Shredders / Technical Players... Would you rock this?

Deed_Poll

Member
Messages
3,088


Hello everyone!

I've just been starting up as a builder slowly since I got my first CNC a few months ago. I've been learning the CNC ropes, as they say! I've made several parts guitars of my own design and thought I might have a crack at launching my own models, of which this will be the first under the name Katz Guitars. I call it the Clubmaster. I am a freelance designer by trade but I've recently decided to focus my efforts building on my passion for guitars. I'm lucky enough to have two '65 Jazzmasters, a '66 Jazz Bass, an early '60 LP Special and a '61 ES330 on the bench and these inspire my design direction.


Mods if you think this belongs in the Builders / Retailers forum then I will move it as soon as possible. Really I'm looking for criticism and opinions from other builders, and thoughts about specification from other players. I hope that's ok!

So the general concept is a guitar that is a real technical player, but with more of a mid-60s aesthetic and possibly tonal palette. I've become a bit unsure about certain things and would really appreciate the guidance of others on here, your feedback and comments are much appreciated.

The scale length is 25-1/2" and it is a bolt on neck in the Stratocaster / Jazzmaster tradition.

Woods are roasted maple for the neck, roasted swamp ash for the body and Macassar Ebony for the fretboard. I keep an open mind as regards the tonal affect of using torrefied wood. I certainly notice a certain loudness / clarity to the unplugged sound of my own vintage guitars and from what I have read, the process of baking maple and swamp ash in high humidity removes much of the water content and seals the wood with a more resinous reduction, in theory mirroring the long term natural aging process. They are reputedly more stable under temperature and humidity changes. It will also enable me to offer a raw neck option even in combination with a colour matching headstock front / back and stinger, where the colour follows the roundover around the edges of the headstock, which I think will be a cool feature.

I plan to use a vintage style single truss rod because I have found double rods to be very heavy and often bright sounding, with relatively less communication of vibration through the fretting hand. The rod will adjust at the heel, but a u-channel will be cut between the neck pickup cavity and the neck cavity so that the rod can be tweaked just by removing the pickguard and the neck doesn't constantly have to be taken off, reattached, tuned up, measured, rinse and repeat.

I will be using a Zero-Glide nut and Gotoh HAP-M vintage style locking and post adjustable tuners in combination with a recessed OEM Stetsbar vibrato to offer superb range and tuning stability. I have designed the tail plate to incorporate a cover to hide the adjustment screws of the unit which will be accessible by removing four screws. The plate does not obscure the string anchor point, so the plate will only have to removed to change string gauge or switch between floating / down-only vibrato operation. I have since redesigned the plate to attach with just 4 screws to make this easier. The plate is completed with a Strat style jack plate at the back, which is intended to be used with a 90 degree jack to feed the cable over the strap button. Does this seem like a sensible or stupid idea? Does it look ridiculous?

The treble cutaway offers superb access, and I plan to feature a contoured heel as standard.

I'm not a hugely technical player myself, so I would really appreciate feedback on the following.

At the moment the spec is for a 12" radius on the fretboard, 1.650" nut width and tall and narrow 6105 frets. I'm unsure whether stainless frets would be worthwhile on a model like this? I'd like to hear from players on this, whether the vintage tonal choice of the traditional material might be outweighed by the practicality and longevity of stainless.

Another point of contention is neck thickness. My instinct is to go with a medium / deep C profile, but like I say I'm not a technical player. What would you expect or want if you were looking for a guitar like this? Something a little flatter or thinner?

Finally, how should I map out the controls? I was thinking a coil tap on the bridge pickup would be good so that the rhythm circuit plate could be used instead as a solo circuit which bypasses the volume control and engages the overwind. But series / phase options might be interesting for a 3 pickup model to get Brian May style sounds also. The third option on a three pickup would be to use a 5-way Strat switch for the standard controls, with the rhythm circuit offering a bank of on / off switches to set two sounds and get the neck and bridge together if desired.

Many thanks for reading, that ended up being a lot longer than I'd planned! I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions, even (maybe especially) if you think it's stupid!

Cheers,

Dan Katz
 
Last edited:

Deed_Poll

Member
Messages
3,088
Sorry! I think I fixed it. Thanks for your reply! I fear you might be right, I guess the jury's still out on whether there's a market for this kind of fusion between retro looks and sounds and modern features and playability.

