Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hey everyone!

Time for another update to the guitars we're building for The Ramonas! Again, if you're not aware of who these girls are or why we're doing this then have a check back to the original post HERE and part 1 of the build progress can be found HERE.

So when we last left you we had both bodies cut out and shaped, construction wise, the only things left to do are drill all the various bridge mounting holes and bridge earth wire channels. We won't be doing that this update though, this one is all about necks!

Both necks are going to be made from 3 pieces of Maple. Here's how they look before start their life as a guitar neck.

Once the 3 pieces have been glued together they need to be sanded flat to ensure we have a flat and even surface to rout the truss rod channel on.

We draw onto the face of the wood with pencil then start sanding. Once all the pencil marks have disappeared we check it again with a straight edge.

Once we've made sure the surfaces are flat it's time to find our centre line, mark where the truss rod is going to lie and start routing the channel.

This is the channel for Victoria's Fender® P-Bass replica....

....And the one for Zoë's Mosrite® replica

After the channels are routed we do a test to see if everything fits together nicely. It's important the truss rod sit in snugly but not so tight that it can't move when adjusted.

Once we're happy with the truss rod channels we can cut out the shape of the neck and headstock angle on the bandsaw.

Usually we'd do a straight 13° angle however the Fender® and Mosrite® have flat sloped headstocks so it was interesting to do something new for us!

This type of headstock angle also calls for a different type of truss rod access channel.

When we're happy with the shape of both headstocks it's time to drill out the holes for the machineheads!

As you can tell we decided not to try and replicate a Mosrite® headstock but go with something very loosely based around it. 

So that pretty much covers it for the necks now. Obviously they both need profiling and a lot of finishing before they are done but that all comes after the construction of the fretboards in the next update so keep your eyes peeled for that soon!

Hope you enjoyed seeing these guitars slowly take shape and if you've any questions or comments please feel free to email us or leave them here!

Be sure to also check us out on Facebook for all the latest news!

Ta'ra for now!
Best regards,
Mike & Martin 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Hey Everyone!

Here is our latest build. It's a deluxe version of our Bayou with upgraded Gotoh® hardware and a beautiful Camphor wood top. We chose to use Camphor wood after seeing some pictures of its amazing grain patterns. It proved a bit of a challenge to work with as it had many small knots and crevices but the results were well worth the effort required!

When finishing the guitar we decided not to fill all the knots and grooves as we felt it would spoil the character of the wood. We did, however, break with tradition slightly and gave it a full Nitrocellulose lacquered finish on the top to really bring the best out in the grain. Check out the pics and see what you think! Specs at the bottom of the post...

2 Piece Sapele & Camphor Wood Top

Bolt on joint
3 Piece Maple & Sapele

Maple & Black Mother of Pearl Inlay
25.5" Scale Length
22 Stainless Steel Frets (Jumbo)

 Chrome Gotoh® SGS510Z Locking Machineheads
Chrome Gotoh® GTC201 Bridge
String Through Body
Satin Silver Knobs
Graphtech® Black TUSQ® Nut
Chrome Straplocks
2 way Truss Rod

2x Axesrus® TT73 Hot Rails
3 Way CRL Lever Switch
2x 280k Bare Knuckle® CTS Pots (log)
Switchcraft® Mono Output Jack

Cellulose Sealer (Body)
Nitrocellulose (Body Top)
Cellulose Sealer (Neck)
Nitrocellulose (Headstock)

Hope you enjoyed checking out our latest build, please leave any questions or comments here or feel free to email us! You can also follow us on Facebook for all the latest news.

Best regards,
Mike & Martin

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hey everyone!

So it begins! If you're not sure what this is about or who The Ramonas are please check this post and all shall be revealed! Remember you can click on all the pics here to see fullscreen versions!

Here is our 3 piece block of Alder we are using to make Victoria's Fender® P-Bass replica. Nice and durable but very light and easy to machine and shape.

For Zoë's Mosrite® replica we are using a 2 piece block of Poplar. Interesting grain pattern here, almost a shame it's going to be painted over!

