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Project by Chardt posted 03-23-2011 03:15 PM 1593 views 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been working on these guitars off and on for a while now, and with the arrival of our new baby, I was able to take 2 months off and stay home with her…during nap times I was able to get them finished.

The bass was finished about 2 years ago, but I put it in the pic to show all of the guitars I’ve made so far…here are the details.

Guitar1. (second from left) Spalted alder. Its a basic strat shape that I made as an archtop.I carved this by hand and scalloped the cutaways using rasps and files. It is to accentuate the scalloped fingerboard. It is finished with a diluted yellow dye and boiled linseed oil with 5 coats of clear shellac. The spalted alder is pretty soft, and sucks up the finish.

Guitar 2 (third from left) Is a neck thru body, with a ‘basic’ gibson SG shape. It’s made out of Purple heart. Its also an archtop, which makes it more comfortable for my playing style. I took a long time to make this guitar as perfect as I could. It turned out GREAT. I wired it with seymore duncan ‘Pearly Gates’ pickups and wired each to a Push/push pot for coil tap. It is very versatile, from bright clear sounds through a Fender twin, to blistering metal through a Marshal, to the classic rock of ZZ TOP and Doobie brothers through my tiny Electar tube amp..this guitar is a close second to my Les Paul Standard.

Guitar 3 (far right) This guitar is my attempt at a basic Fender Telecaster shape. It is again made out of Purple heart, and the interesting element is the hand hammered Copper pickguard. It is burnished with a propane torch to soften it and make it easier to work with, but also to add to the coloring. I used an old fender strat neck that fits it perfectly, and used 2 humbuckers wired with individual mini toggles.

I say all of the bodies are ‘basic’ shapes of other guitars because I shaped them all by hand, adding little characteristics that I thought made them unique and more playable.

Now that I have gained some experience with these, I am currently building my first ‘Flying V’ which will have a curly maple top and neck thru body design. It will be made of the spalted alder as well.

Hopefully this summer I will buy some stock of Mahogany and turn this hobby into a small custom shop as a side business.

thanks for looking, and feel free to shoot me mail with any questions.

-- When my wife ask's what I have to show for my wood working hobby, I just show her the splinters.





14 comments so far

View Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist's profile (online now)

Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist

5283 posts in 2063 days


#1 posted 03-23-2011 03:38 PM

Very nice guitars. you did a fantastic job . How is the weight on the purpleheart guitars? I know it is a heavy wood.

-- Each step of every Wood Art project I design and build is considered my masterpiece… because I want the finished product to reflect the quality and creativeness of my work

View tenontim's profile

tenontim

2131 posts in 2499 days


#2 posted 03-23-2011 03:57 PM

Nice job on these guitars. I’m with Greg on the weight, be quite a work out playing a gig with one of these. You must also have a custom made case for that bass. Look forward to your further creations. Thanks for the post.

View Chardt's profile

Chardt

169 posts in 2356 days


#3 posted 03-23-2011 04:09 PM

The Bass is really heavy, I use it for recording, so I’m sitting to play that one….but the SG is about the same as my Les Paul which is manageable, and the tele is not much heavier than a strat. The density and tone of the wood is really great for the sustain. They both just SING.

-- When my wife ask's what I have to show for my wood working hobby, I just show her the splinters.

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1585 posts in 2006 days


#4 posted 03-23-2011 04:50 PM

Great job on the guitars.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View Ripthorn's profile

Ripthorn

799 posts in 1739 days


#5 posted 03-23-2011 06:14 PM

Nice to see someone else here who makes guitars as a hobby (I know there are others, too). Did you build your own necks? I can’t tell from the pictures. I’ve built the same number you have, with three ongoing as we speak. It sure is fun, isn’t it?

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View Chardt's profile

Chardt

169 posts in 2356 days


#6 posted 03-23-2011 06:35 PM

I love making them. It started mainly as a way to customize my cheap guitars without spending a lot of money, then I embraced my inner cheapskate and decided it was better to make my own instead of paying $1000 for the guitars I wanted.

Ironically, the SG I made plays/sounds better than any of the Gibsons I’ve played…and at about 1/3 the price.

