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> The Scalloped Neck Chronicles, Maybe not Chronicles, but fun :P
MattE
post Jun 16 2008, 11:24 PM
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Good day GMC Musicians! smile.gif

Today was quite a day. I finally received my scalloped neck in the mail today;





but came to a grim realization...
The neck was perfectly scalloped, exactly to my specifications, however the woodworker I sent the neck to forgot to:
1)Correctly cut the tuner holes for the string tuners (there is a small locking bar that requires a tiny hole)
2)The frets themselves were not sanded down
3)The string trees were not drilled in
4)The neck was not pre-drilled to be screwed onto the body as originally planned

A minor drawback, so I decided to document the 5 hours it took me to get this neck clean, outfitted, and ready to play :]


I did not use a wide array of tools for this project, all I really needed was:
A set of Phillips-head screwdrivers
one adjustable clamp (for the tuners)
a power-drill
a hammer
a pair of needle-nose pliers
a pencil
a steady hand
and A LOT of patience



Who says you need a lot of fancy tools to work with guitars? ;]
The first order of business was to get the guitar sanded down. I used three sheets of 220 grit sandpaper and carefully sanded top to bottom the headstock, individual frets, and the sides of the guitar (they were very splintery)

Approx. section time: 20 minutes

The second item on the agenda was to get the tuners in. As you can see from the picture below, right next to the pre-drilled tuner hole I needed a very tiny hole. The tuners had some kind of a bar that was used in place of a screw to hold the tuner in place (i.e. keep it from freely rotating in the hole)
So the first thing I did was lined up each tuner in the hole and pressed down hard enough to make a small indention in the wood, a reference point for where the small hole should go
First I took a very thin nail and pounded it down, very slowly and carefully, into the reference point. Afterwards I used the power drill with a very small drill bit (hence the nail, my first drill bit snapped trying to break the wood surface)




Approx. section time: 2 hours (It took a great deal of brainstorming ^__^)

Even with the drilling and hammering, the tuners refused to slide into place. To remedy this, I took an ordinary adjustable clamp, positioned the tuner, then tightened the clamp slowly until the tuner was forced down into the correct position



Repeat and redo for the rest of the tuners smile.gif

Approx. section time: 40 minutes (The clamp did not always want to work wink.gif )

After the tuners were installed, the next things to add were the string trees. This required a lot of precision and accuracy, as they needed to be perfectly placed for the strings. Using an old tape measure and the old neck I had on the guitar as a reference point, I used a very thin-leaded pencil to make access points, then grabbed my trusty drill with the thin drill bit and drilled the holes into the headstock. From there I simply placed the string trees carefully into the drill points, replaced the drill bit, and began to drill the trees down. Easy enough no? :]




Approx. section time: 10 minutes


The next thing to do was to get the neck drilled to be attached to the neck. This gave me a lot of grief as I was very nervous about drilling too quickly and splitting the neck (then it would be $150 down the drain sad.gif )
The access points were made by actually positioning the neck in the neck pocket and very carefully drilling the original screws until contact was made. Afterwards, the screws were pulled back a bit, the neck was removed, drill bit replaced, and holes were drilled. Only what space was needed was added smile.gif
Finally, the neck was set in, screws drilled down, and the neck was finally done!



Approx. section time: 20 minutes

The final order of business was to string up the guitar and get to playing!
Although this step would be much harder than I anticipated.
The adjustable bridge clamps (the little stands with the adjustable screws that the strings sit on) somehow managed to screw up as far as how they sat on the bridge. The stringing process was easy enough after the clamps were set to the proper height and screwed back in

Approx. section time: 30 minutes

And that's it! Hope you enjoyed this little adventure smile.gif

-MattE


Forgot to add my critique!

Initial playing was a lot easier than I anticipated. The feel of the neck was amazing, even compared to my Ibanez ARX320 neck, which was my main guitar. The original rumor I heard about difficult chords was quickly dispelled, as I found no issue at all. I also, suprisingly, noticed a 20 bpm speed difference! Could this be practice, or the neck? (I'm banking on practice, but at first I was shocked and thought it to be the neck tongue.gif)

Anything else you would like to know, just ask!

See you all around,
-MattE
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jun 16 2008, 11:30 PM
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Cool man, nice to see that you managed to work your way out of the problem yourself. COngratulations on you new neck. smile.gif


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Nick325
post Jun 16 2008, 11:54 PM
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nice job on fixing the problem
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Praetorian
post Jun 17 2008, 01:38 AM
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Awesome! I am curious to see what you think of the scalloped neck. I have always wanted to try playing one. I have never seen one in person.