Cheers!
 

miks

Member
Messages
296
Ive just recently discovered how beautiful ash is as a wood. I think you should draw some inspiration from Gene Bakers Pallas and Strandbergs Boden. I own a boden and it is an amazing guitar. I think the 2 cuts on the bottom are important to sitting nicely on your leg. Other than that feel free to make it as 60s as you like. Fan frets are another thing to consider. Im not a shredder but have found that alot of the "modern ergonomic" features married with vintage tonalities would be great.
 

sleep

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,451
First, congrats on your endeavor (should you pursue it) and I hope you enjoy your journey in CNC... it's fun and frustrating in equal measure in my experience. If you don't mind, what machine did you choose? Oh, and the picture is showing up at a good size for me, so I think you did fix that.

Next, I think you'd be stepping in to a very crowded field with a design such as the above, which, while attractive, does invite a lot of assumptions about who it's for. I'm not a big fan of homogeneity, but if everyone else in the band is playing typical shredder guitars a retro inspired guitar might be too intimidating/potentially distracting for some folks. Also, if I'm attempting to shred, I want a locking trem... the aesthetics of the stetsbar look appropriate on the model above, but I have found them to not be up to their promise and wouldn't want one if I was doing a lot of whammy tricks.

A final thought: You have a CNC machine, which is typically a much more accurate machine than the ones that were used to produce vintage guitars. I would suggest pushing it to its limits to make something that couldn't have been made back in 195x or 196x... I'd suggest that it will heighten the sense of challenge for you as well, and in the end, maybe you'll be the next Les Paul or Leo Fender rather than someone competing in a very crowded field of vintage informed designs (or god forbid, direct copies).

Take what you love from the past, but synthesize it through your own filter and the technology you have at hand. Give us a guitar to be excited about because of its unique abilities rather than its tolerances. Personally, I'd rather have a guitar that isn't impeccably made but is its own animal than another guitar with a fantastically tight neck pocket or other things people hype now but which don't enable the guitar to do things another guitar can't.

I hope you succeed, whatever you choose to make!
 

j.s.tonehound

Member
Messages
7,645
Congrats on the design, I think it looks very good indeed. I initially thought it was a new BiLt model!

I realise you want to design something for the 'shredders / technical players' but they are a group very well served and more or less deeply entrenched in certain aesthetics and functions (deep cutaways, locking vibratos, skinny necks and bodies, minimal controls and switching etc). The branches out of those criteria are often more severe and aggressive than appropriating the more traditional and vintage design aesthetic of your own efforts. I guess I'm wondering how you came to the more or less finished article you have under the guise of wanting it to be for shredders and technical players.

For the design itself (regardless of intended genre):

- The plate surrounding the output jack and rear of the Stetsbar is quite clunky and could do with not being there at all. Have a look at Guthrie's Charvel, Vai's Jem, and Ritter's solutions for where a jack might otherwise be better suited.

- The Stetsbar itself.... if you're not going for a locking vibrato then I'd either stick with the Jazzmaster design (repro'd by Mastery) or (as you mention the venerable Mr B. May) look at whether your CNC could reproduce the Red Special design or a version of it. Another alternative is the Skyway vibrato.

- Having the many scratchplates / controls set up is great for affording yourself / clients options with the electrics and pickups. To continue the 'mash-up' theme I would be inclined to have the flagship, 'this is what cool **** we can do' model fitted out with a mashed up pickup form such as a Wide-Range sized Filter-tron with allen bolt pole-pieces. Or something...! Or look to smaller pickup builders for something different that might work. After the resurgence of the gold foil in all it's forms, there's a bit of traction for the toaster style pickups now. Or you could go the other way and look at Cycfi's XR range.

Just a few of the thoughts I have. I hope this is ok and not too opinionated! I've had a few designs in Photoshop for ages that I don't have the guts to submit to the crowd so fair play to you and anyone else that does!
 

RayBarbeeMusic

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,287
Ok as a technical player I'll give you my opinions. First of all, styling wise, personally, yes; because I like to be different and I love to give the middle finger to people who think you have to have a certain kind of guitar to play a certain kind of music (I used to take a pointy neon orange Ibanez to jazz standards gigs).

Personally, I don't care for ebony boards. To my ear they impart a harsh attack on a guitar like that; the only guitars I've ever been ok with them on were jazz boxes.

About certain specs:
The rod will adjust at the heel, but a u-channel will be cut between the neck pickup cavity and the neck cavity so that the rod can be tweaked just by removing the pickguard and the neck doesn't constantly have to be taken off, reattached, tuned up, measured, rinse and repeat.

