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Freeman Keller

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Everything posted by Freeman Keller

  1. Send a message to forumite Grant Harding and ask how he likes the rosewood Warmoth neck that I put on his barncaster. Its a year and a half old, he can tell you how it has worked out and how much he had to pay for it (it was a custom order, he had it shipped direct to me to put on his guitar). I remember that I really liked the Gotoh truss rod adjuster in the side of the heel. Warmoth will put the nut and frets that you choose in it - Ken Warmoth said that they don't think the frets are at their final finish and that the person installing the neck should touch them up but in my opinion they were as good as any new guitar that I see. The other necks have definitely needed some work. Its honestly pretty reasonable for a diy'er to finish a guitar with rattle cans of nitrocellulose lacquer. I think its a whole lot easier than any of the automotive products. My first couple of guitars were finished with rattle cans and they came out good and have lasted well. Reranch has a really good FAQ about their products. In my humble opinion you should give it a try. Here is a setup thread that I did for the telecaster forum recently. It hits a lot of geometry issues and covers all kinds of guitars, but there is a lot of Fender specific stuff https://www.tdpri.com/threads/basic-setup.952636/ TPDRI would be a good place for you to look around - they have one subforum just devoted to parts casters. And now I remember the flood saga - glad things worked out. Kind of lost touch - hope you are well and please feel free to ping me if there is anything I can do to help.
  2. Reranch does offer Daphne blue in rattle cans of lacquer https://www.reranch.com/colors.htm
  3. Lets start at the top. There are lots of good choices for necks but you pretty much get what you pay for. The first choice is whether you want a domestic neck or one made overseas. I think it is kind of ironic that some manufactures source their wood in the US, ship to China to have it made, then back to the US. Or you can just buy one made here. There are some slightly inherent problems with both - right now rosewood has moved into a new CITES classification that makes it harder to import/export. What I'm saying is you may not be able to get exactly what you want. Second, when people talk about "one piece necks" they generally mean the fretboard and neck are integral (typically all maple). These almost always have the traditional curved tension truss rod (skunk strip). I'm actually not sure I have ever seen a one piece rosewood neck but certainly it could be custom made. More common would be a rosewood neck with rosewood fretboard - any one of a number of sources could furnish that. It would probably be a custom order which means you can now specify all kinds of things - fret size and material, truss rod type, finish.... Even more common, of course, are maple necks with rosewood fretboard. My experience with premade necks is limited to Mighty Mite (Chinese made maple necks) and Warmoth (domestic, several different configuration). They are both adequate - the Warmoth is much nicer. The MM necks have always need fretwork and a new nut, the Warmoth have been usable as delivered (but I always do a bit of fretwork anyway). Whatever you buy, be sure the neck pocket it built to Fender specs (it will say it is licensed by Fender on the heel). That assures that it will fit the pocket on your guitar. The choice of pickups, electronics and hardware is completely up to you. Most stuff is interechangeable and can always be changed or upgraded in the future. Finishing seems easy but is remarkably difficult. Most finishers will want the body sanded to 320 but they will also do the final prep themselves. Remember that a "luthier" is someone who builds musical instruments - he/she may have certain finishes that they like and use but may not be the best choice. For example, I consider myself a luthier but I only finish in nitrocellulose lacquer - if someone wants sold colors I send them to a friend who paints custom motorcycles. Be warned that a good finish can cost as much as a very nice factory made guitar. There are other options for finish that can be done by a do it yourself person - pretty much a matter of what your expectations and abilities are. Last, and far from least, putting together a guitar that "plays well and sounds good" will involve a lot of attention to frets, geometry, action, and setup. That does involve an investment in some tools and time. I've done a couple of articles on setup and would be happy to send you links. Good luck and have fun.
