitar construction", James D'Aquisto is pictured hand cutting his dovetail and body mortise. It looks to be a slightly V shaped mortise. This shows that both a V shaped body mortise and hand cutting both work very well for him.
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Cushman View Post
    After making my previous post I saw that LMII offers a straight sided version for a dovetail joint.
    All great advice - much appreciated. I see the additional factor with the tapered dovetail that can make it a bit trickier than going with a straight template. I guess I'll attempt to try and get the fit with some scrap a few times and see how troublesome it is. If it ends up being too tedious, I'll have to order the straight-version from LMI.

    I'll plan to make the wedge on the band saw as well and see how it comes out.

    Keep you posted!

  49. #148

    User Info Menu

    Welp, I finally made some tangible progress to show. On Saturday I decided to pull the trigger on cutting the fret slots. The StewMac miter box is nice, but it does take some fiddling to dial it in precisely. I went through the 22 frets and cut to 5/32”. I’d love to say it went flawlessly, but I noticed the slot was slightly shallower on one side. So, I lowered the adjustment on that particular side ~1/16” or so and ran all 22 frets again to even the slots, which resolved the issue. Using the fret slotting template with the box makes for fast cutting, especially if your adjustments are set.

    Overall, it looks pretty good and being a somewhat novice in woodworking, I can’t imagine how I’d get a decently slotted fretboard without it:
    First-timer Archtop Build-031d659b-e482-48a2-8756-2285f96cc5ba-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-0f07f767-9681-4c38-b5cf-b82f9ba349ac-jpg
    First-timer Archtop Build-ce0d2f28-865e-4dca-a90f-7ac0e09a10cb-jpg

    First-timer Archtop Build-1f7a808e-7575-49b5-bfa7-d195dcd2c416-jpg

    Of note, I’ve decided to bind the fretboard with some ebony after all. After I radius the fretboard and taper the cut, I’ll nip off some of the fret tang ends before installing and gluing on the binding.

  50. #149

    User Info Menu

    If you are still trying to figure out the neck joint, here is a video of someone doing it with hand tools. I’ve done it similarly, but I use the LMII jig now. Watching this guy makes me doubt the power tool way is really all that better. Of course, his tools are really SHARP and he’s obviously done this a lot.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  51. #150

    User Info Menu

    With the mandolin family, the fingerboard extension is usually added after the neck is attached. In the video it looks as if he is going to skip the extension on his mandocello as he does not mention it. With a mandolin, setting the neck height and angle is a different process than it is on a guitar. It is a very informative video nonetheless. But I thought I should point out that guitars and mandolins are usually a bit different when it comes to the fingerboard extension.