Not a good idea. Removing a pickguard is just as much a pain as removing a neck, in fact maybe more, because I can remove a neck without taking the strings off. Do one of 2 things: Headstock adjust (this would be most advisable from a player preference standpoint and a marketing standpoint) or have an Ernie Ball type wheel nut that can be adjust without removing ANYTHING at the heel. The type of adjustment you mention will make a large percentage of players turn away.

OEM Stetsbar vibrato

My experience with a Stetsbar is they aren't ready for prime time and tuning stability isn't very good, ESPECIALLY with heavier strings. I can set up most trems, even Bigsbys, to stay in tune under heavy abuse, but with the Stetsbar I tried everything, including sending it back to Eric Stets to have him look it over, with no luck. I came to the conclusion that the rollers just have too much friction. There are a lot of trems out there that work, I'd suggest using something else.

My instinct is to go with a medium / deep C profile

Medium maybe, I wouldn't go deep for most technical players. Somewhere between about .84" and .89" at the 12th is what works for most, but the far bigger consideration: DON'T HAVE A NECK WITH LOTS OF SHOULDER. The profile is more important than the actual thickness; even a .84" neck with lots of shoulder can feel "clubby". Personally, I am perfectly comfortable on Gibson's "rounded" profile, which is about .94" to .96", but does NOT have a lot of shoulder, but cannot stand a .86" that has bulgy shoulders.

Stainless frets are a big plus to most folks nowadays. Tall is better.

Wood choice is excellent.

Edit: Oh, instead of a straight radius, do a compound radius. The strings will follow a cone in any case due to the nut being more narrow than the bridge, and if you impose a cone on a cylinder you're asking for problems. Generally a 4" taper works on a guitar with those nut/bridge spacings, so 12-16" compound would best approximate the cone the strings will follow, or 10"-14", etc.
 

s2y

Member
Messages
20,306
I'd have to play one first. I've never played one with a flatter radius. I typically gravitate towards a Strat-type body due to good ergonomics and familiarity.
 

Deed_Poll

Member
Messages
3,088
Thank you so much for your well considered, detailed and honest feedback everyone! I am waiting to get back to to my computer to write a more comprehensive reply but it is much appreciated.
 

amstrtatnut

Member
Messages
14,376
I like it. A lot. I dont shred, but think you may have a cool idea, retro shredder.

I wouldnt pay any attention to the guys who think shredders wouldnt consider this.

The important things for shredders especially are tuning stabilty and pickups the can do high gain. So looks wise I think its great, but is it all there functionally?

Just my .02 and maybe crazy, but consider a roller nut and humbuckers. The lace alumitones mught look cool in this guitar.
 

RonH

Member
Messages
2,309


Hello everyone!

I've just been starting up as a builder slowly since I got my first CNC a few months ago. I've been learning the CNC ropes, as they say! I've made several parts guitars of my own design and thought I might have a crack at launching my own models, of which this will be the first under the name Katz Guitars. I call it the Clubmaster. I am a freelance designer by trade but I've recently decided to focus my efforts building on my passion for guitars. I'm lucky enough to have two '65 Jazzmasters, a '66 Jazz Bass, an early '60 LP Special and a '61 ES330 on the bench and these inspire my design direction.


Mods if you think this belongs in the Builders / Retailers forum then I will move it as soon as possible. Really I'm looking for criticism and opinions from other builders, and thoughts about specification from other players. I hope that's ok!

So the general concept is a guitar that is a real technical player, but with more of a mid-60s aesthetic and possibly tonal palette. I've become a bit unsure about certain things and would really appreciate the guidance of others on here, your feedback and comments are much appreciated.

The scale length is 25-1/2" and it is a bolt on neck in the Stratocaster / Jazzmaster tradition.

Woods are roasted maple for the neck, roasted swamp ash for the body and Macassar Ebony for the fretboard. I keep an open mind as regards the tonal affect of using torrefied wood. I certainly notice a certain loudness / clarity to the unplugged sound of my own vintage guitars and from what I have read, the process of baking maple and swamp ash in high humidity removes much of the water content and seals the wood with a more resinous reduction, in theory mirroring the long term natural aging process. They are reputedly more stable under temperature and humidity changes. It will also enable me to offer a raw neck option even in combination with a colour matching headstock front / back and stinger, where the colour follows the roundover around the edges of the headstock, which I think will be a cool feature.

