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Going the other way this time-A Baritone?

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WolframMalukker
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Picked up some wood over christmas, but I don't want to cut this one down this time. I've got three tenor uke sized bodies and necks already. (The little jazzmaster-shaped uke only needs me to get the finish to the state I'd like) This time, I'd like to start a Baritone sized guitar, I like the sound and while I can only play one simple song, that's enough for now.

I have a 1-piece black limba body blank, and a 1-piece sapele blank, both 21"x14"x1 15/16" thick. I can get ash, beech, alder, and maple all locally with ease. Mostly, though, I'd like to use a flamed redwood top that I was given for my birthday. It's .33" thick, and 18"x22" It has a nice tight curl and is almost perfectly quartersawn, so the curl runs almost 90* to the grain lines.

What would you use for the body wood? I intend to work around the ADGCEA tuning, i figure if it will tune these pitches then I could also tune it BEADF#B as well. I intend to use a maple neck with ebony fretboard (probably ebony, I have a piece big enough already)

I hear that pickups that are "dark" or "voiced lower" are generally going to be too dark on a baritone, and that I should go with a brighter pickup to keep the sound from being muddy. I've read that Danelectro Lipstick type are a good one, but I don't know anything about that type of pickup. I've also seen them with filtertrons, humbuckers, and single-coil style pickups, so who can really say?

 

Anyone have some opinions to help me make some decisions?


   
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tv1
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There's a few aspects to consider - appearance, tone, balance (and probably more).

With maple, ebony and the flamed redwood top, you've already got some very different looking timbers.  I'd probably try to stick to something very plain and unremarkable for the body wood so as not to distract from the top.

Baritone, long neck.  Maple, heavy wood.  So you could end up with quite a neck-heavy guitar.  If you then try to balance it with a heavy body, you might find you've made a very heavy guitar?

Maybe a sapele neck (still works well with the ebony board) and a sapele body?

Tone - I'm not a huge believer in the tone of the guitar coming from the wood, to the extent that it can't be managed by pickups and tone controls.

Pickups are reasonably easy to swap in/out after the build until you find the sound you're looking for, although swapping a lipstick into a HB cavity might not look so good 😉  Depends to a large extent on the sort of music you want to play.  A lipstick pickup isn't going to sound "consistent" with some goth metal.  I'd generally prefer P90s/HBs, and the latter in 4-wire config where you've got some tap/split options to give you a pseudo-single coil sound if you want it.

Also, the pot values that you use and any caps/resistors that you wire in can help you manage a sound if its too bright or dark.

 

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NSJ
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I think black limba looks gorgeous on it's own but if wanting to use the top I'd pick something a bit plainer. Maple and sapele laminates on the neck could be nice, weight wise I don't think it'll be much of an issue. I find it's more where you place the neck in the body that can cause neck dive issues. Create a nice horn like on a superstrat or that then the strap button will be in a good position to balance the guitar.

Ash also makes beautiful necks, I've done a couple and love them. I just use thinned down oil based satin polyurethane and wipe it on, sanding now and then. The colour and feel is really nice.

 

20221214 171049

 

Sapele body, red wood top, ash neck maybe. They'd all fit nice together I reckon.


   
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Posted by: @nsj

20221214 171049

That looks beautiful, makes me wanna look to use it for a neck sometime too now. Thanks for the inspiration/tip 🙂


   
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WolframMalukker
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Tomorrow I have to go in to school and do some cleaning up. I'll take photos of the two one-piece blanks I have, and the top that I want to use.

More worryingly, I realize that there is some blue-colored mildew on the redwood, as it was wrapped in clingfilm when it was shipped. I've got it unwrapped now and I will be testing the colorfastness against some mildew/mold killer stuff I found under the sink-I'd bet it's got chlorine bleach in it which will definitely kill the mold but I don't want to stain (or un-stain, as it were) the wood.


   
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WolframMalukker
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I think I have a plan now. 27.5" scale length, bone nut (because I have half a dozen bone blanks) sapele body, sapele neck (once I find a piece the right size and shape) redwood top, and...gold hardware.

This is the top I'm going to use, once I get the blue mold stains off. Mild bleach solution did NOT work, it nearly blackened the wood in the corner where I tested it. I will try white vinegar next.

WBxfyNE   Imgur

You can see the stain from where I tried to clean a corner. I layed the white paper towel on the wood to get the phone camera to color-correct back to what I actually see, instead of the washed-out color above.

hiVtY6K   Imgur

As for the DeArmond Dynasonic pickups. I found some gold-hardware/black face repros that are mechanically accurate so if I need to rewind them to sound good, or weaken magnets to sound good, or whatever I need to do, at least mechanically they're accurate. Or I can go through all the pain to machine new plastic bobbins and brass magnet holders etc but I'd rather just buy them this time.

