Questions about Warmoth #2


Master Member
Well I just pulled the trigger for Warmoth #2, the body at least.  There are some details still to be decided, but I'll get a start with finishing this body while I figure the rest out.
The plan was to get a nice thinline with a P90 and put that piezo saddles in it, too. I'll put some heavier strings on it, and hopefully that'll give it a feel closer to a real acoustic.  One of my issues with the piezo thing was that it is actually very strange-feeling to play folk fingerstyle and acoustic blues stuff on a strat - part of that is just skills, but the much lower string tension really changes the dynamics. So I'm hopeful that with .11s, or even flatwounds, and the hollowbody, I'll get a true happy medium between acoustic and electric.

Body: Walnut thinline routed for P90 / Tele from Showcase.
Neck: At this point, I'm thinking pro construction, maple / rosewood standard thin with blocks and a graphtech nut.  25.5" and 6130 frets. I love ebony boards, but don't think it matches the vibe very well here, and I'm not crazy about the look of a lot of the pau ferro boards, and have never played a pau ferro guitar.  What I don't like is the prominent north - south streaking, I think it's distracting. Another possibility is to go with mahogany instead of maple. Love the look of the blocks on a telecaster, though.
Pickups, you guys have me thinking I'll try Rio Grandes - a 'jazzbar' neck and a 'dirty harry' tele bridge?
Pickguard / controls: white pearloid, with, from right to left in the picture below: LP toggle switch, master mag volume, master mag tone, piezo volume, mini switch for piezo / mag / both options. That's going to entail drilling all the holes myself and placing the LP switch, but it doesn't sound that hard.
Finish: Thinking a little brown stain, one grain fill, little more stain, then slow, careful tung oiling.
So, any suggestions for the control layout, the pickups, or any aspect of the neck?  Does Walnut need special handling when finishing?  Any suggestions appreciated.


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Walnut doesn't really need a finish, if you want to stain it a little darker, go ahead would suggest Minwax Dark Walnut, then just apply WATCO Danish Oil once in a while. This walnut Strat I did was finished that way, was just a tad darker "raw" than in the Showcase picture of the one you're going to order:

If you intend to tung oil it, it will take a real long time to build up enough coats to fill the grain in walnut to get a smooth gloss finish. Or do you intend to do a fill with clear grain filler?

"Love the look of the blocks on a telecaster, though." You referring to block inlays?

As to your choice in neck wood, depends on sound you want. Thinlines with std. string through bridge tend to be "bright", maple neck will exacerbate; I personally would prefer/go with mahogany neck with P90s...

That's a beauty!! Keep us posted on progress! And, I highly recommend Rio Grande. You won't be disappointed.
Bill in SC
I was thinking of clear grain filler and then tung oil, because that's what I know.  But I don't know what the grain is like on walnut. I just want to get a nice semi-gloss finish with prominent grain, nothing over the top or too showy. You think a dark walnut stain, clear grain fill, then danish oil is a good way to get that?  I'm not in a hurry, because the neck will take at least a month to arrive after I order it.

Yes, block inlays.  Love them on telecasters and Jazz basses. I think those, with the pearloid pickguard are a cool touch.
I see your point wrt mahogany neck, I had thought the same thing. There is a beautiful Canary / pao ferro with block inlays in the showcase right now, but it's a tad expensive for me and I have no idea how Canary would contribute to the tone.  I think that with this guitar, wood choice is probably more important than with other guitars because I"m going to use it acoustically a lot.
Have you used the dirty harry series of pickups? Also, do you know offhand the Ohms reading on the jazz bar?


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Walnut has a very tight grain, but isn't "smooth", i.e., there are lots of very fine grain lines in the wood that aren't very deep. If you want "nice semi-gloss finish with prominent grain" the easiest thing is just to stain it to the desired hue and apply WATCO Danish Oil. WATCO Danish Oil is NOT a finish like tung or Tru oil, more like an oil furniture polish than any type of hard finish.

If you don't like that, then you can always grain fill and top off with tung oil finish.

You can find WATCO Danish Oil at most Ace/TruValue hardware stores/"Danish" furniture store chains and lots of other locations, don't recommend anything but the WATCO, have heard there are other products labeled "Danish Oil" that are more like a tung oil product.

To my ear, canary feels very different but is very similar to maple in tone, just a little less "bright", hardly noticably so.

Haven't used the Dirty Harrys yet, next project will have a Strat set, but have been more than pleased with all Rio Grande products to date.

JazzBars rated 10.5 K; Dirty Harry Tele bridge 12K
Like the concept!~

FWIW, you can put the toggle up in the upper bout, through the f/hole really easy.

Also, the P90 is going to drown out the Tele bridge pickup, unless you get a really underwound P90 and overwound tele pickup.  P90's are hotter than a lot of humbuckers.
Thanks Jack and CB.
1. will either do the stain / fill / tung oil or danish oil, depending on how it looks when I get it.
2. Maybe I'll do a one-piece rosewood neck, if I can spare the cash. Seems like that'll be about right, tone-wise. Plus it's the best wood for acoustics, so that's a plus.
3. You think the toggle is better up there?  I don't think it'll be in the way where I've got it. Wiring it in the upper bout sounds like a pain, but I saw where you did that and it looked great.
4.  According to Jack, the dirty harry tele bridge is 12k, it's supposed to be a 'p90 in a tele bridge form factor' - I don't know to what extent they can actually do that.  If it sounds like crap, maybe I'll swap the SD lil 59 from my current telecaster - it sounds great with lots of output. Maybe mess with pup height a bit, too.

tfarny said:
There is a beautiful Canary / pao ferro with block inlays in the showcase right now, but it's a tad expensive for me and I have no idea how Canary would contribute to the tone. 

I'm glad you posted that picture.  I just ordered a pau ferro board with inlays and I wasn't sure if the pronounced grain of the pau ferro plus the inlays would be too much.  But it looks great in the picture.