I plan to use a vintage style single truss rod because I have found double rods to be very heavy and often bright sounding, with relatively less communication of vibration through the fretting hand. The rod will adjust at the heel, but a u-channel will be cut between the neck pickup cavity and the neck cavity so that the rod can be tweaked just by removing the pickguard and the neck doesn't constantly have to be taken off, reattached, tuned up, measured, rinse and repeat.

I will be using a Zero-Glide nut and Gotoh HAP-M vintage style locking and post adjustable tuners in combination with a recessed OEM Stetsbar vibrato to offer superb range and tuning stability. I have designed the tail plate to incorporate a cover to hide the adjustment screws of the unit which will be accessible by removing four screws. The plate does not obscure the string anchor point, so the plate will only have to removed to change string gauge or switch between floating / down-only vibrato operation. I have since redesigned the plate to attach with just 4 screws to make this easier. The plate is completed with a Strat style jack plate at the back, which is intended to be used with a 90 degree jack to feed the cable over the strap button. Does this seem like a sensible or stupid idea? Does it look ridiculous?

The treble cutaway offers superb access, and I plan to feature a contoured heel as standard.

I'm not a hugely technical player myself, so I would really appreciate feedback on the following.

At the moment the spec is for a 12" radius on the fretboard, 1.650" nut width and tall and narrow 6105 frets. I'm unsure whether stainless frets would be worthwhile on a model like this? I'd like to hear from players on this, whether the vintage tonal choice of the traditional material might be outweighed by the practicality and longevity of stainless.

Another point of contention is neck thickness. My instinct is to go with a medium / deep C profile, but like I say I'm not a technical player. What would you expect or want if you were looking for a guitar like this? Something a little flatter or thinner?

Finally, how should I map out the controls? I was thinking a coil tap on the bridge pickup would be good so that the rhythm circuit plate could be used instead as a solo circuit which bypasses the volume control and engages the overwind. But series / phase options might be interesting for a 3 pickup model to get Brian May style sounds also. The third option on a three pickup would be to use a 5-way Strat switch for the standard controls, with the rhythm circuit offering a bank of on / off switches to set two sounds and get the neck and bridge together if desired.

Many thanks for reading, that ended up being a lot longer than I'd planned! I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions, even (maybe especially) if you think it's stupid!

Cheers,

Dan Katz

I love it. Very, very cool guitar!
 

Deed_Poll

Member
Messages
3,088
Ive just recently discovered how beautiful ash is as a wood. I think you should draw some inspiration from Gene Bakers Pallas and Strandbergs Boden. I own a boden and it is an amazing guitar. I think the 2 cuts on the bottom are important to sitting nicely on your leg. Other than that feel free to make it as 60s as you like. Fan frets are another thing to consider. Im not a shredder but have found that alot of the "modern ergonomic" features married with vintage tonalities would be great.


Hi Miks, I played a Boden and it's stunning. I played a 7-string Claas guitar at MusikMesse this year, and was really blown away by what the extended scale does for the lower register, and how natural it felt under the fingers. I'm developing my own specifically "ergonomic" type guitar for 6, 7 and 8-string variants which has a much more modern appearance and is designed specifically to use a 27" to 25.5" multiscale. It's still very much in the concept stage, but here is a render based on a photo of the first foam prototype I made on my CNC:


Screenshot_20160809-151339_1_zpsh8mmd03h.jpg
 

Deed_Poll

Member
Messages
3,088
First, congrats on your endeavor (should you pursue it) and I hope you enjoy your journey in CNC... it's fun and frustrating in equal measure in my experience. If you don't mind, what machine did you choose? Oh, and the picture is showing up at a good size for me, so I think you did fix that.


Next, I think you'd be stepping in to a very crowded field with a design such as the above, which, while attractive, does invite a lot of assumptions about who it's for. I'm not a big fan of homogeneity, but if everyone else in the band is playing typical shredder guitars a retro inspired guitar might be too intimidating/potentially distracting for some folks. Also, if I'm attempting to shred, I want a locking trem... the aesthetics of the stetsbar look appropriate on the model above, but I have found them to not be up to their promise and wouldn't want one if I was doing a lot of whammy tricks.


A final thought: You have a CNC machine, which is typically a much more accurate machine than the ones that were used to produce vintage guitars. I would suggest pushing it to its limits to make something that couldn't have been made back in 195x or 196x... I'd suggest that it will heighten the sense of challenge for you as well, and in the end, maybe you'll be the next Les Paul or Leo Fender rather than someone competing in a very crowded field of vintage informed designs (or god forbid, direct copies).


