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Old 29th January 2008, 04:21 AM   #1
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Default Custom Guitar Build Log

Hi there, all.

I'm going to start a build log of my custom guitar. I'm going to go with a design based on the shape of a Schecter 006 Elite (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...tar?sku=513057) with a Gibson style bridge/tail piece.

The guitar will be a neck-through design made of walnut and maple much like the Carvin DC400W (https://www.carvinguitars.com/catalo...p?model=dc400w), though it won't have the highly figured walnut grain.

I've also already ordered a set of EMG 81/85 pickups (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...Set?sku=301511), however I did notice that the specs list the pots at 25k ohms. Is this correct? I can't find pots listed at any guitar parts replacement sites with pots lower than 50k ohm. Since I want to minimize the amount of switches, knobs, and other clutter, I'm looking into getting a concentric pot like this (http://store.guitarfetish.com/cp50kcopomo.html) to possibly add onboard distortion (black ice) or similar, however they only sell them in 50k and 100k ohm. Is the EMG spec correct?

Now onto some pictures: Below is a shot with all of the walnut and maple on a workbench at school.
Click the image to open in full size.

Below: A picture of the walnut stock showing the larger blocks for the body, and the two strips I'll be using for the neck.
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Below: This picture shows one of the knots I'll have to work around
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Below: This picture gives a small preview of what the grain will look like most likely. Not as exciting as the Claro Walnut on the Carvin guitar, but the walnut was donated by a friends father, and it'll still look great.
Click the image to open in full size.

Below: Last, a picture of the Maple I was able to get. I bought this from a local woodshop, so it's not as exciting as the walnut, so I only took this one picture.
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Old 29th January 2008, 04:29 AM   #2
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Also, I drew up a basic design in Photoshop so that I could lay it out on my guitar to find the body shape. This is just a guideline and not a actual blueprint, so things will be off.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 31st January 2008, 04:51 AM   #3
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bump....

Can anybody help me with the pot question?

Are the EMG specs correct. Are the pots only 25k ohm?
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Old 31st January 2008, 07:23 AM   #4
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Sorry, but it has at least one too many strings and the scale could be about 9" longer. Then I might be interested.

Best of luck. My woodworking skills are exceeded when I need to glue two random pieces of mdf together. Have you tried the Luthier forums?
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Old 31st January 2008, 07:45 AM   #5
Daveze is offline Daveze  Australia
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25k pots are correct. The trick is that they're active pickups, so you don't need the high value pots because the output of the pickups is low impedance due to the buffer/preamp built into the pickups. Pretty sure you can get stacked 25k/25k pots but I can't remember where at the moment...

Bear in mind that it means you'll need room for a 9V or two in either your control cavity or in a separate battery box (I like the battery boxes for quick change convenience).

I got no issue with the number of strings but I agree with Brett on the scale (9-10" longer), and I'd have a wider neck and none of the speed bumps that it looks like you're putting in....

The headstock is doing weird things to my head, kinda looks like its bending to the left. Either that or I've spent too long at this sodded computer...
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Old 31st January 2008, 08:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Daveze
25k pots are correct. The trick is that they're active pickups, so you don't need the high value pots because the output of the pickups is low impedance due to the buffer/preamp built into the pickups. Pretty sure you can get stacked 25k/25k pots but I can't remember where at the moment...
EMG's have am O/P Z of about 10k and will work with higher R pots quite nicely.

Quote:
Originally posted by Daveze
Bear in mind that it means you'll need room for a 9V or two in either your control cavity or in a separate battery box (I like the battery boxes for quick change convenience).
Power it offboard!!!!
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Old 31st January 2008, 10:24 AM   #7
Daveze is offline Daveze  Australia
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Touche. I didn't actually look at their output impedance, just assumed it would be smaller.

Another good call with the outboard PS, that way you could put some more interesting effects onboard (compared to the black ice, which I haven't tried but also haven't heard particularly good reports), without as much concern for current requirements.
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Old 31st January 2008, 12:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Brett
Sorry, but it has at least one too many strings and the scale could be about 9" longer. Then I might be interested.

