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Ready to start #1
Author
Post
PaulF

Total Topics: 28
Total Posts: 67
Ok guys so thanks to all the help I have received sorting out a few issues lately I am now ready to pick up the chisle and start.

A question for you. I have my neck blank at the ready and suddenly I am filled absolute fear. The thought of cutting into this beautiful piece of timber terrifies me, mostly incase I mess it up. Is this mornal? Did anyone else have this fear when starting their FIRST build?

I have been planning this for about 6 months selecting and making choices to minimise the fear. I dread to think what I would feel like if I just jumped in feet first!!


Jan 25, 10 | 12:52 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
Paul,
I just used a router to cut binding and purfling channels on my first, and was scared out of my mind about doing that. Just as you are about the neck. But like most new things, the "fear" of doing it is usually worse than actually doing it.
Mine didn't come out perfect, but it wasn't a disaster. You sound like you've prepared a great deal for this, so, use the advice that everyone gave me: go slowly, and practice, practice, practice.
If you make a mistake, turn it into a feature!
Good luck,
Bob

Jan 25, 10 | 5:43 am
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Hi Paul
Is this a precarved neck, or are you building it from scratch?
If it is precarved, then I say "so slow, as you are just basically reducing the size and keeping the basic shape. Try using sanding, instead of carving to do this, much less intimidating".
Now, if you are going the scratch route then you have no choice but to cut, chisel, plane and sand, but you still need to go slow and have a plan in your head of how you are going to approach getting the shape you want. It is easy to take too much material away, and hard to put it back.
Draw some lines, and start be getting close to those lines, as the basic shape of your neck appears, you will be more comfortable with more cutting, shaping up to those final measurements.
Which ever way you go, you just have to jump in, but don't rush it.
Let us know how it all goes.

Kevin

Jan 25, 10 | 5:51 am
PaulF

Total Topics: 28
Total Posts: 65
Hi Bob and Kev ... I am taking it REAL slow. I have a piece of cedrela 1m long and 75mm x 25mm at the moment. (I did ask my supplier for mahogany but he sent cedrela because he said it is easier to work than mahogany so I took his word for it. Next time it will be mahogany though.) I have plans for a martin OM guitar so I do have something to follow. I think it is as Bob said, something new. never made a guitar before although I did make a successful violin about 25 years ago!

Slow is def the name of this game and I will post pics as the guitar starts to take shape assuming I find somewhere to upload them first. FB doesn't like me linking my pics from there.

Paul

Jan 25, 10 | 6:32 am
naccoachbob

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 257
I use Photobucket to store mine. Once you've uploaded a picture there, anytime you hover the cursor over that picture, you're presented with several options to "capture" that photo. I right click on "IMG Code", and select "copy", then paste it into the thread. Don't forget to include the following:

width="640" before the closing [/IMG] as in the example below.

http://i794.photobucket.com/albums/yy230/naccoachbob/Dreadnought%202009/HPIM1673.jpg width="640"[/IMG]

Jan 25, 10 | 7:32 am
enalnitram (Martin Lane)

Total Topics: 47
Total Posts: 332

don't forget to test on scrap! be able to do it on scrap, then do it on your guitar.

Jan 25, 10 | 9:09 am
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
Paul, I have been terrified each time I contemplate a beautiful piece of wood and my meager abilities. And I lay awake at night thinking through each step - and each mistake. And mistakes there will be, but they are usually fixable.

Practice on scrap, then fit and clamp and fit and clamp some more. Cut slowly, particularly with chisels and spokeshaves - and of course, make sure they are scary sharp (wiki it).

Get your humidity stable and about where the guitar will spend the rest of its life (40-50%). (I learned my lesson in humility and humidity on number five).

Otherwise, start right in and enjoy ther ride. There is a big support group hanging around here to give whatever you need - we've all been thru it too.

ps - I use Photobucket too - it is fairly slow on uploads and I hate the popups but otherwise it is a good hosting site. Picasa is another that lets you put together slide shows. And Bob's example should have had [img]....[/img ] surrounding the link to the picture and I don't bother with the width thingie.

Jan 25, 10 | 11:48 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Freeman and all --- the width spec is necessary if your photos are bigger than 640 pixels wide -- without it, the photo spreads the entire forum and many people are highly irritated by having to scroll side to side. I've gotten angry emails about it.

So, please use the width tag if your photos are large. Thanks.