Take what you love from the past, but synthesize it through your own filter and the technology you have at hand. Give us a guitar to be excited about because of its unique abilities rather than its tolerances. Personally, I'd rather have a guitar that isn't impeccably made but is its own animal than another guitar with a fantastically tight neck pocket or other things people hype now but which don't enable the guitar to do things another guitar can't.


I hope you succeed, whatever you choose to make!


Hey Sleep!


I couldn't tell you the exact model off the top of my head, but it's from Marchant Dice in the UK and has a bed size of about 1200mm by 660mm - easily big enough even for a neck thru bass, so certainly big enough for my requirements! I made my own vacuum bed for it out of a plywood manifold and semipermeable MDF membrane fed by a Henry hoover! It works great but is very noisy!


I'm thinking about developing a hybrid "invisible" bolt on neck design with a broad tenon, as much as an aesthetic / ergonomic feature as anything else. I have always preferred the body / neck transition on Gibson's solid models like the SG, Explorer and Flying V and would love to find a way to do that with the practicality of a bolt on.


Thanks for your feedback on the Stetsbar and nature of the model, that's exactly the info I'm trying to ascertain. Perhaps it will turn out to be a better idea to pitch it as a Jazzmaster / boutique guitar "+", with certain performance related features that might justify inclusion in a "bench" of mostly boutique guitars, OR as a more appealing alternative to boutique guitars for those technical players who want something with that style or tonality, but don't want to sacrifice so much of their whammy inspired play style on the altar of full vintage vibe and accuracy... I already have a few Stetsbars, so I am going to see what performance I can achieve with it in combination with the Zero-Glide nut and the locking tuners. I plan to recess the unit, and that gives me options to angle it back it the route so that slackening the strings raises the string height slightly and prevents rattle, much like the Strat vibrato. I'm hoping this might also let me dial more downward range on the bar.
 

Deed_Poll

Member
Messages
3,088
Congrats on the design, I think it looks very good indeed. I initially thought it was a new BiLt model!


I realise you want to design something for the 'shredders / technical players' but they are a group very well served and more or less deeply entrenched in certain aesthetics and functions (deep cutaways, locking vibratos, skinny necks and bodies, minimal controls and switching etc). The branches out of those criteria are often more severe and aggressive than appropriating the more traditional and vintage design aesthetic of your own efforts. I guess I'm wondering how you came to the more or less finished article you have under the guise of wanting it to be for shredders and technical players.


For the design itself (regardless of intended genre):


- The plate surrounding the output jack and rear of the Stetsbar is quite clunky and could do with not being there at all. Have a look at Guthrie's Charvel, Vai's Jem, and Ritter's solutions for where a jack might otherwise be better suited.


- The Stetsbar itself.... if you're not going for a locking vibrato then I'd either stick with the Jazzmaster design (repro'd by Mastery) or (as you mention the venerable Mr B. May) look at whether your CNC could reproduce the Red Special design or a version of it. Another alternative is the Skyway vibrato.


- Having the many scratchplates / controls set up is great for affording yourself / clients options with the electrics and pickups. To continue the 'mash-up' theme I would be inclined to have the flagship, 'this is what cool **** we can do' model fitted out with a mashed up pickup form such as a Wide-Range sized Filter-tron with allen bolt pole-pieces. Or something...! Or look to smaller pickup builders for something different that might work. After the resurgence of the gold foil in all it's forms, there's a bit of traction for the toaster style pickups now. Or you could go the other way and look at Cycfi's XR range.


Just a few of the thoughts I have. I hope this is ok and not too opinionated! I've had a few designs in Photoshop for ages that I don't have the guts to submit to the crowd so fair play to you and anyone else that does!


I really appreciate your feedback! You have identified some of the exact issues I have been struggling with. In answer to your first question, when I originally designed this guitar I was going for more of a vintage functionality in line with offerings like BilT (which I love) but in my own style, I believe the BilT Relevator is based on the Fender Marauder III prototype whereas my design is my own fusion between many Fender offset models like the Marauder, Jazzmaster, Jaguar and Jazz Bass. When I discovered the capabilities of the Stetsbar vibrato, I realised there could be a possibility of specifying the rest of the guitar around it with high performance parts, but with a vintage style appearance. The Gotoh HAP-M tuners are the perfect example of this, and the Zero Glide nut is a high performance unit that has at least the flavour of a vintage bone nut, more so than, say, an LSR roller nut or Floyd locking nut.


