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Andyjr1515

Tom's African Build 2

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You're showing an inquiring mind Richard, ever considered becoming a guitar/bass builder? Your thought about extending the "tongue" of a neck further into the body is used by a number of bass builders and companies, allowing for a more secure joint and usually 6 instead of 4 neck screws. Over the years I've tried a few different neck mounting methods, but I must admit Andy's idea of using a biscuit joint is a real light bulb moment. The incredible strength provided where even a relatively thin piece of wood joins two close fitting surfaces is surprising, which is why dowel plugs in joints are so effective.

Don't you just love this forum for the brilliant ideas and great advice so readily given and shared?

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16 minutes ago, durhamboy said:

You're showing an inquiring mind Richard, ever considered becoming a guitar/bass builder?

Thank you for the compliment. I used to be a physicist and engineer before I moved to the dark side of IT. I definitely want to build a bass or basses, and have quite a few ideas about what I want it to look like and sound like. I also have the two most important items designed - the headstock shape and the brand/logo to go on it.  (I have some very, very, long conference calls in my job) 😄 


However I absolutely want to learn to play properly first, and also to play different types of guitar so I understand what sounds like what. 

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@GarethFlatlands piece of panga panga arrived today and what a lovely piece of wood!  I think he hand picked it for me out of the 5 pieces he has.  Many, many thanks, Gareth :)

And the bathroom's finished

And the loft insulation is done

And so I can now spend some quality time on this little (?) project :party:

 

I'll take a shot of the panga panga when the light is back in the morning :)

 

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Panga panga sounds like one of Berlusconi's parties, or something Mad Boris would say describing an indigenous population...

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11 minutes ago, Richard R said:

I've just looked up panga panga. Sounds like it's really hard to work with. The bit about "splits easily which causes splinters which tend to go septic" is a bit scary! 

https://www.wood-database.com/panga-panga/

Or is this just excessive caution in the warning?

Pretty much the same as wenge - on both counts. 

So yes - not the easiest to use but should be OK.  We'll find out soon ;)

 

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@GarethFlatlands donated panga panga, David Dyke sourced maple neck and Tom's African drumwood body...doesn't get much better than this for complimentary colour tones  :)  :

xofFbDGh.jpg

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17 hours ago, Richard R said:

I've just looked up panga panga. Sounds like it's really hard to work with. The bit about "splits easily which causes splinters which tend to go septic" is a bit scary! 

https://www.wood-database.com/panga-panga/

Or is this just excessive caution in the warning?

 

I've done a rough cut of a fretboard (well, a fingerboard; it's for a fretless) with another of the panga panga boards yesterday and didn't have any real problems with it. It didn't cut as cleanly as the maple for the neck but I found a comfortable speed in terms of the jigsaw that minimised splitting, although there was still some points where small flake-like splits occured.

However, it wasn't an issue as it was at the edges which will be radiused off anyway. The septic part was a bit worring as I caught a sharp edge holding the board for a rough sand, but I'll update you all if I die from it.

Also, looking good Andy! It reminds me of a sunset for reasons I can't really explain.

Edited by GarethFlatlands
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1 hour ago, GarethFlatlands said:

Also, looking good Andy! It reminds me of a sunset for reasons I can't really explain.

Actually, me too.  We have a small print of a painting in one of our rooms that has a sea-horizon at sunset and it was the first thing I thought of when I took the board out of its packaging :)

 

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1 hour ago, GarethFlatlands said:

I'll update you all if I die from it.

Could you get your next-of-kin to do it, I don't believe in ghosts 😉

Really enjoying this so far,  its going to look fantastic!!

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Andy, any comments I make are those of a total amateur with no training in anything useful, like engineering or physics.  But this is an really interesting build so thought I'd chip in....

First off most guitar necks are frankly over-engineered. I've put one of my (standard Fender size) necks betweens bricks and completely failed to break it despite jumping up and down. Not even close.  No movement at all.  And I agree with wood inserts.  I always use them and they are absolutely rock solid. 

I also love the design, it's really ingenious, I shall almost certainly steal it in the future (with credit of course). 

But.....I just have a bit of an uneasy feeling about the neck wood that lies between the body/neck join and the 'ramp'.  I can understand the logic to a biscuit, and I'm sure it's adds some strength, but I wonder whether it adds some risk as well.  Once under string tension I think the biscuit is going to be pushing on the back of the ramp of the flush heel joint.  And at that point the neck wood is probably 5mm thick (ie directly above the biscuit). 

