Fanned Fret Firebird build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by WezV, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    Not just for the alliteration, this will be my 7th fanned fret 6 string build. I really like the clarity you get when the bass strings are slightly longer. Many build fanned frets just for ERG's to give those extra low strings some definition, but the same benefit can occur on 6 strings too.

    My first fanned fret about 12 years ago was a through neck les paul with a 25-26" fan... quite subtle but sounded awesome. I have 2 with 25-27" fan's which work great. this one will sit somewhere in between at 25-26.25"

    the real revelation, fanned frets really suit the firebird design.

    the first quick sketch
    [​IMG]

    the influence for the other choices
    [​IMG]
     
  2. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    the pickups

    [​IMG]

    a full size sketch
    [​IMG]
     
  3. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    some wood and parts
    [​IMG]


    and a flamed ebony fretboard all marked out and ready for slotting

    [​IMG]
     
  4. KnightroExpress

    KnightroExpress Senior Member

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    Cool! Looking forward to this one!
     
  5. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    i still haven;t slotted the board, but i have double and triple checked all my measurements so should get it done in the next few days
    [​IMG]


    was thinking about using a 6-way blade switch on this, but it would mean making the body thicker than a normal FB

    and the gretsch style pickup rings fit quite nicely too, but they are only cosmetic so i won't make a decision on them till its nearly done

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    Looks great! You’re right - fanned frets really seem to work with the Firebird design.
     
  7. archey

    archey Senior Member

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    I like where your head's at. This will be really cool!
     
  8. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Maybe "Fanned Fret Firebird Frenzy"
     
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  9. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    The board got slotted last night
    [​IMG]

    obviously i have a super complicated jig for this
    [​IMG]


    i am not recommending this method, there are loads of better ways to do it I am sure... but it works for me. I spent a long time checking and scoring the fret measurements on the board so I use a piece of steel with a known straight edge as my saw guide.

    The important bit is to make sure its all aligned and solid, but it doesn't take much longer than slotting a normal board in a fret slotting jig

    the next stage will be to double check everything one last time before proceeding
     
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  10. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    You can be surprisingly low-tech with the setup as long as the slots can be reliably sawn.
     
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  11. judson

    judson Senior Member

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    i have ebony boards on two lps and they are great, i would love to have one on my FB

    this is off to a good start..i am sure it will kick ass
     
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  12. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    Yeah, I think this is my 6th multiscale and at least 4 have had boards slotted this way. I am confident in the method because I know I take the time to make it work.

    It has been a while as I have been focusing on slightly more traditional builds.

    Next step will be the weird headstock angle, which is also easier to do than it is to describe.


    I did a normal fretted FB1 with ebony board - it works well. Its the thing I get asked to make again, more than any other guitar
    [​IMG]

    Also, this guitar will not stay in the UK when done. not using rosewood makes more sense when its possible.
     
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  13. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Wow - that's a nice FB. How did you join your wings? I'm currently working on a build that I want to duplicate the vintage construction, which had a groove cut in the neckthrough and then a V shaped for the wings to match up. The fanned fret build looks awesome as well.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  14. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    I’m not doing the V join... but I will be interested to see how you approach it. I can’t think of a way that is easy to do with the kit I have available.

    I used some dowels on the fb1 to ensure the alignment was right. Will likely do the same here unless I can think of an easy way to do the v joint
     
  15. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    time to start this one properly.

    I am starting to think about inlay and moving away from my initial plan of simple dots

    A firebird VII would have custom style blocks, which may be a bit of a head scratcher on a fanned fret

    they fit straight, but fall under the frets
    [​IMG]

    angling them to follow the frets really highlights the weird size differences you get with custom blocks
    [​IMG]

    the solution may be to angle them like that, then resahpe them so the sides follow the frets and fretboard edges????

    the other solution is to use some traps instead - standard traps don't look too bad simply angled.
    [​IMG]


    I also have the neck blank all planed up. I am going one peice, but adding CF reinforcement to the neck for stability. If it was getting a natural finish I would laminate instead

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Taper the inlays to be parallel to the fret slots. It’ll look like you gave it some thought. Otherwise, even if you decide they look good, others may think you rushed it.

    Looks good.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  17. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    a quick play in paint shows you may be right
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    From my favourite bass builder:

    Zfront590.jpg

    I think they look best in your mockup in paint. Dingwall further alters from standard blocks as they are tapered from the treble to bass side of the fretboard to match the fret taper at each position. It's more exaggerated on the 37" to 34" fan on the Dingwall compared with what you're doing so it may not change the look that much if you were to explore doing something similar.
     
  19. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    I think you are right, that will work well. The main issue for me is Gibson blocks always look to be oddly sized, but we are used to it. The even sizing on the Dingwall works well
     
  20. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Gibson essentially has blocks of the same size. Its like that with the traps too. 2 large ones 2+ 2 mediums then 3 smalls. The gaps to the frets of course get smaller and smaller.
     

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