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Topics - BeeTL

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The Outpost Cafe / Right, Coco...
« on: May 24, 2017, 09:38:57 PM »
That Chimp's alright...high five.

Bill's Shop: Projects, Mods & Repairs / Headstock doodles - thoughts?
« on: August 05, 2016, 03:41:51 PM »
I really like my current inline shape, but I sometimes think it's a little inconspicuous on bodies with more mass to them.

The bottle-opener isn't going anywhere...this may just be another option.

With that in mind, I'm doodling around with the basic top and tip profile and adding a lower fin to replace the hook.

What do you think?



Gibson Basses / Gator is now offering a hard case for Thunderbirds
« on: July 06, 2016, 06:42:42 PM »
A Quick PSA:

I just received an email that Gator is now offering a hard case for Thunderbirds.

It's in their GWE series, so it should be pretty economical:

I was introduced to Scott Smail of Grove Guitar by member 2saddleslab (fka ASATman) at TalkBass.

Scott was looking for metal Filter'Tron pickup rings, and I had a set courtesy of 2saddleslab.

I forwarded the rings along, and a few days later I received a call from a man who was looking for a Grove-style crate-top Tele.

After confirming Scott had referred him to me and that I had his blessing, I decided to take on Grove Guitars tribute build.

I had been talking with Dan/Rowka in Jax about a couple of projects that would utilize his new CNC machine, and this is the first one out of the gate.

There is going to be a lot more to talk about, but first up is the "proof of concept" body.

It's a SPF blank with a Douglas fir top...I believe it's body number one to ship from Rowka Guitar Works.

Bill's Shop: Projects, Mods & Repairs / Speedball Black Guitar Finish
« on: June 19, 2016, 03:26:54 PM »
This is a finish I have used around the house on small pieces of furniture and picture frames.

I started this project at about 3:00 pm today, and it's now just after 6:00 pm.

I plan to assemble the guitar tomorrow.

The finish combines Speedball Black India Ink as a base coat and and Minwax Satin wipe-on Poly as a clearcoat.

Tools and supplies are:

- Speedball Black India Ink
- Minwax Satin wipe on polyurethane
- 0000 steel wool or similar
- Cotton rag
- 3/4" artist's paint brush.

That's it.

Here's a video that discusses the general process of "ebonizing" wood in depth, with the segment on India Ink starting at about 21:00

It's VERY simple, and to demonstrate I went old school with a lazy Susan and screws in the body to suspend it off the surface while I painted the back.

1. Brush on three coats of Speedball Black, brushing with the grain and burnishing with steel wool in between coats.

2. Wipe on three coats of Minwax Satin polyurethane, burnishing with steel wool in between coats.

3. Enjoy!

Getting ready:

After only one coat of Speedball Black:

After 3 coats of Speedball Black and 3 coats of Minwax Satin, burnished with steel wool:

Thanks to Scott H./fretless/fretno for introducing me to this technique.


Other Bass Brands / Doug Kauer...basses?
« on: June 16, 2016, 07:54:58 PM »
Doug's work is impeccable, and he's a helluva nice guy.

He's got quite a list of players using his builds in the guitar world.

And he's right, but not always.


Quote from: dougk
Yep. I built a bass. Actually I built an almost completely hollow bass. Block under the bridge and two full height braces running from the bridge block parallel to the strings just outside the pickups to the neck block. (similar to how I build Acadian and Daylighter Supreme). TV Jones Thundertrons, Spanish Mahogany body, maple cap, graphite reinforced maple neck. 32.5" scale.

I actually built two. This one is the same specs as the green one except more semi hollow with a full center block tail to tip. Same material and pickup combo.

The Thundertrons are freaking incredible. Both basses are amazing with the green one being my slight favorite. They sound amazing, have that motown hollowness/thud when you want but seem to have the attack of the solid versions. Balanced perfectly too surprisingly with the green one being 6.5lbs!