Two thoughts.  First, do you want to think about grain direction of that wood.  Maple can be amazing stable until you apply force down grain lines, at which point it can split into wafers very happily. 

Second, would a neck plate that crossed the body/neck join provide more strength to the join, without leaving a weak point that I think the biscuit may introduce.  Or maybe use both?  

Just thinking out loud.....

Edited by honza992
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3 hours ago, Richard R said:

Could you get your next-of-kin to do it, I don't believe in ghosts 😉

Really enjoying this so far,  its going to look fantastic!!

I've left instructions with the cat. If someone called Mr Wilson gives you any bad news, that's him.

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51 minutes ago, honza992 said:

Andy, any comments I make are those of a total amateur with no training in anything useful, like engineering or physics.  But this is an really interesting build so thought I'd chip in....

First off most guitar necks are frankly over-engineered. I've put one of my (standard Fender size) necks betweens bricks and completely failed to break it despite jumping up and down. Not even close.  No movement at all.  And I agree with wood inserts.  I always use them and they are absolutely rock solid. 

I also love the design, it's really ingenious, I shall almost certainly steal it in the future (with credit of course). 

But.....I just have a bit of an uneasy feeling about the neck wood that lies between the body/neck join and the 'ramp'.  I can understand the logic to a biscuit, and I'm sure it's adds some strength, but I wonder whether it adds some risk as well.  Once under string tension I think the biscuit is going to be pushing on the back of the ramp of the flush heel joint.  And at that point the neck wood is probably 5mm thick (ie directly above the biscuit). 

Two thoughts.  First, do you want to think about grain direction of that wood.  Maple can be amazing stable until you apply force down grain lines, at which point it can split into wafers very happily. 

Second, would a neck plate that crossed the body/neck join provide more strength to the join, without leaving a weak point that I think the biscuit may introduce.  Or maybe use both?  

Just thinking out loud.....

Hi, John

Yes - I fully take your point.  I'll do a quick sketch tomorrow but yes, the 'normal' way (ie conventional wisdom) is, as someone earlier inferred, to make the part of the neck tenon that extends into the body the bottom half, not the top half.  So almost like a through neck except it finishes a couple of inches in.  That way, the heel of the neck supports the transition and you don't get those particular stress points.

But it would then mean that my machine screw inserts would be inserted into the African drum wood.  And I have no idea of its properties except I DO know that it is hard and brittle.  The advantage of having the maple tenon at the top is that the African wood, is only under compression - between the maple tenon and the heel plate - and it will be immensely strong in that configuration, with or without a biscuit 'slot'.  The inserts, under tension, will be in rock maple - and I know that is strong enough.  So the only risk is that the maple delaminates between the heel carve and the neck length.  I think that is very unlikely and I can moderate that by increasing the transition from neck thickness to heel/body thickness.

While I haven't fully committed to which way yet, I still favour the one as drawn.  I keep coming back to the fact that @eude 's 6 stringer bass neck was the most solid bolt-on neck joint I can remember ever doing, despite the fact that it had the tension of the extra two strings and was less than 3/4 of the thickness of most.

Then again...I might be completely wrong xD

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41 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Hi, John

Yes - I fully take your point.  I'll do a quick sketch tomorrow but yes, the 'normal' way (ie conventional wisdom) is, as someone earlier inferred, to make the part of the neck tenon that extends into the body the bottom half, not the top half.  So almost like a through neck except it finishes a couple of inches in.  That way, the heel of the neck supports the transition and you don't get those particular stress points.

But it would then mean that my machine screw inserts would be inserted into the African drum wood.  And I have no idea of its properties except I DO know that it is hard and brittle.  The advantage of having the maple tenon at the top is that the African wood, is only under compression - between the maple tenon and the heel plate - and it will be immensely strong in that configuration, with or without a biscuit 'slot'.  The inserts, under tension, will be in rock maple - and I know that is strong enough.  So the only risk is that the maple delaminates between the heel carve and the neck length.  I think that is very unlikely and I can moderate that by increasing the transition from neck thickness to heel/body thickness.

While I haven't fully committed to which way yet, I still favour the one as drawn.  I keep coming back to the fact that @eude 's 6 stringer bass neck was the most solid bolt-on neck joint I can remember ever doing, despite the fact that it had the tension of the extra two strings and was less than 3/4 of the thickness of most.

Then again...I might be completely wrong xD

It's a fantastic neck joint. The whole neck's not shifted a jot since its arrival over a year ago, so it's been through everything an Edwardian house in London can throw at it, silly damp cold in the winter through to silly heat in the summer without even needing adjustment.