I have actually found a guy based in Peru on Ebay who makes what looks like an accurate replica of the Brian May vibrato, have you used one? Can you enlighten me as to your thoughts on the design, the range, feel etc? I would really appreciate that! It looks like a good unit with some great precision machining, but it comes at a high price. Here's the link to the guy's eBay listing: http://www.ebay.ie/itm/BRIAN-MAY-RE...421864?hash=item2365c765a8:g:dFYAAOSwYGFUst2K


As far as the pickups go, I'm going to be using Roadhouse pickups, I already have a couple of sets of 3+3 hum cancelling pickups in Jaguar and Jazzmaster form factors that he very kindly made on request! He also makes authentic reissues of the old Valco / Supro pickups, the Kingston and the Vista Tone. These have an interesting sound that would probably appeal to fans of gold foils and other eclectic pickups.


The Mastery repros are exceptional, and my original plan was to use the Mastery vibrato, but John Woodland insisted that I use the Mastery bridge in combination with it and that was a deal breaker for me. I much prefer a higher friction rocking bridge over a low friction fixed post bridge when using a behind-the-bridge vibrato unit. he also had reservations about me using my own bridge plate, I hope we will be able to work together later on for a more traditional model, and maybe by that point I will be able to place a big enough order that it's worth his while programming in my plate design to mount the unit.
 

Deed_Poll

Member
Messages
3,088
Ok as a technical player I'll give you my opinions. First of all, styling wise, personally, yes; because I like to be different and I love to give the middle finger to people who think you have to have a certain kind of guitar to play a certain kind of music (I used to take a pointy neon orange Ibanez to jazz standards gigs).


Personally, I don't care for ebony boards. To my ear they impart a harsh attack on a guitar like that; the only guitars I've ever been ok with them on were jazz boxes.


About certain specs:



Not a good idea. Removing a pickguard is just as much a pain as removing a neck, in fact maybe more, because I can remove a neck without taking the strings off. Do one of 2 things: Headstock adjust (this would be most advisable from a player preference standpoint and a marketing standpoint) or have an Ernie Ball type wheel nut that can be adjust without removing ANYTHING at the heel. The type of adjustment you mention will make a large percentage of players turn away.




My experience with a Stetsbar is they aren't ready for prime time and tuning stability isn't very good, ESPECIALLY with heavier strings. I can set up most trems, even Bigsbys, to stay in tune under heavy abuse, but with the Stetsbar I tried everything, including sending it back to Eric Stets to have him look it over, with no luck. I came to the conclusion that the rollers just have too much friction. There are a lot of trems out there that work, I'd suggest using something else.




Medium maybe, I wouldn't go deep for most technical players. Somewhere between about .84" and .89" at the 12th is what works for most, but the far bigger consideration: DON'T HAVE A NECK WITH LOTS OF SHOULDER. The profile is more important than the actual thickness; even a .84" neck with lots of shoulder can feel "clubby". Personally, I am perfectly comfortable on Gibson's "rounded" profile, which is about .94" to .96", but does NOT have a lot of shoulder, but cannot stand a .86" that has bulgy shoulders.


Stainless frets are a big plus to most folks nowadays. Tall is better.


Wood choice is excellent.


Edit: Oh, instead of a straight radius, do a compound radius. The strings will follow a cone in any case due to the nut being more narrow than the bridge, and if you impose a cone on a cylinder you're asking for problems. Generally a 4" taper works on a guitar with those nut/bridge spacings, so 12-16" compound would best approximate the cone the strings will follow, or 10"-14", etc.


Again, thanks so much for such a comprehensive response! Lots of really useful points and insights.


I share your passion for playing gigs with unexpected guitars! I played my white '67 Flying V reissue with Maestro at a seated folk gig whilst wearing a knitted jumper. It was epic!


To be honest, I am a big fan of Ebony fretboards. I just love how they look and feel, and have never personally found an issue with how they sound. I think it depends from guitar to guitar. Pau ferro is another great option with a closed grain and attractive striping, but I am not big on IRW and Madagascar rosewood is problematic from a sustainability angle. China are just raiding supply of it, and I can't use it in good conscience when there are so many excellent alternatives. Ebony is also an over cultivated hard wood, but my understanding is that it's the demand for jet black ebony that causes the problem. The loggers only take the darkest pieces and leave the rest, so I think raising the demand for striped ebony could have the result that fewer trees need to be harvested to sate demand.


