My Holiday Project At a Glance
I got to watching a video of a guy reviewing a fretless guitar. Dude did not even give it a chance. Shipping was a joke because it arrived broken on him. Of course this is me who knows a thing or two on how to fix things. May not look pretty, but how many people honestly see the back of a guitar on stage? The snap in the neck was in a spot he could have easily drilled a thin hole at an angle to avoid hitting the truss rod. Of course I would do this with a lot of clamping pressure after I filed in wood glue through a syringe type of tech tool. This would to keep things aligned.
Then I would take a thin long nail with supper glue and even while the wood glue was drying I would put it in. Generally this method works best if you put the super glue in the hole to make the wood grain breath. The wood will expand with the absorption of the super glue and then putting the wood nail you would use pliers to get it in as deep as the hole you made. After everything sets it would have been good as new.
Essentially I been doing a project of my own to get back into musical wood working. With my studies in tech and cabinetry I got the wild hair to give a project to try. I build possibly 5o failure guitars. Well I don't know for sure because I never counted. I made three successful ones in the past. One with a luthier who had the tools and knew what he was doing, another where I was able to take my failures and do it the correct way. My last one was an experimental guitar purely for trying to figure out whether a fretless was worth it or not. Lets just say it was, but I recently decided against it for pleading the fifth. HARRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!!
The Amplifier find
I will be doing a video and I will be doing a new tab for wood and tech hobby. Its one of my own unlike hobbies that makes my imaginative craft. However, I wanted to give an over view of this project before I did. I still need to put the finishing touches on it and get the electronics started. Right now it has a direct output and I want to have ten separate outputs for ten separate band widths defined by cermet pots in the back under a thick metal plate. I got a wild hair after looking at different amplifiers. Let me be honest with you people.
I absolutely hate the idea of buying an amplifier that cost the same as a PA when it only has one speaker. Piano amps are nice looking, but the time I spend 800usd I could have got a peavey PA and then started with a simplistic monitor for a single channel. Probably would spend close to a grand, but 800usd is not too far from that. Peavey is a wonderful company, but their KB amps are a tad bit too pricey for what they are.
I came across the Peavey Vyper that was put on the market some time 2013. I need to look for the patient information because I am curious. The price for the amount of stuff is perfect. I personally got a sort of cheaper refurbished one. With the situation I am in my family was kind of limited on Christmas this year. We have a sort of interesting method where we all have Christmas money sort to speak. We all make a wish list. Mine was a peavey guitar modeling amp. It pops when you turn it on, but after that it works like it normally should. I might spend the money to have it fully refurbished. It was a hundred usd less and a hundred is about right for having an amplifier's caps replaced and its shielding/filtering worked on.
Initially I had read books on building cellos and bowed instruments for a sort of pass time. I also read into different methods of building guitars. What got me going was a couple different You Tubers though. The biggest one was Rex Kruger and his wood work for humans series. It got me back into working with hand tools and on a rather tight budget. Other ones are the common Look Mum No Computer and Crimson Red Guitars. I highly recommend Crimson Red if your not interested in building anything, but your curious. The guy is really fantastic on making a sort of reality type show. The guy seriously needs to get paid for a TV show. He put Duck Dynasty to shame with his humor and passion for electric guitars.
The cello build Aspects
At first what I did was decide on a budget for barrowed money on credit. This wound up being a little under a hundred usd just to get me started. I got walnut for the neck and a few miscellaneous things. I already replaced all my sand paper with new stuff. I kept my scraps of sand paper, because I used to work heavily with course grit sand paper and that stuff can still be used even though a lot of the stuff falls off with heavy use. It still can be used for those odd areas where tearing off fresh course grit really is not necessary. I use course grit where things are not working out with high fine grit and I can start at ground level with deep scratchs just for that problematic area. Then work it back up to about 1k fine grit for a matt fenish that does not glare brightly under the stage lighting. If any of you attempted to record video for a music video you know exactly what I am talking about. Like anti-poperazty glare.
