Warmoth Build - Tips?

Jecht

Member
Messages
1,107
I've just gone through the process of planning a warmoth build and I'm just wondering what I need to know for final assembly. Last year I built a partscaster and did all of the painting and finishing myself, but have decided to forego that process this time.

I'm just wondering what I need to know about final assembly and if anyone has any tips or advice for this process? I'm hoping to do most of the assembly and wiring myself, but will take the guitar to a luthier to have a nut cut, final set up, and fret work if neccessary. I've heard that the necks may still require additional fret work.

I installed a floyd rose on my first build, but this time I'm just going with a hard tail bridge and with the traditional strat headstock I didn't know if anyone had a recommendations about the best string tree to use? I've also seen strats with two strings trees before, so any general advice on strings trees and their usage is much appreciated. I'm using the Gotoh Magnum Lock tuners and Stew Mac claims a string tree isn't necessary, but I don't know if that's accurate? Here they are:

https://www.stewmac.com/parts-and-h...VlV6Y-P5jpszWU2dWsKhPJ2c2pk7hrH8aAil0EALw_wcB

Also, feel free to discuss your own warmoth builds and post pics and all of that fun stuff.
 

Oinkus

Member
Messages
4,855
String trees are sometimes difficult to wrap your head around but the can make a huge difference in how well your guitar plays and stays in tune. I am a huge fan of the Graphtech Tusq string trees , just have to put them in the right spot(s). Buying a neck and the fretwork can be hit and miss because they install frets without doing any of the additional work that is required. Fret ends , crown and level are a big part of how your guitar will play.
 

Jecht

Member
Messages
1,107
String trees are sometimes difficult to wrap your head around but the can make a huge difference in how well your guitar plays and stays in tune. I am a huge fan of the Graphtech Tusq string trees , just have to put them in the right spot(s). Buying a neck and the fretwork can be hit and miss because they install frets without doing any of the additional work that is required. Fret ends , crown and level are a big part of how your guitar will play.
I'll look into the graphtec string trees. For leads I do a lot of bends and use a pretty wide vibrato, so I just want the guitar to stay in tune after all of that.
 

Tootone

Member
Messages
5,716
A good guitar is a masterpiece of precise engineering.

My advice is to know what you are doing in this respect first and foremost. As much as we'd like it to be the case, OEM parts guitars are not simple lego kits. Once you have bolted it all together, you need the knowledge to identify where it is failing to meet the engineering spec and how to put it right.

String Trees, Nut Material, Bridge Brands, Pickup choice, wiring style etc is all putting the Cart before the Horse. You need to get it playing first.
 

Jecht

Member
Messages
1,107
A good guitar is a masterpiece of precise engineering.

My advice is to know what you are doing in this respect first and foremost. As much as we'd like it to be the case, OEM parts guitars are not simple lego kits. Once you have bolted it all together, you need the knowledge to identify where it is failing to meet the engineering spec and how to put it right.

String Trees, Nut Material, Bridge Brands, Pickup choice, wiring style etc is all putting the Cart before the Horse. You need to get it playing first.
I can do basic assembly and even the wiring, but I'm going to leave the set up and fret work to the luthier. I'm fortunate in that there are several in my area to choose from.
 

crazymauler

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
273
I recently completed this Warmoth build:


It sounds and feels fantastic, and I've already started doing another one (SSS Strat this time).

I've been mod'ing and tinkering with guitars for years, so I felt pretty confident going in.
I also watched this YouTube series, it was super helpful and covered everything I would need to know:

String trees: I left them off of the build I just completed, and will likely leave them off of my newest build as well. I commented in a thread about string trees recently that some TGP comment I came across mentioned how string trees can help the E & B strings feel looser but tuning stability is better without them. Also, this build I just did was a kind of tribute to Michael Landau's FCS Master Built guitar, in which he requested no string tree. I have no regrets leaving it off, the feel and tuning stability are really great.
 

aussie_owner

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,109
The Gotohs are staggered such that the G/B/E strings should have enough break angle without a string tree.
My experience with two builds is that even with staggered locking tuners, the E and B strings will ring out over the nut. My most recent build used Sperzel Trim-Lok tuners, and you can hear the difference between leaving the string above the nut open, and muting it with your finger. As a temporary solution, I have a rubber grommet between the E and B strings. I have a set of black Tusq string trees, and I’ll be installing one later. The G and D seem to be fine.






My other build used Fender locking tuners, and I wound up adding a three-string tree. Again, the E and B strings rang out strongly.





Edit: Adding some pics of string break angle with two different tuners.

Fender


Sperzel Trim-Lok have three heights:



 
Last edited:

big mike

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
12,872
Fun to do,
Pressing the rear ferrules instead of just knocking them in will be cleaner and look better.

Don’t ask.....:facepalm
 
Messages
4,192
I've just gone through the process of planning a warmoth build and I'm just wondering what I need to know for final assembly. Last year I built a partscaster and did all of the painting and finishing myself, but have decided to forego that process this time.

