Saturday, 20 December 2014

Aldi Livingstone swap over

The body waiting for a forstner bit

Remember to click on each picture to see it at a larger size

The Neck before modification

I bolted the neck to a flat piece of mdf so the head stock wouldn't suffer from chipping out while going through the band saw SUCCESS!

Woo Hoo

I should have drawn a line dead centre down the length of the neck and then draw a line with a square to make sure the cut was at 90 degrees to the neck. Instead I simply drew a line from where the factory shape finished Boooo, bad, bad idea, this made for an angle which visually doesn't look square to my eye. Oh well that's what this project is for, to find out what decisions need more thought and what techniques need more patience.

I did have to finish the centre cutout with my Japanese float file which is finer than ordinary rasps but I still managed to chip the back edge of the cutout d'oh! It's a shame it wouldn't fit in the band saw, the way I would have liked. In the future when making a neck I'll try to remember to cut this shape prior to setting the neck angle, this way I'll be able to flip the neck over which will make it a lot easier. I'll probably be using a scarf joint to set this angle in the future.

Ok I went back after a rest and straightened the previous cut and removed the chips on the back that magically appeared. I'm pretty happy with it now.

Putting the logo I designed on will be fun and I'm settling on this one for now, again doing it for practice and trying different techniques.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Jack is the ultimate wireless guitar tool

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Drill press Sled

My kitchen table just after I set up my new but cheap drill press.

I've been building a drill press sled that will bolt to my drill press bed so I can try to use it a little like a milling machine to cut the bridge slots a little deeper to allow for the piezo pickup that will sit under the bridge saddle. I'll need to source some down cut milling bits at around 2mm or so.
My Makita router is way to big for some of the more delicate work and money is very rare around here so we make do .
In the picture you can see the Aldi cheap Livingstone childrens electric guitar I'm swapping to be left handed.

Outside the front of my flat cutting and routing the drill press bed using my little coffee table as a set of saw horses lol

To be honest I'm a complete noob at sketchup and lacked the patience to find out how you make a corner rounded so I built it in 3ds Max (during the day I pretend to be  3d artist) and then imported it into sketchup.

Well the cutting and routing outside on a wobbly coffee table gave me the results you'd expect lol
accuracy suffered a bit and I'm waiting on the glue to set on the assembly so it will be a while until I posts pics of the final result.

Slowly widening the slots to get it to slide, it's a very tight at the moment.

I'm starting to wonder if the Tenor Uke will be too large to make the distance from the drill bit to the back of the drill to route the slot mmmmmmmmmmm  I'll measure it after I've finished, the last thing we need is flying MDF in my small kitchen hahaha

Regardless the sled will come in handy I have no doubt at least the wood wont be as nasty on the bodies of instruments than the steel base.

Bolted onto the metal adjustable plate

From underneath.

Sliding the top side to side revels that the routed lines may not be exactly parallel, it slides to the left with no trouble and displays a tiny amount of movement, to the right is becomes very stiff with no play whatsoever.

I'll probably make another one down the road but this will do for now and will do the job it was designed for. 

MDF was never my choice for the timber but the ply was way beyond my means this time.

Guitar / Ukulele Builds

Due to a genetic disease in my hand called Dupuytren's contracture I can no longer play my guitar like I used to, but some time ago a set of circumstances had me messing around with a Ukulele and I found the small size made it easier to play.

It wasn't that hard to flip the uke over and swap the strings for a lefty, I didn't have to cut a new nut or worry about bridge compensation...................but if you want a cut out to reach frets higher up on the fretboard or electronics you are completely stuffed.

When you live in a right handed world you become very handy at modifying pretty much everything you need to for your own use. Guitars are no exception and have been modifying them for many years.

Recently I decided to get serious about becoming a Luthier and start making my own left handed instruments, in particular acoustic Ukuleles with cut outs and amplification. 

So this has presented some real problems to someone who lives in a unit or flat (on the ground floor at least) tools, larger machinery, noise, dust, and a kitchen that now doubles as a workshop :-P

There is a very small workshop in the grounds where I live but a loss of keys one day has thrown a spanner into the works and as the flat is a government flat organising a new key has been problematic to say the least. I am working on it, but it is the A.C.T. Government after all.

I've been especially inspired by several people and organisations

For information on where I got the electronics and how I fitted the electronics on this click these links

Becketts Music Ltd
56 Commercial Road, Southampton
Hampshire, S015 1GD
Tel: +44 (0)23 8022 4827
Fax: +44 (0)23 8032 2046


This is a different brand and style of pick up system that includes a tuner that I was hoping would magically replace the other one already installed in my Tenor but alas the holes are but mm off. I offered to fit it to an acquaintance's ukulele but haven't got a reply yet, so I might just fit it to my Soprano or Baritone uke.
As you can see the prices are good but you get what you pay for, so caveat emptor, you can find the exact same things for a lot more so don't be fooled lots of research means less tears. If your ears are so perfectly tuned to perfect pitch or you are filthy rich then you can see if Fishman will sell you something for your elitist sensibilities lol

Here's the electronics I fitted to my Lanikai Tenor