Fanned Fret Firebird build

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

  1. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    Yeah, that’s my point. It only looks okay because we are used to it. The fanned frets seem to highlight the oddness, so if I do go for blocks I will need to individually size each inlay. I have laid out a custom set I purchased above. Maybe I need to cut each one individually
     
  2. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    Wow ... forgive my ignorance ... what do fanned frets do the perpendicular do not?

    I'd personally opt for smaller inlays or dots. That is a gorgeous fingerboard - what cover a fair amount of it up?
     
  3. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    Look inside a piano, or at a harp. Longer scale lengths work better for the bass strings... that is undeniable

    A guitar is really just a series of compromises that make it easy to build, playable and musical. One ofthe compromises is a fixed scale length for all the strings. It’s one we are used to and I like.

    But it’s weakness becomes apparent when you add strings, or lower tunings. Many use fanned frets on ERG’s because it makes them actually work quite well. I like to do it on normal guitars, not because it’s needed, but because I like the affect it has on tension

    I own 2 25-27” fanned frets with very different fans because one fans from 5th fret and one from 12th... but both have a clarity on the low notes you don’t get from a normal guitar. They can go from standard tuning to drop C without changing strings.... but I really like to keep them in standard.

    If in doubt, compare the bass notes on a vertical strung upright piano to an overstrung one. The only difference is string length in the bass strings. One sounds like a wet fart... the other works really well
     
  4. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    Interesting ... Never thought of any of that. Are they harder to play? Bending strings?
     
  5. charisjapan

    charisjapan Silver Supporter

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    Not harder per se, but do require a little more attention until you get used to it. My first (and only, so far) multiscale is 628~648mm, and the perpendicular is at the 7th fret ... so think that the treble strings are in LP territory, and the bass strings in Strat territory ... D and G are in between. Tension on the bends are like above, but the farther away you get from the perpendicular, the fret is angled a bit ... which can throw you off. But just as with one guitar to another, you get used to it.

    :cheers2:
     
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  6. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    I've never seen one in person. In fact this may be the first mention of one I recall. I've played off and on for 42 years. Unfortunately, the last two decades, more off than on. Trying to fix that now.

    Has the fanned fretting been done with acoustics?
     
  7. charisjapan

    charisjapan Silver Supporter

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    Hehe! I'd never seen one in person, either. Only in ads for expensive guitars ... so I built one!
     
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  8. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    Yeah, bending is no bother once you get used to it. It’s just like changing scale or string gauge. Your first bend will be out, but most adjust quickly
     
  9. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    There are quite a few acoustics out there.... I did start making one but probably bit off more than I could chew so it’s on the back burner for now
     
  10. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    This pic shows 2 guitars i have done with the same scales, but a very different fan. The thinline fans out from somewhere bewteen the 6th and 7th fret. the white guitar fans from the 12th. both are 25" in the high e and 27" on the low E

    on the thinline,first position chords feel just like a normal guitar, the fan on the high frets is quite severe but actually aids access. On the white guitar, some chords feel a little odd, still possible but efinitely compromised slightly.... but as a shredder its pretty spot on...

    you can choose to have the straight bit anywhere between/including nut and bridge.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. cain61

    cain61 Senior Member

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    Has anyone tried playing slide on fanned frets?
     
  12. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    I think that would mess with my brain too much. I have a few slides around here and have not considered it before.

    In theory though, the improved tension on the low strings will help get a good positive tone from the slide. I guess that doesn’t matter if your slide is in the wrong place ;)
     
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  13. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    i got the wings cut, and in true firebird fashion they are tapered (no V joints though ).

    [​IMG]

    I also got the carbon fibre rods and truss rod installed
    [​IMG]


    which gives us this[​IMG]

    next job was to add some locating pins for the fretboard. I want to route the pickups before the fretboard is attached, soI need a good positive way to align the fret board so i can do crucial measurements before its permanently fixed in place. I also took this opportunity do do all the routing and drilling on the wings

    which gives us this
    [​IMG][​IMG]


    the fretboard is now in clamps waiting for glue to dry.

    I started reshaping the inlays - not perfect yet, but well on the way
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    That's great. How did you taper the wings? Are you going to use dowels or biscuits to locate and join the wings? The fret board looks awesome and the inlays look great also. That was definitely the way to go.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  15. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    I have a very simple but affective router thicknesses jig. It’s just a 1m length of kitchen worktop with a steel rail down each side, attached with a screw at each end.

    I often use it for neck angles by raising both rails at one end. This time I raised the rail on just one side and routed the front taper. Then I raised it double the amount, flipped the wings over and routed the back taper. Maybe I need a diagram for that ;)7

    edit - diagram added
    this shows the end on view on the router thicknessing jig
    [​IMG]

    I will use 10mm plugs, cut to match the grain of the body so it all stays together well as it ages. These will stick out about 4mm or so from the neck section. 2 of these big plugs either side will make it nearly impossible for the wings to slip out of position during glueing
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
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  16. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Very cool. I have come up with a similar, in concept, idea to use my thickness sander. I will add a shim to each side and send it through the thickness sander.
    Here are the two shims I will use -
    Capture.JPG

    Once I get the angles done I will do the control cavity on my CNC machine which will cut parallel to the face that is down on the bed. I think I will use a template for the wiring channel. I have not decided whether I will keep the wings square and route the outline after I glue them on. It probably doesn't matter that much either way should work. It may be easier to clamp with a square edge and I won't have to worry about clamp marks.

    Cheers Peter.
     
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  17. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    Yeah, same processes in a different order really. I cut the shape first so the edges are square.

    I routed a stepped control cavity at 2 depths.

    I was most concerned about the roundover, but it worked okay with a normal round over bit set slightly high. It still sanded into a nice roundover.

    I saved the off cuts for clamping. I will stick a bit of felt in them to prevent dents, but if there are any they will steam out easily
     
  18. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    the board has been radiused, inlaid and bound. The headstock has been cut out and had its steps added

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The inlays were a real test for my failing eyes... I am mostly happy with them, but they are not perfect

    That gets us here:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    the neck has been roughly carved
    [​IMG]
    and headstock drilled - they look really unevenly spaced due to perspective and reflections in this pic, they are not
    [​IMG]


    I also got the bridge mounted. This hipshot design is very low profile so I don't think any neck angle is needed, i am going to drill the string holes next, get it fretted and put some strings on it to be sure. before i go any further.

    no neck angle on a firebird has the potential to make it feel quite long, which is why i have kept the headstock transition short and set the fretboard a bit further into the body. The fanned frets will help improve any top end access compromised with this decision, its not that far off a vintage firebird.



    I went to test out the pickup fit but the routes are so tight i dare not put them in except upside down... might open them up a little before proceeding with finishing
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. WezV

    WezV Senior Member

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    after i finished working in this the other night i quickly hung it up on the wall on top of my John Birch Les Paul, just because it was as convenient place as any


    Every time i walk past it i stop and have a look

    [​IMG]

    I was never a fan of the Bona-Byrd, but there is something about the combination above that is really working for me
     

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