Very interesting what you say about the truss rod adjustment, I might settle for a bullet style truss rod as far as head adjust goes, but the gaping hole just always looked wrong to me, and I think introducing a plate would complicate things visually. As a Jazzmaster player, I'm really used to not seeing one up there on my Fender necks, and that's probably ruined me! Bullet could look cool with the chrome tuners & logo, especially with a matching head.


I hadn't really thought about the Ernie Ball "wheel" style, I do like them though and it would fit neatly between the Jazzmaster pickup adjustment screws. That's food for thought!


Perhaps a hybrid of the two - a small 2-hole section of the pickguard beneath the neck pocket with just enough space for a proprietary allen key and use an allen nut on the heel?


For the neck profile, I'm looking at 0.810-0.880 or somewhere in that range. I guess more akin to a Frankie style old school shredder neck than anything towards the more modern end. I agree 100% on shoulder, it's like the way people obsess over resistance when they talk about pickups, when there are lots of other factors that make just as big of a difference in combination with that! I won't be going anywhere near a Nocaster or '50s LP back shape, furthest I'd go would be in the '65 AVRI range - nice and full, but not clubby. Never more than a handful! I guess I will do a couple of each and see what goes out the door, maybe I'll combine stainless frets with slimmer necks, and nickel frets with slightly fuller necks.


You are of course right about the radius! I actually made a simple equation spreadsheet some time ago where you feed in the string spacing at the nut & bridge, and the radius you want to start or end on and it will do the rest. I remember 10" with a 1.650" nut width ending up as 10"-13.5" or something, so you're probably right. That might be another feature to buddy up with the stainless / slimmer neck guitars. In my experience though, I've always had better luck with straight but fairly flat radius necks as far as fretwork goes, maybe luck is all it is.


I'd have to play one first. I've never played one with a flatter radius. I typically gravitate towards a Strat-type body due to good ergonomics and familiarity.


Oh sure, you can't go wrong with a Strat-based formula for an all rounder. I would say there are advantages to the Jazzmaster shape, principally because they're a bit heavier and the bass horn protrudes more they just sit at a better angle for me when standing, and because of the distance between the strap buttons the weight feels reassuring rather than straining :)
 

Deed_Poll

Member
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3,088
I like it. A lot. I dont shred, but think you may have a cool idea, retro shredder.


I wouldnt pay any attention to the guys who think shredders wouldnt consider this.


The important things for shredders especially are tuning stabilty and pickups the can do high gain. So looks wise I think its great, but is it all there functionally?


Just my .02 and maybe crazy, but consider a roller nut and humbuckers. The lace alumitones mught look cool in this guitar.


I will be doing one with covered humbuckers, I am going to cut away a humbucker hole in a Jazzmaster cover and mount it almost like a big mini-humbucker in P-90 ring LP Deluxe type bag. It looks cool in my renders so far!


Thanks for your encouragement on the style! The way I see it, I'm looking to provide something that might appeal a lot to a smaller number, and carve out a niche. The way I see it, even if there is a minority of shredders out there that would even consider it, those who do like it will have difficulty finding something similar elsewhere.


I'll be using a Zero-Glide nut, which is basically a zero fret, and apparently matches really well with the Stetsbar and locking tuners, so I'm hoping the performace element will be there. We'll have to wait and see regarding the Stetsbar based on what others have said, it seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it bridge, and I think part of the reason for this might be that it's mostly used as a retrofit for a wide range of different guitars. For instance, the retrofit for a carved top Les Paul sits on a felt spacer, which might have an adverse effect; and the one for Teles and Strats necessitates fitting a big shim in the neck pocket which is bound to have implications in all sorts of ways. Using the OEM unit as I am, I can do it up with 6 screws straight into the body and recess it to the right height without resorting to using a shim, so I hope that will improve the consistency and performance. I can tell you it is beautifully machined and put together, and has a very wide range of about an octave down and a fourth up, which is certainly more than enough for my needs, though I'm not a hugely technical player!


Funny you mention the Alumitones, they featured on the Claas guitar I mentioned in response to Miks' post and they sounded great! Very clear and full, not unlike a Charlie Christian style pickup to my ear.


I do plan to feature a dummy coil to hum cancel whenever I'm using single coil pickups. There will be a switch to turn it on or off, as much as anything to prove that the tone is not compromised like it sometimes is with "stacked" humbucking noiseless single coils, since both coils share the same magnets. As far as the maths are concerned it seems as long as I have the dummy coil wound in the same plane (not necessarily in the same orientation) as the pickup, it should work like a charm; and keeping it a good distance from the strings should eliminate any chance of cross talk or signal cancelling.