I'm just wondering what I need to know about final assembly and if anyone has any tips or advice for this process? I'm hoping to do most of the assembly and wiring myself, but will take the guitar to a luthier to have a nut cut, final set up, and fret work if neccessary. I've heard that the necks may still require additional fret work.

I installed a floyd rose on my first build, but this time I'm just going with a hard tail bridge and with the traditional strat headstock I didn't know if anyone had a recommendations about the best string tree to use? I've also seen strats with two strings trees before, so any general advice on strings trees and their usage is much appreciated. I'm using the Gotoh Magnum Lock tuners and Stew Mac claims a string tree isn't necessary, but I don't know if that's accurate? Here they are:

https://www.stewmac.com/parts-and-h...VlV6Y-P5jpszWU2dWsKhPJ2c2pk7hrH8aAil0EALw_wcB

Also, feel free to discuss your own warmoth builds and post pics and all of that fun stuff.
Paging @smallbutmighty if you have a sec to provide some advice - Aaron is an awesome dude and just a little bit of a Warmoth expert ;).

Warmoth stuff is amazing, I got all 3 of mine used so I didn't build them myself but man are they all terrific quality. Provided all goes well with the assembly I'm sure you'll end up with a guitar you love.

Here's my little trio:




 

mikefair

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,425
A friend just finished an Esquire build using a Warmoth neck. It bolted on fine. The action is just right all the way up the neck. The fret work was fine but the frets don't feel smooth as glass to me. But that's nothing a few passes with Gorgomyte wouldn't fix.
 

jvin248

Member
Messages
5,245
.

Use one string tree not two.
Staggered tuner posts can help avoid the tree. So add the tree only after playing a while to see if you need it.
Sand/file the underside string contact area of the tree to reduce friction and eliminate burrs.
Use a stand-off under the tree so you give enough break angle for the strings to stay in the nut grooves but not so much you add huge friction forces.

Great idea to have the final nut setup by a pro. That is where many home-builds falter and get into tuning stability or sitar sound problems.

Use shielded cable from the volume pot to the jack, a twisted pair of wires does nothing or otherwise we'd all do that from the guitar to the amp.

Nashua aluminum flashing tape cavity shielding works great and is inexpensive, there are studies out there about copper vs aluminum shielding that show aluminum provides better performance. Use a multimeter to ensure the tape strips connect electrically. Leave a tab on top of the guitar cavities so the pickguard can connect to complete the cage. Cavity shielding paint is problematic, but it's fast for factories to install.

You mentioned 'traditional Strat headstock' so I'm assuming the rest is a classic SSS Strat? A few of my favorite things for a Strat if that is the case, one or more can be combined:
-Armstrong blender so you can blend from stock SSS into hot HSH. I like this better than HSS or HSH as I keep the classic Strat tones but still gain some extra entertainment. Thicken or thin up the output this way to hit your pedals/amp differently.
-Swap middle and neck pickup hot wires at the switch so you get a Neck+Bridge option out of the switch (5-way operates more like a 3-way + 2 middle tones)
-Telecaster bridge pickup for the bridge single coil. Then you have the Best of a Tele and best of a Strat.
-Reverse "Hendrix" pickguard bridge slot, this gives more mids to the bass strings and less ice pick to the trebles.

.
 

jads57

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,102
It seems most parts from various companies are getting much better at a more uniform spec. That said each build is slightly different from one another.
I pretty much stick with the traditional Tele blueprint and do a few mods from there.

Warmoth, Musikraft, All parts all make excellent necks and bodies. On the cheaper side for bodies Ie had good luck with Woodtech Routing Ohio USA. My only issue was getting the routing holes a bit larger. But they are very good and are quick to respond as well.
 

Cali234

Member
Messages
154
I remember seeing a warmoth video where he said the frets should be good to go out of the box unless you wanted super low action. I imagine it could vary from neck to neck though.
 

Otter351

Member
Messages
552
I remember seeing a warmoth video where he said the frets should be good to go out of the box unless you wanted super low action. I imagine it could vary from neck to neck though.
He actually said none of the necks HE purchased needed work. However, the official line from Warmoth is you should expect the need for a full setup on all necks...nut, level, crown, dress, polish
 

Jecht

Member
Messages
1,107
.

Use one string tree not two.
Staggered tuner posts can help avoid the tree. So add the tree only after playing a while to see if you need it.
Sand/file the underside string contact area of the tree to reduce friction and eliminate burrs.
Use a stand-off under the tree so you give enough break angle for the strings to stay in the nut grooves but not so much you add huge friction forces.

Great idea to have the final nut setup by a pro. That is where many home-builds falter and get into tuning stability or sitar sound problems.

Use shielded cable from the volume pot to the jack, a twisted pair of wires does nothing or otherwise we'd all do that from the guitar to the amp.

Nashua aluminum flashing tape cavity shielding works great and is inexpensive, there are studies out there about copper vs aluminum shielding that show aluminum provides better performance. Use a multimeter to ensure the tape strips connect electrically. Leave a tab on top of the guitar cavities so the pickguard can connect to complete the cage. Cavity shielding paint is problematic, but it's fast for factories to install.

You mentioned 'traditional Strat headstock' so I'm assuming the rest is a classic SSS Strat? A few of my favorite things for a Strat if that is the case, one or more can be combined:
-Armstrong blender so you can blend from stock SSS into hot HSH. I like this better than HSS or HSH as I keep the classic Strat tones but still gain some extra entertainment. Thicken or thin up the output this way to hit your pedals/amp differently.
-Swap middle and neck pickup hot wires at the switch so you get a Neck+Bridge option out of the switch (5-way operates more like a 3-way + 2 middle tones)
-Telecaster bridge pickup for the bridge single coil. Then you have the Best of a Tele and best of a Strat.
-Reverse "Hendrix" pickguard bridge slot, this gives more mids to the bass strings and less ice pick to the trebles.

.

Thanks for the tips. I may go ahead leave the string tree up to my luthier's discretion along with the nut and fret work. I have extra wire and copper tape from my last build, but I I don't have any shielded wire for the output jack. I also have cavity shielding paint I purchased, but I'm not sure how effective it is.

I'm actually not going for a traditional SSS strat. I've been lusting for an American Charvel San Dimas and a Friedman Cali for a long time now, but decided to go the Warmoth route. I'm going for an HH pickup configuration with one volume knob and a 3 way toggle switch. I already have several different guitars for versatility, so I just want this to be a no frills hot rodded super strat style guitar with coil splitting or any other fancy wiring. I also really want a hardtail for this build and I'm not too keen on the current hard tail offerings from Charvel and a hardtail Cali is a custom order would be a custom order from Friedman.
 

Jecht

Member
Messages
1,107
Paging @smallbutmighty if you have a sec to provide some advice - Aaron is an awesome dude and just a little bit of a Warmoth expert ;).

Warmoth stuff is amazing, I got all 3 of mine used so I didn't build them myself but man are they all terrific quality. Provided all goes well with the assembly I'm sure you'll end up with a guitar you love.

Here's my little trio:




Wow! Beautiful guitars!
 

smallbutmighty

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,337
Paging @smallbutmighty if you have a sec to provide some advice - Aaron is an awesome dude and just a little bit of a Warmoth expert ;).
Thanks man!

My experience is that the Gotoh staggered tuners do a great job of mitigating the need for string trees. That said, I personally prefer to have at least one, and I like the ones with rollers. I can see how others might prefer the "slick" ones like Graphtec. I think any of these solutions will work better than the old-school Fender-style trees. I would avoid those unless you're looking to capture a vintage look.

As far as frets, it's a matter of personal preference (like everything else). I own and gig with multiple Warmoth necks, and I've never had a pro fret job done on any of them. They play low and clean, and the fret ends are just fine. I do have the distinct advantage of living where the necks were made, which makes neck movement due to changes in temperature/humidity/elevation much less likely for me. However, even for those that live in other places, most necks are still perfectly playable out of the box. That said, of course a pro fret job will make any neck play better. If you're looking for the ultimate neck I would recommend having it done.

Which reiterates an important point: as some have said, building from parts is not like putting together Legos. While the big pieces do go together pretty easily, the fine details require a certain amount of skill and finesse. It's important to say that that's not a shortcoming of the parts. It's the nature of creating an musical instrument where everything is balance with everything else in the final product. You can't "build in" or adjust for that level of detail when you're working on only one piece of the whole.
 

Andrey

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
95
Thanks man!

My experience is that the Gotoh staggered tuners do a great job of mitigating the need for string trees. That said, I personally prefer to have at least one, and I like the ones with rollers. I can see how others might prefer the "slick" ones like Graphtec. I think any of these solutions will work better than the old-school Fender-style trees. I would avoid those unless you're looking to capture a vintage look.

As far as frets, it's a matter of personal preference (like everything else). I own and gig with multiple Warmoth necks, and I've never had a pro fret job done on any of them. They play low and clean, and the fret ends are just fine. I do have the distinct advantage of living where the necks were made, which makes neck movement due to changes in temperature/humidity/elevation much less likely for me. However, even for those that live in other places, most necks are still perfectly playable out of the box. That said, of course a pro fret job will make any neck play better. If you're looking for the ultimate neck I would recommend having it done.

Which reiterates an important point: as some have said, building from parts is not like putting together Legos. While the big pieces do go together pretty easily, the fine details require a certain amount of skill and finesse. It's important to say that that's not a shortcoming of the parts. It's the nature of creating an musical instrument where everything is balance with everything else in the final product. You can't "build in" or adjust for that level of detail when you're working on only one piece of the whole.
I just got today Warmoth neck and body. Frets are idd looking and feeling good, but for some reason routing from bridge pickup (tele body) is missing :) Everything else is in place. Any specific reason for that? Just curious.
 

smallbutmighty

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,337
I just got today Warmoth neck and body. Frets are idd looking and feeling good, but for some reason routing from bridge pickup (tele body) is missing :) Everything else is in place. Any specific reason for that? Just curious.
I'm not sure what you mean. Are you saying the wiring channel from the bridge pickup rout to the control cavity rout is missing?
 




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