  4. Neal, as you know, there are a ton of variables that go into answering that question. First, it is my recollection that National made both a standard scale (25.5) and a baritone version of the M1 (and for some reason I though yours was the bari). That seques directly into what tuning(s) you want to use - I know you play some slide on it so I assume some sort of open tuning - maybe G or D, but also may down a few semi tones. If your magnetic pickup is designed for acoustic strings it should be balanced for either PB or 80/20, but if it is some sort of true electric pickup you might be limited to nickle strings. On my three twelve strings I use 10-42 if I want to tune to concert pitch (which I never do) or down one semi tone. I normally tune down two (D to D) and can get that with 10's but most of the time will use 12 to 54 since I also will tune that to the equivalent of open G or D. My long scale (26.5, not a true bari) is currently strung with 13 to 56 and tuned to C (and then down to the equivalent open chords). Leadbelly's 27 inch scale guitar was strung with 16 to 70 and tuned to A. My 6 string resonators are all strung with normal old 6 string mediums (13 - 56) and mostly tuned to open G or D. I don't have to worry about pickups so I use PB's. I don't think composition is as important on resonators. I notice that National is selling John Pearse 10's for their 12 string set - that would not necessarily be my choice but I guess its what they recommend. Last, but far from least, I have found the string tension FAQ from UMGF to be really helpful. At the bottom are the 12 string tensions covering a number of different sets. These are all for standard scale length (25.5) but you can modify that if needed https://umgf.com/string-tension-t5339.html#.VpFU2aNIi1s
  5. A long long time ago I recorded some guitars with some strings and posted the clips on a guitar forum. I and several others listened to them back to back to back and I, at least, decided which ones I liked the best on those particular guitars. I factored in life of the strings, cost, and the fact that I currently have (I think) a dozen different acoustic guitars. I have decided that I can get the string gauges I need from two standard sets plus a few singles and I can cover my acoustics, resonators, 12 strings with only a small stash of strings, which I typically order in bulk. My strings of choice are phosphor bronze Elixer nanowebs, lights on most guitars, mediums on some. Everyone's mileage will vary, but at least I can point to a reason for mine.
  6. EXP13's are 80/20, EXP26 are PB. Some of us think that makes a big difference.
  7. Too bad we aren't close, Glenn. I would love to have you play my old D18. Even tho its from the "over built" era of Martin's history it is still a pretty incredible guitar. I don't play it and keep thinking I should sell it but I think my kid has his eye on it after I'm gone from this world.
  8. I kind of lost track of the threads that I did here so I redid the tele one at TDPRI https://www.tdpri.com/threads/a-chambered-tele-ish-sort-of-thing.884657/ I also did a pretty complete one on frets and setup when you get to that point https://www.tdpri.com/threads/basic-setup.952636/ If there is anything I can do to help just give a shout. I'll be watching
  9. The usual method for setting the intonation is to compare the fretted 12th fret note with the harmonic. If the fretted not is flat then you need to move the saddle towards the nut. In fact you can use this little ditty to calculate just how much you need to move it https://www.liutaiomottola.com/formulae/saddle.htm If you do not have enough travel then the bridge may be in the wrong location but that is unlikely on a factory made guitar. Double check that the farthest forward position of the saddle is roughly at the scale length (25.5 inches)
  10. A couple of problems using the ToM - most of the time on a tele you need to introduce some neck angle and second, they are usually 12 inch radius and tele necks usually aren't. I would plan on the tele bridge and cutting it off. You are drilled for string thru anyway. Only other minor thing might be the wiring kit - you might want to change some items to work with the 'buckers.
  11. I never play my old D-18, it sits in the basement and gets more valuable. I keep thinking I should sell it, but it keeps getting more valuable. One of my kids will get it one of these days. I guess I'm just not a dread sort of guy, prefer playing my OM
  12. If there is a guitar I would like to have I just build it.
  13. For what it is worth, the Eastman OM that I am storing is a 2003 model AC610. I has a 25.4 scale, is 1-3/4 at the nut and 2-3/16 at the saddle. That is slightly narrow by Martin's standards and I can see how some players would not like it (including me).
