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Thread: Next build - another tele!

  1. #1
    Member Groovyman32's Avatar
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    Next build - another tele!

    Hi all,

    While I wait for my PB TL-1HA kit poly coats to cure I thought I'd make a start on build #2. This is another tele with a neck and body sourced from the UK.

    I did my first mock up today. With the bridge lined up on the predrilled holes the E strings are evenly spaced on neck... so all good.

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    Next I checked the scale length by using a straight edge to extend each side of the neck down to approximately where the scale length should be and then measured 25.5" from the nut. Sure enough, it was bang on where low E brakes over the compensated saddle - coolio!

    One strange thing:

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    The holes for the bridge are not centred on the neck. I would expect if this was really true I would see wonky strings on neck - but I don't.

    I triple checked I'd extended the lines accurately. Perhaps the bridge is not symmetrical - it seems like it is....

    Can any one help explain this? Should I be concerned?
    Last edited by Groovyman32; 03-04-2021 at 11:42 PM.
    Build #1 TL1-HA
    Build #2

  2. #2
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    Can't say for sure with the photo, but to me it looks like the neck could shift in the direction of the bass side just a bee's dick.
    That will move the neck extension lines toward the treble side, hopefully more congruent with the bridge mounting holes.

    You could also do it in reverse as a bit of a check if nothing else. Align the neck by setting the extension lines where they "should" be, and see how the string alignment looks. How long is the straight edge you're using?

    We all strive for perfection and symmetry, but TBH, if you're out up to .5 mm (in some places) you'll usually still be ok.

    (don't tell anyone I said that!!! )
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

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  4. #3
    Member Groovyman32's Avatar
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    Iím using a 1m rule as the straight edge. But I also verified using a long spirit level - however long it is, 1/2m maybe.

    The thing is, with the neck clamped in that position the bridge alignment seems to be in a good place. Itís only the pencil lines that look shonky.

    Iíll try again tomorrow and try to nudge the head stock a hair.
    Build #1 TL1-HA
    Build #2

  5. #4
    Member Groovyman32's Avatar
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    I checked all this again...

    Here's how I'm measuring it:

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    I'm not sure the pictures show the discrepancy well enough?

    I marked the centre line on both the body using the neck pocket and bridge holes. I also marked the centre line on the neck. When I put the ruler on the neck centre line, it lines up okay with the body at the neck end but by the time it gets to the bottom edge it's out by a mm or so:

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    I did notice a small gap between the neck and pocket on the bass side.

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    Indeed it was about the width of a bee's dick (or about 1.33 gnats nadgers in metric). If I push on the head stock enough to close the gap the bee gets upset but things do line up a better at the bottom edge of the body. Extending the outer neck edges to the scale line also places the bridge holes more centrally too. But the neck won't stay in the position of it's own accord.

    I guess when marking the mounting holes in the neck I can push it up tight and make it closer to perfect. I'm not sure if this sort of error is within accepted tolerance? Also what's the effect of mounting the neck with this pressure applied? My guess is it will probably settle where it wants anyway...

    I've asked the supplier their thoughts - let see what they say. It's a shame as I wanted to start the fine sanding today! More waiting.... #boo
    Last edited by Groovyman32; 04-04-2021 at 09:54 PM.
    Build #1 TL1-HA
    Build #2

  6. #5
    Overlord of Music dave.king1's Avatar
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    That really is a nice looking piece of timber.

    I always do my marking out on low tack masking tape rather than on bare wood, just need a bit of Goof Off instead of sanding which is important on a thin cap such as we get with a kit.

    JM2CW

  7. #6
    Member Groovyman32's Avatar
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    Next build - another tele!

    Thanks - yeah good idea!

    Itís a two piece alder body. Even though itís not required with alder, my plan is you use some grain filler with brown oil paint to pick out out the grain. Then attempt a sienna sunburst type stain.

    The supplier replied. They just encouraged my to push it straight when I bolt it up. They offered for me to send it back and theyíd fix it - but I donít think itís worth the hassle. As long as thereís no obvious problems that might pop up further down the road Iím happy. The mock up looked good and I reckon Mc was is right 0.5mm probs isnít going to make a lot of difference.


