Wednesday, April 23, 2008
which can be found here
As will be progress pics for self build #3, self build #4 and self build #5.
If you're now wondering where I'll put the pics for self build #6 ... I really don't know as I haven't planned beyond the end of the month.
(that's a joke - it'll take me at least a month to build a guitar!)
So, the £100 guitar challenge is now complete, the blog is finished, and transmissions will now end.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
It would be a bit of a boring article if the article just featured those who successfully completed the challenge (ie the 2 of us - hi Tim!), so hopefully those many nearly-guitars will also get featured.
We're also discussing (on the forum) whether, how and when to repeat the challenge later in the year. With a bit more preparation time and advance notice, we'll hopefully get some more successful completions.
Meanwhile, I've started another build without being challenged.
There ought to be some sort of "warning: guitar building can be addictive" notice somewhere.
I'll post some pics in a day or two ... or three or four ...
Sunday, April 20, 2008
The other constraint for the challenge was to spend no more than £100. My total spend is around £75, so I'm more than happy with that.
Some pics ...
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
That's a one-piece Cherry body, with a maple neck & rosewood (I think) fretboard. Humbucker in the neck position, and a standard Tele-type single coil in the bridge.
Monday, April 14, 2008
You can also see the effect of the oil on the body ... the top 3/4s has just had the first coat of oil applied, whereas the bottom is still oil-free. The oil is really bringing out the grain, and the different colours, of the wood. Looks good to me!
The neck for this build might actually qualify as an "eBay bargain" - 2 words that I really don't use together very often (as opposed to "eBay ripoff", "eBay scam" etc!). The neck cost me £5. It was as straight as a banana, and the back of the neck looked as if it had been sanded carefully with a rasp. A coarse rasp.
Some twiddling with the truss rod has more-or-less straightened the neck, although the frets still need some attention to level them properly. And an afternoon spent with some sandpaper and wirewool has removed pretty much all of the marks on the back of the neck. It's now straight, and smooth.
To keep under the £100 budget, I'm re-using some old hardware that was salvaged from an old Tele-copy by a co-competitor. So it's second-hand, and second-dirty-hand. Some metal polish, some rags, an old toothbrush, and a couple of hours ... and the metalwork now shines. The pic below shows the 2 control knobs - 1 before, and 1 after the polishing work ...
I took the machineheads and the bridge completely apart so that I could polish all of it - even though most of it isn't visible ... again, the pic below shows the pre/post condition of some of the components ...
The plan now is to put another coat of oil on the body and the back of the neck, and then put the guitar together. I may get the controls soldered today, or that may be a job for tomorrow, just see how it goes.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
That requires me to drill 6 holes through the body. That bit's easy, even for me. However, it gets a little more difficult because it looks a whole lot better if the holes line up in a nice straight line, and even spaced, when you look at the back of the body.
So I have to drill the holes perfectly vertically (in both planes) and perfectly equidistantly spaced. Suddenly, it's not looking quite so easy.
But, perhaps it's not a huge problem either as I have a drill press and I can use a ruler ...
So I thought. Unfortunately, the "throat" (is that the right word?) of the drill press was too small to be able to fit the body into ... so I couldn't use the drill press to drill the holes. Arrgghhh. Instead, I had to use an ordinary hand-held drill. Look out for the pics at the weekend to see how it went ...
More positively, I read a forum post about shaped Tele bodies. And I thought ... "why not?". When you've drunk as much Adnams as I have, you need a belly-carve. So, rather than being a fully traditional Tele-body, it's now going to be a "Tele with a belly" carved body ... far more practical and comfortable, though it means that all of the sanding I've done on that part of the body back is now completely wasted because I'm about to attack it with a rasp!
No update pics today, and probably no time for working on the guitar tomorrow ... but the weekend schedule says "guitar, guitar, guitar", so there should be a lot of good progress to report over the weekend. Which is lucky, because the challenge ends next weekend ...
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Body - £15.
Neck - £5.
Control plate, pots, bridge, bridge p/up, machineheads - £15.
Neck p/up - £25.
String ferrules - £4.
String trees - £2.50
Neck plate & screws - £4.
Strap buttons - £2.
A total of just £72.50.
Which is a problem ... because it means that I haven't spent enough!! So, what should the balance of the budget be spent on? Ideas? Suggestions?
