Wednesday, 8 August 2007

The aluminium bars have arrived

The flat bars of aluminium, which I ordered, have arrived. If I arrange them as a T-beam and add the other components I have already bought, it looks like this.

The guitar is almost complete, right? All that's lacking is some wood.

Not exactly. I can see the following steps ahead of me:

  • Plan exact geometry of the T-beam.
  • Decide/calculate placement of bridge and pickups
  • Cut and route top flange
  • Cut and route bottom flange
  • Bolt and epoxy glue the two flanges together.
  • Cut fingerboard and epoxy glue it to top flange.
  • Mount frets.
  • Design and make locking nut from a piece of brass.
  • Level and dress frets.
  • Drill holes for bridge and mount bridge
  • Put on strings, test how much too high the action is.
  • Route recess for lowering bridge.
  • Cut wood for neck and body
  • Sand wood parts
  • Stain and oil wood (I'll probably use spruce for the first version, but I'd like it to look like walnut).
  • Mount wood parts.
  • Wire electronics (pickups, pots and jack).
  • Mount electronics.
  • Mount strings.
  • Play.
  • Adjust.
  • Play some more.
  • etc...
If you can think of anything that I've left out - or a better sequence of steps - please let me know. I haven't been explicit about it in my earlier posts, but I've never built a guitar before.

I guess it'll take more than just a couple of months before this can actually be called a guitar. That's all right. I'm not in a hurry.


Risto said...

Good luck with the project! Looks really lovely thus far.

I've got a different project (an insane semi-hawaiian steel guitar) going over here:

The t-bars have been giving me ideas for my own thing for a while now, I'll be sure to keep is as a backup in case my lovely threaded bars can't take the tension.

Alexander Gorm Øst said...

Thanks! Haven't done any work on it since the last update, btw.

I'd like to see the guitar, you're building, but your link doesn't work. Can you post a link that works?

Risto said...

Ah, that's what I get for commenting while dead tired. The correct link would be:

The T-beam structure has been giving me ideas towards a Chapman Stick-esque instrument. I think it passed my idea for an upright bass on my to-do list.

Alexander Gorm Øst said...

Interesting construction you've got going. The pictures tell a lot, but there are still some details about your intended tuner system, that I don't really get. ...but the pictures that you mention will be added will probably help.

Risto said...

Hi again. I don't think I've seen you mention adjusting the arc/bow of the neck. Are you planning on forming the bow directly to the fretboard?

Also, damn you for putting that idea for a t-beam based touch-style guitar in my head. That would even avoid the question of neck curvature entirely. Of course the extra-wide neck has me running headfirst into the problem concerning the width of the upper flange. Still, intriguing.

Hum. Still haven't gotten around to taking those pictures of the sadly non-funcional tuners. Which is dumb, since mistakes are possibly the most important thing to document.

Alexander Gorm Øst said...

I hope not to need a truss rod. If my "calculations" are correct, the neck should be strong enough only to have a very little bow when the strings are on due to the strenght of the aluminium T.

Touch-style guitar... is that one of those instruments where tone is a result of the electric resistance in the strings? And that's not the one you're building at the moment, right?

Regardless, you can have aluminium bars quite wide (see e.g. so unless you have an extremely wide neck, it shouldn't be a problem. But since you use a stationary design, you could use even stronger and heavier materials. Iron, for example. You might even use old rails. ...Unless I misunderstand your design.