Discussion in 'Builder's & Retailer's Forum' started by Dave Weir, Jul 16, 2017.
How come you positioned the pickup differently? How does that affect the tone?
Love your work.
The pickup position was the customer's request. I always prefer the neck position. It seems fuller or richer to me. I always want them to sound as good as possible so it's kind of a conflict when my personal preferences don't line up with the customers. I probably turn away more orders than I take because they want something I don't want to or can't do.
But he was a repeat customer and very good player and knew what he wanted so I gave in.
There is a lot more string movement at the neck so louder and also seemingly more harmonics. For perspective, I generally play guitar watching TV at low volumes and pretty clean. So I'm not worried about standing out in a mix or distorted chords with dissonant beats. I know it's not for everybody, but I'm pretty happy working my little niche.
Thank you for your comments and interest in Weir Guitars!
It seems like you are putting the pickup where an acoustic's soundhole goes. And since you don't have V and T controls and are putting Responsiveness First as your philosophy, it sounds like you are building an electric that should be approached as an acoustic technique-wise. Hmm.
I will be on the other side of some big things in about a year; this is giving me ideas. If, in a year from now, I can actually think about this, cool.
- Do you ever allow someone to stop by your workshop to try out a guitar if they can get themselves to Escondido?
- If someone wanted a deeper neck profile - e.g., 1" at the nut - do you support that?
- Oh, and I see on your bass, it has split-shaft tuners which are so easy to work with. Do you have a guitar set that has a similar split shaft you point customers to?
First, thank you for your comments. Always appreciated.
As far as trying one out, it's kind of difficult. Almost all of them are made to order. I generally make about 2 per month and they ship out as soon as they are done. So it's not very often I have any around the house. My personal guitars are left handed, strung upside down. So you could get the sound and play-ability, but they are not as comfortable as a regular right handed version. But message me when you are going to be in the area, and we will see what we can arrange.
1" at the nut seems really thick. Doing stuff like that gets into the realm of a custom shop, and that's not my path. I am trying to keep it simple, and keep the costs under control. More like a one man factory. There are a lot of other guys that will build you exactly what you want, do a great job, and charge you appropriately.
I prefer the Open Back Grover Sta Tites. They work well, are priced right, and fit well with my general style. Again, re-tooling for different tuners is custom shop stuff. Let's say it took 20 hours to make the jig that allows me to drill all of the tuner holes in less than five minutes. I can't spend 20 hours to make a tool to drill for one special set of tuners, so I have to lay it out by hand. Which may take 3 hours. So I'd have to charge $180.00 just for the labor to install the tuners. If it's a $5,000.00 guitar, you probably wouldn't think twice about this, or even realize that's how it breaks down. But on a $700.00 guitar, that's a big premium.
Hopefully I've answered your questions and given you more to think about. Let me know if I can be of further assistance, and Thank You for your interest in Weir Guitars!
All very helpful; thanks. I respect your focus on simplicity - that's the point. I wasn't sure how neck thickness fit into that - I thought that since you are creating them, you might just stop sanding a bit sooner . (I clearly have no clue what goes into it.)
Yeah, ~1" is big, but my old '46 Gibson J-45 and my home-built Tele with an Allparts Fat neck are my two favorites and are that big, so there ya go. I love how my Tele feels - that big flatsawn neck bolted to an ash body. It is what got me thinking about your guitars when I read your approach. That Tele really is a rigid, vibrating unit with 12's strung on it. I was thinking a big neck on your design would be in line with your overall tight-fit, vibrate-as-one-to-max-responsiveness approach. It's all good!
An as for tuners, cool. It makes sense that you keep things as consistent as possible. Thanks for taking the time.
I'm with you on having a very rigid system. That's one reason I started looking at alternative wood options.
By the numbers
Mahogany 1,537,000 lbf/in2
Maple 1,830,000 lbf/in2
Ipe 3,200,000 lbf/in2
A .8" Ipe neck is much stiffer than a 1" Maple neck. If you make an Ipe neck perfectly, out of perfectly dried timber, you really don't need a truss rod at all. I don't think the Ipe even knows it has strings on it. And I made several like this. The problem is it's never perfect. So I've been putting truss rods in them now as standard.
But if you like the feel of the 1" thickness, that's cool too. For me, in making them, the change in thickness changes the whole shape, the way the shoulders are sloped. It's just harder to figure out exactly what someone else would want. A lot easier to do it the way I want.
My neck profile was done mathematically, in Excel. I have two very specific ellipses that I work to, at the zero fret and 16th, and it evolves smoothly from one to the other. It could all be recalculated, but again, trying to keep it simple.
All good. I’ve read where folks use a wire to form the profile of the neck at, say, the nut, 5th and 12th frets, and send pics of the wire lying on grid paper. Again, no worries, simply thinking out loud.
I’ve got big catchers mitt hands and a heavy handed fingerstyle-and-strum approach using heavy gauge strings - a big neck on a responsive guitar is a perfect tool for what I need. So I keep an eye out.
Here are a couple of the latest.
108 is Mahogany and Roasted Maple, and it has a volume control
The control cover is a concho.
109 is Mahogany with a Lyptus neck.
A volume control?! Oh, my! Do you/the owner like how it turned out sound-wise? Love the concho.
I was surprised how quickly it turns the volume down. I used a Bourne’s audio taper pot, and expected it to be more gradual. I’m obviously not an expert. As far as the tone, it seemed fine. I haven’t heard from the customer. I think he got it on Wednesday.
Hey Dave, thanks for all the build photos, it's really neat seeing the process you've developed.
