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The HairMaster - a Floyd Rose-afflicted offset

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:43 am
by epizootics
Now that my Bison baritone build is done, and that France is two weeks into its second lockdown, (prolly not the last one), what better time is there to started on my Build of Shame?

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This is at least my twelfth revision on the blueprints. Here are a couple of the previous versions:

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This last one will actually get built at some point. I already have the body & neck for it.

So. 25" scale, cherry body, rowan neck & bubinga fretboard, Jescar stainless steel frets, Gotoh vintage-style locking tuners and, of course, that Gotoh Floyd Rose unit I've been threatening to use on a guitar for the past six months or so.

Still unsure about the pickups - I am on a Mini-humbucker rampage at the minute, but I might go back to Strat-sized coils.

I broke down and went for the Kay/Harvester headstock again. It really is my favorite headstock shape ever.

After a few months of research and getting advice from here and there, and since I wanted to forego the locking nut, I decided to go the Parker Fly/Red Special route with the headstock design. Ken Parker advocates the use of a minimal headstock angle to limit friction at the nut. It turns out that a 4° angle was used on both the Fly and Brian May's Red Special. Both guitars used a wide-range trem with no locking nut. I also went with a zero fret.

I ordered a 6mm (1/4")-thick sheet of Acetal/POM for the nut. The material is slippery as hell. I usually trim plastics with a hand plane but this one takes a lot of downward pressure to keep the plane from slipping and skidding. The aim is to minimize friction - that nut is only there to keep the strings spaced evenly. It will be tall to accommodate for the strings jumping up when divebombing, but I might add a cap at the top if they decide to jump out of their slots.

Here we are so far:

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You can see the two acetal nut blanks (the first one I cut was a bit too short for the thick fretboard). The bit of plastic sheet under the neck shaft template will be cut into strips to fill up the slots I routed into the fretboard for the markers (same process as the ES-339-ish guitar I build in the Spring). That stuff comes from a knife-making supplier and was sold as 'Elforyn', some type of fake ivory. It smells like coconut when sanded, which freaks me out a bit.

I still need to make a template for the Floyd route. I contacted Gotoh about it and they told me they didn't have any routing templates for their unit, but that it should fit in a FRO route. There are reports online of the top recess route being too short for the clamping bolts. We'll see how this one goes but I'll probably make that top recess a bit longer.

More soon...

Re: The HairMaster - a Floyd Rose-afflicted offset

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:44 am
by Shadoweclipse13
Ooh. This one will be cool!!!!

Re: The HairMaster - a Floyd Rose-afflicted offset

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:09 am
by Flurko
Keeping an eye on this, always thought Floyd Roses could go on cool-looking guitars too !

Re: The HairMaster - a Floyd Rose-afflicted offset

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:36 am
by mackerelmint
No shame in this game- let's see where it goes! :w00t:

Re: The HairMaster - a Floyd Rose-afflicted offset

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:02 pm
by tribi9
Looking good.

Re: The HairMaster - a Floyd Rose-afflicted offset

Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:48 am
by epizootics
Some progress today. We now have something that resembles a neck, and a neck pocket.
I also got a new toy:

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My old Ryobi lightweight router has started to show its age - the bearing sound like they're about to die, the collet nut is losing its shape and it doesn't feel like it holds the bits as well as it used to. This little Elu showed up in the classifieds and I couldn't resist. It had never been used - ever. This particular model was made in Italy, so it's nowhere near as sturdy as my big old Swiss MOF 177, but it's definitely on par with the recent Festo routers. And it has a DUST COLLECTION SYSTEM that works really well, which makes me really happy since I still build everything in my flat. :)

Here's where things are at:

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I also glued the inlays into the fretboard. Nothing particularly groundbreaking on this build but it's been fun so far.

Re: The HairMaster - a Floyd Rose-afflicted offset

Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:26 pm
by Veitchy
This is interesting as I can't remember the last time I saw a Floyd on a guitar that wasn't a 'hair' guitar or a Gibson/copy. I get that they can require a bit more work, but it's still interesting they they seem to be confined to one 'genre' of guitars.