Best of luck. My woodworking skills are exceeded when I need to glue two random pieces of mdf together. Have you tried the Luthier forums?
Yes, I have those also. I have an Ibanez Ergodyne 5 string bass, and what appears to be a Fender P-Bass, but that was bought from a pawn shop and restored by a guy who didn't keep any of that information around.

Quote:
Originally posted by Daveze
25k pots are correct. The trick is that they're active pickups, so you don't need the high value pots because the output of the pickups is low impedance due to the buffer/preamp built into the pickups. Pretty sure you can get stacked 25k/25k pots but I can't remember where at the moment...

Bear in mind that it means you'll need room for a 9V or two in either your control cavity or in a separate battery box (I like the battery boxes for quick change convenience).

I got no issue with the number of strings but I agree with Brett on the scale (9-10" longer), and I'd have a wider neck and none of the speed bumps that it looks like you're putting in....

The headstock is doing weird things to my head, kinda looks like its bending to the left. Either that or I've spent too long at this sodded computer...
Yes, I know I'll need the battery box.

Also, the headstock probably is off since I merely traced a picture I found online.


Quote:
Originally posted by Brett
EMG's have am O/P Z of about 10k and will work with higher R pots quite nicely.

Power it offboard!!!!
well that's good to hear. If I find some concentric or DPDT pots at 50k ohm you think it'll have little or no effect compared to the 25k ohm?

I have class today, so I'll have time to start planing some of the wood. Maybe even get some of it glued if I'm lucky. I'll have updates tonight.
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Old 31st January 2008, 03:28 PM   #9
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Make sure you use animal glue if you want it to stay together.

Here's a pic of my homebuilt made in 1980. It was a combined effort, with a very good friend, Fred, assisting me with this very complex project.
Those 27 years seems to have passed rather quicky after extolling about a year and a half of tedious, part-time labor. I remember it like it was yesterday, the day we finished it. It's one project that I'm glad to have finished, and I'm not looking forward to building another one anytime soon. It would have been a major waste of effort had I used a typical woodglue, as this guitar would certainly be in pieces by now.
Any project worth doing, is worth doing right the first time.

Body is Hawaiian Koa, Eastern Hardrock Maple with Rosewood borders and pinstripe.
Neck is thru-body, Eastern Hardrock Maple, with Rosewood center stripe, Ebony fretboard, Abalone dot inlays and sidemarkers, jumbo frets on a 24-3/4" scale, Schaller machine heads. Action is SUPER low without one iota of fret-buzz. Nut is compensated for near perfect intonnation and made of brass. The Nut has to be compensated because of the super low string height, as a super low action reduces string "stretch" when fretting notes.
The finish is Dupont's Concept 20/20 catalyzed enamel, no primer or sealers were used because it could have a tendency to delaminate between the finished layers after several years. The finish it tinted slightly with red mother-of-pearl and it looks gorgeous under proper lighting.
Pickups are circa 1978 - Carvin SD models.
Switching behind the bridge is for individual coil selection and pickup phasing. It encorporates an active homemade buffer and uses standard RJ-45 network patch cables to supply external power and redundant low impedance / balanced output signals to a homemade stomp-box style interface. I never really liked 1/4" phone jacks. RJ-45 is a more modern concept that actually WORKS, and patch cords last longer, and are cheaper to replace. NO HUM... EVER!!!
It is a dream to play. A super fast action, tons of sustain, and the weight is perfectly balanced.
If I were forced to build another, I would I widen the neck about a 1/4 inch, and flatten the radius just a tad, but only because I have big hands and fat fingers. I would probably add a wang bar too, if I could ever find one that worked right. Otherwise, it is perfect as is.
Sorry the pix are so bad. I don't have a digital camera, and the guy that took these obviously lacks the concept of composition.

I wish you the best of luck, and skill, on your most worthwhile project.

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Old 31st January 2008, 03:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by LightwaveDude
well that's good to hear. If I find some concentric or DPDT pots at 50k ohm you think it'll have little or no effect compared to the 25k ohm?
I've used 250k with no issues I could detect, so 50k should be fine. I think EMG sell the pots if you really want to do it that way.
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