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jamesbisset
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04/06/2020 6:01 pm  

I built a couple of guitars in my youth, and assembled a couple of partcasters in my sensible years, but having discovered guitarmaking.co.uk, I’m itching to try a semi-acoustic. My current guitar is an enormous,  bright orange Yamaha AES 1500, but it’s hard to smuggle into folk clubs without being spotted. so I’m thinking of a smaller bodied semi with mini humbuckers, a wraparound bridge sitting on an internal block/pillar and very subdued natural wood finish. 

I also want the neck to join the body at 17 fret and the fret board with just 20 frets, so I can get the neck pickup right up there for the Oooo tone (using vowels to describe pickup tone there - from O through to E).

How many gotchas have I walked into so far?

Jack of all trades and master of my own destiny. It’s only a small destiny.


jamesbisset
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05/06/2020 3:10 pm  

The Yamaha AES 1500 has a body length of 535mm and lower bout width of 430mm, so I’ve scaled that down to match the dimensions of a poor abused Vox Tornado which I bought for £40 in Africa a lifetime ago. I stripped it apart, stuck a block of oak in it, painted it yellow and bound it with faux tortoiseshell.

I’m working out pickup positions with the aid of my Dan Armstrong (London) sliding pickup guitar, complete with the simple wraparound bridge.

But I’m struggling with the location of the various controls (switch, volume and two tone) which are competing with the ƒ holes.

Pictures and design when I work out how to add images

Jack of all trades and master of my own destiny. It’s only a small destiny.


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jamesbisset
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05/06/2020 3:29 pm  

Yamaha AES1500

photo of a yellow Vox Tornado and white Dan Armstrong

drawing of proposed semi-acoustic

Jack of all trades and master of my own destiny. It’s only a small destiny.


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mark bailey
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05/06/2020 4:13 pm  

Remeber that you would actually have to install the controll knobs thru the f-holes - that is why they are usually located fairly close to the opening. You might need small hands or a nimble friend with small hands to help out!

Measure twice, cut once...


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jamesbisset
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05/06/2020 4:36 pm  

@markbailey This might upset you:

hole in the back of the yellow tornado

But yes, I see your point. And the p/u switch via the neck p/u opening? I scaled the ƒ holes while scaling down the Yamaha sketch. I might have to restore to original size.

Jack of all trades and master of my own destiny. It’s only a small destiny.


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mark bailey
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05/06/2020 4:46 pm  

This style of construction is definitely one of the most tricky...

Measure twice, cut once...


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jamesbisset
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14/06/2020 2:45 pm  

I’ve been tweaking the design, and researching the hardware. The Wilkinson wraparound seems to come in different metals and prices depending where you look - £25 for zinc according to axesrus.com but £40 for aluminium according to JHS. A Schaller Signum is tempting (if the saddles don’t scratch your palm) but the price is eye-watering. I’ve picked up a set of Sperzel tuners off Ebay. Pickups: Quilin from Gemini I think. Meanwhile, I’ve ordered the book ’Making a Laminated HollowBody Electric Guitar’ by Jim English. 

Should I move this thread to the 'Design' section because I’m still at the drawing and spec stage? I need to know about the neck body join before I can take the drawing further.

electric archtop

Jack of all trades and master of my own destiny. It’s only a small destiny.


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Bill Flude
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14/06/2020 8:51 pm  

I’ve got Wilkinson wrapovers on two of my guitars and they work really well - intonation is very good.

Measure once........
Measure again.........
Sod it - make tea!


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jamesbisset
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14/06/2020 11:26 pm  

Good discussion point actually. The success of the Gibson Juniors in a rock context was usually put down to the simple wraparound bridge bolted to a slab of mahogany. That was my starting point. It’s simple and it works.

But the other option is a bridge and tailpiece combo. I usually use .11s on 25.5” scale guitars. A Bailey course guitar will normally use a pre-cut 25” fretboard. Does a tailpiece instead of a wraparound not soften the string tension? So, would a tunomatic style bridge bolted to a mahogany pillar with an arch top tailpiece let me use bendable .12s with body and sustain? Or just sore fingers and clunk?

Jack of all trades and master of my own destiny. It’s only a small destiny.


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jamesbisset
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15/06/2020 12:14 am  

@frocesterbill Thanks Bill. I do think that KISS is always a good principle. I’m just struggling to work out what I’ll actually be buying. Zinc? Aloominum? I do fancy a black bridge though. I reckon all the pretentious tonal analysis will go out the window when presented with black or chrome...?

 

Jack of all trades and master of my own destiny. It’s only a small destiny.


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Bill Flude
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16/06/2020 1:29 pm  
They may well be aluminium (or an alloy containing aluminium) the gold on my first Bailey workshop build has worn off a bit but it was all I played for two years.....

They do them in black........
This post was modified 3 months ago by Bill Flude

Measure once........
Measure again.........
Sod it - make tea!


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mark bailey
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16/06/2020 1:40 pm  
Posted by: @jamesbisset

Does a tailpiece instead of a wraparound not soften the string tension?

No. The string tension will be identical unless you change the tuning or the scale length...

Measure twice, cut once...


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jamesbisset
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18/06/2020 11:19 am  
Posted by: @frocesterbill
They may well be aluminium (or an alloy containing aluminium) the gold on my first Bailey workshop build has worn off a bit but it was all I played for two years.....

They do them in black........

Just had a very helpful reply from axesrus.com. According to Craig (as far as he can tell), Trev Wilkinson worked with Gotoh originally but never trademarked ‘Wilkinson’. Gotoh is a trademark, so ‘Wilkinson by Gotoh®’ is protected, but ‘Wilkinson by Sung II’ wasn’t trademarked by anybody so now you can go on any of the third party ‘factory’ sites and get wilkinson stuff without going near JHS (John Hornby Skewes, distributors).

The Axesrus bridge used to be ally, but the same supplier updated to zinc; it weighs in at 119g and most importantly comes in black. I’ve ordered one 🙂

That’ll do until Callaham Guitars do a cryogenically treated steel one 😉

Jack of all trades and master of my own destiny. It’s only a small destiny.


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jamesbisset
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21/06/2020 1:56 am  

One more comment before I take a deep breath and move my drawings to the Design Your Own Guitar section.

I’ve now read the Jim English ’Making a Laminated HollowBody Electric Guitar’ book and, with the greatest respect to Jim English - a highly skilled guitar maker, I cannot wait for the Mark Bailey online course on building an archtop!

Jack of all trades and master of my own destiny. It’s only a small destiny.


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jamesbisset
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20/08/2020 10:43 am  

No. The string tension will be identical unless you change the tuning or the scale length...

Jol Danzig sets up a rig to test string tension:

https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/30517-jol-dantzigs-esoterica-electrica-the-doors-of-perception-Luthier-lutherie-Jol-Dantzig-Hamer-guitar-builder-string-tension-myth-busting

If proof were needed that @markbailey is ALWAYS RIGHT!

Jack of all trades and master of my own destiny. It’s only a small destiny.


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