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> Building A Guitar
matt r
post Jun 3 2009, 03:13 AM
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Hey everyone

I've decided to build a guitar, I've been looking it into lately and I came to the conclusion that there are a multitude of different configurations when it comes to ordering the parts. I honestly have very little experience as well as knowledge with regards to building the guitar and ordering its parts. But i do know that i really want to do it and i know what kind of sound i want!

I have A Strat, so i want to create something along the lines of a Les Paul or A Schecter, something a bit on the other side of the spectrum, i definitely want humbuckers . My brother (Fatb0t) has both, I really like the way the Les paul sounds and I like the way the Shecter plays so a combination of both would be awesome.

I plan on ordering the body and neck off warmoth.com, probably an ash musiclander body for extra sustain. I'm not sure if i want to get wood on wood and i think i want to ebony or maple neck. I'm not a fan of how the rosewood feels. I've looked into pickups and i haven't really narrowed anything down because there is such a wide variety of reviews for each.

So with that in mind i was wondering if anyone would have some suggestions on what to order and why. I also have a few questions if anyone would care enough to answer

Does the shape of the body effect the tone? Do active pickups change the signal to digital? and also what bridge, nobs, switches, and pickups to get (and whatever i missed)
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sted
post Jun 3 2009, 09:14 AM
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Never built a guitar mate but heres a few of my opinions on your questions:

Hardware: dont scrimp here, quality hardware will give you good sustain, better intonation and tuning stability, cheap hardware will just drive you nuts. Try Gotoh, hipshot or wilkinson as a starter. Also for a Les Paul style you would probably want to opt for a tune-o-matic bridge and tailpiece, this is probable the easiest to adjust action and for restringing, obviously if you want a trem you will have to try other configurations but these can make the build a lot more complicated and expensive.

Woods: The choice of wood for the build can be critical, for humbuckers the traditional route to compliment these would be a mahogany body and neck, think along the lines of the SG, a maple cap will add definition to the tone which is great but not entirely necessary. Certainly the more wood in the body the more sustain as a rule of thumb, but this can add a lot of weight so consider a chambered body too. Other woods can be great, alder, ash etc all have great tonal qualities, even Korina (Which is close tonally to mahogany) which is stunning in natural finish.

Pickups: Very emotive area this! My personal preference is for for passive pickups which show the the characteristics of the guitar, the high output pickups decrease and overwhelm this in my opinion. Yo ucan basically have any output you like and there are some very good PAF type humbuckers on the market which ould be my choice, bear in mind with active pickups you will have to change a 9v battery so make your compartment easy to access.
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AdamB
post Jun 3 2009, 12:16 PM
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Does the shape of the body effect the tone?
Yes, but it's very hard to say whether one body shape makes a good or bad tone, it's subjective.

Do active pickups change the signal to digital?
No, active pickups are entirely analogue, they usually either boost the signal or boost particular frequencies of the signal. Usually guitars come with passive tone control (the tone knobs on the guitar). These are just frequency cut controls, as you can't boost a frequency without a power source to get the neccessary energy to boost from. Active pickups have active tone control that allows frequencies to be boosted as well as cut, but it requires power (a 9V battery usually). I think usually it also boosts the entire output level, basically acting like a pre-amp to just give you more signal level to play with.

and also what bridge, nobs, switches, and pickups to get (and whatever i missed)

Entirely depends on taste. Each different bridge etc. has pros and cons, but in the end it depends on what you like.

Getting custom work done can be very stresful, but it's worth it if you approach it in the right mindset. At some point, something will go wrong trying to get everything built, but that's part of the point of making a custom guitar - dealing with things when they go wrong to learn about the instrument. Probably it'll be something small like needing to adjust the output jack routing or something to fit the jack you want so don't worry, just bare in mind it's usually more work than you think it is. Definantly do it though, it really helps you understand how your instrument works and can be very rewarding.
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matt r
post Jun 3 2009, 10:02 PM
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thanks for the feedback
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