My original plan was to make the neck first and then see how things go after Christmas when actual winter starts. The dry humidity really helps with making instruments that last. My first succesful guitar suffered the most because I made it during the heat of the summer. The decrease in humidity caused the back to crack. It still is playable, but in all honesty I just keep it for decoration. Not my best work, but its a mile stone for all the failures I made a year or two before. The idea was to make a neck in a floating action type of assembly. I expermented with it being flat agianst the grain instead of it being the traditional 90 degree angle to the string direction on my experemental electric. I had an idea how it would work on an electric cello.
A big inspiration was from Rex Crugers video with his guitar build. He did a traditional bolt on neck instead of a floating neck. However, I found his words inspiring. The body of an electric really does not matter so long as its comfortable to hold in the correct position of play. At least this is what I took from the video. I normally study the most in electronics, so that part I really was not too concerned about. My biggest concern was trying to figure out what I was going to do for the Body. I ended up going with a backwards "S" or number 5 shape. Not long after did I have a neighbor ask me to fix his christmas lights in a rum bottle. I toyed with it for a while and managed to get it working. I built a simple 555 timer in monostable mode if I remember correctly. It was Ben Eaters schematic for the adjustable clock.
My neighbor works as a chef at a resteraunt that does different types of intertainment. One of them having to do with food grade lumber. After its used it gets thrown out. He had a really big peice that he used as a shelf. It was some sort of pine because of the smell it had. It had some surface mold that I fixed with diluted bleach water. Just your traditional 1 cup to a couple gallons. I used a foam paint brush to allow the stuff to soak in with several treatments. Then after it dried reasonably I painted on Dawn Dish soap. Once that really soaked in I tok wet sand paper to to wet sand it. It worked perfectly and gave me exactly what I needed to know about the wood grain and where to make my cuts.
Essentially the trade in this comission was perfect. It really did not cost me much to make a new flashing circiut for my nieghbors christmas light decoration. I buy chips anywhere from 10pc up to a couple hundred in long tubes. So, I aim to get the bulk discounts for my own projects and studies. The hard part was soldering and making things fit in the plastic case. I went a little overboard with the finishing touches, but my nighbor like it a lot. The amount of wood I got is what made my cello project possible to finish by my Birthday here in January.
Major work and The Process
I cut out the shapes I needed and worked around the nots with a template from Henry A. Strobals book for building cellos. I did not copy it exactly and I made a lot of changes to make it fit my vission. I just wanted to be absolutely sure I had a shot at hitting the scale close enough to be playable. If the bridge is too far the strings will snap long before getting to the approriat pitch and playing will feel very awkward. Too short of a scale and you will arrive at a higher than normal octave and playing will feel very much like pinched fingers.
The end result is well. Really fascinating. I made the neck 4cm too long. I had to move the bridge up by 4 cm and I had to replace the piezo pick ups. It was about a week and a half before Christmas. There was no way I was getting another set of piezos any time soon. So, I took two out of a toy drum pad I got for learning circiut bending. I managed to cut places to put those in and did another test fit. I did a lot of test fitting because I kept getting stuck with what direction to take things esthetically speaking. The first successful test fit was with the neck copletely glued together with the finger board and two tuners lightly touched with supper glue.
The back of the neck was flat and was not pleasant to play on. However, it showed me just how amazing it is to have more access to the upper registers. I was on cloud nine! Now I will be finishing things up after I clean my place. I painted it enough for the wood to be protected from the elements and I can play it and decide exactly how I want it to look esethetically. I will be finishing up the electronics in a couple of months. Its going to take hours on bread boards to get the 10 band selections to work the way I want them too. I am not soldering a complete board until I have it exactly the way I want it. The cello is good enough for the direct output to work. I just need to finish the painting and fix the plate cover for the circiutry compartment.
I will be working on this draft. I wanted something to put on here because I been absent over the Holidays. I really hope to get back in the swing of things soon. I will have the wood craft and tech tab fixed soon. I have some cool Ideas for really doing a make over on this wix website I have here. Pictures are coming soon. Also I was not paid anything to say anything about the people and or products mentioned. This is totally my own perspective.