Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #14906  by China Cat
 Sun Apr 08, 2007 4:24 pm
Since Winter '06 i have actively been building a custom electric. I used a design completely of my own that i drew up a while ago. I figured if i'm doing this myself, i want the design to be all mine. Anyway, the basics of my construction are:

-Double cutaway US Black Walnut Body (cut from my own back yard 10+ years back)
-Stewart MacDonald Strat Neck
-Gotoh 6-in-;ine tuners
-Hipshot Non-trem strat style bridge, which is really heavy and is hopefully gonna give to some great sustain
-Seymour Duncan SM3 Seymourized Mini Humbuckers
-StewMac wiring material, pots, jack, etc
-Allparts Ferrules, knobs, which are also black walnut and look awesome, and pickup surrounds
 #14920  by waveformfreq
 Mon Apr 09, 2007 12:13 am
I built a lap steel over summer '06 with my father. You are definitely saving yourself a lot of work (especially with a non-lap guitar) by buying a prebuilt neck, although the precision work for measuring and sawing the frets can be enjoyable. The Stewart-Mac fret mitre box and saw worked a charm. I don't like how the pearl inlays came out on mine though, might drill them out and replace them in the future.

The electronics can be tricky, especially if you are like me and not too good with a soldering iron. My lap steel is very quiet (compared to other guitars in the same amp) and I suspect it is leaking signal to ground, although it sounds OK. Another thing to redo in the future.

You didn't mention what you are doing for a nut. I had a little trouble with this on my lap.

pictures of my lap steel at:

 #14921  by waveformfreq
 Mon Apr 09, 2007 12:17 am
forgot to mention, that's awesome you have some local black walnut. The second most awesome part (after finally plugging in the finished product) is seeing what the grain/figuring looked like after running the wood through the planer. What are you thinking about for a finish? If you have a nice grain pattern it's worth it to go with just a light stain and then clear coat to let the natural beauty show.

 #14924  by gr8fulbluz
 Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:55 am
Wowzie !! Sounds super sweet. I luv the look of black walnut. I too have been pondering the thought of creating a guitar. I have also toyed with the idea of a Violin Kit from stewmac and taking 'fiddle' lessons, nuting serious more of an attempt to break out of a rut in my guitar playing :-?

I have decided to make it a strat style 3 single coils with a birdeye fretboard, but that is as far as I have gotten :-)

 #14927  by China Cat
 Mon Apr 09, 2007 7:46 am
the nut came already installed in the StewMac neck, and is very well done. for a finish, i am doing exactly what you said, a light stain then a clear coat

 #14930  by waldo041
 Mon Apr 09, 2007 9:25 am
I went with a mahogany warmoth wgd body, with custom pickup routs. i also used him for the custom brass. i only had warmoth index the bridge. i had them rout the 5 way and control cavity also. i went with a paddle handle carvin neck, and carved my own headstock. i also replaced the nut with a bone one for now. eventually i will go brass there. i did everything else myself to include the electronics and finish. if i ever build another one i would have someone else do the finish, because that took me the longest to learn. it really took a awhile to get the stain and finish just right, and i feel that a more accomplished luthier could have done a far superior job.

i love it and it sounds grate,imho!

kudo's on the mission to build your own. patience is the key! it took me about two years to get all the parts and pieces put together. the result was well worth the effort.




 #14941  by Pigpen
 Mon Apr 09, 2007 3:06 pm
what does it take to build a guitar? or even with warmoth premade body and neck? im very interested in it and if anyone can reccomend a book or site or your knowledge on it that would be great

 #14944  by China Cat
 Mon Apr 09, 2007 3:32 pm
Book I'm using is Make Your Own Electric Guitar (2nd Edition), by Melvin Hiscock, a British luthier. It is good, since he teaches you by building guitars himself, and you see everything. He builds 3 different types of guitars including a bass in this book.