Friday, April 4, 2008
Still plenty of work to do on shaping the heel and blending the join in "properly". I've also got to refinish the whole neck as the back is "rough" and the frets need a lot of attention.
But, looks like progress to me :)
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
I should have known that it wasn't going to be a simple day when I switched my iPod on to see that it had about 5mins charge left. After charging it overnight. I've lost count of the number of new batteries that I've put in the thing.
Being very aware of the power of the Router, particularly its power to destroy pieces of wood in unforeseen, unexpected and undesired ways, I've admit to a little hesitancy in creating the cavities. So I spent the first hour or two preparing a decent mdf template for the neck pocket and the pick-up cavities. That might seem a little OTT for building one guitar, but I'm hoping to build a few Teles, so I'm looking on it as an investment.
Stick the template to the body, nicely aligned on the centre lines, and then clamp it for some extra stability. Take the router down in 5mm steps to create some nice clean cavities. All good so far.
Unclamp the body, and gently prise the template off the body. OK, try again, not so gently. Right, still no movement, so try again but really pulling it this time. Still nothing. The double sided tape has become supertape with the adhesion properties of Spiderman in his special extra-sticky suit. I ended up using a chisel (carefully) between the edge of the template and the body and levering it off. Unfortunately, some of the supertape remained stuck to the body (with bits of the mdf template) so I needed to scrape them off with a blade. And then remove the chisel marks with more sandpaper.
So a simple job took 3-4 hours. I bet the professionals don't have these problems ...
But, it's looking good, and I have returned undefeated (apart from a slight indentation in my finger which is leaking red stuff ... note to self ... remember that chisels are sharp and can damage skin).
Next, rout out the control cavity and find a long (very long) drill bit for the pick-up wire channels ...
Monday, March 31, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
I might also be adventurous (for me) and try to make the neck from scratch, rather than re-finishing the £5 eBay "bargain". I'd use some of the cherry for that as well. Of course, then I'd need to add in the cost of the truss rod, and the fingerboard, but the finished guitar might be more satisfying and less Frankenstein-like. And teles are easy to build, right? !!
A lot of the hardware is coming from Timmyo's capture of a Tele copy. The body and neck are headed elsewhere, but I'll be using a lot of the hardware in this build. I might swap one of the pickups out though, depending on how it sounds and what budget I have left. I might then use a coil tap if I swap one of the pickups out for a humbucker ...
I'm currently on the Bailey BYOG course, so the £100 challenge is really well timed to make sure that I get into my workshop when I get back from the course, and see how much of the course content I manage to remember ;-)
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
This is only intended as a "bit of fun", but to try to clarify the rules, or guidelines, for the informal competition ...
The finished guitar should have cost no more than £100, including the cost (or value) of the original guitar, and the cost of the mods / upgrades made to it, or the cost of materials used (for those building their own).
Cost or Value: If the original instrument came into your possession without directly costing you anything (eg a gift), then the cost of that gift (if in the last couple of years), or its realistic current value (for those modding their 57 Les Pauls) should be added into your total spend. If you've bought it then use the same principle (ie, cost price if bought in the last couple of years, else current value).
Cost of mods, etc: This is the total cost of all the extra, upgraded or replaced parts. If someone has just given you a pair of BareKnuckle pickups, then (a)the cost or value should be included and (b) tell them that I'd like a set too, please. If you've bought the parts, then include the p&p / VAT / customs costs. If you want to drive 200 miles to collect a set of strap buttons to save the £2 p&p cost, then you have way too much time, and are treating this competition way too seriously! If you've got a cupboard full of spare bits & pieces, then points (a) and (b) above apply again!
Really, it's supposed to be a bit of fun, and as we all know the cost/value of the various bits, it'll be obvious to all if anyone spends £300 on their "£100" guitar. Anyone doing so will be subject to the dreaded "my strings always break in the middle of my best ever solo in front of our biggest ever crowd and I forget to pack a spare set" curse.
It's a fun challenge ... go enjoy and play nicely ;-)
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The neck that you can see on top of the middle plank is an eBay buy. I think it cost me £5. Obviously, for that money, it's not the best, but with a little work to re-finish the back, and some effort into levelling the frets, I think it'll do.
So that's a total of £20 for the wood ... the budget's looking good so far.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Project updates to follow ...
I'll write this here & now ... "it seemed like a good idea at the time".