The Outpost Cafe / Orlando International Guitar and Music Expo 1/23 & 24
« on: January 13, 2016, 05:17:36 PM »
I'm going to be an exhibitor.

Come on by if you are in the area.

Rickenbacker Basses / RIC 4001S/4005 mashup
« on: December 20, 2014, 01:12:43 PM »
From the RIC museum...I've never seen this one before.

Bill's Shop: Projects, Mods & Repairs / Lowe Shop Notes
« on: December 09, 2014, 08:47:38 PM »
I've been tinkering at this guitar building game for about five years now.

My progress has been slow, but very deliberate.

I've learned a lot about building guitars and the industry in general along the way, and I'd like to share some of that experience here.

I'll start with what's in the pipeline today, and then I'll cover some of the back story over time.

My necks with tiltback headstocks have a groove for access to the truss rod.

I have always felt that while tidy, it seemed a little unfinished leaving the hex-head visible.

With that in mind, I'm having Hipshot products fabricate a cover in shiny stainless steel to match the other hardware pieces they do for me.

Here is the CAD drawing, and I should have parts in hand late next week:

There are a lot of ways to attach a “bolt-on” neck to a guitar or bass body, and the traditional method involves using #8 wood screws.

While not necessarily bad, I have found wood screws to be somewhat lacking over the years as the neck mounting holes can become stripped and loose with repeated dis-assembly.

When I went looking for a better solution I found a number of different approaches to solving the problem, most of which involved various types of EZ-LOK inserts for wood or metal.

After reviewing the merits each, I decided to go with Chet Johnson’s system because it blends a variety of simple tools, supplies and materials into an elegantly simple solution that most players and builders can perfect easily on the first try with just a little skill and patience.

I also added one little “twist” to Chet’s approach because my bodies have sculpted heels and each bolt will vary from the next as far as how deeply it penetrates into the neck.

Here are the supplies I use, including the instructions as provided by Chet in his kits:

- 5/16-18 Tap (kit)
- 8-32 socket head bolt (kit)
- 9/64" Allen wrench (kit)
- 8-32 oval-head stainless steel bolts, 1.25” and 1.5” (kit)
- EZ Lock inserts, 4 (kit)
- 1/8” twist drill (mine)
- 1/4" Forstner bit (mine)
- Harbor Freight Tap Handle (mine)
- Wood handled awl for marking the neck bolt holes (mine)

The kit Chet offers comes as shown (bit and tap optional if needed):

I mark each bolt hole on the back of the neck with the awl while the neck is clamped in place. 

Next, I mark the 1/8” bit with blue tape to the maximum depth the neck will safely allow and drill a pilot hole.

This will allow the bolts to extend past the insert and “self-tap” into the neck wood, eliminating any potential "back pressure" a bolt could apply on the insert if it bottoms out within the neck.

This is likely not a concern for a standard neck with a plate and uniform heel, but I use bushing inserts and have sculpted heels on my builds, so the bolt depths are not uniform.

This is my “little twist” on Chet’s system.

Next, I use the 1/4" Forstner bit marked with blue tape to allow the insert to sit just below the surface of the neck.

A standard twist drill bit is shown here:

I use a drill press, but a steady-handed person could get away using a hand drill with a twist bit:

Once the 1/4" holes are drilled and the sawdust is blown out, the holes are TAPPED with the 5/16-18 tap.

Tapping  the hard maple neck and using hardened steel inserts designed for metal vs. brass inserts for wood is unique to Chet’s approach.

Everything I’ve read and experienced firsthand leads me to believe this results in a more consistent and predictable result compared to the “knife-thread” brass inserts designed for softer woods.

Another of Chet’s innovations is to use a hex bolt to drive the insert into the tapped hole.

This results in a clean and consistent installation vs. using a flat-head screwdrived as many would be inclined to do.

The installed inserts look like this:

The finished result looks completely "stock", but is significantly more durable and serviceable over the life of the instrument.

Most of the photos are of others' previous builds with Chet's system.

Here's my first bass using the inserts:

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