  14. I believe that if you read his first post, the OP says he is going to use a "Bigsby-like trem approach".
  15. You've got me curious. I need to go measure the one I was storing. Most OM's are fairly wide necks - the ones that I have built are 1-3/4 at the nut and 2-5/16 at the bridge. I'll report back when I've measured the Eastman.
  16. When I build a guitar with a Bigsby, I use roller saddles. - it just doesn't make sense to drag a string back and forth across a knife edge. I'm also totally impressed by Kahler bridges with their roller saddles. I don't really care for locking nuts and prefer not to use them but Kahler specifies one to be used with their bridge. Edit to add, be sure that the radius of what ever bridge you choose will work with what ever radius your fretboard is. Also, of course, make sure that the geometry works with your neck angle, overstand, etc.
  17. I would have to go back and look at my notes but I believe that both guitars got an A6 in the neck and Benedetto PAF in the bridge. The B6 is designed to sound a little more like a hollow body archtop - as I recall it does not have the adjustable pole pieces. My friend plays almost exclusively on the neck and our logic was if he ever does go to the bridge he can get a little more bluesy tone with the PAF. One interesting thing that I did with the 335 clone is install terminal strips in the pick up cavities to make it easy to experiment with pickup - that way I don't have to fish all the electronics out thru the f-holes to make a wiring change.
  18. A minor thing to think about if you are going from humbuckers to single coils is that typically you'll use 500K pots for the 'buckers and 250K for the singles. Not sure about P90's, I've only once installed one in a tele (and I used 250K). I know its kind of a b*tch to change pots in your Sheraton, don't really know if its necessary.
  19. Glenn, I have been storing an Eastman OM for a friend who is on an extended trip, I don't remember the model but it is one of the best mass produced guitars that I have played in a long time. He worked at a local music store and brought a few Eastman models to them, unfortunately I don't think they sold all that well. I was particularly impressed with some of their hollow body jazz guitars. Looks like you scored!
  20. Hi Brendo and welcome to HCEG. I have no experience with P90's but when I built a 335 clone for a jazz playing friend he asked me to put a set of Seymour Ducan Benedetto's in it. When I heard how lush they sounded I chose the same pickup for my hollow body.
  21. I don't mean to jump into your thread. My laminate trimmer is relatively inexpensive and like I said, for standard "flat" tops and backs I just tape a little shim on it that holds it more or less perpendicular to the side. I try to follow the stewmac direction but mostly if I hold on tight I can just run around the body. I have to turn it so the shim is always working but its never failed me. Note that the shim is thick at the center line of the base and tapers to nothing at the outside edge.
  22. Sorry about your binding issues, Neil. I learned a long time ago that cheap tools were often a mistake - I bought the hundred dollar StewMac binding router bit set when I built my first guitar and I bought their "precarious" tower rig when I built my first archtop. Those tools have routed and bound 25 instruments to date and I can honestly say I haven't had a problem. I keep thinking I should buy a new sharp bit for my next guitar, I think I've amortized the last one. Ps - you didn't say if you sealed the edge with shellac or something but I find it helps with chip out and the fuzzies. I should clarify something. When I build a flat topped guitar all I need for binding channels is a laminate trimmer and the SM bit set. It has enough bearings to do any binding/purfling combination I've ever wanted to do. The top is flat enough that I just use the base of the trimmer, when I do the back I tape a little 5 degree shim on it to compensate for the dome. As long as I'm careful with the direction of cuts and brush a little shellac on it the channels are nearly perfect. On an arched or carved top/back instrument the router can't jut ride on the top or back - it needs to float and that's where the precarious tower comes in. Again, it works perfectly.
  23. I realize this is an ancient thread but since its been resurrected I thought I would show off. I had a piece of coco sitting in my wood room for several years, finally last year I decided to build something out if it. Ended up with a cedar and cocobolo OM which has moved into my favorite guitar category (however I still play the others). I don't think the coco is particularly special as far as contributing to the sound but it sure is purdy
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