1/23 Update at Bottom of Original Post: Tele-Explorer Hybrid (pics)

MFarina87

New member
Messages
11
You’re absolutely right but I’m a bit disheartened, and don’t have the proper equipment for stuff like that yet. So I’ve decided I’m going to put it in the back burner until I can.

A Warmoth body that I know will be compatible is more the speed I’m at for a first build.

I sent an email to Warmoth to see if they’d do the telecaster controls on a switchback. I think it will look just as sweet, and I could use all the parts I already have.
 

Toulouse_Tuhles

Senior member
Messages
236
The equipment is a hand drill, some bits, some wood glue, and hardwood dowel, all available at Home Depot
HD sells "hardwood" and "oak" dowels... for the screw holes, most likely 1/4 inch would be the choice (3/16 may be too small... ).  Cut four dowel sections as long as the hole is deep (use a wire or small drill to probe depth).  Drill to just over that depth, and glue in the dowel sections, leaving them just a tad out of the hole.  Sand flush with a sanding block.  Done!
 

mayfly

Senior member
Messages
8,234
Don't junk that body!  Several of us here have dealt with less than stellar bodies in which nothing lined up.  I've had guitar fetish and agile bodies that needed extensive work to make right.  But they turned into very playable instruments.  It's possible to fix it.

The problems with yours don't seem insurmountable.  We can walk you through it!

Update:  Here's my own adventure in dealing with a guitar fetish body:
http://www.unofficialwarmoth.com/index.php?topic=28082.msg398838#msg398838
 

MFarina87

New member
Messages
11
That story did inspire me!

I know the body is far from junk but up to this point I’ve only done minor set up work on a guitar. Bridge holes, neck holes, and things like that I could do.

But this looks like that plus shaving down the bass side of the neck pocket so that the proper angle is there, which does scare me a bit.

I also would like to get ahold of another luthier to doublecheck my work. Up to this point all of my experience is from my countless hours of YouTube videos (Highline Guitars and Crimson Guitars are amazing btw).

I’m getting the neck angle by mounting the bridge to my current holes, which are at a correct scale length and doesn’t seem angled. The neck fits very snug inside the neck pocket so there is no give there. Then I used brand new strings. I didn’t get exact measurements which I should have but I could tell that they were very far off from my St. Vincent guitar by comparison. My neck screw holes are definitely off but I was planning on redoing those anyway.

Thank you for talking me through this guys. I was feeling pretty down about it yesterday but a good night’s sleep and constructive thinking has helped haha.
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
Good for you! Sometimes, a "tar baby" project (seems like the more you touch it, the worse it gets) is a Good Thing. Forces you to ask questions, do research, buy tools, learn techniques, etc. that you might not have otherwise, and it makes you a better craftsman.
 

rgand

Senior member
Messages
5,934
Cagey said:
Good for you! Sometimes, a "tar baby" project (seems like the more you touch it, the worse it gets) is a Good Thing. Forces you to ask questions, do research, buy tools, learn techniques, etc. that you might not have otherwise, and it makes you a better craftsman.
Any excuse to buy tools is a good one. :icon_biggrin:
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
Absolutely. Sometimes, I get more excited about having to do that than doing the work :laughing7:
 

Toulouse_Tuhles

Senior member
Messages
236
You realize that if you mount the neck and plug the bridge holes.... you don't need to mess with the neck.  Just move the bridge the 1/16 inch or so its gonna need to make it all work.  Keep the pocket tight, you're moving the bridge anyway!
 

MFarina87

New member
Messages
11
I double checked (pictures at bottom) and it could possibly be the bridge holes. It is worse on the bass side. If it is the bridge holes won't I also have to redo the pickup routes? It might not be the worst as the pickguard would hide everything pretty well. It would make sense because he also did the bridge pickup route a little bit too far up as you'll also see.

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Toulouse_Tuhles

Senior member
Messages
236
The end of the fret board doesn't look too parallel with the neck pickup route?
And the bridge pickup route doesn't seem to well in relation to the bridge holes.
See if you can take a very accurate "nut to bridge screw" measurement off another Tele...

Looks a bit out of kilter, but  I think I'd go with the neck pocket as the base of all the relationship of the parts, and relocate the bridge and other components slightly as needed.  But do check that bridge from nut length, you've only got so much intonation to work with.
And, good golly Miss Molly, its fixable.  The fun's in the fixups...!  How boring to just screw and bolt it all together.  Getcher thinkin cap on and this will turn out fine :sign13:
 

MFarina87

New member
Messages
11
Coming off of being a little sick. I decided to go full bore with this since it actually seems this is more common than I thought. I finally nutted up and got some drilling done. Bought a basic drill from Wal-Mart, and built my confidence by installing the tuning pegs on the neck. It was nerve-wracking but really simple.