Does the nut need to be loosened to change strings or do they slide through? Also, does tuner height keep the string pressure upward on the nut or is there contact with the wood beneath?
The strings slide though the inverted nut. The strings sometimes touch the wood, especially if you put a lot of wraps on the e strings. It doesn’t seem to matter. You have the same break angle over the zero fret regardless of the number of wraps.
It seems fascinating. It feels like it would fit with your Rigid System design, for situations where someone likes to include overdrive in their chain.
I'm saying this because it feels like your design is an even-more-distilled example of what a Tele does tone-wise, e.g., their reputation of being "unforgiving" because they are bright and depend so much on a person's playing dynamics. That type of responsive guitar, with a bit of dirt in the signal, is a beautiful thing. I know it is not what you designed your guitar to do, but I don't think Leo was thinking about Keith Richards when he created The Plank, either
As you can tell, I think your design philosophy and approach are very cool. Hope this type of mental noodling is okay and not a distraction to getting your message out.
Here is number Instigator #110. Beautiful Walnut body. Highly figured Goncalo Alves Neck. 3rd Generation PF2 pickup. 8.4 pounds. This is pretty much exactly what I pictured when I imagined the Instigator.
This guitar was $780.00 including shipping to Canada.
One piece Walnut Instigator style body. Fore Arm & Belly Cut. 12.75" lower bout, Right Handed.
Black Barn Burst Finish
One Piece Goncalo Alves neck and fret board. Gunstock Oil Finish
Direct Drive Weir Cream PF2 humbucking pickup in neck position. No volume or tone controls.
Sta-Tite open back tuners.
Cream Side Markers
23 FW43080-S Stainless Steel Frets with
Zero fret & Inverted Nut.
Double U Truss Rod.
Bare Trap neck joint.
Intonated Aluminum Z Bridge
Aluminum Dead Stop Tail Piece.
Goncalo Alves Bridge Ramp
End Pin Jack.
Deluxe padded gig bag.
Here is what the customer had to say:
Got my new Weir Instigator # 110 delivered today from Canada Post around 4:30 EST. WOW!
I am blown away by the guitar you made for me.
It is incredible. The look, wood in the neck, body, painting you did to make it look rustic & vintage & the sound tone & sustain.
It just sings, every note & chord, I play just goes and goes on and on & the clarity is amazing. I could not put it down. I am speechless over the build & craftsmanship you have put into this wonderful instrument.
It exceeds my expectations & I am so happy I found your website ordered it from you @ Weir Guitars. It is so comfortable, effortless to play just responds to very style of music I have thrown at it so far. Incredible.
Thank you so very much Dave. I love LOVE this guitar & am planning to play & show it off to my band mates & the local music store I hand out at here in Toronto.
I know once they or anyone sees, hear it & try it they will be blown away by your design& work.
I hope it results in you getting some more inquiries & sales because as far as I am concerned you've got an amazing beautiful one of a kind bare bones guitar that is ALL about tone!
I love it so much I am already thinking about ordering maybe getting a 2nd one from you! Well worth it. An great investment & incredible unique instrument.
I am really going/having a hard time putting this thing down! The tone and sustain is out of this world & just makes me want to play take in every note, nuance & chord. Magic. Pure inspirational magic.
Thank you very much Dave for all your help & building me an incredible beautiful looking & sounding guitar. I love it! I dig it!
Regards & thanks.
I’ve been wondering what you’ve been up to Dave.
Haven’t forgotten about the limba/canary combo...
Dave’s guitars are amazing, then there’s the price.
Quality vs. cost can’t be beat in my opinion.
I’ve gone down a few ‘boutique’ builder rabbit holes, and rarely have I come away with such a quality instrument. The one’s that were on par, were considerably more expensive.
A third Wier is inevitable.
Thanks for the nice words, and glad to hear you are enjoying your guitars! 113 is just about done. Limba (Korina) body and Merbau neck. It will be pretty light, about 6 pounds. It’s a good looking combination.
Trying to find time to make the prototype Couch Bass, just started a major flooring project, looking at doing some Lictenberg burns. Stuff like that.
Consider me intrigued !
I’ve been trying to thing how I would like a limba body finished, even without much character, I want to see the wood grain, but I’m not a fan of bursts(don’t know if you do bursts), and didn’t want your worn look for this one..
Burns? Sign me up, take my money.
This first one has just a touch of Amber to get in in the range of the old Gibsons. You don't see to many of the Korina bodies with a burst.
We'll see how it goes with the burns. I'll post some pictures if it goes well.
Here is Number 111. This is the body that I accidentally drilled left handed, and a neck blank that has some pin knots it unfortunate places. The Audio Taper pot seems way too touchy, but I don't use it anyway. Other than that it is a really nice guitar. It's set up with the bass string on the bottom, which is how I play, but it's available and I can switch it if any lefties out there are interested.
What’s the wood type of the neck with the limba body? I’m more of a lemon burst/plain top guy anyway.
I assume any burning wood happen before finishing...
The burns I’ve seen use a nail as a conductor... curious about where you would place the conductor...under the bridge, pickup route, or knob, or if you have other ideas that wouldn’t leave a hole
The neck on #113 is Merbau, or also called Kwila in Australia. Open grain, medium weight, very stable. One of my favorites.
Probably burn before cutting the final shape, so the nails or clamps are outside the edge. Trying to make sure I’m taking enough safety precautions. Insulated table, dead man switch, etc.
The way I usually picture it is branches up at an angle from where a les Paul jack would be and down at an angle from where the strap button would be. Something like that.