Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fretboard removal pt. 2

With a sharper tool the process is going much faster:

After only an hour of work with the knife and the iron, the fingerboard is off the neck. It came off pretty nicely in one piece, so its perfectly good for putting on some other guitar in the future.

I can now mark the outline for the first cut on the ebony board that will be used for this guitar. Once I'm finished with using that board as a fret slotting template for other fingerboard blanks, I will start shaping it for this guitar.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Body Works

Time to work on the body. The first thing is to fill the middle pickup hole. I shaped a wooden block, made a hole for the wires from the neck pickup, glued it in, and finally glued some maple veneer on top (ended up a little too deep). Here it is after quick sanding:

The surface was prepared for glue (and later lacquer) by wetsanding with P1500 sandpaper:

Ok, time to start doing irreversible things to the puzzle - before gluing it on I need to trim the pieces here and there. Generally I want to keep the "puzzle" look and not trim the pieces to follow the guitar lines, but in some parts it makes sense to cut off a small piece. Once I'm done with this for the central section I can move on to gluing them on.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fretboard removal pt. 1

Time to move forward! For this task I'm using a tutorial found on the projectguitar site. The idea is to heat of the fingerboard with a household iron in order to loosen the glue holding the fingerboard to the neck. Like this:

This is supposed to require a lot of time and patience. Ok, lets give it a shot. Most of the time is consumed by waiting fot the steam to heat the wood the glue joint. Let's see if I can do this while working on my laptop in parallel.

Ha! Its really working!
Or I'm just cutting wood... hard to tell, but the first millimeters are lifting.

Ok, this is where I got after ~2 hours. 6 frets are off. Enough for today.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Ok, this wasn't a surprise.

The rosewood "neck-body connecting strip".

Some weird plastic 5-way switch that I will thankfully get rid of.

Time to transfer the puzzle. This guitar turned out to have a slightly larger body than the other one, which is a nice surprise - more of the photo will fit now.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Meet the future Mrs. CMS Guitar

I ended up finally not getting the Washburn. I was looking for it in a bunch of music shops in Warsaw when I stumbled upon some cheap but decent looking guitars by a company called Lâg. I took one for a spin and after spending about 20 minutes with it I decided that it plays and sounds pretty good for the price and I decided to take it. Here it is:

A nice red superstrat. I found the specifications online later - see here. So this is a basswood body guitar, with the usual maple/rosewood neck and fingerboard (including a thin piece of rosewood fitted in the body-neck joint. Some observations:

The headstock is unfortunately flat, not angled. So a "string tree" is needed to keep the string pressure on the nut. I don't like these things, they make tuning the instrument a mess. Thank God there is only one. I might swap it for a Graph-tech if I can't leave with it.
The tuning keys feel like plastic, we'll see how they hold up. The nut is supposed to be graphite, but I will probably be replacing it anyway along with the fingerboard.

The bridge is a simple 6-screw one-sided tremolo. I don't think I'll feel a strong need to replace it with some sort of fixed bridge so I will probably just block it and keep it as it is.

The pickup configuration is the one I wanted originally - a humbucker and two single-coils. The middle single-coil will go, making room for the center of the CMS detector in the photograph. I will probably keep the stock pickups, they don't sound bad at all.

The 5-position pickup switch will also have to go. Its taking way too much space. I will probably replace the tone knob with a 3-way switch. This anyway makes sense as there will be only two pickups in the end.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Meet the fingerboard

This little piece of ebony will be the fingerboard for the guitar:

I need the fretboard to be ebony because its not going to be a standard fretboard - 2/3 of it will be... fretless. This is not a configuration that I can achieve in a simple way with an already finished (and fretted) neck, plus chances of getting a decent guitar with ebony fretboard for little money are basically zero.
So I decided that I will make a completely new fretboard for this guitar, out of a pre-made blank (with fret slots already made). This means that I will need to remove the fretboard one from the guitar, which is bound to be fun.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

8 TeV collsions in CMS

Today in CMS we're celebrating first collisions at 8 TeV - the highest energy ever. This is the beginning of the 2012 data-taking run of the LHC collider. Take a look at the short video clip announcing this.

I better get to work on the guitar so that its ready when we discover some new particle ;-). With this new energy we're really expecting to see something new this year.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

hmm... Washburn?

Rain came to the Geneva area so my testing board is out on the balcony enjoying the varying weather conditions (undergoing stress-testing that is).

Me - I'm looking around for some relatively cheap guitar that will become the body of this new instrument. Looking at price/quality I think the Washburn RX12 might be a good choice, I will check one out and see how they play. If it's good I might avoid having to search for a used instrument.

I'm liking the string-thru body bridge, it should allow me to keep a lot of the artwork in that region. The pickups are 2x humbuckers unfortunately (there is a HSS version called RX10, but with a tremolo bridge), I'll see what to do with this. Maybe I'll keep it like that, or I'll try to mod it to have a single coil in the neck position.. we'll see.