Then I screwed the bridge in completely and strung it up with the two E strings. I didn't take pictures but with some tension on the string, it really isn't bad. I'd say the low E is still a tad closer than I would like but the string wasn't completely up to pitch (although I think the neck pocket could take it). I think more tension would bring it right to line. I don't have the pickups yet to verify the pole pieces (should be in tomorrow, but they're EMG's with no pole pieces anyway).

So going forward I have a ton of questions to answer and advice I could use!

My thought is that maybe the neck pocket is a little too tight? I know there might not be such a thing but after watching a bunch of videos online, every single bolt on I've seen has had it where the neck could come right off. I have to shimmy and force mine in. I'm thinking this might not allow for the wood to expand and could cause issues later on. In the case I shave too much there are always shims, plus I wouldn't mind a little space to adjust the neck angle.

The one thing I do know is incorrect is the depth of the neck pocket. It's sitting at about 0.585in (15mm) and should be 0.620in (16mm). In my test run to verify the bridge, I noticed that I had to raise up the bridge saddles high to make no fret buzz. Now, I also don't have access to a router. So my plan is to create a sanding block with a piece of sandpaper the exact size of the neck pocket, then to carefully and evenly shave away the excess woodworking up to a 320 grit. I figure I'm removing so little material, that as long as I keep everything flat with the block and equal strokes that it will be okay.

Then the fun part. I am going to have to fill in the holes on the neck with some dowels and wood glue, and then let cure overnight. I have a local store called Jay-K Lumber with a custom woodworking shop that I plan to have to drill the neck holes for me. My strategy to mark the spots will be to stick flat screws I have in the neck and mark the slot holes with crayon or a little paint. Press the neck in straight on and voila, marked neck holes matching my neck. The reason I'm not filling in both is that I would like the option to swap the neck out in the future, and would like to keep the neck to Warmoth spec, and the body to mostly Warmoth spec in regards to the placement of 3 of the holes.

My next step is carving. I have a file and rasps to carve the neck heel. This seems simple enough using the curved neck plate I have as a guide. I will then be carving a tad at the lower horn (where my hand meets the neck) to allow for better fret access. I'm going to be sure to mark where my pickguard will be so it doesn't look awkward. Also, now that I'll have a proper neck hole placement, I can do a final verification on the neck angle. As long as all is good, I can then chisel away the bridge pickup route to match the bridge. I can then finally do a fit test including all my pickups.

Then on to the finishing. I'm still going with a stain since I have everything. If for some reason it doesn't come out right, I have a few secondary options:
1.) Consider sending to MJT Aged Finishes...or in fact, maybe send it to them in the first place  :binkybaby: :binkybaby: :binkybaby:
2.) Sand back as much as possible, then do my original idea of a Ceruse finish (Black dye with a Red highlighted grain like the Gibson Voodoo series)
3.) Do a solid color (Which would be a crying shame because the grain is so nice)

Then I will finalize my pickguard design/placement. I plan to have Pickguardian.com make the pickguard.

Last but not least will be to install everything, and set her up. It seems so far away but so close!
 

MFarina87

New member
Messages
11
I have a lot of progress to show you guys and boy does it feel great! :headbanging: I also remembered to actually take pictures.

A couple of days ago I filled in the body and neck holes. The body holes fit a dowel perfectly but the neck holes needed to be widened up to 1/4". Once I finally pulled myself together to drill in the body everything else came together easy. I was hanging out with guys from my old band all yesterday plus I wanted to have time to let the wood glue cure.

I don't have a drill press, and instead of going to the lumber store I threw caution to the wind and macgyvered a way to ensure I was drilling straight.

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I secured my level to the battery of my drill (avoiding the little lip in the front) and verified I was level by placing it on my countertop. Perfection. Once the drill is going obviously everything moves so I made sure to stop and verify intermittently. If I was going to be slightly off (which of course I probably was), I wanted to at least have it angled so the screw would be pressing the neck into the neck pocket.

