Mustang VI - digging for the bottom end

Painting? Routing? Set-up tips? Or just straight-up making a guitar from scratch? Post here, and post pics!

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rlm2112
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Post: # 759790Post rlm2112 »

This project rules.

Jag switch plate looks fine to me.
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MatthewK
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Post: # 759808Post MatthewK »

So I completed my headstock plan - partly good, partly crap ... but not a Swinger, right?
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I can see where to go in order to fix the shape, although it will still be a bit small:
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Zack
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Post: # 760006Post Zack »

Headstock shape looks fine to me. If it's bothering you, I'd just round off a bit under the decal. Shame about not being long enough but like I said, looks fine.

dew teh body.
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James
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Post: # 760007Post James »

Round it off to match the curve nicely. It looks bad now because it's so straight but you definitely have the wood there to make it look great if you don't take off too much.
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MatthewK
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Post: # 760030Post MatthewK »

If I had decent gear it would be pretty easy - but I will try to jerry rig something like a spindle sander to take off those two curves, then it should look 100%. I can live with it being a bit narrower, it's a ghetto VI after all. Now I have to figure out how to fit blocks into the body ...
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hotrodperlmutter
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Post: # 760184Post hotrodperlmutter »

that looks great matt, really. fixing the bulbous part is the only thing i see, and you mentioned you're working that out.

i wouldn't have done it this way, but you've clearly got skills mucho mas than i.
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MatthewK
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Post: # 760215Post MatthewK »

Thanks Rod - not a lot of skill here, but I am kind of patient. Actually my #1 tip is to wait until the next day if you strike a snag. Usually I wake up with a better idea how to figure it out.
My lame spindle sander idea pretty much failed, but I was able to retrieve the situation with a hand sanding block. Maple is pretty frickin hard though.
Anyway - think I have nailed the headstock shape now.
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James
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Post: # 760231Post James »

That looks fantastic. Good job.

The only thing I would say is perhaps the circular end looks a little long still? In the image overlayed with the Jaguar you can see a bit that is larger, and while it looks like you've removed a bit from there I think if you carefully sanded that back a little further it would look spot on.

If you're happy with it in person, though, keep it as is. You can't easily add the wood back if you do too much, of course.
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MatthewK
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Post: # 760232Post MatthewK »

Thanks James - it is a smidge long there - I plan to see how it looks with a primer coat on it and make final decisions about the shape then. Great to have other eyes looking things over, I appreciate the feedback.
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Post: # 761180Post theshadowofseattle »

hotrodperlmutter wrote:Image
This makes me wish we had the Puke emoticon from JS. That looks awful.
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hotrodperlmutter
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Post: # 761225Post hotrodperlmutter »

your face makes me wish i had that emoticon too. pants
dots wrote:fuck that guy in his bunkhole.
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MatthewK
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Post: # 762922Post MatthewK »

Been busy at work so I have only done a few things. My main fear was that my headstock rebuild would snap when I tightened up some strings on it, so my priority was to get it to string-up stage and see whether it broke.
Drilled pilot holes for tuners - you can see the A is slightly too close to the low E.
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The piece-o-crap drill press I have been using is to blame, for anyone else contemplating headstock work - you MUST get a reasonable drill press. I got kind of depressed afterward - I didn't actually realise the pilot hole was off until I did the rest of the drilling. Another thing I found out - using a large drill, the work will get grabbed and pulled upward by the drill bit, even if you are expecting it, and even if you say "well, I'm not going to let THAT happen again." So my plan to drill 11/32" on the front and 1/4" on the back only succeeded for 4 out of 6 holes.
I marked out my bridge line (the frontmost edge of the saddles should be at the line, in case anyone's wondering) and the locations for the plate. I figured screw holes were easier to fix than post holes, so I decided to do a temp tailpiece mount by putting screws into the tailpiece bar and "floating" the plate slightly above the body. I used an old Strat copy bridge to sit in place of the Jag bridge to see how it lined up.
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All I had were three used bass strings so on the basis of length I tried stringing them up randomly to put them under tension and see what happened. Basically it works, no sign of movement or stress that I can see. The strings are up to pitch, or at least in the ballpark.
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Obviously only a half-load at this stage, I need some more long strings! Also at this stage - the tailpiece is way too high (I used M6 / 20mm screws, which sit up very high above the plate). The plate is also a few mm above the body because I didn't want to rout anything yet. The Strat bridge is also way too high. End result ... somewhat high action:
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But I think we are well on the way now, at least with the mechanics. Now I have to figure out the body routing. I put on the plate and pick-guard as a motivator to push on, it looks pretty good I reckon:
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Next steps: drill bridge posts, bump in some tiny holes for the tailpiece temp screws, and get it all down to a realistic height, then string it up for real if I can get the right length of strings.
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MatthewK
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Post: # 765519Post MatthewK »