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MattE
post Jun 17 2008, 03:54 AM
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@Praetorian: I personally like it. It's much easier on vibrato and legato, and really teaches you to only press as hard as you need to. The actual scallop is very important, as if you go too deep, you could destroy the tunality (as it was described to me tongue.gif)

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Praetorian
post Jun 17 2008, 04:03 AM
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QUOTE (MattE @ Jun 16 2008, 10:54 PM) *
@Praetorian: I personally like it. It's much easier on vibrato and legato, and really teaches you to only press as hard as you need to. The actual scallop is very important, as if you go too deep, you could destroy the tunality (as it was described to me tongue.gif)


Cool! I'd love to try one!


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Nick325
post Jun 17 2008, 04:08 AM
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wait why did u sand down the frets? were they too high?
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Marcus Lavendell
post Jun 17 2008, 08:43 AM
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That's a beautiful neck! biggrin.gif
Great job fixing the problems Matt!


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jun 17 2008, 09:24 AM
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Congrats on a job well done Matt! It was quite a luther adventure smile.gif


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-Zion-
post Jun 17 2008, 09:33 AM
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great work

I didn't even know such a neck existed. how cool is that. now i want to try one. haha

btw.. if you sanded the neck, shouldn't you protect it by putting on a coat of finish??
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Trond Vold
post Jun 17 2008, 11:01 AM
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Nice job smile.gif Looks great


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Danilo Capezzuto
post Jun 17 2008, 11:58 AM
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Great work, and congrats for the new awesome neck!


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kaznie_NL
post Jun 17 2008, 04:55 PM
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Nice Chronicle biggrin.gif Thanks for sharing!!


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MattE
post Jun 18 2008, 05:16 AM
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Thank you all! biggrin.gif

@Nick325: No, the frets themselves were extremely rough. My buddy who did the actual scalloping forgot to smooth them out laugh.gif

@-Zion-: I did, actually not too long after doing the sanding. It slipped my mind at first, and a few hours after writing this post I said to myself "DOH! The finish!" laugh.gif
I was scatter-brained from being so excited biggrin.gif
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AIB234
post Jun 18 2008, 05:25 AM
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That's pretty wicked!

Not just the neck, but the handy work you had to put into it!

I wonder if this would be a good neck to beginner to start out on so they quickly learn about excess pressure and muscle tension?


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somecrazyguy09
post Jun 18 2008, 06:13 AM
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i've never played a scalloped neck before, but now i really want to. i think i'll go to guitar center tomorrow and see if they might have one i can try.
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MattE
post Jun 19 2008, 04:22 AM
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@AIB234: For a beginner, I'm not really sure. I've had a good number of years behind me, and I also have a much easier time adapting to new things than others, so a scalloped neck for me was an almost instantaneous switch. However, I believe that if a beginner were to learn on a scalloped neck, they would probably learn to control their pressure on strings a lot quicker than one on an unscalloped neck. It is also a very nice neck for legato and vibrato, however I have the feeling that if said beginner were to switch from a scalloped neck to an unscalloped neck, they may find the vibrato a bit harder. I trained myself on an unscalloped neck with custom made .15-.72 strings (they were massive laugh.gif ) and when I made the switch, vibrato felt like I was pushing on feathers. (I also downgraded to .10 strings biggrin.gif)

I know that is a lot of opinionated feedback, hope it helps smile.gif

@somecrazyguy09: They are amazing! I dont think I have ever seen one in a guitar store though sad.gif But if you find one it's quite an experience biggrin.gif
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Nemanja Filipovi...
post Jun 19 2008, 01:35 PM
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Looks great,job well done,thanks for the pic's and the guiding trough text for this job.smile.gif


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jacmoe
post Jun 19 2008, 02:08 PM
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QUOTE (MattE @ Jun 19 2008, 04:22 AM) *
@somecrazyguy09: They are amazing! I dont think I have ever seen one in a guitar store though sad.gif But if you find one it's quite an experience biggrin.gif

I saw one yesterday. An Yngwie Strat.
Did not try it, because I wouldn't want to ruin my purchase of my Ibanez RG350EX. biggrin.gif


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Gerardo Siere
post Jun 23 2008, 02:59 AM
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Thanks for sharing, I hope some day I have some neck like that.


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