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Explorer (or maybe LP) with Floyd Rose

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Steve Handley
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ok, so again I’ve proved myself rubbish at showing what I’m up to - it’s a personality trait that I’m working on, please bear with me.

I’ve already started this project, so there will be some quick updates to start off with …

So, here’s my new project: 

Explorer body

Floyd Rose double locking vibrato (well, cheap knock-off. If the project goes well, I’ll replace that with a proper one)

Pair of Wilkinson zebra HB, single volume and tone, maybe with coil splits

25.5” scale, 24 frets, 17” fretboard radius.

Fretboard will be bound, and headstock will have black overlay (may also be bound as well). I’m not planning much in the way of fretboard markers, just a pair of 2mm dots near the edge at the 12th fret (and probably the 24th). Of course, I will install the full complement of side dots.

IMG 0020

 Incidentally, I’ve taken to separating bits of the plan diagram, so things like the neck, nut line, intonation line and so on (the bits that make the guitar work) are on the “main” diagram. Meanwhile, things like the body itself are on tracing paper, so that I can tweak or even replace that easily.

So far, I’ve been using samba for the neck, and will probably buy a similar body blank (more on that soon …)

The fretboard will be ebony. Or rosewood. Or bubinga. Or something. It will have a fretboard, that’s the only certainty ;-p

 


   
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Steve Handley
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Explorer bodies take a lot of wood! Given that I’ve never made a body with rout for a trem system, FR or otherwise, I guessed that the chances of me making a horlicks of it are quite high, so I though that I’d re-think the body shape to something smaller (ie cheaper body blank!) like a LP. Then, once I’ve figured out the pitfalls, maybe I’ll repeat it for an Explorer.

IMG 0022

   
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swepri
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@steveh Planning and drawing is a useful start. Maybe you could try out the necessary routing for the trem on a cheap piece of wood, to confirm.

How is samba wood to work with? I have only used Bosse Cedar for my necks and that is easy to shape.


   
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NSJ
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@steveh musiclily do a decent routing template, only thing missing is the recess for the floyd but that's not to hard to knock up.

 

I'd recommend grabbing a gotoh floyd, 150 ish but fantastic units. Even if you completely ruin this one you know you'll build another and will end up making good use of the trem lol.

 

I routed my first a half inch in the worng direction, managed to fill the hole and redo the routing. Guitar plays great! So yeh, just get a decent trem imo. You can always sell it to me cheap if nothing else lol


   
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Steve Handley
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Posted by: @swepri

@steveh Planning and drawing is a useful start. Maybe you could try out the necessary routing for the trem on a cheap piece of wood, to confirm.

How is samba wood to work with? I have only used Bosse Cedar for my necks and that is easy to shape.

@swepri thank you for your suggestion. I really don’t know why I didn’t think of that myself! My old garden bench is in the workshop waiting to be up cycled into something, so I’ve got loads of cheap, not particularly nice wood ….

Samba is quite light, which is quite nice. It’s rather soft, so the neck carve takes very little effort. However, it is very easy to dent it if you knock it, and I’ve experienced quite a lot of tear out with it. I used samba throughout for my daughter’s mini-V because I wanted the end result to be light enough for her.

image

I’m going to try some maple next time, I think.

 


   
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Steve Handley
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Posted by: @nsj

@steveh musiclily do a decent routing template, only thing missing is the recess for the floyd but that's not to hard to knock up.

 

I'd recommend grabbing a gotoh floyd, 150 ish but fantastic units. Even if you completely ruin this one you know you'll build another and will end up making good use of the trem lol.

 

I routed my first a half inch in the worng direction, managed to fill the hole and redo the routing. Guitar plays great! So yeh, just get a decent trem imo. You can always sell it to me cheap if nothing else lol

yep, I picked up a router template set, so that should help, but never underestimate the level of my ineptitude 😉

Thank you for the pointer as far as the Gotoh - I’ll definitely keep that in mind for later 🙂

 


   
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julioherrera
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Keep it up mate, good going....


   
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Steve Handley
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So, finally mocked up the Floyd Rose rout (note tactical use of screwdriver as there is no string tension to keep the bridge level. I’ll try to get the spring claw a bit better centered, but on the whole I’m happy with it. Just hope that I can remember all of the lessons learned here when I come to do it for real 🙂

IMG 0027

 

IMG 0028
IMG 0029
IMG 0030

 J

 


   
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NSJ
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@steveh I place the claw against the back of the spring cavity and move it about until I'm happy it's centred then go round in the holes with a pencil or that. Remove the claw and centre punch the centre of the circles.


   
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Steve Handley
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@nsj yeah, I’m not sure what happened. I was planning to do exactly that, but then didn’t 🙄 🤔


   
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swepri
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Posted by: @steveh

I was planning to do exactly that, but then didn’t 🙄 🤔

Sounds familiar, somehow...  😀 

 


   
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NSJ
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@steveh well I can blame it on age at least lol


   
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Steve Handley
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Hi everyone! I put together the Explorer-like in mock up ….

IMG 0033
IMG 0034

 Nothing is bolted down in the mock up, but I’ve subsequently checked and drilled most things.

I’m planning on a dark green stain for the body, and a black plastic front for the headstock.

I do have one quick question, though: what grit do you sand to prior to staining with an ink-based stain? I’ve gone to 400, but I’m thinking that might be too smooth. What do you think?

Apart from that, have an awesome Christmas everyone! We cut down the tree last weekend, drank Glühwein, and toasted Stockbrot for the wee’un; Christmas is definitely coming 🙂

 

cheers

Steve


   
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swepri
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@steveh I usually go to p320 before applying finish. Before staining, I lightly moisture the surfaces and let it dry, to raise the grain. Then a light pass with p320 again before staining.


   
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Steve Handley
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So, ladies and gents, I give you:

„The Guitar that didn’t want to be Built“ as I know it affectionately

IMG 0043
IMG 0044
IMG 0045

I know it by a few other, less affectionate names, too, but we’ll leave that for now. There are a couple of details that need sorting out, and of course, the bits that I have re-thought along the way ….


   
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Russ
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@steveh

Nice work Steve. Keep them coming. 

🙏🎸🎶🙂


 

🗝️ "Life's what you make it"🗝️


   
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Steve Handley
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Ugh, here’s a thing. The frets aren’t quite level, so I decided to revisit that. I can’t quite get the neck flat, even with no string tension. With the Trussrod at its tightest, I have the slightest amount of forward bow (maybe 1mm of clearance in the middle of the neck). If I loosen the Trussrod, the clearance gets greater. Did I install the Trussrod arse about face?


   
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Steve Handley
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@russ thanks Russ - this one was quite challenging as I was breaking a lot of new ground for me.


   
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NSJ
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@steveh Trussrod fully tight and still bowing forward?

 

You could try adding a bit of physical pressure to pull the neck back and see if the trussrod will turn more.

 

Or, you could somehow pull down at both ends with something in the middle to push the middle up or that. Get it as flat as possible then level the frets. Sure stewmac has some sort of jig for that.


   
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Steve Handley
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@nsj thanks, both good suggestions, although I tightened the trussrod to the point of creaking alarmingly to get it not quite straight.

i do have a means of setting the neck the way you described; I just forgot about it. My neck jig (Mark Bailey style) will do just that!

cheers

Steve


   
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