Weir Guitars

Discussion in 'Builder's & Retailer's Forum' started by Dave Weir, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Location:
    Escondido, CA
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    Weir Guitars is a little one man shop operating out of Escondido, California. I specialize in handmade electric guitars featuring rock solid design and bare bones tone. I use the best materials I can find but also try to keep it simple and keep the price down.
    The first and still primary guitar I make is the Poorboy. It is stripped done to the essentials, which allows me as a builder and you as a player to focus on what really matters, the sound and the play-ability. Just ask Elvin John Mabborang of Bathala.

    Standard Details
    Scale 25"
    Frets .084"x.039" Nickel alloy
    Tuners Grover Sta-Tite V98N
    String guide Nickel Silver
    Neck width varies slightly, generally about 1 11/16" to 1.3/4"
    Neck Contour True Tapered Oval (about .8" at the nut, .9" at the neck joint
    Side Markers 3,5,7,9,12 frets
    Neck Joint Bare Trap bolt in. Neck joins body at the 16th fret. Standard neck plate.
    Truss Rod One piece 1/8"" x 1/4" double folded steel rod, with adjustment screw
    Bridge Aluminum or Corian Z Bridge with hardwood ramp
    Tail Piece Aluminum Dead Stop
    Output jack Nickel or Chrome End Pin Jack
    Standard Pickups Weir PF2
    Neck / Fret Board* Maple, Merbau, Ipe, Baked Maple, Cumaru, Goncalo Alves, Wenge, others.
    Body Woods* Alder, African Mahogany, Meranti, Walnut, Poplar, Parota, Ash, Pine
    *subject to availability




    Heavy Distressed Black Barn Burst Walnut Body. Goncalo Alves Neck. PF2 Pickup. Just under 8 pounds with the smaller 12.35" body. Rich mellow tone. String grounds are a thing of the past now with the PF2 pickups. This one is available for sale on Etsy. Edit: Sold 7.24.17. Another edit: I’m using string grounds again. Under most conditions you don’t need to touch the strings and your body does not need to be part of the shield system, but I’ve been convinced it’s a good idea anyway.
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    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
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  2. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Location:
    Escondido, CA
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
  3. rollyfoster

    rollyfoster Supporting Member

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  4. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Location:
    Escondido, CA
    Thanks!
    Here's some neck blanks that have been planed to about 1.25" and then drilled for the truss rod. The blank is installed on a lathe and I cut the little cone in the end. I also cut a short starter hole for the gun drill. It's really critical to get it started straight, so I turn the blank by hand, with the motor off.
    Then I use the little cone to line up a live hollow center. I have a .357 gun drill that is modified to use air to eject the chips instead of oil. This is hooked up to a compressor, and I also modified it so it can be hand held. At that point I turn the lathe on, and drill the 20" deep hole. I use a magnet on a stick to locate exactly where the end of the hole is, and everything from then on revolves around that point.
    Some of these already have the 1/2" hole drilled also. This goes just a few inches and holds the adjuster. Some just have the .357 hole drill.
    I think from left to right the woods are
    Lyptus
    Bocate
    Maple
    Roasted Maple
    Goncalo Alves
    Ipe
    Cumaru
    Pau Ferro

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    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
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  5. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

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    672
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    Location:
    Escondido, CA
    Here's a review:

    slartbarg on Mar 24, 2017
    5 out of 5 stars
    I purchased number 77, and I'm floored by this thing. The craftsmanship is superb, the fret work is outstanding. The design is pretty much what I had always wanted in a guitar, you will be in disbelief it's really yours once it arrives. The guitar has just enough heft, for me the neck is pretty perfect fit. The pickup sounds absolutely amazing, the thing is surprisingly acoustically resonant, and the sustain from the nut, zero fret and metal bridge and stop tail are fairly significant. Buy one, just buy one.
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    A very comfortable 6.98 pounds. Alder body and one piece Ipe neck, PF2 Pickup. Great combination. This one has Stainless Steel frets. I don't notice any difference in feel but there is brightness that is noticeable and distinct. Despite what I have heard, installation was not difficult at all. I bought a new flush cut trimmer that worked very well, and it took maybe a little longer to clean up the ends but no big deal. Painted with a very lightly distressed Sage Green Milk Paint finish.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  6. stickyFingerz

    stickyFingerz Supporting Member

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    I really like the look of those guitars, and the price is astonishing.
     