The low B is fantastic on it too, given the shorter scale, the neck and the neck joint are playing big parts in that.

I don't know why more people don't try this kind of neck joint out...

Eude

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10 hours ago, eude said:

I don't know why more people don't try this kind of neck joint out...

Eude

Probably because they've seen some of my other builds xD

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1 hour ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Probably because they've seen some of my other builds xD

Well you brought my build back from the dead into something absolutely playable and why beyond what I'd ever hoped for, something I'll be forever grateful for!

Eude

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Have continued to be a bit distracted by home jobs (latest being Storm Ciara which dumped a months worth of rain down our chimneys, swamping the cooker extractor fan that blew the electrics to the cooker and everything around it...that was fun ;) )

BUT

finally got round to updating the drawing with a 33" to 31" multiscale just to see how extreme it looked.  Looks OK to me (clearly, the headstock will need to shift a touch to the right):

6q81Rq5l.jpg

 

Being a bit of a 'bitsa' build, I dug out a couple of pickups that might do OK.  Pretty sure they are both Artec Alnico V's - a standard bridge humbucker and a neck mini-humbucker.  Hard coupled could be interesting...

Jw5dXCql.jpg

I'll talk to Tom and see what he thinks.

So I think I'm getting close to cutting some wood...

Edited by Andyjr1515

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Spent most of the day on the fretboard.

First job was to plane the sides straight and level.  Panga panga really is very wenge-like  :

d5JORSKl.jpg

 

There is a mystique about multi-scales but the only complicated bit (unless you have some VERY fancy kit) is that you have to cut the frets the 'old fashioned' way - that is, with a perpendicular block, some clamps and a fret saw.  This is because at the angles you need to get to, you generally can't use a standard carpenters or luthier mitre-block.

Basically, you mark out the fret positions of the longer scale at one side of the board, mark up the fret positions of the shorter scale on the other side of the board and just cut your slots between each pair of marks :)

So first I stick a long steel rule to the fretboard with 2-sided tape, and use the Stewmac calculator to give me each position relative to the nut and then press a tiny indent into the board with a sharp-ended punch:

gl17kO5l.jpg

I then reposition the rule to the other side of the board, inset it by an inch and repeat using the fret spacings of the smaller scale

Next, I clamp a perpendicular block with it's square face lining up with each pair of indents, ensuring that the sawblade, when pressed against the block face EXACTLY bisects each indent:

X5DzjZol.jpg

I start off the slot gently, holding the saw blade against the wood block.  Once I have the start of a slot - enough to hold the blade in position, I can be a bit more energetic.

The perpendicular block has been cut to a height so that the spine of my saw rides along it once I've reached the depth of slot I'm planning to go to:

euXkWtGl.jpg

Then I unclamp, move the fretboard forward, align the block between the next pair of indents, reclamp and repeat. Three done, 21 to do :)

rZ4SgWgl.jpg

 

And continue until they are all done!

9z105Yhl.jpg

And by the magic of mathematics, if the fret positions either side are correct, then the fret positions of anywhere across the fretboard are going to be correct, whether that is 4 strings, 5 strings or 6 ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks to @Si600 I can't take it seriously very time you mention Panga Panga...

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44 minutes ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Thanks to @Si600 I can't take it seriously very time you mention Panga Panga...

I do my best :hi:

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I always agonise over investments in tools and facilities, but having decided that hand radiusing hardwood fretboards is the road to insanity, I built myself a radiusing jig a few years ago.  

While it worked well, it was a bit inconsistent and quite difficult to setup.  So last year I bit the bullet and went for the G&W (Guitar & Woods) unit with a couple of extra radii formers.  And boy, am I glad I did!  It does the job quickly and efficiently - but more to the point, accurately.
aY8GN3Ll.jpg



Took 30-40 minutes total to get the router out, tape the fretboard with 2-sided taped to the jig, set the router to the correct height and do the job.  Then 10 minutes of finish sanding with a sanding block to get rid of the router lines, a quick initial wipe with tru-oil and here we are:
QYha49zl.jpg

o1wToQ9l.jpg




Not sure how well it comes out in the photos, but while being very wenge-like, the panga panga has some orange in it which is perfect to tone with the body wood.

I'll check with Tom what nut width he wants, cut the taper and then I can start on the neck. :)

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How do you know how deep to cut the fret slots? Once the board is radiused isn't the middle bit of the board now cut too deeply if the sides are correct?

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