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Andyjr1515

Finished Pics! To the dark side Build One - Alembic-esque Electric

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[quote name='honza992' timestamp='1507575918' post='3386491']


Andy, rather than adopt the elegant approach that Simnett Guitars takes, I decided I would try sticking two lumps of mdf onto my radius block with double sided tape...et voila:
[url="https://ibb.co/hOWVJw"][/url]
Very ugly, but really made a huge difference.

Just in case you haven't come across them.....on the subject of radius blocks, the one I've got is from a site called G&W ([url="https://guitarsandwoods.com/"]https://guitarsandwoods.com/[/url]). To me it looks exactly the same as the stupidly, ridulously, outrageously expensive Stewmac ones, but is a third of the price - £41.10 against £113.54. I only ever use 12" radii, so buying one wasn't too much of a problem. I highly recommend them.
[/quote]
Hi, honza992
Yes - G&W are good. In fact, I and 'Prostheta' from the Project Guitar forum are helping Carlos the owner with a set up and usage guide for their mitre block. Again, great price compared with Stewmac and very responsive customer service :)

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After multiple checks and rechecks of angles and positions and flatness and line-ups, I've got the fretboard ready to glue:


Note the positioning pins. These are essential because the board otherwise floats on the glue while clamping, making accurate positioning impossible.


Presently, it is in the cellar, glued clamped up with cauls and 10 heavy-duty G clamps!

Edited by Andyjr1515

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[quote name='Meddle' timestamp='1507933885' post='3388954']
The outline reminds me of Jerry Garcia's 'Wolf' guitar:


[/quote]

Yes - there are some of the typical Alembic features on this (for those not in the know, Doug Irwin, who made the above Wolf and four (?) other customs for Jerry Garcia, also worked for Alembic although I don't think the Wolf was ever classed as an Alembic guitar).

The actual Alembic that I've based my build on is the beauty below:


Alembics - I think always? - have the through-neck showing at the top as well as the back, their oval fretmarkers are registered trademarks and they all have the very recognisable headstock.

What I will be trying to do, while keeping it firmly out of clone territory, is to give a passing and respectful nod to a great brand and that very '80 s vibe while nevertheless keeping it in more modern territory in other respects.

Well - that's the plan, anyway :D Still plenty of time and opportunity for it to end up as very fancy BBQ kindling...

Edited by Andyjr1515

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:lol:

Well, onto the neck carve.

As always, folks, this is how I do it and not necessarily how it should be done :rolleyes:

First I made a plasticard template from Tim's profile measurements then got out my preferred tools:

spokeshave for roughing out


Cabinet scraper for the main carve:


and fine micro-plne blade for the hard to get places:



First task is that I get the thickness right - lots of checks to make sure there is no possibility of carving through into the truss-rod channel! Once there, I use chalk to make sure I don't inadvertently thin the spine any more:



Then I basically creep up on it, checking frequently progress with the plasticard template. Because I am using the scraper, there is little chance of one overly deep cut wrecking it:



The basic profile is now getting there:



Tomorrow I'll spend as long again just on the heel and volute and then finish off the total length, more by feel than measurement... :)

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The good thing about shaping necks the way I do is that you get a great opportunity for plenty of air-guitar playing!

Once I've got to the basic dimensions and shape, I basically scrape-a-bit then play-a-bit.

The heel is now starting to get there:


After finalising the basic transition of neck thickness to body thickness, I will be extending the carve of the lower cutout to carve into the neck itself. Once that's done, I'll then lose the 'edge' presently still there between the body area of the neck and the heel area of the neck.

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I've agreed the headstock shape with Tim. He favoured a 3-a-side configuration but wanted straight string runs.

I've tried to pitch it somewhere between the two extremes of the 'long-thin-Ibanez-SR-bass' vibe and the 'short-triangular-wolfgang-EVH-electric' vibe. Forgive the skewiff placement - it won't be in real life :


I also managed to cut another sliver of the camphor laurel for the headstock plate:


For such holey wood, it's remarkably stable...

The snout will have a carved cutout exposing the neck laminations similar to Pete's piccolo bass build:

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While I make progress on the headstock, I'm continuing to creep up on the heel carve. I need to flatten the neck depth taper at the upper frets a touch and remove the lumps, bumps and sharp edges, but this is the direction I'm heading in:


Although, from the front view, there is a fairly standard cutaway on the lower horn, this extra carving at the back makes a big, big difference to the feel at the upper frets by removing the wood that normally presses against the side of your hand.

