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Laplace

Original Poster:

832 posts

68 months

[news] 
Sunday 24th June 2012 quote quote all
I quite fancy a Telecaster but I also fancy building up a guitar myself. Trawling through ebay there are plenty of necks and bodies available and all the hardware is easily sourced from across the net.

Having never done this before are there any pitfalls I should look out for or any reason why I really shouldn't do this and just buy one off the shelf?

The way I see it is most of these parts are machined to varying standards, so say a body with a 56mm gap for a neck with a 56mm heel should bolt together nicely then just add the hardware. I guess there may be some hiccups and problems to overcome along the way.

Oh and please post up some pics of your self build guitars, if any.

Cheers

singlecoil

20,382 posts

132 months

[news] 
Sunday 24th June 2012 quote quote all
Generally it will be cheaper to buy a guitar of any particular quality level than it will be to build one from components, so don't do it if the idea is to save moeny.

If you are doing it for enjoyment then go ahead. If you get neck and body from the same source then they should fit together ok, and the scale length of the neck should match the bridge position. You don't say whether the body will come full drilled of nut. If not then you will have some quite long holes to drill, and it will also be important to get them in the right places, if the string ferules end up even slightly out of line it will look quite amateurish.

Cutting the nut, if that has not already been done, can be quite tricky too.

Feel free to ask any more specific questions you may have.

Laplace

Original Poster:

832 posts

68 months

[news] 
Sunday 24th June 2012 quote quote all
Thebodies I've been looking at are all pre drilled, i don't think I fancy doing any of that work quite yet as 1 dodgy hole could ruin the whol body I guess.

Again with the necks I've been looking at have a nut already installed.

What do I need to consider when matching a body and neck with regards to scale length that you mentioned?

gbbird

5,077 posts

130 months

[news] 
Sunday 24th June 2012 quote quote all
I commend you for considering it, but my advice would be leave it well alone and buy one complete. For a good guitar, precision is key, any slight measurement error will ruin the entire endeavour

Steffan

9,280 posts

114 months

[news] 
Sunday 24th June 2012 quote quote all
There may be musical instrument classes near to you locally. Half an hour with a luthier could explain a lot of issues before the problems start. There are a number of videos about on the web explaining the process. These could be helpful, ebay and so on will source them. Youtube may have some.

It is actually difficult to make instruments well. I would suggest looking for an introduction in some way because there is a basic level of skill needed to produce a playable instrument A poor action and an instrument nit easily played is all to easy to make.

Singlecoil is right in everything he says but I would remember he has a construction business using wood and other materials. Such a daily process significantly extends your understanding and skills of the respect and process that such materials require.

I am not seeking to put you off, or reduce your enthusiasm in any way, you may be an undiscovered Luthier, who knows? Rob Armstrong is the best I have seen, and I have played on his instruments and own several. I have built several guitars over the years, but I could never copy or achieve the level of skill displayed in an Armstrong.

Good Luck whatever you decide. I think some guidance could help.


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singlecoil

20,382 posts

132 months

[news] 
Sunday 24th June 2012 quote quote all
Laplace said:
Thebodies I've been looking at are all pre drilled, i don't think I fancy doing any of that work quite yet as 1 dodgy hole could ruin the whol body I guess.

Again with the necks I've been looking at have a nut already installed.

What do I need to consider when matching a body and neck with regards to scale length that you mentioned?
It's one thing to have the nut ready installed, but what you really need is to have it cut as well. This involves having 6 slots all of different widths cut with the correct spacing and to the correct depth (otherwise fretting at the lower frets will be harder than it needs to be if the slots are too high, fret buzz at the first fret if they are too low, rattling in the slots if the slots are too wide, and diffcult tuning if they are too tight (string stiction).

If you do intend to cut the slot yourself, mention it here and I will provide more advice. It can be done with a razor saw (model shop) and care, but ideally use the correct nut files if you can find any.

Scale length needs to be 25.5" (648m), and if it's 22 fret then there needs to be an overhang at the body end of the fretboard.


Steffan said:
Singlecoil is right in everything he says but I would remember he has a construction business using wood and other materials.
I used to make necks, bodies and complete instruments but packed it in when I eventually realised that it is virtually impossible to make money in this country building customer guitars and parts. The basic problems are that most of the potential customers don't have much money, and those that do only want to buy recognised makes and models of guitars. If it were possible to measure the performance of guitars in the way it is possible to do with cars, then custom builds would have a much better chance. As it is, most adequate guitars have little to differentiate them apart from scale length, body construction, bridge type and pickups.

Laplace

Original Poster:

832 posts

68 months

[news] 
Sunday 24th June 2012 quote quote all
Hmm maybe I should beat a hasty reatreat. hehe

I don't for a minute underestimate the skill invloved and years of practice taken to build a quality instrument.

I guess I thought that if I had a body say for instance like this one and a neck all finished with frets and nut installed etc then I could build from there piecing together the hardware and with some care and guidance along the way have a playable instrument.

So I guess from the comments that even having a these "ready" components there's still a lot which could go wrong applying the hardware?

Thanks for the advice so far.

Martyn-123

530 posts

71 months

[news] 
Sunday 24th June 2012 quote quote all
Try a cigar box guitar, lots of vids on youtube and look fun to play without much precision required in the building.

I have two pieces of poplar hardwood ready for the neck and two empty boxes from ebay, just need a little spare time to start on them, figured on building two at the same time as building two 3 string versions i can use one set of tuner pegs and give one away when finished to encourage somebody else to pick up a instrument,


Martyn...

singlecoil

20,382 posts

132 months

[news] 
Sunday 24th June 2012 quote quote all
Laplace said:
I guess I thought that if I had a body say for instance like this one and a neck all finished with frets and nut installed etc then I could build from there piecing together the hardware and with some care and guidance along the way have a playable instrument.

So I guess from the comments that even having a these "ready" components there's still a lot which could go wrong applying the hardware?
As long as the nut is CUT as well as installed (and cut correctly, which I daresay is likely although the makers would beed a special jig to do it) then you would be reasonably safe as long as you made sure all the parts were compatible. Strats are more tricky then Teles due to the tremolo installation on the former, but I can't really see what could go wrong with the latter, there's plenty of wiring diagrams on the 'net. Just use a decent soldering iron because you need plenty of heat to solder the earth wires to the cans of the pots (and the spring claw in the case of Strats).

Evangelion

2,900 posts

64 months

[news] 
Wednesday 27th June 2012 quote quote all
I built a 1955 Telecaster a few years back; with the exception of the bridge and a few of the minor parts such as strap buttons, screws etc, every part came from eBay! I had to wait nearly a year to find a really nice body though.



The neck was a proper 'licenced by Fender' one and came complete with tuners, decal, string tree and nut. Pickups were from a Japanese Fender '62 reissue Tele Custom.



The body had no holes drilled so I got a pro to do that, plus final assembly, cutting the nut slots etc. Including his fee, the total came to £408, which would probably be enough to buy a real '50s reissue Tele, but only a Mexican one and it wouldn't have such a nice body, neck or pickups.



(ETA - just realised I'd included carriage charges in my total; without that it would have come to £377.)

Edited by Evangelion on Wednesday 27th June 09:54


Edited by Evangelion on Wednesday 27th June 09:56

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