Guitar Building Project, Pt 3: Replacement Neck Arrives

Part 1: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=477417
Part 2: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=481274

Update - Here is the email I sent to my buddy Bill the luthier:

Bill,

Update: I got the neck. I love it – I am so glad I returned the first one. Two great things:

  • The carve is perfect – it’s just like yours on my first project guitar! That first neck was ordered from Allparts with their “Fat” carve and clearly I prefer it with the shoulders taken down like you did. This neck came from Warmoth with their “Fat” carve – different from Allparts, clearly. Very cool.

  • I ordered Brazilian Rosewood for the fingerboard and it is gorgeous – on the first neck I ordered, the rosewood was good from a feel standpoint (I find Brazilian Rosewood has a different feel vs. Indian – harder and brighter, but not up in ebony or maple territory – I think you and I have discussed that), but that rosewood was dark brown and looked basically like Indian. This neck has a medium reddish-brown tone with thin dark black stripes that are mostly straight but with a couple of whorls and imperfections – much more obviously Brazilian with that rich, glossy/waxy look to it. You’ll dig it.

Okay – the problems:

  • It didn’t come with the nut equipped as ordered. I will call them and have one sent out that I can glue into place

  • The tuners I bought don’t fit – I was precise with the eBay seller (you read my emails; am I a precise guy when I need to be? Grrr.) and he answered correctly, but nevertheless the tuners don’t fit. Gotta confirm the diameter of the holes with Warmoth and order a new set.

So as soon as I get those issues straightened out, I will bolt the neck onto my current Tele and check it out. Once I use that test to figure out what I want to change vs. keep the same between the two guitars, I will swap back the original neck and bring the new one over to you. From there, you can finish it while I get the other parts in – that same honey tint you used on the first neck would be great, as we discussed.

I believe that is all stuff we’ve discussed – if I got anything wrong, let me know. Two other questions:

  • Could you paint the face of the peghead Gloss Black, like the holly overlay on a Gibson peghead? This neck looks SO much like a simple Les Paul Special neck from the 50’s – heck, it looks like the neck on MY Les Paul Special from 1957 – that I want to embrace the whole “Fender assembly; Gibson look and tone” vibe of the guitar. That neck will look great with the Heritage Cherry body and Les Pauls all have black peghead faces – what do you think?

  • Could you apply a decal as part of the assembly? Since this neck is unfinished, I can’t apply one yet – it would be better if it were part of your finishing process, correct? Last time I applied a straight-up Fender Tele decal simply because I don’t like naked headstocks and couldn’t think of anything better. This time I have an idea for something – if I can design it and print it off on decal paper, I will bring it along.

That’s all I got for now…although I am contemplating a change to the pickup choices I thought I had settled on…now there’s a surprise.

Any updates on stuff from any other guitar-building Dopers?

Well, for big Gibson vibe, wouldn’t you need a) an inlay logo, not a decal, and b) a bound headstock? A symmetrical one as well, but that’s obviously not an option here. Anyway, IIRC, your body has binding, so matching that on the headstock would be pretty typical Gibson, no? Admittedly, neither of these suggestion are probably practical on the neck you bought, just throwing out ideas.

**squeegee **- the lower-priced lines of Gibson Les Pauls, like my '57 Les Paul Special, have a gold-looking decal for the logo and no headstock binding. See here: http://www.ricsvintageguitars.com/GIBSON%20L-50%20HEADSTOCK.jpg

And regarding binding the body - I have backed off of that. I was geeking out over it, and then started to realize I was taking the question of whether to bind the body WAY too seriously - as I say, the guitar’s a freakin’ tool first. I kinda realized that if the decision is one I am struggling with and is more about style than substance, I am better off leaving it alone. The black peghead face idea is not one I am struggling with - it is simple, cool and seems easy to me - so I am going with it. Binding I will save for my next project (!! - currently thinking a Tele thinline in honey blonde with tortoiseshell binding, but I know that will change…). And also, since I am basing the look of this Tele on a Cherry Les Paul Special, they don’t have a bound body, so why do it here? Once again, I am thinking too much about it - all the more reason to just walk away…:wink:

Well, I am a bit jealous, because I have accumulated all of the parts for my own Tele project (a couple of major ones from the OP), but I have been too busy with other things to sit down and put it all together.

That’s a bummer about the tuners and the nut, but you’ll overcome those issues. I think that having the head stock painted black would be cool. In response to what squeegee said about the binding, I remember lots of bound-body Gibsons with unbound black head stocks. Go for it; it should look cool.

Keep us posted.

ETA: I see you addressed the binding question while I was working or something.

Like I said, just throwing out ideas. I’d missed or forgotten that you had skipped binding the body. I’ll defend the headstock binding idea by throwing out that unbound Gibson bodies have had bound headstocks. But as you said, you’ve turned heavily toward a more basic/classic look. FWIW, I think the black headstock is a marvelous idea.

You know what might be cool: a ‘fender’ logo, sideways like Fender does it, but in the Gibson font, instead of the Fender script. Or a mix of the two, since Fender puts “Fender” in bold script, + the model in thin script, there’s some font possibilities there.

I have a feeling you’ve already chosen a cute, non-canon idea for what the decal will look like (“FrankenFender”? , “Les Tele”? “Tele Paul”?).

I like these!

It’s all good - I welcome all ideas! I do want a bound-body Tele, but for this one, I am at peace with deciding not to.

As for the headstock logo - yeah, I think I figured it out. Another silly decision I struggled with - I stuck a Fender logo on my last Tele project simply because I don’t like a naked headstock, and it was easy.

I also thought about stuff like you suggested - GibFenderson, Les Fender, “WordMan-Caster” (using my real last name, which kinda works), etc. But all of that felt like it might get old. I was thinking about my whole “a guitar is a tool” mindset which got me thinking about Les Paul - in an interview he gave as part of the documentary Les Paul: Chasing Sound (a MUST watch and available on DVD), he describes his guitar as “his buddy, his pal, his bartender” (I may be conflating a few quotes). And I thought - that’s exactly right; this guitar is supposed to be My Bartender - a place I can pour out my troubles to, you know? So I have a logo I am working up for that…

A friend I know through work once bought a very expensive acoustic guitar – the kind you order and then wait a year to get, while they obtain exotic wood and chisel away everything that doesn’t look like a guitar (as the old joke goes regarding how to make a statue of an elephant).

I asked him what the headstock would look like – everyone always puts some moon&stars or some other swoopie inlay in the headstock of a guitar like that, and its all custom, so he could order whatever he liked. I thought it’d be really amusing for him to put a Yosemite Same figure up there, ala what you see on the mud flaps of a semi – Sam with two pistols drawn and a scowl. A complete reverse on the swishy stuff you’d usually see.

My friend found the idea amusing, but didn’t use it. I told him he was a chicken shit, and he agreed. :slight_smile:

You can find guitars with cool inlays like that - I am sure Google can turn up more than a few, or check out the Duke of Pearl (an inlay blank supply store)…

or check out this thread - http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=161105&highlight=inlay - wait’ll you scroll down the first page and see the King Kong one…:wink:

Just gorgeous - nothing I would ever be interested in for myself since I am hard on my guitars and like them simple, but I love lookin’

I guess I should have googled first – someone has indeed done a Yosemite Sam headstock inlay, although it was on a banjo, not a guitar. Also note the neck heel. Sweet!

Holy moley – the very bottom one is amazing! Deco cupids and angels and all kinds of crazy stuff. And this is on the back of the guitar!

That’s based on the old gut-string vihuelas made in Spain a few hundred years ago - over the top gorgeous.