Building your own



Building your own

Postby guilddigger » Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:57 pm

Did anyone of you ever try to make an instrument on your own? A playable real instrument that is.
A few years ago I made a lapsteel guitar from a piece of alder wood which is a very good tone wood. I dyied it in a mahagony shade and gave it a good three layers of laquer to make it glossy.
For bridge/saddle and nut I used L-shaped die cast iron bars that I smoothed down and polished and bolted to the body.
Since a lapsteel don't need real frets, as the strings never touch the fingerboard, I went to the scrapyard and bought a thin sheet of aluminum that I spray painted black and attached to the body, then marked the frets with a silver pen. Getting the correct distance between each fret to match the guitar's mensure was a bit tricky, but turned out OK in the end.
I had an old Seymor-Duncan Telecaster bridge pick-up laying around that I installed and made the volume and tone controls from a piece of round wood painted black. The only thing that cost me som serious money was a set of Gotoh tuners that I attached to two hollow iron square bars that are also bolted to the body.
It plays and sounds great, especially when I cut down the treble a bit.

The result from this made me bolder and now I am in the process of building a sitar guitar modelled after the Danelectro Coral Sitar guitar, same as Steve uses.
This guitar is actually very simply made. It's a chambered guitar (hollow body but no soundholes) with a wooden structure sandwiched between two pieces of masonite. Yep you read it right, masonite.
Since I couldn't find a blue print for this guitar I had to look at pics on the net and estimate the meassures and then make a blue print myself. I think I got pretty close, give or take and inch or a half.
The neck pocket is being carved out by a professional guitar builder, as is the neck piece that I will finish myself, such as sanding and fretting it. Putting in a truss rod yourself is not an easy job.
I also ordered a set of zither-pins from Elderly Music for the thirteen resonance strings. The buzz-bridge, which gives the guitar the sitar sound, can be ordered from Gotoh but I will try to make my own.
I'll let you know how it comes out in the end. This will probably take som time since I want it to be perfect, or as close to perfect as I can get.
Next I will try to make a twelve-string electric! I think I will us the Gibson 345 model for body.

This is great therapy for me and I get something out of it that is useable!
"heaven is all around translated to sound" - michael hedges
guilddigger

Starship Trooper
 
Posts: 4578
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2001 6:13 am
Location: Umeå, Sweden.

Re: Building your own

Postby guilddigger » Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:34 pm

I am happy to announce that I now am the proud father of a fully functional electric sitar guitar.
This has been a helluva fun project. From now on I will never buy another guitar, but build my own.
There was a lot of problem-solving moments when the work had to be put on hold. For instance I discovered that I had made the body a bit too short which means the lenght of the sympathetic droning strings also became too short, so I had to make a new body (luckily the material used is inexpensive).
The hardest and most time consuming part was to intonate the bridge. The mensure (distance between bridge and nut) is longer than on an ordinary guitar, since the strings vibrate on a plate-shaped buzz bridge, which gives the sitar sound. It took a few hours of moving the bridge little by little to get it right.
Now it works like a charm and sounds really cool.
And of course, when I plugged it in I just had to play the sitar parts from CTTE and TBO!
I will try to gets some pics posted later.
"heaven is all around translated to sound" - michael hedges
guilddigger

Starship Trooper
 
Posts: 4578
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2001 6:13 am
Location: Umeå, Sweden.

Re: Building your own

Postby ksdb » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:30 pm

Congrats. That's pretty impressive. The most ambitious I've ever been is to strip and repaint a couple of electric guitars. That turned out to be really messy and more time-consuming than anticipated. Building a guitar or a sitar would be way beyond my skills. BTW, I've got a Line 6 Variax, which has a reasonable model of a sitar built into it. Would be cool to play the real thing and compare.
ksdb

User avatar
Active Member
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2008 6:39 am

Re: Building your own

Postby muse4u » Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:43 pm

Once helped build a harpsichord from a kit. I still have the scars.
muse4u

Member
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:53 pm

Re: Building your own

Postby guilddigger » Thu Apr 03, 2008 1:54 pm

thanks for the replies.
Here are a few pics of the result.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
"heaven is all around translated to sound" - michael hedges
guilddigger

Starship Trooper
 
Posts: 4578
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2001 6:13 am
Location: Umeå, Sweden.

Re: Building your own

Postby child-of-the-light » Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:48 am

Wow, that's some pretty cool stuff. I've always wanted to make an attempt at biulding a guitar. The closest I've gotten was attempting to make a theremen last year. It makes a lot of noise but really doesnt work the way I think it should. Your pictures have inspired me though.
Ride the tides of faith
child-of-the-light

User avatar
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 12:44 am
Location: Queens, NY

Re: Building your own

Postby guilddigger » Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:25 am

So, with that sitar guitar coming out fine I have now begun another guitar project that will be a lot of fun.
I am now in the middle of building a twelve-string ES-335 model.
I have already constructed the body that involved bending the sides, arching a centre block and gluing the top and bottom to it. This time I will try to make the neck myself from scratch instead of getting a premade one from a local luthier.
I'll keep you all informed how things go.
"heaven is all around translated to sound" - michael hedges
guilddigger

Starship Trooper
 
Posts: 4578
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2001 6:13 am
Location: Umeå, Sweden.

Re: Building your own

Postby Greenglade's Frog » Sat Dec 06, 2008 3:48 am

guilddigger wrote:I am happy to announce that I now am the proud father of a fully functional electric sitar guitar.
This has been a helluva fun project. From now on I will never buy another guitar, but build my own.
There was a lot of problem-solving moments when the work had to be put on hold. For instance I discovered that I had made the body a bit too short which means the lenght of the sympathetic droning strings also became too short, so I had to make a new body (luckily the material used is inexpensive).
The hardest and most time consuming part was to intonate the bridge. The mensure (distance between bridge and nut) is longer than on an ordinary guitar, since the strings vibrate on a plate-shaped buzz bridge, which gives the sitar sound. It took a few hours of moving the bridge little by little to get it right.
Now it works like a charm and sounds really cool.
And of course, when I plugged it in I just had to play the sitar parts from CTTE and TBO!
I will try to gets some pics posted later.


OMG, an electric sitar guitar. I'd like to buy one of those someday.

That's quite an achievement. I think the only thing I ever made was in woodshop in high school, a mandatory project , a box/plant holder type thing. I remember the anxiety I had about approaching that saw and bevelling machine. I wasn't good at it at all.

Didn't like the loud noise of the saw.
[CENTER][font=Arial][SIGPIC][/SIGPIC][/font][/CENTER]
Greenglade's Frog

User avatar
Starship Trooper
 
Posts: 1908
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 5:00 pm
Location: California, on the Edge of the Continent


Return to We Love When We Play

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron