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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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The tops of most 'flat top' acoustic guitars are dished at around 25' radius.  The backs vary, but are also dished usually to around 15' radius.  

So all of the braces have to be curved to suit, and then the back and top forced into shape while gluing those braces and thus hold the dish-shape.

For this, you need a couple of radius dishes and - most of us use - a simple go-bar rig

 

The radius dish I use is just a 20mm thick piece of MDF suitably scooped out.  This is the 15' radius one for the back.  The four maple back braces have been shaped to suit their relative positions on the disc and also shaped roughly parabolic, leaving the tops flat:

_MG_8940.thumb.JPG.c1739beaa62074500c7d6c7090d4b99a.JPG

 

The go-bar deck is just two stiff boards separated by threaded rods and wink nuts:

_MG_8941.thumb.JPG.83e5953326f73fa2218e237077b9b3af.JPG

 

Basically, a combination of dowel rods and fibreglass rods will be used to force everything into the dish.

First I use the pretty stiff dowels to press the back fully into the dish:

_MG_8946.thumb.JPG.dd1c3d46dbff1ca42b5c28ab39112cf5.JPG

 

And now, progressively glue the braces into position, again using them to force the back sheet into the dish  and therefore help it hold the curve when it's all dry:

_MG_8949.thumb.JPG.89c4521ba107adc8d08f5496823f0cd4.JPG

This is why I left the tops of the braces flat!

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This is a bit of a background job but I've made a little more progress.

The top will be dished to a 25 foot radius - so I use a 25' radius dish as a former.  The top struts, including the all-important X-brace, are cut out in profile and then the bottoms radiused to match their positions in the dish:

_MG_8973.thumb.JPG.6246c065b5021298a144e01e62d7eae9.JPG

Again, I will leave these flat-topped until they have been glued to the top, holding that in its 25' radius shape.

Meanwhile, the AAA spruce top (lovely bit of wood from David Dyke) has been thicknessed down to 3.25mm and then is being glued between a trio of sash clamps, with the joint being held flat by a couple of flat cauls placed and clamped either side of the joint:

_MG_9029.thumb.JPG.6ab23005742bfa1bc861f833c4a8a970.JPG

When it is fully set, I will use a cabinet scraper to even the joint and to bring the final thickness of the whole sheet down to 3mm.

The back, meanwhile, has had its centre cross-grain maple reinforcement added and is holding the 15 foot spherical radius nicely and is now ready for the final shaping of the struts:

_MG_8975.thumb.JPG.a0deec1f077719ca0fdae4ecf51f8fc0.JPG

One thing on the back that has developed is a split along one of the grain lines.  I've checked the sides (same wood) and they are OK, so I'll probably stitch it for good measure and just slurry-fill it when I do the finishing.  Structurally, it can't go anywhere because of the bracing and the back doesn't really contribute to the tone of an acoustic so I don't think it will affect the performance.  The alternative would be to scrap the back AND sides (they always come matched from the same piece of wood) and that would be a bit too OCD ;)

 

 

 

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For the last dreadnought I did, I did an offset rosette which I wanted to try again.  This was the last one:

_MG_6478.thumb.JPG.9a94f6c360e75b1ac8570988e21f8630.JPG

 

This time, I took a note of the measurements!  You never know - there maybe a next time!

_MG_9030.thumb.JPG.d474534585ea9eec912483ab24d5cc66.JPG

 

I'd got three plates I could use, so cut out the shape and tried them to see which figuring worked best:

_MG_9032.thumb.JPG.886cd18f181fc4eab4feb6ac88e78519.JPG

 

Then out with the Dremel.  This is about the only job I do with this accessory but by golly it's useful!

_MG_9034.thumb.JPG.b7a6d31d9427c0f221ff9b96d37e94eb.JPG

 

Then it's a case of measuring correctly and remembering which hole you are supposed to be pivoting around!