Poplar is slightly heavier than Alder but still a great hardwood and is easy to work with.

With the wood glued we can now draw out the plans for each build.

With the plans laid and measured out we can start routing the various cavities. It's a good idea to do this before cutting the body shapes out and you have more wood present to provide a stable platform for the router.

We weren't able to get hold of any proper plans for the Mosrite® replica so most of what came out of this was done just using pictures and reference material. The only solid thing we had was an imported tortoiseshell scratchplate.

This was handy as we later have to make a white scratchplate for this and having the imported one as a template was a big help!

We had no reference for the routing however and just went with our intuition!

The Fender® P-Bass replica on the other hand was much easier to source templates and such for, so no worries there!

We don't use templates on our own builds usually but seeing as we were creating replicas this time around we wanted to get as close as possible.

With the Routing all done it was time to cut the bodies out on the bandsaw!

All in all not too shabby! They will both need shaping and smoothing but the Fender® P-Bass replica a little more so as it had body contours, unlike the Mosrite® replica which is just a big ole' slab.

Front contours done.....

....And the back ones.

Here's the Mosrite® replica after some smoothing round the edges. You can see our (fairly hideous) template scratchplate here used as a guide.

Unlike the genuine Mosrite®, Zoë wanted a side mounted output jack.

Here is the back of the Mosrite® replica after some smoothing and shaping. We wont be using a neck plate on this build so we can afford to contour and shape the neck joint a bit more than normal.

So now what's left on the bodies (construction wise) is to drill all the mounting points for the bridges and the channels for the bridge earth wires the run. We'll be doing this a bit later once the necks are done and we have a concrete idea of where scale lengths are going to sit.

That'll do it for this update but they'll be more very soon! Please leave and comments or questions here or drop us an email. Alternatively you can check us out on Facebook for all the latest news!

Best regards
Mike & Martin

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Hi everyone!

From time to time we trawl through Ebay to find old, abused and neglected guitars that we can buy up and breathe some new life into. Some require small amounts of work and others require full on restorations. This is a mid 90s Tanglewood® TSE505 Les Paul® we found that was in need of a bit of a spruce up!

This is how it was when it arrived to us. On the face of it not such a bad egg just very badly set up and in dire need of a fret level and dressing. We also decided to change the pickups out as the gold covers weren't exactly in the best of condition and we weren't convinced of their sound!

We started by stripping the hardware, surprisingly the bridge studs more or less just fell out! We weren't intending on taking them out but the guitar had other ideas!

Pickups out and we find that there is no form of electrical insulation in the cavities at all. No EMR paint or copper foil to be seen anywhere. We did notice the guitar had quite a hum going on when plugged in and pretty sure this had a small hand to play in it.

Some quite "interesting" routing going on here and weird bits of filler in random places.

These are how the frets and fretboard looked before we worked on it. A fair amount of tarnishing on the frets and a grimy and dried out fretboard.

So all in all not too bad just a fair amount of little things that needed putting right and maintained. We started by chopping the pickups over for some Epiphone ones we had from another donor guitar. While we did this we also cleaned up a lot of the solder joints and made sure we had no scratchy or crackly pots and that the output jack was making good contact.

Next we decided to tackle the dodgy frets and bad set up. First of all we have to get the neck straight as possible using a notched straight edge and fine adjustments to the truss rod.

Once the neck is straight we mask off the fretboard and use a fret rocker to find any high spots. We then mark those points with a sharpie along with the top of the fretwire so we can see what parts have been leveled.

Once the leveling is done we re-recrown the frets and give them a polish so they are back up to the mirror finish that they should be.

After a clean, buff and a fresh oiling the fretboard came back to life quite well!

Here is the guitar after we had finished all the work on it. Looking a bit different but a huge amount more playable than it was before and sounding a lot better with the replacement pickups and having some insulation!

Thanks for checking this out! Hope you enjoyed it and please feel free to leave any questions or comments. You can also email us and be sure to follow us on Facebook for all the latest news and ramblings!

Best regards,
Mike & Martin