I hope the FLYING V turns out as well..then I’ll probably make a Firebird, and begin mix and matching sketches of other body styles as well.

-- When my wife ask's what I have to show for my wood working hobby, I just show her the splinters.

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2082 posts in 1587 days


#7 posted 03-23-2011 07:56 PM

That scalloped fingerboard is totally nuts. Love it.

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View Chardt's profile

Chardt

169 posts in 2356 days


#8 posted 03-23-2011 08:18 PM

It takes a light touch, but once you get used to it, it’s great. If you push too hard you bend the notes sharp, and it kills your calluses.

-- When my wife ask's what I have to show for my wood working hobby, I just show her the splinters.

View Schwieb's profile

Schwieb

1579 posts in 2216 days


#9 posted 03-24-2011 12:50 AM

Haven’t built any guitars but it is on my radar for this year. Do you care to make a suggestion on just where to begin delving into this? A book or other resource? My wife and son play, I don’t but I love the challenge of the woodworking aspect of making them and think my skills are good enough to tackle it.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Chardt's profile

Chardt

169 posts in 2356 days


#10 posted 03-24-2011 01:02 AM

I would start with online articles on guitar building…

For parts, (I would recommend BUYING a neck until you get good at making them) I would suggest Warmoth or Stew-mac…

the ‘gotchas’ are placing the bridge…so that the intonation is set correctly.. (it has to be exactly twice the distance from the nut to the 12th fret) ..then things like lining up the strings so they don’‘t hang over, or too close to the edge of the fretboard.

The rest is really a matter of preference, there are hundreds of guitar body designs…play around with it and don’t be afraid of making a mistake. ..(start with plywood or scrap pieces to get the hang of it).

-- When my wife ask's what I have to show for my wood working hobby, I just show her the splinters.

View Schwieb's profile

Schwieb

1579 posts in 2216 days


#11 posted 03-31-2011 12:27 PM

Thanks for the tips…........ Hope to post a finished project of one of these babies by the end of the year.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Richard's profile

Richard

1103 posts in 1445 days


#12 posted 04-09-2011 07:26 PM

Chardt, my neighobors son wants to build a guitar but he has no tools. I am willing to let him use mine (if I watch closely) but i am not sure I have what he is going to need for this project. What would you see as the min tools he will need?
I have 2 routers 1 in a table and 1 handheld, 12” sliding compound miter saw, 7 1/4” circular saw, 2 jig/saber saws, drills corded and cordless, sanders ROS and 1/4 sheet pad, a cheap set of chisels (they need to be sharpened or replaced with better ones) a couple of surform rasps. also the standard sets of drill bits bradpoint, spade and forstner and most of the marking and mesuring tools. Is there any thing else he might need that is more or less just for the guitars? His dad is willing to buy anything thats not to $$ heavy and let me keep it.

Thanks

View Chardt's profile

Chardt

169 posts in 2356 days


#13 posted 04-09-2011 07:51 PM

Hi Richard,

You have everything you need. Just remember to take your time. Sketch out the body shape with pencil, and cut the lines a little wide so you can carve down to it with rasps, and sanders. Even though I use hardboard templates that I’ve made for any guitars I’ve owned or worked on…I never stick strictly to that shape. I like the wood to dictate its own design..

Make sure the neck joint runs the length of the grain. It will help the resonance of the guitar.

For the pickup and control cavities, I hog out most of the material with a forstner bit then clean it up smooth with chisels…

Post pics of your progress, I’d love to see any new ideas as well.

thanks
-Carl

-- When my wife ask's what I have to show for my wood working hobby, I just show her the splinters.

View Richard's profile

Richard

1103 posts in 1445 days


#14 posted 04-09-2011 08:19 PM

Thanks Carl, I will post the progress if he decides to go thru with doing it. This will hopfuly be done by him since he is the one that plays and wants to make it. ( I can’t carry a tune in a bag) I will help with the basics of the woodworking but it should be his job to get it finished.
I have done some Google searchs for guides on making guitars but if you have any good links to some basic guides or maybe even a book (they do still make those don’t they LOL) that he could buy or find at the libray to help guide him along, that would be helpful as well.
Thanks for taking the time to help out on this.

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