Exciting times - I have installed the bridge and tailpiece (it's still a hard tail at the moment, no routs for the trem), I have a piece of scrap instead of a nut, but I have 5 strings on it! It tunes! Intonates! Didn't break! Great to play and it's not even close to set up properly!
Pickups arrived today - I will try to cut the nut over the weekend, and temp install the pickups in the original routs so I can play it amplified. Still can't get a high E, no guitar store in the city has a .025 string long enough, so I have .090, .075, .055, .045 and .032 on it. I have some of the D'Addario sets on order.
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Post: # 765521Post serfx »

looking really good man,
keep it up
as for finding the high e string.. i wish you the best of luck.
as i have no idea where you'll track one down without special ordering in some fender bass VI strings.
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Post: # 765524Post stewart »

good stuff!
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Post: # 766131Post tomin8r »

How bout some of these

Lonk

?
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MatthewK
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Post: # 766160Post MatthewK »

Thanks! D'Addario also do a .025.

But - I found that a spare G from a normal electric set actually fit. So I now have 6 on board, but the nut needs to be cut because everything on the first 4 frets is miles out of tune.

In case someone tries something similar - I have found that regular full-scale bass strings will fit, you just have to cut them an inch past the taper and wind up the excess. Not quite as pretty but it works well. My guitar runs 34" from the ball-end to the nut once it goes around the tailpiece - for a VI, the distance is 35.5" so the VI set will fit with an extra inch and a half of wind-on. It's only an issue for the low E (0.090 or 0.095) and maybe the A (0.075) - the other 4 strings fit right into the tuner hole and wind on without a problem. It really has been much easier than I thought, only problem was paying through the nose for single-string sales here in Hobart ($15 for a string, some of them!). I was just too impatient to wait for online shipping.
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James
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Post: # 766181Post James »

The headstock looks great in those pics. Nice work.
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MatthewK
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Post: # 766186Post MatthewK »

Thank you - I am still keeping your comments in mind, I agree the end is a bit large, but there is quite a lot of finishing to do on the headstock overall (I have to fill one contour, and reshape the volute area) so it will be addressed then. I need to try it with a solid colour.

I'm just glad it didn't snap.
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MatthewK
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Post: # 766273Post MatthewK »

Progress: cut the nut and am fully set up now, pretty much.
Sanded a Tusq blank to fit the slot (flat bottom slot in these SX necks). Marked it up for fret height using the flat half-pencil technique:
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Then marked out the string spacing from an online gauge I downloaded (Telecaster pages I think), nicked it with a knife, cut down using a thin coping saw blade a bit, then because the slots needed to be wide and rounded for bass strings, I got to work with my handy file set. The round tapered file (centre left) was perfect for almost everything:
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I found bass strings need the nut cut lower - in fact I had to get right down so the slots touched the "fret" line (also my pencil may not have been properly flat). Took a pic of the installed nut and found out the slot is slightly crooked! I might fix this later if intonation is a problem, but I doubt it will affect anything much.
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By this time I had purchased a .024 wound-G guitar string (only JUST reached the tuner) so I was good to go. Set it all up (thank god for adjustable Jag bridges, will need to file some slots though) and DAMMIT THERE WAS A BASS VI IN THE HOUSE.
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Goes well with my other shortscale offset:
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Next - a couple of pickups in the existing routs, wire it up and play for a bit. Then pull it apart, reshape and re-rout the body, rewire, paint and done ... should only take about a year.
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