Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #63654  by KWRummie
 Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:18 pm
I received a lot of help from many kind people on the site and wanted to post pix of my finished guitar. My plan was to stay under $1,000 but I probably went a little over that. The body is a mahogany core with a thin layer of maple and a pau ferro top from Warmoth. I was looking for a stoptail but was able to get a deal on this one and have been quite happy with it. The wood was a big concern of mine because I thought that the mahogany may be too warm. I think it works nice with the neck.
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The neck is from Doug at Soulmate Guitars and is probably my favorite part of the guitar. It’s flame maple with a layer of padouk in the middle and two thin layers of wenge. The fretboard is ebony with abalone markers, stainless steel frets and a 14” radius. On the headstock, I told Doug that I liked the Les Paul style but wanted a curve on the top, similar to Irwin’s, rather than the “open book” top. Here's a picture from when I received it.
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The pup’s are three Super II’s running through a Waldo buffer and I have the OBEL. I can’t say enough about the buffer and all the schematics Waldo did. Terrific guy! The electronics were done exactly as he indicated. I had never picked up a soldering iron prior to wiring in his buffer. I plugged it in, expecting that I would have to fix a few things, and she played perfectly.
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The hardware is mix of gold from StewMac and brass from Jack-of-Roses.

Where I saved money: Bolt on neck instead of neck-through or set, not quite the body and bridge I wanted, no cocobolo top, some gold hardware instead of brass, no inlays, Grover tuners instead of Schaller locking and doing the work myself.

She plays and sounds excellent! Thanks to all those who helped me out.
 #63677  by jdsmodulus
 Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:04 am
Very nice this is something I would like to do as well! There are a lot of really nice tiger clones out there but I just dont see spending the money that these boutique builders get. Great guitar! Great job!
 #63678  by waldo041
 Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:35 am
NICE WORK! :cool:

glad you like the preamp and schem!

 #63680  by Crazy 9.5 Fingers
 Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:51 am
yeah, great job and great lookin' axe as well.

Nothing like the satisfaction of playing an axe you built. I am guessing here btw. I built a Pinewood Derby car in cub scouts once that was so slow it actually went up the track.
 #63719  by KWRummie
 Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:17 pm
Thanks!!! The neck is nice to play.

I did get a lot of satisfaction out of building it myself, though I didn't go to the extreme of making the body and neck myself. I just don’t have the equipment. Surprisingly, the thing that gave me the most grief was cutting the control routs. I had Warmoth spray the finish on because of the humidity where I’m at. When I drilled the first hole, the finish all around it lifted up. I found out I needed some special bits and, even with them, it was a very delicate job. You learn as you go.

I’ve sworn off ever building another, but I’m getting the itch again.
 #64327  by DeadHeadFred
 Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:35 pm
Nice, I'd always looked at those warmoths and been tempted, you might of just sold me.

Did you get everything in the warmoth back rout? You've got your controls & jacks mapped out right where they should be. Thats how I would want it. It would be nice to just let warmoth do all the big routs & finish it, just let my luthier cut the potholes for me, but I'd just order the body if and have it done at home to not sacrifice having things where I want 'em, know what I mean?

Neck is gorgeous too, by the way.

Makes me want to try to get a hold of that Nalls guy right now....
 #64336  by KWRummie
 Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:42 am
The necks at Warmoth are very good, but I’d still go with Doug at He is pretty easy to work with and encourages people to be creative in their design. You can pick out the layers of wood, create you own headstock shape, get a custom radius on the neck, etc. I also had him put a slight V shape on the back of the neck and abalone dot markers, at no additional cost.

I didn’t have Warmoth cut any of the control routs. I ended up putting the 5-way switch exactly where they would have, because of how the wood extends out to attach the cover plate and the deeper rout required. Be careful, I had a bit of an issue with them on the cost of finishing. They tried to tack on a $50 upcharge because it was an exotic wood. It took some phone calls, but I got them to waive the charge since it wasn’t listed anywhere on their website and didn’t come up on the checkout.

If you have Warmoth create the body from scratch, rather than pick one from stock, you can tell them not to cut anything for the bridge if you’re going to go with the Jack-of-Roses hardware. (Put your order in with him on the brass right away!) If you want to go with three humbuckers, they’re offering a “Nalls Mod” for $65 which puts them closer together. I didn’t do this since he had a pickup ring to fit the regular spacing.

Good luck and have fun! :smile: