So after speaking with another member and him pointing me this direction, I wanted to build a clone/tribute/copy of Justin Johnsons 3 string shovel.I have the shovel in hand but need help with a few things:


1, what's his scale length? By eyeballing the videos it looks like 25 5 but the measurements don't quite match. There's 2 guitars,one made for him in the cranking up the 3 string shovel video, and a production version that puts the 9/10 fret where the shovel "neck" meets the handle. The 2 versions don't match up. I can do the spacing math, but I'm trying to figure out where to put the nut and bridge (bridge has limitations due to bends in the shovel). 25.5" looks like the right length but then the fret spacing isn't "right" as it'd be 11 3/4" from the nut to where the edge of the shovel neck is. (Production guitar seems to have the fret line up there)

2, tuning peg suggestions? A friend gave me 3 China 2 screw pegs, but they don't "bolt" thru.i don't trust em.

3, how high of an action should I shoot for on a 3 string fret less slide guitar? His looks quite high but I'm not clear on where would be "good".

Pic I cobbled together shows roughly what I'm talking about.

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Yeah, fret less slide. I know scale length with this won't be super important but since I'll be doing burnt fret markers I'd like to try to get it semi accurate. Not to mention the 2 versions he has has fret markers, one just has the 9th fret at the joint and I liked that.

I attached a couple pics of his.

I think his action is something like 1" or so, not sure why but I figured I'd bring mine down a bit.
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The pics show 2 different shovel guitars, one has 2 tuners left, the other has 2 tuners right, knobs and pickup look to be different colors, the nut on one appears to be L shaped, the other an inverted T shape.

its a slide-fretless so put the nut and bridge where they work for you, as long as the scale length is roughly between 22 and 27 (give or take) you're good for git and not going soprano or baritone (unless that's what you want).

Set the action height to what feels right for you...take some kite string, butcher's twine, old strings, cardboard, scrap wood cutoffs, duck tape, painter's tape, masking tape, whatever, and mock it up and put your slide on your finger and see how the left hand feels (or right hand if you are making it for left hand playing)

Yeah one is his production version and the other is the original.theyre basically the same aside from slight fret placement differences, the tuners being on the right way and the flatpup pickup being the signature model.if you look the nut is also recessed a little bit.

Ok, so that's good about the scale length. I knew it didn't have to be precise so that works.

Now to find tuning pegs that work

Now that Im back on the internets, heres the video of the production model. shortly after this starts, he discusses where the frets are on this one. 

https://youtu.be/-ISizcUxkD8

Default, i don't know what happenened to my reply from about 12 hrs ago,but a few ideas cropped up after seeing that vid , you can use that joint as a fret mark easily, you just need to move the bridge back until that join is in a suitable position, and make your bridge higher, the shape of the shovel where it transitions to the handle socket will dictate your action height more than anything else, the shovel Justin is using has a huge hollow, that without being bent, is going to keep the action high, if it was me, i'd make the nut as low as i possibly can, also the bridge, that large gap between the neck and the strings will, unless you have loooong fingers like Justin, will take a bit of getting used to, so reccomend keeping it as low as you can

im thinking of cutting the angle iron in half (or finding half inch) so it wont be so damn high. I dont need mine to be identical, and if i can make a few common sense changes like lowering the action I will. I have that same shovel sitting next to me right now, staring at me with the sharpie marks on it for my approximations. my plan is to somehow mark the metal with fret marks too. 

Since I can post links now. heres the original video of the one that was hand made for him that is the basis for the production. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9-ltPsbw9g

i think the first thing you need to do is go shovel shopping...

find one with a nice flat length from handle to halfway down the blade... ultimately this will determine the range of scale length you could make.

Have shovel will travel! $15 at lowes. Identical model to his.

I did just have a "breakthru" of sorts. Since I'm eyeballing his guitar to figure his spacing on things, I noticed a really big distance from his "nut" to first fret. Low and behold I guesstimate it on mine and it gives me the 9th "fret" Mark where his is and is the 25.5 scale.

Now I just wonder why there's such a big distance from nut to first fret, by my guesstimate it's 3"
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I went looking and I don't see in any of the pics/videos what you mean, could you point it out please? which vid/pic?

I'd you look back at the other posts I put a few links. Or if you can't find those if you look up justin johnson shovel you should see "crankin up the 3 string shovel" and an unboxing video

heres this, the exact moment it starts you can see the fret marks pretty well. 

this is the unboxing of the production version

https://youtu.be/-ISizcUxkD8?t=5m18s

and this is the original guitar. 

https://youtu.be/V9-ltPsbw9g

I'd say the long distance is because, like you he wanted the join to coincide with a fret, but also wanted the bridge to fall down the slope a little to lower the action, and if ke made it the 12th fret, the bridge would be much higher, but with less space at the nut

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