I've been lurking for a little while and have gleaned a ton of information from this site., so I felt it was only right I should 'fess up and let peeps see what I've rustled up for my first build!
There are still some odds and ends to finish off - an insert for the sound-hole and I've got some box corners for the top of the box which I'm not putting on until I'm sure I don't have to open the box again.
But on the whole, I'm pleased with how it's turned out. It's better than I thought I would be able to pull off!
It sounds great, although it does seem to have a ground problem, whereby it hums a bit until you touch a metal component; and when you do you get a tiny pop from the amp if the gain is up. I can't work out what's causing it. I'm pretty sure it's wired correctly and everything is star grounded to the volume pot. It may be something to do with the pickup which is recycled from a very old Hohner strat copy that was my first ever guitar!
Anyway, box is a Romeo Y Julieta, neck is sapele with a blackwood tec fretboard from Chickenbone John (as is the bone nut and various other bits of hardware).
I'm lucky enough to have a rather large laser cutter at work, so I had great fun laser-cutting a plywood fret cutting mitre jig and acrylic fret slotting template inspired by examples shown by members on here. The inlay dots are laser cut from scrap acrylic as well - they work great and sand back nicely.
Learnt a lot from this build that I can apply to the inevitable builds to follow. I bought two of everything before I started this build 'cos I knew I was going to catch the bug, and have now started compiling bits for build number 3!
With access to a laser cutter, I've also started building my own boxes - build number 2 will be for my 7 year old daughter, so I didn't think a cigar box was terribly suitable. Now she can decoupage a box to her own design to be turned into a guitar!
Would love to hear any feedback/advice. One quick question... how do y'all build relief into your necks when not using a truss rod? Do you sand it in or dress the frets to give a little relief?
Looks sweet! I like the neck design. as far as feed back goes, run a ground wire to your saddle and you should be fine. drill a hole through and just set it on the ground wire even.
Pretty impressive first build; fully fretted, mag pickup, tone or volume control. Nice work.
The hum is not uncommon. There are many possible sources, but if you attack it methodically you should be able to find the cause and deal with it.
First, realize that hum will increase noticeably when you crank up the gain. This usually disappears when you put a finger on a string. Make sure to adjust your pickup height as close to the strings as possible without having the strings actually touch the pickup when you fret the top fret. That will ensure you get the maximum signal at the lowest volume/gain setting.
Second, make sure you have grounded the strings to the negative terminal of the audio jack. That should be as easy as running a wire from the jack to one of the screws holding down your hard tail bridge.
Third, double-check the quality of your solder joints at the tone/volume pot. Poor solder joints is the most common cause of unwanted hum. You might even consider bypassing the pot with jumper wires just for test purposes.
Congrats on a very impressive first build. Now let's hear it............
Thanks guys. The bridge is grounded to the back of the volume pot. There's a small hole under the bridge where I passed the bare wire through and screwed the bridge down against it.
My soldering is by no means 'elite', so it's possible that's the cause. Although I did watch a lot of YouTube videos and practiced a ton before this. I also re-wired my Squier Tele before this build and I'm damn sure I did a better job of soldering on my CBG than I did on my Tele!
I'll keep on investigating...
wow, really nice job on # 1. The smoking sign on the front is a distraction. I would remove those, you did a great job.
Good point on the no smoking sign Lonman... although it's a nice reminder for the kids when they see me playing it ;-)
Nice job! As no one has commented on the truss rod yet, opinions vary but for me, a hardwood neck is fine with 3 or 4 strings without a truss rod.
Hi Dave, re Relief in your fingerboard. If you have a blank fingerboard then I would sand the relief in the board before fretting, how much? Well I measure with a feeler gauge under the string at the 7th fret with the string fretted at the 1 st and 12th fret. Some fret higher frets. Ball park relief might be between 5 to 12 thousandthsof an inch.
Now all this would be adjusted/modified when considering string gauge, scale length and action height at 12th fret.
Also to make things more challenging, one normally has the neck/fingerboard flat for doing fret levelling ( and you have just put upward bow in it).
All this might highlite the joys adjustable truss rods bring to the set up procedure.
I have never put relief in a 3-4 string neck, good fret levelling, not too light a string gauge and a not too low an action should keep buzzing at bay.
Good luck Taff
Thanks for the advice. What you say makes sense, and is pretty much what occurred to me after I had already fretted it!
I was surprised how playable the action was on a flat neck with no relief. There was very little buzzing off the bat and I was able to file a couple of the central frets a touch to get rid of most of it. This guitar has a better, consistently lower action than any other guitar I've owned! Beginners luck probably...
You are welcome.
Very clean and good-looking first build, bro. These cbg's are a lot of fun to build, but there's nothing like finally getting one of your own finished and playing your first notes on it. I'm on build #18 and enjoying it even more than the first one. You learn with each one and there's always something new to add or experiment with. I'm really thankful to Shane Speal, Glenn Watt, Justin Johnson, Del Puckett, Mike Snowden, Dovydas, Uncle Mark and others who provided me with the inspiration, motivation and instruction to get started. Good luck on your future builds! You're off to an excellent start.
Thanks Steve! Build 2 and 3 are already in the works and the fourth is commissioned :-)
I even, gulp, bought myself a bandsaw to indulge the addiction. Very naughty just before Christmas!
All of the people you mention have come up in my YouTube playlist and provided lots of inspiration, although I hadn't realised Dovydas played CBG. Off to watch some vids of him twanging a three string...
I agree with Steve, so many folks have been inspiring and enough cannot be said about CBN and CB Gitty.