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    Build #1 TL1-HA
    Build #2

  8. #7
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    Given what you detailed in you latest post, it looks like the bridge position is definitely okay, which is a good thing. So the problem would appear to be originating at the pocket.
    I would simply adjust the offending side of the pocket until it allows you to get the neck satisfactorily aligned. It won't take much. Just remember to remove material from the opposite side of the pocket than the direction you want to move the neck. (make sense?)

    There are several tools you can use to do this: a razor sharp chisel, a cabinet scraper, or sandpaper on a hardwood block. I'm presuming the sandpaper would be the most practical for you.

    Make sure the block is has at least two sides that are perfectly square with each other and only apply the paper to the side of the block that will contact the side of the pocket. You don't want to mess with the bottom of the pocket. P240 should be all you need. Go a little at a time, checking frequently. You don't want to over-sand.

    As for acceptable tolerances, I would say yes if this was a budget range kit. If it was $400 Warmoth body, I'd say no.
    I have seen bigger gaps at the pocket on brand name guitars. In fact, a little gap is necessary to allow finish and environmental expansion. Timber moves.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

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  10. #8
    Member Groovyman32's Avatar
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    Itís not budget but not top end either. It cost just under £100 (180AUD?). But you can really tell the difference between the PB body. Itís probably 3mm thicker and more refined - especially around the jack socket and pup/control cavities.

    Iím going to start finishing the body today. Iím reluctant to mess with the pocket as I donít want to make the neck overly loose. Letís see how brave I get when Iím sanding.

    Thanks again for all the advice


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    Build #1 TL1-HA
    Build #2

  11. #9
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    Iím reluctant to mess with the pocket as I donít want to make the neck overly loose.
    There is a perpetuated myth that a screw-fixed neck needs to be tight. Whilst you don't want a 2mm gap all the way around the heel (primarily aesthetic reasons) a neck should not require any extreme pressure to fit it into the pocket. It should literally drop in from the top (you should not try to slide it in toward the bridge because the heel & pocket are tapered).

    The more important area of a screw-fixed neck joint, is the mating of the bottom of the heel & pocket. That said, there is heaps of contention about this amongst builders/repairers and the like.
    In relation to this, the screw holes for the neck in the body should be large enough for the screws to pass through without any turning. If you have to turn the screws into the body, they're too small!
    If the threads grip the sides of the body holes, they not drawing the heel into the pocket to their maximum potential. Have maximum drawing pressure on the heel, will make for a better heel/pocket bottom contact.

    Sanding the pocket is not a big deal. Lots of first-time (and second-time ) builders have done it successfully. Do it as I detailed earlier and you'll be fine. It will make for a better overall build and you'll be glad you did in the end. Just MHO.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  12. #10
    Member Groovyman32's Avatar
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    Thanks Mc - I think I've it close to where I want it now. I did another mock up to prove to myself I haven't broken anything and it all still looks good to me.

    Also yesterday I managed to get the body sanded and grain filled and the headstock shaped.

    Umm and ahh over this. I wanted something unusual. I don't want to have to look to hard to see that it's a custom build rather than a Fender so that rules out traditional tele. I also considered a 70's strat oversized headstock as I get to keep more of the wood that I've paid for in on the guitar. But I think that would be too heavy.

    I considered designing my own. But I've not stumbled on something that looks "right". My philosophy is that the body shape is copied so it's okay for the headstock to be too. As long as you don't write "Fender" on it then it feels okay (unless your name really is Fender). I know this is a contentious issue!

    So I went standard strat - again - and I'm pleased with how it turned out.

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    Combined with nap in between filling and headstock shaping - a good day's work all in all.

    I was pleased with how the decal went on my first build - but I'm considering something a little more refined for this one. Has anyone had a metal decal made? I had a google around but it seems hard to find any one who would do this. I guess I need a laser cutter?

    The alternative is to attempt an inlay. It feels achievable with a dremel and enough practice?

    Here's the stain I'm planning. It's a brown to yellow fade with red over the brown once the brown had dried.

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    Build #1 TL1-HA
    Build #2

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