Then today I started with chiseling the excess dowel pieces and sanding both surfaces flat. I verified my measurements and angles a bunch of times. For reference, as the pocket was cut, this is the type of edge distance I was getting:

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Once I adjusted the angle how I wanted it I was able to get it much better (picture coming up) with the clamp. I decided to drill the holes while the body was unclamped so I had to verify everything multiple times. With my home setup, and working alone I had no way to hold the guitar in a way that I could keep them clamped and drill correctly. I started with a 3/16 Brad point bit for the body. I kept an old washcloth folded up under the neck pocket to make sure I didn't drill into my coffee table. I used my neck plate as a guide, and center punched the holes with my awl. These holes went pretty seamlessly as I knew there was a little margin for error.

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Then the neck which has pretty much no margin for error. I clamped the neck back on (using a sponge on the fretboard side, they are Stainless Steel Frets so I felt pretty safe with this), and reverified all my measurements and angles. The neck wanted to resettle back to the original position but once clamped it stayed put, so I figured once bolted on it wouldn't move either. I used my awl to center punch my holes in the neck, which worked out perfect because the width of the shaft on the awl was exactly 3/16" so there wasn't really any wiggle room for error.

Then I unattached the neck, and prepared to drill the holes on the neck with 1/8" bit. I didn't have my washcloth safety net for my coffee table, but I made sure I taped off my bits with the depth stop and went at it. This wood (Goncalo Alves) was much harder to drill than the Swamp Ash. I did the first two holes then attached the neck to verify everything again (I did this so many times, thank god I went with locking tuners). Rechecked my center punches for the other two holes and then went on to drilling them again.

So after all that, I attached the neck, and right away noticed that my neck screws were not going to cut it. I wasn't able to really screw them in tightly? Luckily, I impulse purchased the same size screws at Lowes (actually they were 1/4" longer). They were stainless steel construction screws that were advertised to not need a pilot hole. These went in perfectly. Their heads were a tad smaller than the actual neck plate hole as you'll see one actually goes a little deeper, but this doesn't bother me. The neck looks off in this picture but that is part my angle with the camera and part having to adjust the angle.

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Voila! Perfect alignment once bolted.

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Once that was done, all my smaller problems were cake.

My EMG T-Set and SPC came in, and they actually did not fit the bridge cavity which was expected because I needed to chisel away some pieces anyway. It turns out chiseling can be pretty loud so I laid some towels down on my carpet and did it very carefully. It encouraged me to properly chip away tiny pieces at a time because too loud of a piece would be extremely loud. My neighbors didn't complain but I wanted to be respectful.

Here's the route all chiseled out with my posterboard pickguard template. You'll also see a mark a made that I made using my hand to see which area I might want to carve a taper into for upper fret access. I haven't completely decided if I want to do this because it does take away wood from around my neck pocket.

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Once that was settled I went to attach my EMG controls to my aged control plate from Gotoh. Turns out EMG's PCB board has the knobs spaced slightly shorter than the Gotoh plate has them drilled. So I aged the EMG control plate by sanding with a 400 grit sanding sponge until I liked how it looked. If I want to add more patina to it I can use bleach, or I saw something that does that at the fabric store I bought the Beeswax from (for screws). I had to do the same for my curved neck plate because I didn't see an aged one that was curved.

I also noticed that the EMG jack that was included has a shorter thread than the Mono one that came with my Electrosocket. I tested by removing one of the nuts but it seems that it is a different diameter measurement as well. My guess is that EMG has a metric jack so I'm going to buy a Stereo Switchcraft Jack with the long thread.

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Next up is to do the carving of the neck heel. I made sure to leave a little meat for the screws and followed the amount that fender leaves on their American Elite series.

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After that, I'll decide if I really need to carve more access by the lower horn.

Once all that is done I can finally move forward to the finish! I think I've settled on the stain. Minwax Wood Rose.

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It'll look gorgeous with the hardware and the neck. A very close second is Burgundy (picture from someone else's project I saw on google)

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Thanks for following along guys!



 

amon

Active member
Messages
99
I can't speak on the Wood Rose Minwax finish, but I've worked with the White Wash Pickling one.  It's waaay more opaque than I was expecting it to be out of the can.  Had to water it down significantly to make the grain show through like the sample picture.
 

bagman67

Senior member
Messages
8,249
Nicely done.  I'm glad you'll see that body actually used for its intended purpose, instead of as an object of derision.  Rock on, etc., etc. 
 

mayfly

Senior member
Messages
8,234
Nice work!

one thing - from the photos it looks like a couple of the screw heads are no longer making contact with the neck plate.  That is, the heads are on the wood only.  If so, you'll need to correct that.

 
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