This will be cool to see how it turns out.

Re: The HairMaster - a Floyd Rose-afflicted offset

Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2020 2:01 am
by ohm-men
That's quiet a nice refreshing body shape! I like it.
The last version looks fantastic, like some kind of "Frankenstein" guitar body. But in a very good way. I hope you'll do it in the multicolour finish.
I also like your headstock design. It reminds me a bit of the old Framus "foot" headstock, but better executed.

Looking forward to see where this is going... :-*

Re: The HairMaster - a Floyd Rose-afflicted offset

Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:05 pm
by tribi9
epizootics wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:43 am


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I really like what you did here.

Re: The HairMaster - a Floyd Rose-afflicted offset

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:13 am
by Amon 7.L
Please, keep posting... there are too cool. :?
Your designs are superb.

Subscribed and longing for the new entries!

Re: The HairMaster - a Floyd Rose-afflicted offset

Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 6:20 pm
by solfege
Interested!

Re: The HairMaster - a Floyd Rose-afflicted offset

Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:41 pm
by epizootics
Alright...Covid came in again and added some further complications to an already long & strange year. I have more or less fully recovered despite my sense of smell still being a very watered-down version of itself.

SO. I'm on the second body for this build already. The original one (cherry) wasn't properly dried initially and I had to plane out more of its thickness than I would have liked. And I screwed up the holes for the Floyd Rose studs. Those are so damn close to the edge of the cavity (even more so with the Gotoh version, that uses larger inserts than the OFR) they caused the wood to crack. Bitter lemons...

I got out a baseball bat ash I'd glued up last year and figured it would make that guitar indestructible. Hey, if gigs ever get going again I'd like this to be one of my main instruments. One of the things I've noticed with French ash, especially when really old and dry, is that it hates having bits of metal pushed in. Screws and inserts included. Pilot holes have to be drilled much larger than in other hard woods I've used so far.

Lo and behold...Here we are:

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And, yup, I had one last minute change of heart. Went the JM pickup route. Mostly because it looked slightly wonky and busy.

The neck is done (just need a bit of paint on the headstock and some kind of lacquer), body almost there...Soon there will be nothing to do but wait for the weather to be nice enough for spraying action. :)

Re: The HairMaster - a Floyd Rose-afflicted offset

Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 2:33 pm
by Flurko
Glad you're recovering from covid, this guitar is looking great ! Kind of a theme going on with oversized pickups, vibrato unit, and knobs !

I don't know much about Floyd, does its positioning over the body/not recessed mean dive-only ?

I'm not saying I was under the influence of this build among others, but I'm currently crossing my fingers for a leboncoin seller to agree to sell me a floyd-equipped, baby pink BC Rich...

Re: The HairMaster - a Floyd Rose-afflicted offset

Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 3:15 pm
by HarlowTheFish
Flurko wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 2:33 pm
Glad you're recovering from covid, this guitar is looking great ! Kind of a theme going on with oversized pickups, vibrato unit, and knobs !

I don't know much about Floyd, does its positioning over the body/not recessed mean dive-only ?

I'm not saying I was under the influence of this build among others, but I'm currently crossing my fingers for a leboncoin seller to agree to sell me a floyd-equipped, baby pink BC Rich...
Yeah, it needs either a recess or to be lifted off the top (ala some older superstrats or the Caparison stuff, which has a small recess and is raised) to pull back, and then it only raises the pitch as much as it can before hitting something (which is why the Steve Vai JEM and PIA models have the lion's claw cutout).
epizootics wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:41 pm
Alright...Covid came in again and added some further complications to an already long & strange year. I have more or less fully recovered despite my sense of smell still being a very watered-down version of itself.

SO. I'm on the second body for this build already. The original one (cherry) wasn't properly dried initially and I had to plane out more of its thickness than I would have liked. And I screwed up the holes for the Floyd Rose studs. Those are so damn close to the edge of the cavity (even more so with the Gotoh version, that uses larger inserts than the OFR) they caused the wood to crack. Bitter lemons...

I got out a baseball bat ash I'd glued up last year and figured it would make that guitar indestructible. Hey, if gigs ever get going again I'd like this to be one of my main instruments. One of the things I've noticed with French ash, especially when really old and dry, is that it hates having bits of metal pushed in. Screws and inserts included. Pilot holes have to be drilled much larger than in other hard woods I've used so far.

Lo and behold...Here we are:

Image

Image

And, yup, I had one last minute change of heart. Went the JM pickup route. Mostly because it looked slightly wonky and busy.

The neck is done (just need a bit of paint on the headstock and some kind of lacquer), body almost there...Soon there will be nothing to do but wait for the weather to be nice enough for spraying action. :)
Okay this looks sweet! How are you doing the switching? 2V, V+B, V+Rotary, or push-pull ala George Lynch?

Glad you're doing better, this stuff's no joke.

Re: The HairMaster - a Floyd Rose-afflicted offset

Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 11:27 pm
by epizootics
Flurko wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 2:33 pm
Glad you're recovering from covid, this guitar is looking great ! Kind of a theme going on with oversized pickups, vibrato unit, and knobs !

I don't know much about Floyd, does its positioning over the body/not recessed mean dive-only ?

I'm not saying I was under the influence of this build among others, but I'm currently crossing my fingers for a leboncoin seller to agree to sell me a floyd-equipped, baby pink BC Rich...
HarlowTheFish wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 3:15 pm

Yeah, it needs either a recess or to be lifted off the top (ala some older superstrats or the Caparison stuff, which has a small recess and is raised) to pull back, and then it only raises the pitch as much as it can before hitting something (which is why the Steve Vai JEM and PIA models have the lion's claw cutout).


Okay this looks sweet! How are you doing the switching? 2V, V+B, V+Rotary, or push-pull ala George Lynch?

Glad you're doing better, this stuff's no joke.

Cheers guys. I'm pretty sure this is the second time I catch it (there were no tests going the first time around), and the symptoms were much milder this time. Although I didn't lose my taste & smell back in March I had a hard time breathing for a month, and my fingers and toes developed something akin to frostbite although the weather was mild back then. Let's call that the 'full 2020 experience'. Very much looking forward to not having to think of all of this madness anymore.

Go for it Flurko! You can't beat a pink, pointy, Floyd-equipped guitar for delicate guitar work :)

I did a lot of testing with the Floyd route on scrap pieces of wood. It took me a while to get my head around it. Many factors to take into account. I ended up angling the neck a fair bit so that the strings would meet the bridge around 17-18mm (about 0.7") above the top of the body. That puts the Floyd about 1/4" above the top. Since I won't be using the fine tuners (no locking nut), I loosened the up as much as I could to keep the lock screws as far away from the body as I could. I will also angle the base plate to be level with the strings, which adds an extra couple of millimeters (5/64"). All in all it should allow for some upward pitch shifting. I'm thinking of routing a slight recess with a box core bit under the lowest point of the trem, eg. the point where the base plate angles upward toward the fine tuners, to gain an extra bit of travel.

Basically, it should be fully floating, despite not being recessed. I did try to recess it but the overall geometry of the guitar, with its thin-ish body (1.46" thick, which is as thick as I can go with this old ash before the guitar turns into an anvil), didn't seem to require it. I have yet to route the back cavity, but I will have to make some extra room to allow for downward movement.

Overall, a lot more work than a simple JM trem cavity :)


Wiring-wise, I'm going to be boring and use one of my 3-way, low-profile NKK switches. Those are great - cheap and sturdy, and the actuating bat is only 0.45" long. That reduces the chances of switching pickups by mistake. I might try an ON/OFF/ON switch down to line to give the Dano wiring a spin, but I've never been a huge fan of Jazzmaster pickups in series. Big output but murky sound.

Talking about pickups, I am still on the fence. I really want to use the soft ferrite rods I have in a drawer, maybe combined with ceramic magnets in a P90 design. That would be an atrociously bright and spanky pickup - the only ferromagnetic material being the copper wire, eddy current losses would be minimal. JM pickups are too much fun to make - you can pretty much fit anything you like in those large covers.