[NGD] New Custom Build - Radack "Drunken Tele" (Redwood / Foilbuckers)

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by Blanket Jackson, May 22, 2018.

  1. Blanket Jackson

    Blanket Jackson ¿Qué Hiciste? Silver Supporting Member

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    __* Jump to the NGD update *__===> 06 April 2019: Arrival [NGD]__
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    This thread will chronicle the custom offset build that I am undertaking with @RadackGuitars .

    05 April 2019:
    Arrival Date for the Radack Drunken Tele:

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    22 May 2018:
    Today Rob and I signed off on specs and officially started the build. I'll start with the "sonogram image":

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    Materials: I was able to grab a Luthier's Kit from @RoninGuitars , featuring a body blank of old growth reclaimed redwood and 2 of their Foilbucker pickups (FIRE! wind). Isn't that some pretty redwood? The grain! We will be using a baked Maple standard Radack neck (1-11/16" at the nut) with an Amazon Rosewood board (12" radius). I want to take that slab of rosewood out for dinner and a show. Rob has some great design aspects to his necks that really make a nice pairing with the resonant old growth body wood. The hardware will include nickel Kluson tuners, a Mastery Jazzmaster trem, and a nickel Graph Tech Ghost Tune-o-Matic bridge with Piezo / MIDI saddle triggers.

    Design: I wanted the guitar design to be a true collaboration between Rob and myself, so we spent some time discussing various ideas before settling on a modified offset design. I was keen on including elements of Jazzmaster, Jaguar, non-reverse Firebird and standard reverse Firebird designs, and after a few iterations we arrived at a design that was unique enough yet functional and aesthetically alluring. The lower bout is mostly Fender offset, but the upper bought is more a mixture of the two Firebird designs. The more I looked at the finished design, the more it looked to me like a Tele in a fun house mirror (in the best of ways), so I have informally named her "The Drunken Tele".
    *Note* Rob will be building a sister guitar at the same time with slightly different dimensions and some different materials. I will be posting progress of the two sisters at the same time.

    Finish: The guitar will be finished with nitro, in "Harmony Burst" (e.g. a simple two tone vintage red sunburst inspired by the finishes used by Harmony Guitars, and the inspiration for the current Novo Guitars Harmony Burst finish).

    Electronics: Will explain more on this in subsequent posts, but the idea is to exploit the 4-wire coil tapping of the Foilbuckers, high pass filtering and tone circuit defeat for each pickup. Additionally, we will be installing the Graph Tech Ghost system to allow for Piezo acoustic output and as a MIDI synth interface. As we get closer to the actual layout I will go into greater detail on this thread.

    Huge thanks to Rob at @RadackGuitars for being patient with me in my first build and for working with me to see this complicated project through. Also huge thanks to @RoninGuitars for both making the amazing materials available and for the inspiration of their own designs.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
  2. telephone

    telephone Member

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  3. Mobass

    Mobass Silver Supporting Member

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    Awesome. I have two of Robs builds. Fabulous in every way.
     
  4. RadackGuitars

    RadackGuitars Member

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    I'm excited to be undertaking this build. The electronics in particular will be a fun challenge, there is going to be a lot going on.

    btw, fingerboard is Amazon Rosewood, not African.
     
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  5. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    Looks great! Can you share the nature of the core sound to be built, i.e. any thoughts to share regarding how the raw chassis should sound sans electronics to gain what you seek? I know it's hard to describe in words.
    A fun project indeed, great to see this sort of thing going on!
     
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  6. RadackGuitars

    RadackGuitars Member

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    Hey Terry!
    Well this is my first time working with a solid piece of lightweight Redwood, promises to be interesting, I can tell you it feels like a really resonant and responsive piece of wood. Maybe Michael, the OP, will chime in on your question because I know he has spoken to Ronin quite a bit about it and they have really shared a remarkable amount of info regarding how their pickups respond to the redwood, what type of neck angle works best, etc... It's always nice to see fellow builders put that much thought and consideration into their designs and materials. Michael has shared most of this with me through emails and such but to be honest I'm taking it one step at a time and so haven't processed some of the Ronin philosophy as much as I intend to now that the commission is official so to speak.
     
  7. RoninGuitars

    RoninGuitars Member

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    This is such an intriguing concept to me - one of the reasons we even let the pickups and wood out into the wild. I can't wait to see/hear what others create with the luthier kits and the pickups. @RadackGuitars we did give Michael a lot of guidance but its just our approach so I would say put your spin on it as much as you can. The pickups and the wood will do the rest:).
     