_MG_9035.thumb.JPG.9acabee54b5eb63f5bfbb90d37b410f3.JPG

 

With luck, you end up with this:

_MG_9036.thumb.JPG.c1d3cfc7ae8e9a517d64bb9e1c4d1e7e.JPG

 

Which gives me the rosette.

Of course - I've got to rout the same shape in the expensive top wood next...hmmm and that needs to be accurate!

 

 

 

_MG_9037.JPG

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Just when I thought your skills were already amazing, you go and up the ante...😲

 

Absolutely superb workmanship Andy, and as usual, great pics to back it all up ;) 

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Next is fitting the rosette to the top.

To avoid measuring errors, I used the original cutout as a template for the Dremel radius cutter holes:

_MG_9043.thumb.JPG.b0d274a51dad0be0d34a13e84d3d4d3b.JPG

 

Then, with lots of double checking,  replicating the cuts - remembering to allow where applicable for the width of the cutter:

_MG_9045.thumb.JPG.52cd9e42d4bc97452ab1ab5ca9ee50ee.JPG

 

I checked the fit of the two outer rings and then did a further series of cuts to hog out the middle bit and cleaned up with a chisel:

_MG_9051.thumb.JPG.9d22de34e11a0a2c07fe594ca034fd0a.JPG

_MG_9056.thumb.JPG.1232081bdd5625fd3b4e490f4a2760b4.JPG

 

Then glued and clamped:

_MG_9058.thumb.JPG.a201f8db8d58cdbe64e8aa4fe4a358f8.JPG

 

When that's dry, I will scrape level and then add some purfling strips.

 

But first, I have to meet @wwcringe at Derby station to pass back a very nice Talman he asked me to soup up and tart up a bit :)

_MG_9018.thumb.JPG.e33f92291cca5dcd14dd2e2feb3f65a9.JPG

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18 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Next is fitting the rosette to the top.

To avoid measuring errors, I used the original cutout as a template for the Dremel radius cutter holes:

_MG_9043.thumb.JPG.b0d274a51dad0be0d34a13e84d3d4d3b.JPG

 

Then, with lots of double checking,  replicating the cuts - remembering to allow where applicable for the width of the cutter:

_MG_9045.thumb.JPG.52cd9e42d4bc97452ab1ab5ca9ee50ee.JPG

 

I checked the fit of the two outer rings and then did a further series of cuts to hog out the middle bit and cleaned up with a chisel:

_MG_9051.thumb.JPG.9d22de34e11a0a2c07fe594ca034fd0a.JPG

_MG_9056.thumb.JPG.1232081bdd5625fd3b4e490f4a2760b4.JPG

 

Then glued and clamped:

_MG_9058.thumb.JPG.a201f8db8d58cdbe64e8aa4fe4a358f8.JPG

 

When that's dry, I will scrape level and then add some purfling strips.

 

But first, I have to meet @wwcringe at Derby station to pass back a very nice Talman he asked me to soup up and tart up a bit :)

_MG_9018.thumb.JPG.e33f92291cca5dcd14dd2e2feb3f65a9.JPG

3 pickups, win!

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So two of the Swifts have flown away??

_MG_9018.thumb.JPG.e33f92291cca5dcd14dd2e2feb3f65a9.JPG

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, TheGreek said:

So two of the Swifts have flown away??

_MG_9018.thumb.JPG.e33f92291cca5dcd14dd2e2feb3f65a9.JPG

Yup - global warming...  ;)                     (actually, not so far off the truth - I reckon this year the number of swifts  is 2/3rds lower than pretty much every of the past 35 years.  Bit of a concern...)

 

In terms of the one swift, I've replicated what Tom had on a couple of Ibanez's I did some work on a few years ago.  Just picked up another one for the same treatment so, fear not, there will be plenty of swifts around at his place :)

By the way, @TheGreek - recognise the headstock veneer?  :)

 

 

Edited by Andyjr1515

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