Today was a bit of an important one in the life of the Ghettocaster.
For reasons I won’t go into here, (although the big freeze is certainly not helping), I’ve been a bit down for the last couple of days; so this morning I didn’t really feel like doing my morning practice. While moping over my second cup of tea though, I decided I was in exactly the right mood to tackle something I’ve been putting off – expanding the neck slot on the guitar body so that it would fit the Tele neck. This is a big step because getting the neck on straight is going to be critical on whether this project will result in a playable instrument or an evenings firewood. It’s also more challenging than the pickup pocket because this time any screw-ups are going to be visible.
So anyway, here was state of play at 10am.
And here we are at 11:15 – result!
It turned out to be a little tricky because the coping saw I originally bought for the occasion wasn’t able to give me enough of a stroke to make an effective cut once inside the neck pickup slot, this picture shows what I mean.
(sorry about the dodgy focus there).
So bouyed by my recent success with the chisel, and feeling gung-ho enough to have a crack, I carefully chiseled out the rest of the hole. I took it fairly slowly, and deliberately went for an undersized measure to give me room to maneuver later (always easier to take more off than to glue it back on).
What pleased me even more than not making a nasty mess, was the fact that once the neck is seated on the bottom of the slot, the middle of the neck lines up nicely with the middle line on the body.
So now it’s starting to look like an actual guitar.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Here at the school of Cwm, in my role as acting head of the “making it up as we go along” department; I often find that I have launched into a project half cocked, with no idea how to proceed from a given point. Usually two options present themselves at this juncture, one is box the whole thing up and put it in the attic ‘for a rainy day’, hoping no-one will notice; the second is to rabidly consult the oracle of the internet for days on end, until I figure it out.
I find myself slightly in such a situation just now, but since I’m documenting the project for all the world to see, option one is out. In the ghettocaster project as we know, I’m attempting to merge the design of a telecaster and a Gibson SG, I’m using the Telecaster bridge on an SG body, not something I’ve ever seen before; so I’m a little off the map here. so the question is, what neck angle should I be aiming for so that I can set the thing up with a playable intonation; given that the angle pre-routed in the body was assuming it would be set up with a ‘tune-o-matic’ style bridge; which is considerably higher than that on the Wilkinson tele style one I’ll be using.
So ‘bing’ is my friend (being a Microsoftie, I have to eschew all things begining with G), and I located this fine resource, records from a man who has been there and lived to tell the tale. It apparently all comes down to trigonometry (you remember that far back right…),
So using his calculator the angle I need apparently turns out to be 0.89 degrees, which is actually a bit beyond my ability to measure accurately. According to my handy ‘angle finder’ though, the current angle looks to be around 2 degrees.
Angle of the body:
And the neck (assuming the frets are even, which they seem to be):
The difference looks like about 2 degrees, give or take.
I’m not sure how important this is going to be in the grand scheme of things, the bridge has quite a bit of adjustment ability; so my feeling is that I’m close enough now that packing with a bit of masking tape is going to suffice to sort out any discrepancy.
So that’s it for this session; next issue is making the bridge pickup pocket, and what to do about the front mounted controls. Hope you enjoyed it, cheered me up anyway.