  8. Blanket Jackson

    Blanket Jackson ¿Qué Hiciste? Silver Supporting Member

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    So honored to have such great comments even at this nascent stage in the build! Thanks!

    Terry, I am by no means a wood expert, and this is my first custom build (so please forgive my layman's understanding) but the thing that has me most excited about using this old growth redwood (w/o electronics) is just how light it is. Also, I had seen a video with Dana Bourgeois where he taps the wood to hear the resonance, and I noticed that this wood returned my tap in a way unlike maple, pine or other hardwoods I have tried this with. To me it sounded complex with a bit of low-mids.

    The inspiration for the build definitely came from the Foilbuckers though, and my very first guitar (a Teisco Del Ray with goldfoils). The vision I had was a real retro design with an understated appearance and deceptively significant firepower in the specs and under the pickguard. Kind of like a "boring gray" Mercedes S class that can smoke all comers off the line. Something that can equally handle my love for spaghetti western and surf music, Britpop, noise and No Wave, chord melodies and Curtis Mayfield.

    Rob did have to talk me off the ledge on a few of my more extreme ideas, for which I am grateful.
     
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  9. 2016aug29

    2016aug29 Member

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    Sounds really cool!
     
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  10. Blanket Jackson

    Blanket Jackson ¿Qué Hiciste? Silver Supporting Member

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    29 May 2018: Today Rob has routed the body blanks for neck pockets.

    Here are the body templates for my custom offset (on the right) and the sister instrument to be built by Rob using an ash blank (left):

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    Routing in progress .....

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    A nice clean route for my nasty little girl ;)

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    As well as a nice clean route for her sister (that's some nice ash, isn't it?)

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    Some sweet persuasion and the neck will drop right in

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  11. Old Man Old Wood

    Old Man Old Wood Member

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  12. Blanket Jackson

    Blanket Jackson ¿Qué Hiciste? Silver Supporting Member

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    It's luscious, right? I mean, I love RW boards, and this one really does look exceptional. So happy I've got Rob's mad skill on my side :D
     
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  13. django49

    django49 Member

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    My limited experience with redwood (one a solid body of VERY OLD redwood with some nice figure, one carved chevron redwood over a solid body, the other two sporting a carved and figured redwood top over a chambered body) make me think you are going to love it.
     
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  14. RadackGuitars

    RadackGuitars Member

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    Amazon rosewood has become my all time favorite fingerboard wood. It's dense, reasonable weight, great color and figure, can't ask for much more.
     
  15. Blanket Jackson

    Blanket Jackson ¿Qué Hiciste? Silver Supporting Member

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    30 May 2018: Early assembly of the neck

    The necks for both builds are shown below - (L) hard maple (non-torrified) for the swinging sister build, and (R) torrified (baked) hard maple for my build. Rob uses single action compression truss rods, shown pre-installed.

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    After the truss rods have been installed, it's time to prep the the Amazon rosewood fretboard for assembly. I really love that grain pattern. Creme dots, top and side, make a perfect understated compliment to the rich rosewood.

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    To affix the fretboards to the neck, Rob uses fish glue. The glued boards are bonded using vacuum clamping.

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  16. Mobass

    Mobass Silver Supporting Member

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    Neat to see this. Now knowing what went into my two Radack builds.
     
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  17. Blanket Jackson

    Blanket Jackson ¿Qué Hiciste? Silver Supporting Member

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    31 May 2018 (part 1): Graph Tech Ghost system received, and ready to be passed on to Rob for eventual install.
    The "Drunken Tele" buys a round for the house! :drink

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    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
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  18. Blanket Jackson

    Blanket Jackson ¿Qué Hiciste? Silver Supporting Member

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    01 June 2018: Swung by Rob's workshop this afternoon to drop off the Graph Tech Ghost system hardware, and got to see how both sisters' bodies were starting to take shape.

    My redwood model looked and felt even better than I had visualized. Rob reported that the wood is very easy to work.

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    And, with the neck rough fit she is starting to show some shape and form

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    The ash sister is making nice progress as well. Nice ash!

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    My redwood offset rough body cut weighs in at 4.4 lbs, and the ash rough body cut weighs in at 5.0 lbs. Both bodies felt light to me, but there is a bit of mass to come off and to go on with the hardware and electronics.
    My redwood offset with the neck together weighed just under 5.8 lbs.

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  19. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

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    def looking forward to seeing & hearing the final outcome!
     
  20. SRQGuitar

    SRQGuitar Gold Supporting Member

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    I want that rosewood board to have my babies!
     

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