  7. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Escondido, CA
    After the truss rod hole is drilled and the neck is brought down to one inch thick, I shape the head stock and heel. I don't bother routing the sides of the neck, that gets handled when the back is shaped.
    This is how I avoid tear out on the wicked hard neck woods I use. I use a real template (on top in the picture), and a slightly smaller spacer on the other side. The neck is in the middle, fresh off the saw. The router bit has two bearings, and I can flip the neck over so it is always cutting "downhill". I put several layers of masking tape on the template, and peel one layer off after each pass. So I am only cutting about .005" per pass. No more tear out.
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    After the Head stock and heel are shaped, I rough out the back with the band saw. This gets me within 1/16". I use the band saw like a powered spoke shave. [​IMG]
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    Final shaping is done with a heavily modified belt sander. [​IMG]
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    Back to the band saw to take the top off the head stock.
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    Face cleaned up on the spindle sander.
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    Fretboard radius is done on another belt sander
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    This is my fret board sander. Originally I had a Craftsman 1/3 horse that I had cut and stretched to install a longer platen. It really didn't have enough torque to sand a fret board. If you ever tried one of those sanding blocks you know it takes a lot of muscle. So I salvaged the adjuster wheel and put a knife grinding drive wheel directly to a one horse farm motor. With 3 times the power at half the speed, there is no stopping this one.
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    Here is the true one piece Ovangkol neck ready to go.
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    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
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  8. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Escondido, CA
    I had to come up with a truss rod that would work with the drilled slot. With the .357 Diameter hole, a 1/4" square just fits with the corners digging in a bit, which helps lock it in place. The rod is actually 1/4 x 1/8. It's folded over at the headstock end, and then then a short piece folded over at the heel. I drill and tap the heel end for the adjustment screw. The screw pushes on one side of the bar, making it longer than the other side, forcing it, and the neck, to bend.
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    Here's a close up of the adjustment end. The spacer on the left is just to clean up the finished look of it. And the threads don't engage. They are just so you can pull it out if you need to remove the rod.
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    Here it is installed:
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    There is a little pit so you can access the adjuster. It's a one way rod, but you could flip it over if for some reason you get a back bow. [​IMG]
    Since the rod is "floating", there is less need for seasonal adjustments than a traditional one way rod. The wood can expand and contract without changing the tension on the rod.

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    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018
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  9. aroman

    aroman Member

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    Cool Guitars !
     
  10. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Location:
    Escondido, CA
    Thanks!
    Roasted Maple Neck, Ash Body, PF2 Pickup. Brick Red Barn Burst Milk Paint Finish. This has the smaller (12.25") body and comes in at 5.994 pounds. Call it 6.
    12" Radius on the neck. Zero Fret is about 1 11/16". Back is oval, about .8" at the Zero Fret, .9" at the heel.
    The finish is scraped and dry rubbed with rottenstone. Gives the Ash a great color.
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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
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  11. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Escondido, CA
    Here is a closeup of the Inverted Nut. It's a piece of 1/4"x 1/8" nickel silver that I bend around a GM Suburban brake drum. It springs back to a 12" radius.
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    The slots are cut so the strings slide freely. There is a small arch on the top of the slot. I can move the nut to change the down angle, but have kind of settled in on 13 degrees over the zero fret . I use Button Head Screws which are flat on the bottom so I can make tiny alignment adjustments.
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    Here is a very close up of the inverted nut for bass. I haven't found nickle silver the right size, so I've been making this out of brass.
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    There are a few of advantages of this design. First, the construction is a little easier than a perfectly cut traditional nut. Second, intonation is relatively perfect, since the zero fret provides for perfect string height. Third, it allows me to use a straight head stock, since the down angle is produced by the nut. The straight head stock is less expensive and easier to manufacture, and is often much stronger.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
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  12. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

