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all koa update

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 167
I haven't posted much but have been working on my koa build as much as life will let me.

I have to finish shaping the neck, carve my bridge, and bind the body but we're getting close to looking like a guitar!

The other day the neck was bolted on with the fretboard, for the first time. I'd checked the fit without the fretboard glued on, obviously, but this was different and I had to share a few photos. The top has a coat of shellac on it so it has a little more color than the sides and headplate.

it's a multi-scale OM!

Jul 13, 10 | 7:12 pm

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Looking good! the multi-scale is interesting.....never played one.

Jul 14, 10 | 8:57 am
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
It looks great, but how does the slanted fretboard, multiscale work?


Jul 14, 10 | 10:11 am

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 165
Thanks guys. I'm no expert -obviously- but have read anything i can find on the subject for the last year or so.

Multi-scale instruments use different scale lengths for the 1st & 6th strings and allow for higher tension on the lower strings, even in dropped tunings, and sweeter trebles... also solve some intonation issues in lower tunings.

For this experiment i went with a .75 difference in scale length with the 9th fret my perpendicular fret. There are no 'standards' for multi-scale builds, anything (almost) can be done. Greenfield builds a 27.5-30" scale baritone(!) There are also ergonomic benefits to the multi-scale fretting - lots of discussions (and disagreements) can be found elsewhere online about multi scale guitars.

I thought it would be fun thing to try, since the first 10 or so guitars are all about learning anyway... I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that this one will be a player and not a wall-hanger :)

Jul 14, 10 | 11:07 am

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 165
Ha! that didn't come out right. all 6 string will be different scale lengths but the first and sixth are what you're working from. It would be pretty hard to fret a guitar where only the first and sixth strings were different scale lengths.

...back to work now...

Jul 14, 10 | 11:11 am

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
Lovely. Yours isn't fanned as radically as some I've seen, here are some other takes on the concept

btw - I tried to play one of Doolin's and it about drove me bonkers, I have a hard enough time switching scale lenghts on my non-fanned guitars.

(don't know how you plan to finish it, I did a little test with different pore fillers on my koa and Zpoxy won hands down. It really made the grain pop far more than CA or SM paste. Another recommendation from Doolin, you might want to experiment with yours.)

Jul 14, 10 | 11:32 am

Total Topics: 18
Total Posts: 165
That one on the mimf is a monster! yes, lots of good midnight reading on this topic, for sure. Freeman, I wasn't ready for any 'radical' fanning, just getting a hang of the process. With a small .75 difference only minor changes have to be made in the top bracing, not so with those others you linked to...

I've tried ca on some scrap (not much figure in the scrap though) that came out pretty well, haven't tried epoxy/zpoxy yet, but will. thanks for the tip!

Jul 14, 10 | 12:05 pm
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Sweet Darren! I love all Koa OMs and OOs. I have one on my to build list. As soon as I find that right set, I will start. We are going to Kauai this winter and my hope is to hand pick a board or set. Not sure I am ready for multi scale yet, either to build or play!

Keep us posted on the progress.


Jul 14, 10 | 1:54 pm

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
As a slide player whenever I see a fan fretted guitar I get a real big headache LOL. I also have different scale lengths ranging from 24.4 to 26.2 - switching takes some adjustment. Yours looks like it would combine the advantage of longer scale on the bass side and still be playable - are you going to have to adjust string gauges to balance tension? I assume your saddle will be a little weird too - it will be interesting to see the final product.

If I ever get slowed down I'll buff the finish on my pore filler experiment and post a picture in the finishing section. You can see the final on my koa project here - I'll bet yours will be this nice.

btw that is plain old KTM shot over the Zpoxy - about 15 coats. That combination will be my finish of choice for anything in the future.

Jul 15, 10 | 5:51 am

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
Those frets a down right tame!!
Get a load of these!

Those are some wacky frets!! How do you bend a string? It would sound all messed up in my opinion. Maybe not though.

Jul 16, 10 | 7:58 pm

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