First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Talk about modding or building your own guitar from scratch.
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blimpage
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First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Post by blimpage » Fri Nov 02, 2018 3:56 pm

I've just started my first ever build. I've started classes at the Melbourne School of Guitar Making (thanks to dylanafghjkl for tipping me off to its existence!) and their whole jam is that they teach you to build everything yourself from scratch, and you can spend as long as you like doing it.

The basic plan is: Mustang body, Jag tremolo, 24.75" scale length. Bridge humbucker, neck P90. Best of all worlds!

I've only had my first class so far, but we got stuck straight into it - body blank is glued up, and neck blank already has its truss rod in.

Body is alder, 3-piece. I didn't spend too much time trying to find beautiful matching pieces, since I'll be doing a solid colour finish. Selected and glued up!

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Neck is maple. Fretboard will be bubinga, which I forgot to grab a photo of. I'm hoping some of that dark grain around the heel will be visible on the underside of the finished neck, but it curves towards the outer edge on the underside so it might all get shaved off. We'll see!

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A million shallow router passes later, I've got a truss rod channel! Rod has been inserted now, with a filler strip glued over the top.

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Should be cutting these into guitar shapes next week, at which point all the speedy bits will be done and I can get stuck into the agonisingly slow bits! πŸ˜„

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Re: First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Post by blimpage » Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:24 am

Body has been cut out and edges roughly sanded:

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Headstock profile! I want a big headstock, but I don't have enough wood to just copy my sample neck. Trying to sketch out something in between the the big and small headstocks that doesn't look too weird:

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Here's my bubinga fretboard blank! It looks beautiful, though you'll have to trust me on that because the lighting in this place is terrible. I grabbed a photo of another bubinga neck from the internet to give you an idea of the colour it should end up.

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And here's a dodgy mockup I slapped together to see how my idea for the finish will look. I was worried that the tremolo sitting over the racing stripe would look terrible, but I don't mind it!

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Re: First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Post by Horsefeather » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:30 am

Looks good so far. Have you considered using a humbucker sized P90 at the neck? It might be cool to have the two pickups matched in size. And if you used a cover on the bridge they could be even closer.

I used some humbucker shaped Rio Grande Bastard P90s on a project and it sounds amazing.

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Re: First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Post by Shadoweclipse13 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:43 am

Cool project! Honestly, that body grain looks pretty good considering it started life as a 3-piece!!
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Re: First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Post by blimpage » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:03 pm

Horsefeather wrote: ↑
Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:30 am
Looks good so far. Have you considered using a humbucker sized P90 at the neck? It might be cool to have the two pickups matched in size. And if you used a cover on the bridge they could be even closer.

I used some humbucker shaped Rio Grande Bastard P90s on a project and it sounds amazing.
Cheers! I was originally considering a humbucker-sized P90, but then I fortuitously came across a secondhand set of cream P90s for sale from the guitarist of the amazing Blueline Medic. I snapped them up immediately to ensure this guitar would be imbued with that mojo. πŸ˜„

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Re: First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Post by Debaser » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:02 am

Cool, will be watching this one.
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Re: First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Post by mick_e » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:53 am

Awesome, I've been tempted to join the Brisbane class so I can learn neck building. You think it's worth it so far?

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Re: First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Post by aliendawg » Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:20 am

Cool!! Good luck! I'm sure it's going to be fun
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Re: First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Post by blimpage » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:58 am

mick_e wrote: ↑
Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:53 am
Awesome, I've been tempted to join the Brisbane class so I can learn neck building. You think it's worth it so far?
Yeah, so far I think it's worth it! It's very handy to have someone who's built hundreds of guitars on hand to pick their brain about how you should do what you're trying to do, and why you'd do it that way. OSG is a great resource for that too of course, but not quite as immediate. πŸ˜› I'll let you know if I still reckon it's worth it when I get closer to the finish line.

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Re: First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Post by Jaguar018 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:13 am

Are you making the body a little deeper/thicker to handle the vibrato unit?

It's my understanding that Mustang bodies are thinner.

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Re: First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Post by lammy » Thu Nov 22, 2018 8:51 am

That looks so fun!

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Re: First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Post by blimpage » Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:00 am

Jaguar018 wrote: ↑
Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:13 am
Are you making the body a little deeper/thicker to handle the vibrato unit?

It's my understanding that Mustang bodies are thinner.
Yeah! Thankfully I remembered before the instructor ran the body through the planer too many times, he was getting a bit keen πŸ˜„

Some googling tells me that the tremolo cavity needs to be 35mm (1-3/8") deep, and most Jags are about 41mm (1-5/8") thick to accommodate that. I think the body is currently about 46mm thick. I'll probably bring it down a little bit further than that.

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Re: First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Post by HNB » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:41 am

Looks good!
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Re: First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Post by Rgand » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:03 am

This is a cool project. I know I like making my own. I've only made one neck and that was years ago on an electric mandolin. One of these days I'll have to get set up to do them. Keep those pics coming.

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Re: First time build! Going to school to build a Mustang

Post by blimpage » Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:47 am

Updates!!!!!!! Body now has a neck pocket and the neck is cut out. They... do not fit together yet. πŸ˜›

I was struggling to land on a headstock shape I liked with the references I had, but luckily there was another builder there who happened to have a custom Jazzmaster neck template he'd made. He lent it to me and I was able to land on the shape you see below which rules. 😍

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That other builder was working on a Jazzmaster and a Bass VI that both looked very cool.

I'm currently struggling to find a bridge for this build. The original plan was a Staytrem, but I missed the boat on that. I'm after something Mustang-y but with a 9.5" radius. Currently my best bet looks like a Fender American Pro Jaguar bridge, does anyone have any experience with these? Looks reasonably close to a Staytrem so I'm surprised I haven't seen it mentioned more here, unless it has some terrible design flaw I'm unaware of?

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