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    Location:
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    Here's a close up of the Z bridge. This one is aluminum, and I'm also making them from corian. The "step" on one side is for unwound G. The bridge can be spun around 180 degrees and the step on the other side allows proper intonation of sets with wound G strings. Intonation is set by loosening the strings and nudging it around a bit. Pretty low tech, but also a very solid platform for the strings to launch from. Height is adjusted by moving the bridge up or down the "Ramp" The tailpiece is screwed down directly to the body, which makes it a very solid anchor.
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    Here's the bass bridge. I've only tried a few sets of strings, but so far the straight bar intonates very well.
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    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
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  13. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

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    Location:
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    Here is a prototype for a little travel guitar. Trying to make it as short as possible but retain play-ability and comfort. 25" scale, 34" overall, about 6 pounds.
    Body is Poplar and neck is Ipe. Lefty strung righty because that's how I play it. It is comfortable on my right leg but kind of cramped on my left leg. Same fret access as Jimi had on his Strat.
    I'll add a forarm cut to the next one. I tried to make the pick guard by routing out a pool and filling it with the same Urathane I use on the pickups. There were a couple problems. One is the bubbles. On the pickups they wind up on the back so it doesn't matter. The other thing is it was hard to scrape level and I wound up taking off a lot of paint. I'll probably just switch to a more traditional pick guard material.
    Edit 2.18.18 I'm not offering this style any more. I like the little Firebird type travel guitar a lot more.
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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
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  14. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

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    Here's a blackened Mahogany body with all the routing done. The neck pocket is cut slightly smaller than the neck. The neck is forced in under considerable pressure. It's one of the main reasons these thing sound like they do. I have mating pressure from both sides, the heel and the back. Most of them will play in tune without even installing the screws. It's also why there is no cutaway. If there was just a thin strip like a Les Paul, it would have a high chance of blowing out.
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    Here is how the neck goes in. Since the sides are angled, it is a little wider at the heel. I move the neck an inch or so toward the bridge, and it will start to drop in. Then it is forced forward unitl the heel clears, and then forced down in.
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    A perfect fit. [​IMG]
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    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018
  15. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

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    Escondido, CA
    Here's a link to Karl Strauss demoing #91. Pretty awsome what he can get out of that little guitar!

     
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  16. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

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    Location:
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    Here's number 93. Mahogany Body, Canary Neck. About 6.5 pounds. This is the first time I used Canary and it's very nice. A little harder than Maple, carves and sands well. Looks great.
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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
  17. free_jazz

    free_jazz Member

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    What a fascinating operation. Ingenuity abounds here, starting with the heat in the attic! Thanks for sharing.
     
  18. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks! Do what you can with what you got.
     
  19. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

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    Escondido, CA
    Here is the production version of the Sidekick travel guitar. The double cutaway version was a little too cramped. This one is comfortable resting on either leg. The prototype is Lefty Strung Righty, Walnut body with Lyptus neck. 25" Scale, overall length is 37".
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    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
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  20. Dave Weir

    Dave Weir Gold Supporting Member

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    Location:
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    This is a new body option, I call the Instigator. The shoulders are a little more squared up like a Dreadnought, but the main difference is less wood behind the bridge, compared to the Poorboy. This should be about .7 pounds lighter, and will be offered for the heavier woods like Walnut or Sapele, maybe even solid Maple.
    This prototype is Poplar with a Goncalo Alves neck, and weighs 6.8 pounds. This one is available for sale on Etsy. Edit: Sold
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    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
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