Preparing for the Build

Once the decision was made, I started to think about eqipment. I do have some woodworking experience, and over the years I have accumulated quite a few tools – a hammer, pliers, rasps, files, chisels, saws, a drill-press, drill bits, a belt grinder, a jig-saw, clamps, a vice. The year before last I had even built a, well, a sturdy working table, the next best thing to a proper workbench, and found a spot for a little workshop in the cellar.

So I didn’t come completely unequipped, but it was obvious that we would need quite a few additional tools. Basically everything necessary for fretwork. So I started looking for stuff, found Crimson’s Luthiers Starter Toolkit, ordered that and a few extra bits and pieces from Crimson. Bought a fret slotting saw here in Germany, some scrapers, a saw rasp, a router from my local DIY store.

I tried to buy as little as possible because, let’s be honest, this stuff is bloody expensive. And if you have things shipped from the UK to Germany, shipping is daylight robbery these days (around 50 Euros, no fault of Crimson’s, of course, they don’t make the freight rates), and then, adding insult to injury, there will be customs fees on top of that (another 80 Euros thanks to Brexit). Spending so much money on something that might turn out to be a cul-de-sac for me felt weird. I guess if it works well, I’ll come back and spend some more money on tools and stuff, a reasonable No 6 plane for example.

Then we talked about the design of the guitar, and ideas began to form. This being a first build with a certain level of trepidation as to what the result will be, I didn’t want to spend too much on material, so it will be no tropical or listed wood, but a simple ash body, maple neck, plum fingerboard (prunus domestica), all of them grown in Germany, and hardware from the more affordable end of the spectrum.

The most expensive bit of hardware was the pick-ups and electronics set, EMG Super 77, but that saved me the trouble of having to figure out which electronics to buy, how to put them together and to actually solder everything in place. (This is one of two cop-outs from the scratch build principle, the other being the adjustable Warwick/Framus nut that lets me get away without a set of nut slotting files; I guess I’ll have to go there sooner or later, but not this time.)

This is most of the hardware:

Material used for building the guitar: Body, neck, and fingerboard blanks, pickups and electronics set, tuners, nut, bridge, fret wire, strap locks, bolts and washers; only the jack and a three-position switch are missing.

At that time, only the jack and a three-position switch are missing. I plan to show the bits used to turn the instrument from a run-of-the-mill electric guitar into a unique instrument in a later post.

 

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