I'm not 1000% sold on the pickups yet but they are the front-runner right now. I think they look cool, the sound clips I've listened to are really good, and they're just weird enough to make someone look twice.

 


   
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WolframMalukker
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Did a little sketching, the only things that are actually measured are scale length, maximum string spacing possible, and the neck-to-body joint location. Everything else is negotiable at this point, but I kinda like the shape.

He6yCWv   Imgur

Here's the body blank-8/4 sapele, mostly planed.

csxg2W3   Imgur

The idea is to scoot the body template over to keep as much of that ribbon grain as I can get into the body, and try to hide the flatsawn grain under the pickguard.

 

 

This post was modified 1 year ago by WolframMalukker

   
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WolframMalukker
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Copied the body outline and cut it out, layed it over the body blank to see what it could be. I found the bridge and fretwire I want to use at a good price, and they say it shipped out today, so we'll see.

K2iJXmC   Imgur

My hesitation on the pickups is that the DeArmond Dynasonic is a surface-mounted single coil, and the bridge pickup sets up 14mm from the body surface, and the neck pickup sets 11mm from the body surface. That's *much* taller that I was anticipating.


   
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tv1
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Firstly - nice piece of timber there to use for the top.  How is the clean-up going?  Don't think I've ever had the mildew experience, so I've got no suggestions at all on how to deal with it.

Re the surface mounted pickup - can it be recessed into the body slightly if you need a bit more under-string clearance?

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WolframMalukker
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The mildew is mostly contained and nothing touched it that didn't also cause issues. I ran the boards through the thickness sander and was able to get 99% of it off, and am looking at options with my friend the carpenter.

I looked at recessing the pickups, but if I am going to route out the body for pickups I might as well do a humbucker route and just make some fancy pickup covers instead; I will have far more options and if I wanna be fancy about it, I can do a humbucker-single-humbucker 3 pickup setup. I'll have plenty of room from the end of the fretboard to the bridge, that's for sure!


   
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WolframMalukker
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More work on this today. (And the Uke!)

I sanded the first 6 coats of clear coat on the Ukulele with some 800 grit, making sure NOT to cut through, and after a wash and tack-cloth, I shot another coat of clear and turned my attention to the Baritone.

I cut out a body template from 1/4" ply, and dug around and got a stick of sapele for the neck. I actually didn't have a piece of ebony long enough (BARELY short) so I found a section of rosewood on ebay. I think it's Indian rosewood, but it's not that important-it's pretty and hard and rings like a marimba bar.

ROcfZJe   Imgur

I then proceeded to turn my attention to the redwood top. It had a little edge damage on the sapwood edges, and they were very curly. I set up the jointer to take a tiny, tiny cut, and aligned both boards, and skimmed it off until the damage cleaned up. I used the masking-tape-and-spacers method, and glued the top together. The top is weighted down on the surface plate so it will stay nice and flat until the glue sets tomorrow.

I am definitely going to chamber the body. How much wall thickness should I make sure I have around the outer edge? I'm thinking 13mm minimum?


   
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Koendb
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tv101 was asking the same thing a few days ago [ here ]. The consensus was 10 mm thickness


   
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@wolframmalukker @koendb

tv101 was asking the same thing a few days ago[ here ]. The consensus was 10 mm thickness

The consensus may have been 10mm a few days ago, I reduced my current build to 7mm yesterday, it still looks thick enough though, thats in mahogany.


   
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WolframMalukker
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I am more concerned about glue joint area than I am side wall strength. My bridge and fretwire showed up today, so I got to ogle the guitar jewelry a bit this morning. (Schaller 3D-6 in gold)

Now, I know that I should be placing my bridge such that the saddle for High-E (in this case high A) string is positioned at the scale length. Since the scale is longer, do I need to make sure i have more wiggle room for adjustment or is enough enough?

This post was modified 1 year ago by WolframMalukker

   
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@wolframmalukker 

The consensus may have been 10mm a few days ago, I reduced my current build to 7mm yesterday, it still looks thick enough though, thats in mahogany.

I was wrong, best stick with your first thought of 13mm minimum.

20230207 160845

 


   
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Posted by: @robin

@wolframmalukker 

The consensus may have been 10mm a few days ago, I reduced my current build to 7mm yesterday, it still looks thick enough though, thats in mahogany.

I was wrong, best stick with your first thought of 13mm minimum.

-- attachment is not available --

 

 

Though that failure might have been due to the extra clamping pressure, rather than the normal stresses that a finished body would have to withstand?

 

 

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WolframMalukker
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Due to some other obligations, I haven't made it as far as I'd like to by now. I did get the top jointed and glued, and lightly sanded, but not thicknessed to what I want it to be yet. I did get the body blank thicknessed down to 1.5", so when I glue on the top it will be slightly thicker than 1.75" as the top is currently 0.312" before glue-up sanding.

I also did a lot of work on the routing template, then immediately slapped myself and asked why I didn't just draw it in CAD first. I have a 1m x .5m CNC routing table, and I teach CAD/CAM systems. Wake Up, Zeke, use your head and let a robot do it!

So now I am point-cloud modeling the final routing template and will be able to do some full-3D carves for the body cavities and the comfort carves. I plan to do a Fender style arm and belly carve, and I will gently bend the top down to glue up. (I will be using a vacuum bag glue-up method)

I think, that I will make my first attempt at binding on this one too. Since I can just tell the robot to cut the binding rebate, I can put the glued body back in the holding fixture to cut the rebate following the same contour as the top-hiding the glue line.

As to finishing...

I want to finish the body in a transparent nitrocellulose. I like the Gibson red-backed mahogany bodies, and I am pretty sure that'd done with a tinted lacquer over a stain? Gonna have to do some practice there, I think.

The aim is to finish the body in a reddish color that doesn't hide the redwood top, and fits with the gold hardware and fretwire.


   
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WolframMalukker
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Got a little work done on this this week, last week of school. Hopefully things continue going well, however I don't like the way the CNC software for the router does its toolpaths.

Turns out, the software will not allow a full finishing cut unless you choose 3D Adaptive, which is not anything like any other 3d toolpath that I'm familiar with..OK, so maybe that's just how woodworking stuff does its thing.

Watching the CNC do it's thing, I'm impressed by the initial roughing cuts, nice surface finish for a rough toolpath, everything's looking good. Then, the finish toolpath absolutely trashes all the vertical walls on the part, the neck pocket (that was specifically excluded from the finish toolpath!) is now 1/16" oversize and the vertical walls are notched irregularly.

To say I was unhappy is a bit of an understatement, but here we are.

IMG 20230523 111941
IMG 20230519 111321
IMG 20230519 153602

I ran the program again, on a leftover pine stair tread that was pulled from the trash. Same results, but the pine body has some big knot holes and screw holes.

That wasn't the only issue, either, as the Z-Zero setting is a bit screwy compared to the normal way of doing it on the CNC's I use in my shop, and that bit me in the butt too. Nothing super serious but the collet ended up coming into contact with the work at 18,000RPM and left a burn mark over about a 5" section, but it sanded out fine.

IMG 20230519 140848

   
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WolframMalukker
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Next up, I had already glued up the top, which you got a glimpse of up above this post.

IMG 20230523 112002

It's still thicker than I want, but it's pretty soft too so I'll have to find a way to protect it. And it needs to flex and glue down to the body, where the arm-carve is cut in. Damn the torpedos, I am going forward!

IMG 20230523 112800

The top is cut oversized by about 10mm, and I think if I sand the top back to 6mm, it will get me halfway to the needed flexibility to get the top glued on fully.

Now, you've noticed I haven't stuck with the Dynasonic pickups...let my guitar instructor convince me it wouldn't really matter, and to go with something easy to obtain and work with. So, the pickups have turned out to be a pair of humbuckers and a single Danelectro-style Lipstick in the middle. I used a "lipstick pickup in a Strat" bracket to mount the lipstick pickup from the top, instead of drilling through the body.

We'll see how things progress this week. I'm loving the look so far, but the neck pocket damage is concerning. I had hoped to do a Taylor-style single-bolt neck attachment but that's now completely out of the question, as I can't very well continue to enlarge the neck pocket.

I can glue in some shims on each side to bring the neck pocket back down to 2 1/8" but it still really irritates me that the toolpath generated did not match the simulated toolpath. Last time I ever allow that software to produce g-code for me...


   
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WolframMalukker
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Haven't had time to fool with this over the summer. Things have gotten away from me a bit but I now have 14 guitar pedal designs up through the engineering sample phase, 5 of them are production ready, and three are currently in production with definite release dates! Very exciting for me.

I am going to set up the body on the mill at work and straighten the neck pocket out. Once it's back square, if it's too oversize then I'll glue in the shims to get the sides back down to size, and then it's time to figure out the important part...

Do I want F-holes in this? Do I want to open up a a channel below the bridge, unifying both weight-reduction cavities?

Will the big empty plus the redwood top and an F-hole be extra cool, or just more faffing about with things I'm not good enough at to make really look great?

My first instincts here are no, just get the body straight, get the neck pocket correct, and be satisfied with the 27.25" scale and three pickups being weird enough.

 

(also I found my buffer and compound so I can finally finish the Tenor Scale Uke I started nearly two years ago!)

This post was modified 11 months ago 2 times by WolframMalukker

   
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