Next job is adding a couple of wings to the headstock and glueing on the headstock plate

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[quote name='BassTool' timestamp='1508410285' post='3391972']
Stunning work B)

You Sir, are a genius ;)
[/quote]
And You Sir, are very kind :)

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Still got to be finish-shaped, including slimming down a couple of mm at the nut, but this is broadly how the headstock will be looking:

Edited by Andyjr1515

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I like the way it looks amongst the plain soft furnishings. Please don't take that as an opinion on your choice of home decor, you've seen my hovel. On its own I was finding the burl a bit busy, I hope you'll forgive me for saying. I wouldn't judge it on that alone however. Also, the hardware will make the whole thing gel.

It's a belter!

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[quote name='SpondonBassed' timestamp='1508420550' post='3392078']
I like the way it looks amongst the plain soft furnishings. Please don't take that as an opinion on your choice of home decor, you've seen my hovel. On its own I was finding the burl a bit busy, I hope you'll forgive me for saying. I wouldn't judge it on that alone however. Also, the hardware will make the whole thing gel.

It's a belter!
[/quote]
I know exactly what you mean, John. Sometimes I don't post full bass body shots at this stage because there are times when all projects actually look positively naff! :D

I have the advantage of knowing in my head what it's going to look like at the end of the journey :)

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The neck carve is pretty much complete. Bit of a tweak to do on the volute but ready now to get the blighter fretted :D

Here's how the back is starting to look:


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[quote name='TheGreek' timestamp='1508431090' post='3392172']
Nice curves...reminiscent of the AJR Swifts.
[/quote]
Well...I thought that too when I saw how it came out ;)

I'd like to say it was intentional...but that would be a big fib :)

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And onto the fretting.

The ebony fretboard has that very interesting figuring all the way through it which should show through once it's been finish sanded. Less good, and probably linked, is that it is VERY brittle. And to the point that my normal method of fixing the frets isn't going to work.

Instead, using a radius block, G clamp and packer, I've rigged up a DIY press/caul method:


It's very slow but seems to have worked fine so far:



Because of the time to allow the titebond to set enough, it's taken most of the day to get this far. I've stopped at the convenient point where I'm going to need to change the clamp arrangement as the neck deepens towards the body. Time for a beer, I reckon... :D

The bridge is fitted and a couple of strings put in, by the way because this is no time to find unplanned alignment surprises!

Edited by Andyjr1515

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[quote name='Andyjr1515' timestamp='1508428640' post='3392150']
The neck carve is pretty much complete. Bit of a tweak to do on the volute but ready now to get the blighter fretted :D

Here's how the back is starting to look:



[/quote]

It looks so smooth!

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And the frets are in :)




The fret-ends were pre-dressed on the bass side and now trimmed on the treble side ready for those to be rounded too. I'm going for spherical ends to give maximum usable playing width.

Tuners are on order - I won't drill for them until I have them physically in my sticky mitts!

After that there are just two or three small jobs to do before I can start the final sand and finishing process. Probably be able to start that on Wednesday :D

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[quote name='Andyjr1515' timestamp='1508769682' post='3394283']
And the frets are in :)




The fret-ends were pre-dressed on the bass side and now trimmed on the treble side ready for those to be rounded too. I'm going for spherical ends to give maximum usable playing width.

Tuners are on order - I won't drill for them until I have them physically in my sticky mitts!

After that there are just two or three small jobs to do before I can start the final sand and finishing process. Probably be able to start that on Wednesday :D
[/quote]

I'd love to see what files etc you are using to get fully-rounded ends on your frets. My attempt to make the Pitbull feel like my B2A in that regard was close but no banana.

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[quote name='SpondonBassed' timestamp='1508774320' post='3394320']
I'd love to see what files etc you are using to get fully-rounded ends on your frets. My attempt to make the Pitbull feel like my B2A in that regard was close but no banana.
[/quote]
Not terribly sure I'd get a banana either :)

For what it's worth, I use a fine flat needlenose and also a triangular one where I've ground one of the apexes smooth. With the flat blade I round it from the fret through 90 deg to the fretboard edge and then with the triangular one, with the smooth edge in the corner between the fret-end and the fretboard wood first take off the sharp edge on one side and then round to the fret apex, then the same on the other side. If any of that makes any sense!

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