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Andyjr1515

Psilos Phoenix Dreadnought Acoustic

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Posted (edited)

Hi

I've got a full build on the horizon but have been catching up on a few bits and pieces - some for other folk and some on my own guitars and basses.

As part of that, one thing I do periodically, is remind myself what wood or unused components I have taking up space and which generally irritate MrsAndyjr1515.  Although that is one of the few great pleasures left in life, actually I do need to clear some space for the next load of mess I have planned :)

And I came across something I'd forgotten about - @TheGreek 's first Psilos neck

Some of you might remember that originally the hidden magnetic pickup was going to be a standard humbucker.  I did a mockup and it looked fine. Trouble was, because it was going to be inserted from the back, then it basically cut right through the neck core:

_MG_1432.thumb.JPG.fea81315b0a2a10a325cb5ebb6fb093a.JPG

Now, in reality - because there would be the fretboard at the other side - this isn't actually much different to what a deep pickup rout does to a through-neck in any case.  But this shot was, admittedly, a bit stark!  And Mick asked me if we could re-think.  That's when the idea of custom individual coils came up...which is what we went for in the end:

_MG_1643.thumb.JPG.cefe2b08186fb382226b6c1627d2c39f.JPG 

But that meant making another full length neck and left me with the shorter neck number 1.

 

 

Look familiar?

_MG_8607.thumb.JPG.11d2b042f18c1e0aa3ca44c16204f5e8.JPG

_MG_8611.thumb.JPG.a36068a3bcfd6db7d56f0f268a85fb8e.JPG

_MG_8614.thumb.JPG.ef7069876fb4b7e9734c07ba4588ba77.JPG

 

The reasoning for building another Dreadnought acoustic will be explained anon.  But that's what I'm going to use the old Psilos neck blank for :)

 

 

Edited by Andyjr1515
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Waste not...

Looking forward to the next build thread..

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If I accidentally dropped a set of fret markers at your place I reckon you'd build a bass around them!

Irrepressible.

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OK - so why another Dreadnought Acoustic?

Couple of reasons.

A pro-player I know has been borrowing a number of my bass and guitar builds over the past 5-6 weeks to use in some videos he is recording.  I'll post the links when they are done but he is planning to acknowledge me as the maker for...nothing at all!    Based on that he has done a number of the demo videos for both Laney amps and Faith acoustic guitars, I class that as a bit of an honour!

Secondly, and flattery gets folks everywhere with me ;)   , my dreadnought acoustic has caused a bit of a sensation:

_MG_6513.thumb.JPG.719f02f928967571bc7dd8599c00a8ec.JPG

The tone had been remarked on before, but since then I changed to a mixed set of strings - 1st two are from a 10 gauge set and the other four are from an 11 gauge set.  And WOW!  Honestly, it sounds stunning.

And he thinks so too!   And so do his pupils!  And he keeps on going on about how good it sounds.

So...is it luck?  Well, the original one I built for our band's vocalist is still going strong and sounds pretty close.  So...hmmm...try for a hat-trick?

 

And then I had a (admittedly) rare bright idea.  A bottle of wine doesn't seem to do justice to half a dozen professional videos of my instruments being played.  And he is primarily an acoustic player...

So if I make this new one to his preferred spec (I know he prefers a slightly narrower neck)?  And if it's as good mine, it's his.  And if it's not quite, then mine above is his (I can reshape the neck easily enough) and the new one is mine.

And "played by pro-players" wouldn't be a bad strap-line ;)

Sounds like a plan to me.  What could possibly go wrong?  :)

 

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1 hour ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Sounds like a plan to me.  What could possibly go wrong?

image.png.f691d2c3c20a5d3d3aed7d05a5e13aea.png

Cool.

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I have a Black Limba back and sides set on order and this week will order the top and fretboard wood :)

The only further actual progress is cutting the rough shape for the headstock:

_MG_8628.thumb.JPG.d77876e0834c0066b0623afb018847c0.JPG

 

...bookmatch cutting some headstock and soundhole rosette plates from some remaining offcut of @scrumpymike 's mate's Mervin walnut: 

_MG_8617.thumb.JPG.4f4b487d25bfa0ed7ee47dee5f06463d.JPG

 

The rosette will be offset like the last one:

_MG_8622.thumb.JPG.9afbfac469a7131786385503796137a6.JPG

And I will be putting both a headstock top plate and back plate on this one:

Top:

_MG_8624.thumb.JPG.a51bfc2a4aa6dd5046c1fc9c1b3863bc.JPG

 

Back:

_MG_8626.thumb.JPG.9ef9335174ae9ac1c89c2633bcba0785.JPG

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I'm loving how @scrumpymike's mate's walnut is finding its way into some stunning instruments.  Talk about your mojo.  That's truly spiritual.

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The tooth, the whole tooth, nothing but the tooth..

_MG_8617.thumb.JPG.4f4b487d25bfa0ed7ee47dee5f06463d.JPG

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Posted (edited)

And the back and sides set has arrived from Germany.   Black Limba - beautifully presented and reasonable delivery by Schroter Edelholz.  Not expensive either :)

_MG_8630.thumb.JPG.78c12d2ccae675bdb8879d90be3909bb.JPG

The outside faces are good enough to use directly, so just a case of bringing the thickness down from the supplied 3.5mm to the finish thickness which can all be done from the back faces (out of sight! ;) )

 Should be able to start that this weekend :)

 

Edited by Andyjr1515
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Thicknessed the back and sides down to just under 2mm and straightened up the back join lines before gluing and clamping:

_MG_8634.thumb.JPG.7cca74658f55e06c9eb50a2191d8f532.JPG

 

Here it is ready to be cleaned up once the glue has fully set.  The shape outline, by the way, is the suppliers - mine will have straight shoulders and be just a touch wider at the lower bout:

_MG_8635.thumb.JPG.d1da7278ce52b3803145caa73f8ff6c2.JPG

 

Next job is to find my side-bending mould and draw up the side shapes before cutting them to shape and starting the bending.  It would be nice to be able to start bending this weekend :)

 

 

 

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For reasons related to geometry, the taper between the front and back depths of the two sides are not linear.  You rarely see examples of the shape the sides need to be, but this is a good illustration, with all due acknowledgements to Georgia Luthier Supplies:

sidetemplate.jpg.0cde17e7f2e79e4c13deeda02c08484c.jpg

This is how it will sit in the mould - with the bottom, flat face actually the guitar top:

_MG_8640.thumb.JPG.2caf888fe583abd7539d1ff4df739803.JPG

 

And the two sides cut to approximate shape - they will be sanded to the final shape in the radius dish when I get to that bit:

_MG_8638.thumb.JPG.8aa24a67b4a61de1c021246aed9ccd7e.JPG

 

So, all being well. the bending starts in the morning :)  Listen out for the cracking noises...

 

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4 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

The shape outline, by the way, is the suppliers - mine will have straight shoulders and be just a touch wider at the lower bout

...and it will be drawn in a more manly shade of pink, say, light purple.

4 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

It would be nice to be able to start bending this weekend

That's a phrase that's best said with one's back against a wall when in mixed company.

Facetiousness aside; that's some lovely looking material you've got to work with.  Good luck with the build!

 

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Posted (edited)

It's Saturday morning - and Saturday is when the bending is going to start :)

So first thing is clamping the bending iron securely to the bench:

_MG_8645.thumb.JPG.93d5f7b1b7e9473b8712e4d8e97d6311.JPG

 

And let the bend begin:

_MG_8644.thumb.JPG.64fea78d78903eb5d0d21af2b13f3569.JPG

 

The bending experience was the best yet (although there's still time for me to c**k it up!), probably for a few reasons:

  • I think Black Limba is one of the more forgiving woods for bending
  • I got this properly thin enough.  I reckon - although it doesn't want to be any thinner IMHO than 1.8mm - it needs to be thinner than 2mm to bend the sides comfortably.  These sides are pretty consistently 1.9mm
  • The supplier's instructions that came with the bending iron - whose dial goes to 6 and then High -  says, basically, "Don't go above 3 or 4 or you will burn the elements out".  My experience is that "if you don't go above 4 then it really, really, really ain't going to bend!".  Forgive me for a little cynicism, but I suspect the supplier is muddling repair-claim exposure  with fit-for-purpose objectives ;)
  • This is the fourth acoustic I've tried - I'm beginning to get a feel of how hard to press to avoid splits or cracks

And, in well less than an hour:

_MG_8649.thumb.JPG.fa2a2df4af9630a373f0a0a2ae5bd2ae.JPG

 

I will leave this side clamped until fully dry before I release the clamps.  It probably won't hold all of its form, but should only require some small re-bending work to do so

Probably will bend the other side tomorrow.

Andy

Edited by Andyjr1515
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The first side dried pretty quickly so I bent the second side.  No splits! Minor miracle!! :D

_MG_8652.thumb.JPG.28a9c6f1cae1e158c8d3b6784cd1c1a1.JPG

 

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This build is a bit of a background job.

Just finished @TheGreek 's Nanyo save and just about to start some interesting stuff for @wwcringe but, while we are verifying the spec and ordering parts, etc, I've done a couple of small jobs on this.

The head and tail blocks have been cut, the top kerfing has been glued and the back kerfing is in progress:

_MG_8916.thumb.JPG.5be8957e215ce97a5cff4934ff2a5b2f.JPG

The kerfing and blocks are set just proud of the sides so that they can be sanded at an angle to make the appropriate contact with the dished back and top when they get glued.  My blank for the tailstock was a little short and so I will cap that with a piece of mahogany sheet to raise it a few mm to the correct height.

I have 'tidied' my 25' radius dish and my Go-bar rig somewhere so will have to find those soon.

In the meantime, Matt - the pro player I mentioned before - has agreed to my deal, that is, if this sounds as good as the one of mine he's been using on his videos (getting close to being uploaded), then I'll give him this one as a thanks for featuring my builds.  And if it turns out that the one he's been using sounds better, then I'll reshape the neck to his preference and he can keep that one :)

 

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The kerfing is now fitted on the back and the top faces of the sides and the back has been cut to outline.

This is with the back slightly dampened - this will be close to the final colour once the finish has been applied:_MG_8926.thumb.JPG.5b709d71a33b17bc2d6a9a7197a0e6d8.JPG

 

_MG_8935.thumb.JPG.6f9f713e332cec28b3eb394e4c93ed89.JPG

 

Next job will be carving the back braces and gluing those onto the back in the 15' radius dish when I get a moment :)

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