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Klein Solid Body Electric Travel Guitar

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Blog series by Dave G updated 11-16-2015 10:26 AM 11 parts 23322 reads 7 comments total

Part 1: Planning and Roughing

08-30-2015 05:34 PM by Dave G | 2 comments »

My son is an accomplished jazz guitarist, having minored in music, playing every day several hours for 10+ years, and doing occasional jigs in NYC where he lives. I promised a hand-made personalized guitar for his graduation present. Now I’m going to make for him a Klein copy travel guitar. I found some plans online here by Eric Olds and here. I redrew them myself in sketchup because my son has certain specifications for the hardware that require laying out the neck/body conne...

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Part 2: Add Carbon Stiffeners to the Neck

09-01-2015 08:51 PM by Dave G | 0 comments »

The plans I found recommend stiffening the travel guitar’s neck with carbon fiber. This makes sense because it lightens the neck slightly by substituting carbon for maple and because the travel guitar will want to have as thin a neck as possible without being weakened. This guitar will also use heavy jazz strings so some added stiffening will help the truss rod. Stewart MacDonald carries these. The plans suggested 3/16×1/4×18. I decided to orient the rod with long ...

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Part 3: Install Truss Rod

09-02-2015 11:32 PM by Dave G | 0 comments »

Today I installed the truss rod following LMI's instructions. The video will also show you what it looks like and how it works. I got the double acting one because of the tremendous amount of uncertainty in building my first guitar. It does no harm but costs a bit more. I used a 1/4” router bit to mill a slot 1/16” deeper than the rod. Then I milled down a piece of hard maple to cap the slot as instructed with epoxy. Before installing the truss rod I gave the bottom o...

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Part 4: Binding the Fretboard

09-05-2015 03:31 PM by Dave G | 0 comments »

I used 1/16” x 1/4” ABS cream color bought from LMI. The 1/4” is just high enough to cover the crown on the ends. This stuff planes and scrapes very well so it was easy to plane it down to the board level without stressing the bond joint. I began by cutting the fretboard to size. This meant cutting it off flush where the nut goes and cutting it about 3/8” past the highest fret (#22). A gents saw worked very well for this. The edges of the board were planed ...

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Part 5: Bookmatched Body Blanks and Fret Marks

09-07-2015 11:24 PM by Dave G | 0 comments »

I took two pieces of Black Limba and resawed them to make bookmatched body halves. I glued the back sides and ended up with two different books to choose from. I picked my favorite. Below you can see the intended result. The pieces of paper illustrate what I’ll cut out of each blank. I also put little plastic fret markers into the binding/ebony edge on top only. No fretboard dots. I learned that ABS does not like heating by the drill bit! Use slow speed only and be quick ...

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Part 6: Glue Up

09-23-2015 11:12 PM by Dave G | 0 comments »

I drilled and chopped out the wire passages for the pickups then glued the beast to the neck with Titebond III.Wire routes. It will weigh about 7#.I should be able to trim some weight as I shape it. Before gluing I cutout the body at the bandsaw with a 1/4” blade. I used the scrap as caul and I also had to put some tape on the top of the body to level it with the neck. The glue-up was done face down on a board and tapped into into alignment against the board while tightening th...

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Part 7: Hogging Out the Cavities

09-30-2015 09:31 AM by Dave G | 0 comments »

Hi all, I measured at least 10 times before making the cavity cuts. These need to be done before shaping so there is support for the tools – drill press and router. Before beginning the routs I had a little cleanup to do on the butt end of the through neck. The photo shows I back cut the tuner mount (this travel guitar is headless and has the tuner behind the bridge) to 20 degrees. This is so the tuners swing nominally level after tensioning the strings. If I didn’t ...

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Part 8: Glue on the Fretboard

10-02-2015 11:53 AM by Dave G | 2 comments »

Before installing the fretboard started some shaping using the Festool disk sander/grinder. My experience making Maloof chairs has paid off as I found this very easy and fun.Started to Take Shape I installed some small bits of 4d nail in the bed of the fretboard and the fretboard itself to hold alignment while clamping up. Alignment Pins in Neck and Holes at White Marks on Ebony Fretboard Then I glued with Titebond III, clamping down to table saw top for dead flatness. There is a...

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Part 9: Tuners

10-11-2015 07:49 PM by Dave G | 0 comments »

Not strictly wood, but such an important part of a guitar project I thought I’d better show them. This is my own design, modified after I looked at the plan provided in the first blog entry of this series when I realized it wouldn’t work! The Side Facing the Mounting Plate and Neck Base. Another View of Side Facing Mounting Plate. Strings Go Through Unoccupied Holes. Here You See The Back Side with String Holding Thumbscrews at Top and Tuners at Bottom The side th...

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Part 10: Fretting the Details

10-19-2015 09:19 AM by Dave G | 2 comments »

We’re heading into the details of the project. I completed the fretting this weekend. It is tedious but fun once you get going. I had a long roll of nickel fretwire that I cut pieces off and worked with my Dremel tool clamped to the drill press to create a little grinding workstation. The fretwire has tangs on it to hold into the fretboard. The tangs that would go into the fretboard binding (white plastic edging you see) have to be trimmed off to avoid ruining the binding. ...

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Part 11: Finished - Started Tuning

11-16-2015 10:26 AM by Dave G | 1 comment »

As promised I made the stop, and a whole lot more. The guitar is almost done. It plays and my son gave it a whirl and he likes it. The String Stop – Needs Polishing The overall view is shown below. I finished the body (maple / limba blend) with satin poly. i finished the neck with lacquer and wet sanded it to 2000. Apparently guitar players like the feel of lacquer and it has good properties when used next to the skin a lot. I finished the fretboard with lemon oil (D-L...

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