Bill

Jan 25, 10 | 1:46 pm
PaulF

Total Topics: 28
Total Posts: 65
Thanks to all for the comforting words. The time has come to start so start I will. I'll no doubt be shouting help when I drop a clanger or three.

Freeman the humidity around the UK is around 60% but I get your message.

Thanks for the heads up on Photobucket, I'll take a look and Bill I will def take on board the thought around including the width parameter when posting pics. I too get a little jerky when I have to scroll sideways becasue the pic is too big.

Well here goes ... In a little while I hope to be posting some pics of my guitar pieces that makes you go WOW!!!! and not hahaha!! LOL

Thanks to everyone for your encouragement.

Paul

Jan 25, 10 | 2:04 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Paul -- I'm sure all of us were pretty apprehensive when we started building our first guitars, but you know what? If you take the steps slowly, read instructions, ask questions, measure twice and cut once, test on scrap, test on scrap some more, expect to make mistakes and expect to be able to fix them, don't expect the guitar to be bad, but don't expect it to sound exactly like any other guitar you admire, but expect it to sound exactly like itself, a unique guitar with a character of play and tone all its own. Like a baby, it wll be unique in the details, but similar to all other guitars in the general features. You will enjoy the building and playing of it.

Now go make some sawdust and squeeze out. :-)

Bill

Ps. Put up pictures!

Jan 25, 10 | 4:28 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I'll echo everyone here. I think we are all a bit scared no matter how much planning has gone into the project. Don't suffer from analysis paralysis. Shave a sliver off that blank. Then another one. Maybe sharpen your spokeshave a little, then another. Pretty soon, you'll have a mahogany stick. Hopefully, it'll look like a neck. Just enjoy the process, and show us some pictures as it goes along!

Jan 26, 10 | 2:05 pm
dviss

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 165
I like what Ken said; analysis paralysis. Go slow, start on scrap, ask questions yes, but move forward.

one thing no one has said yet - at the end of the day it's just a piece of wood. (gasp! Bill don't revoke my membership) You'll have lots of help salvaging some mistake, but keep in mind that a neck blank could be replaced and you'll have some practice under your belt.

Paul, I'm just finishing up my first and starting out had no idea what to do with my neck blank. Yet I ended up with something that resembles a guitar neck. This would have saved me some headaches had I known about it. Robbie O'Brien's Neck Blank video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlRBNCa_odI

maybe it can answer some of your questions too.

Jan 27, 10 | 4:52 am
PaulF

Total Topics: 28
Total Posts: 65
hi dviss ... i looked at that vid and it certainly helped. Especially since I am using one of those methods. I also found Steve Dickie you tube vids very useful also. Don't know what you experience ppl think of Steve Dickie but I like his methods. He makes it look easy!

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

Jan 27, 10 | 6:41 am
dviss

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 165
I watched his videos too - I'm not very experienced but liked his different perspective on some things. Straightforward and down-to-earth.

Jan 27, 10 | 7:53 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
"...it's just a piece of wood..."?!

Yeah, that's true.


Jan 27, 10 | 8:36 am
dviss

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 165
well i knew someone would get a kick out of that... :)

Jan 27, 10 | 9:08 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
You know -- it took me at least ten prototypes before I had a neck off my CNC machines that I was satified with --- those were all made of Poplar of Pine. My point is if you are uncertain about your skills, tools, methods or what ever do a trial run on a piece of crap wood. Believe me -- It will not be a waste of time, just think about other things you did in your life where you were accomplished statrting with the very first try. For me I can't think of any. $.02

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Jan 27, 10 | 9:51 am
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
here is some advice that was given to me a long time ago. Go get a piece of less expensive wood like white pine. If you have to glue it up fine , the object is to use this a the 1st cut , and do a few steps as a time on the white pine. If your first steps look good you have a little feel for what you need to do and you have a sample to relate what you are doing.
This way if you make a mistake , you at least know what you don't want to do.
It worked well for me 10 yrs ago

John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc.
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center

Jan 27, 10 | 3:25 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
That is exactly what I did, go me an alder board and made a stacked heel, scarf joint neck to see how it would go together before I started on the real wood. I was glad I did that, it gave me confidence when I used the mahogany for the real thing. The neck did not turn out perfect, but quite satisfactory, and I believe I can do it again, only this time I'm cutting two one piece necks out of a big blank.
I recommend the practice whole heartedly.

Kevin

Jan 27, 10 | 4:20 pm



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