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Luthiery

Wiring the Wishcaster’s Electronics

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Make-A-Wish Surfcaster

A primary difference between this guitar and the previous two is the electronics wiring and installation. The Surfcaster is wired like a Stratocaster — with the pickups and controls attached to the pickguard instead of directly to the body. This greatly simplifies installation and makes it possible to work on the electronics and the finish … Continue reading »

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Dyeing the Wishcaster Blue

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Make-A-Wish Surfcaster

With the neck now attached, it was time for a quick trip to quality control – my eldest son Sean – for a check. Thankfully it passed and so the project moved forward to making the pick guard. Pickguard construction began, as usual, with templates. They were prepared from 1/2″ MDF using the full-size drawing. … Continue reading »

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Carving the Wish-caster Neck

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Make-A-Wish Surfcaster

After a couple weeks away, I was finally able to spend a weekend in the shop. Returning to the fretboard, I gave it a bit of thought and ultimately decided rather than try and fix the bad frets (there were probably 8-10) and paint the fretboard with CA (see the previous post), I would basically … Continue reading »

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The “Wish-caster” Fingerboard

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Make-A-Wish Surfcaster

The Design The first two electrics I built were constructed with factory-made necks. Having never fretted an instrument before, I was apprehensive about taking on that part of the project with a hard deadline. For this design I wanted a custom inlay on the fretboard featuring the primary ‘star’ component of the Make-a-Wish logo. Last … Continue reading »

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Make-A-Wish Surfcaster: Capping the Body

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Make-A-Wish Surfcaster

With the Ash blank shaped, it’s time to prepare the figured top. I made a “top cap” template including holes for the sound hole and electronics pockets. Two of these were cut: one in MDF and another in acrylic. I wanted a clear version to allow me to see the grain pattern I was selecting for the … Continue reading »

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Make-A-Wish Charvel Surfcaster: Starting the Build

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Make-A-Wish Surfcaster

In 2014 I had the idea that I could build an electric guitar (my first) and raffle it off for charity through my company’s holiday party band, the LCA. This resulted in the LCA SG Jr. guitar which raised over $2,100 for Make-A-Wish Illinois. Last year this was repeated with a Lospennato-inspired “Radio star” clone, … Continue reading »

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Assembling the Box, Part I – Soundboard and Sides

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Building an Acoustic Guitar

The head and tail blocks The head block was assembled as a 5-piece glue-up with three ‘core’ pieces stacked vertically and a top and bottom glued horizontally cross-grain. This is done to promote stability and strength in both dimensions while providing a side-grain surface for both the sides and the top and bottom. The top of the … Continue reading »

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Picking Up Where I Left Off…

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Building an Acoustic Guitar

In early 2012, I started my first acoustic guitar build and for several reasons wound up putting it aside. Over 4 years, a couple electric guitars and mountain dulcimers under my belt, I finally felt ready to return to this project. Back to Prep Work… The first two tasks were to build a bending form … Continue reading »

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Finishing “Coco Bear” the Appalacian Dulcimer

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Building a Mountain Dulcimer

My biggest concern in finishing the dulcimer was sealing the Cocobolo. I’d read that the oils in the wood along with it’s natural density made finishing difficult. Again turning to online forums, people typically recommended sealing the oils in first under a couple coats of shellac before applying your finish of choice. Though I own … Continue reading »

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Glue Up and Carving the Scroll

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Building a Mountain Dulcimer

Joining the back and sides went smoothly. The concern I had here, and in general with gluing Cocobolo, is the oily nature of the wood. I’d read numerous articles and blog posts discussing difficulties with getting the glue to adhere. I followed the advice of several commenters in first sanding/planning the edges to be joined … Continue reading »

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