5/15/2015

Workshop: Par-lectric (in-the-white)




This was Wednesday's project -- to transform a neck and fretboard blank I'd glued-up and some parts-on-hand into a new electric guitar. I'd wanted to make a non-cutaway, parlor-shaped thing (it's traced off of one of my 1880s guitars) for a while and it felt good to get around to it. This has a Douglas fir body, 3-piece maple neck, rosewood board, and GFS-supplied lipstick-style pickup. It's a bit rough around the edges -- but I wasn't shooting for perfection as I only wanted to have about 5-6 hours into it so I could get back to "real" work.

It's currently "in the white" on the body as I'm going to sand it up a bit more and then the wifey's going to paint some sort of super-cool scene on it before finishing.



I think my minimalist approach veered a bit close to those absurd Picasso guitars you see in some of his paintings. It's very simple: one pickup, one volume. The brass plate hides the wiring to make it easily accessible and the knob is crammed up under the bridge since I only ever use them to mute the guitar when not in use or tuning with a clip-on tuner.


The nut is a full 1 11/16" but I did use a narrow headstock and thinner side-to-side spacing at the end of the neck -- both inspired by the Danelectros and 50s/60s Harmony electrics that I find to be my "comfort food."


Like I said -- don't look too close -- I put this together to try some ideas so it's not perfectly beautiful, but it gets the job done.

One of the things I wanted to try was a quite-raised neck joint so it'd handle like a modern jazz guitar... and it does! I used top-mounted screws like a Baby Taylor rather than rear-mounted like a Fender. Don't know why -- just wanted to try it, and it works swell.

The board is fretted with "small medium" frets and the neck meets the body at the 15th fret. I think if I make more of this type of guitar in the future I may do a regular "12 fret" join instead. I like having the access but I think the long join gives this more of a wacko-50s look more than a wacko-30s look.

The pickup? It's a little higher-output than a vintage Dano-style pickup and so it gives a little bit more of a mids-thump. This is ideal because I wanted that Dano sparkle and clarity but a bit more of a thick chop chord sound so it could do "old country" at the same time as it does "old jazz."


The bridge is fully adjustable.




I admit that I chose these tuners entirely for their buttons, hah hah. They fit with the weird aesthetic.

There's no truss rod in this neck but I glued it up from 3 on-the-quarter cuts of hardware-store variety maple I've had hanging out in my wood-store for a few years. I reversed the "side" of the wood for each glue-up and so it's very sturdy and I don't expect much warping trouble.


Here's my "fifth bolt" in the neck. While the "wrap around" heel is very cool for maintaining a vintage look, I don't think it's necessary. Having an extra screw here, though, makes this neck joint super-stable, I must say.


I stole the back-jack idea after seeing some on a few "hipster" guitars. Way cool. This is the best location I've tried, yet. When sitting it's totally out of the way and when standing up it shoots the cable right to where you're going to hang it over the end of your strap to drop on the floor "just right" and out of the way of your feet.

I'm a convert.



Oona wanted her pic taken. Fair enough! Handmade dress, handmade guitar. We're on the right path, folks.

3 comments:

albox said...

This looks great!

Seonachan said...

In keeping with the Picasso look, you should put the fret markers to one side, Goya-style.

Jake Wildwood said...

#1 thanks!

#2 hilarious, I like. :)