Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #132149  by davepannell23
 Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:11 am
Amazing that I've never been to this forum! Just found it this morning, even though I've been coming to rukind for many years just for tabs/chords. A lot of you folks blew my mind! I lost quite a few hours this morning checking out all the builds and mods and questions and setups...just everything. Cool place! Almost serendipitous actually, because I was out here in the shop, having just taken off the clamps on my new headstock and neck thru build.

I made this about 6 years ago. Birdseye maple bookmatch top, and 3pc birdseye back. It has a music man maple neck. Neck pickup when this was taken was a hot rail humbucker? I think? Middle and bridge are super II's. Only difference now is I'm running whatever the bridge pickup was from an old music man in the neck position because it gave me way more clarity for slide playing. Each is coil tapped now, all with dpdt switches, the 5 way is standard i guess, 1=neck, 2=neck+middle, 3=middle, 4=middle+bridge, 5=bridge. Master volume, middle knob is for middle tone, and bottom knob is neck/bridge tone. I even have a kill switch in it now lol. No buffer though.

I'm in the process of replacing it though. Not sure why tonights pics are fuzzy, but I'll make sure they're clearer as I go. This headstock is from some leftover mahogany from some custom exterior doors I made for a customer last year.(I do carpentry and woodwork for a living) Still needs some final planing to make it just right. I accidentally knocked a chunk off this morning, but no foul cause it's waste wood right there anyway. Neck is curly maple with a black cherry middle. Going to reuse the walnut pickup ring and electronics from my current guitar, but I'm putting in some new tuners and a new bridge. I'll probably make a figured walnut veneer to glue on top of this headstock. The round spot on the the top is going to hold a bleached white hickory sphere that I'm turning on the lathe. I'm using it in place of a signature or logo inlay, more like a signature in itself, not sure I've ever seen one like that yet.

The body wings are easily the densest, most tonal black walnut I have ever run across. This wood was dredged up from the bottom of the local Coosa River almost 80 years ago, and has been curing in log form, indoors ever since. I've just been milling it myself as I need it. Super dark, and extremely hard. These are a little shy of 1 1/2" thick. The completed body will be 1 3/4" thick.

And the body cap is pretty much wolf shaped, except I pointed the upper horn to match the lower. This is a much softer wood, bookmatched spalted sycamore which I milled a few years ago. It grew across the street from my parents house until the water board cleared the way for new lines. Back in the 80's, one of my brother's friends from school lost control of his truck and slammed into this tree, which wound up being fatal. So, I made it a point to rescue nearly every bit it. I've made many many cool things with it, bowls, cabinets, boxes, and whatever else I could think of. And it should be pretty nice for this guitar imo! (the boards are laying at angles in this pic, making the gap look big. I just have them laying on the section of neck that I have to route down the same thickness as these pieces so they sit flush with the bottom of the fretboard) No neck angle on this one either.

And finally, I'm building a couple of neck through's to sell. I only have one of them cut and glued tho. It has the same wolfish design as the other one I'm building. The neck and the body are both 7 layers, curly maple, walnut with mahogany centers. I've got my new ebony fretboard blank that just came in today laying on it :-) I haven't bought any of the parts for this one though. It might take a long time now since my work has slowed down and both my kids are in high school lol.

and a side view of the body

Sorry so long! Had a lot to share for a first post tho. This def seems like the place to do it tho lol. Hope yall enjoy the process as much as I will!
 #132155  by TI4-1009
 Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:19 am
davepannell23 wrote:Amazing that I've never been to this forum! Just found it this morning, even though I've been coming to rukind for many years just for tabs/chords.
Welcome! Same here, I had been hitting the site for years for tabs, then I discovered the discussion board.

Make yourself at home. Nice wood.
 #132263  by Griffyote
 Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:00 am
Nice builds going on there. I'm just amazed how many Deadheads are building their own stuff! There's some great knowledge sharing going on here taking some of us to the next level.
 #132327  by davepannell23
 Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:26 pm
Thanks, yeah i'm starting to get a little excited about the spalted one. Years ago I wished for a wolf or tiger replica, but as time went on I started wanting something that just kind of "tipped the hat" to Irwins designs. I don't much like copying others work, but expanding upon their ideas and taking it in new directions.

I "was" going to use the rosewood fretboard from my current guitar for the spalted axe, but it cracked as i was taking it off the neck :? So now I guess I'll just have to use that ebony blank for my own guitar 8)

Just trued up one edge, and printed up a 24 fret paper template. About to break out my can of spray adhesive and apply the template. Hopefully I'll be able to stay awake long enough to mark the fret slots with a knife and cut them! All this fretboard will have as far as inlays go, will be some side dots. (so far) Maybe down the road I'll put some on in between string changes or something.

I truly cannot wait for this one to be done, especially since I don't have an electric while I'm building it!
 #132380  by davepannell23
 Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:11 pm
The fretboard and the body wings aren't glued on yet. The saw marks on the neck and the knot type thing on the left walnut board will be covered up by the sycamore. The backs are just good straight grain.


And I left enough wood for a modest volute under the headstock because Cripe's volute on the bolt is just cool imo.


Progress Progress! Lots of shaping and sanding to do before i start gluing it all together, for sure.
 #132412  by KCJones
 Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:02 am
Fantastic work man! Can't wait to see the progress.

Safety first! ... Never a good idea to wear jewelry in any kind of shop, especially big loose fitting. Hate to see you lose your ability to chord that beautiful fret board.

 #132542  by davepannell23
 Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:08 pm
Decided on a curly maple headstock veneer. Well, not really a veneer but I cut it to maybe an 1/8th on the table saw and ran it thru my lathe powered thickness sander. And, I just finished making the "truss rod adjustment access cavity cover plate" :roll: It's some seldom used local wood, sumac. This picture doesn't do it justic with it's metallic shiny greens and yellows and oranges and browns. The grain really compliments the shape though! (or is it the other way around?)


And no, the fretboard isn't glued on yet, but that is what I'm about to do now!Then I can do the final shaping of the body around the bottom edge of the fretboard and glue on all the body woods. Really looking forward to that part!

Thanks for checking it out!

 #133450  by davepannell23
 Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:42 pm
A little more progress...

My mentor and good friend gave me some mango he brought back with him from hawaii about fifteen years ago. I think it was just a cabinet door he had. I cut it in half and then bookmatched each half. Beautiful wood! I'm using the one on the left for a different guitar. I decided against the sycamore for now, and have used the piece of mango on the right for the top of this guitar.

This is it today, with the clamps freshly taken off. Needs lots of cleanup and sanding.

Good glue line

Next step is to route the pickup and control cavities!
 #133541  by furguscustom
 Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:06 pm
I think the Mango top is absolutely stunning. great choice. as for all the other choices I am sure you could make guitars with them and have no problem selling them.
Awesome work. I will be following your thread for sure.
 #133799  by davepannell23
 Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:58 pm
Made a curly maple pickup ring that visually ties the headstock to the body, since it has a curly maple veneer. And here's my relatively simple bridge. I just routed out the pickup cavities last night, and will route the control cavity tonight.


And thanks for the compliment on my choices! While I love doug irwin's guitars more than any other guitars I've ever seen, I'm not trying to recreate them by any means. My other woodwork is mostly lathe work which i then carve into organic shapes, and any of the shelving, desks, and doors I do are always rounded and organic with an emphasis on different wood combos. With these new guitars I'm building, I'm trying to "tip the hat" at Irwin's designs, while creating something totally new and one of a kind, with design elements and wood combinations that hopefully compliment Irwin's designs. Actually, despite how ornate his guitars were with their inlays and brass parts, I'm leaning heavily towards a minimalist approach and using different woods for all the various plates and parts and knobs. But yeah, if someone orders a custom, I'll do whatever they want within reason lol.