I love it. Very, very cool guitar!
Thanks very much! :)

A big thanks again for all your comments and opinions! I can't tell you how valuable this is to me, it's really helping to shape my ideas in a tangible direction. I really appreciate the thought and time that has gone into these comments, I feel very privileged to be able to benefit from the insights of so many years of experience all in one place.
 

RayBarbeeMusic

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,287
You are of course right about the radius! I actually made a simple equation spreadsheet some time ago where you feed in the string spacing at the nut & bridge, and the radius you want to start or end on and it will do the rest. I remember 10" with a 1.650" nut width ending up as 10"-13.5" or something, so you're probably right. That might be another feature to buddy up with the stainless / slimmer neck guitars. In my experience though, I've always had better luck with straight but fairly flat radius necks as far as fretwork goes, maybe luck is all it is.

I have a spreadsheet I use with those calculations as well. Unless you use a very narrow nut with a wide bridge, most calculations tend to end up in that 4" radius change from nut to 22nd range. As the nut goes more narrow relative to the bridge spacing, that will increase, and vice versa.
 

j.s.tonehound

Member
Messages
7,645
I really appreciate your feedback! You have identified some of the exact issues I have been struggling with. In answer to your first question, when I originally designed this guitar I was going for more of a vintage functionality in line with offerings like BilT (which I love) but in my own style, I believe the BilT Relevator is based on the Fender Marauder III prototype whereas my design is my own fusion between many Fender offset models like the Marauder, Jazzmaster, Jaguar and Jazz Bass. When I discovered the capabilities of the Stetsbar vibrato, I realised there could be a possibility of specifying the rest of the guitar around it with high performance parts, but with a vintage style appearance. The Gotoh HAP-M tuners are the perfect example of this, and the Zero Glide nut is a high performance unit that has at least the flavour of a vintage bone nut, more so than, say, an LSR roller nut or Floyd locking nut.


I have actually found a guy based in Peru on Ebay who makes what looks like an accurate replica of the Brian May vibrato, have you used one? Can you enlighten me as to your thoughts on the design, the range, feel etc? I would really appreciate that! It looks like a good unit with some great precision machining, but it comes at a high price. Here's the link to the guy's eBay listing: http://www.ebay.ie/itm/BRIAN-MAY-RE...421864?hash=item2365c765a8:g:dFYAAOSwYGFUst2K


As far as the pickups go, I'm going to be using Roadhouse pickups, I already have a couple of sets of 3+3 hum cancelling pickups in Jaguar and Jazzmaster form factors that he very kindly made on request! He also makes authentic reissues of the old Valco / Supro pickups, the Kingston and the Vista Tone. These have an interesting sound that would probably appeal to fans of gold foils and other eclectic pickups.


The Mastery repros are exceptional, and my original plan was to use the Mastery vibrato, but John Woodland insisted that I use the Mastery bridge in combination with it and that was a deal breaker for me. I much prefer a higher friction rocking bridge over a low friction fixed post bridge when using a behind-the-bridge vibrato unit. he also had reservations about me using my own bridge plate, I hope we will be able to work together later on for a more traditional model, and maybe by that point I will be able to place a big enough order that it's worth his while programming in my plate design to mount the unit.

I see where you're coming from. I think the shredder / technical player aspect is throwing things off a little. I think anyone that identifies as such a player would likely stick to the well trodden paths. Which isn't to say that there aren't people out there looking for exactly this, but that there probably isn't too many of them. Also, specifically identifying with that or any market will immediately put a load of other people off as well.

The Stetsbar is a good example of how powerful the aesthetic 'worth' is. For all intents and purposes it's a fine unit and I've seen great reviews but there's always that 'but...' It just always looks like an untidy unit and as such becomes off-putting to use. It's the 'wrong' way of approaching things but unfortunately is a very real element.

I haven't yet tried the BHM Vibrato but I'm currently discussing the inclusion of one in a Patrick James Eggle. At some point in the coming months I'll be getting a full system from http://www.thecybershop.company/blank and if the Eggle doesn't work out then it'll be used in something else. As much to settle my own curiosity as anything but it seems like a well sorted design that stood the test of time at a fairly high level.

The pickups sound very interesting! I know 99% of people are more than happy with the usual suspects but my p.o.v is that if you're going to go to the effort of putting a new design together then show the pickups some love as well!

That's interesting about the Mastery situation. I can see why a manufacturer wouldn't want to separate the two elements and if it's not what you're looking for then no harm no foul!
 




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