Firebird -"ish" build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by pshupe, Nov 5, 2016.

  1. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Good morning. With all this Firebird talk around here I thought I would start some drawings for my first neck through build. This is what I am thinking but am looking for input so all this may change. Please feel more than free to offer suggestions.

    neck through - Laminations of korina & walnut
    wings - korina, or korina underneath with a top cap of walnut
    headstock - typ Firebird or possibly Firebird studio unless I can find a decent price on the Firebird tuners ( reverse or non-reverse TBD)

    Here is the first mock up.

    [​IMG]

    I definitely would like some input so feel free, as I have said.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  2. j.six

    j.six Senior Member

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    If you make the body thicker, you can avoid the inherent neck dive. :)

    Sully
     
  3. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Thanks Sully - yeah I'm leaning towards wings with a cap. The Korina is quite light but the walnut is quite heavy. So thicker body would help there. If I went with walnut wings the weight of the walnut would probably work out well also.

    I'll have to do some weight comparisons once I get the wood picked out and cut. Thanks for the heads up.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  4. WhiteEpiLP

    WhiteEpiLP Senior Member

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    Make it neck thru and string thru, korina string thrus like the 70's V are awesome.
     
  5. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    It's definitely going to be neck thru. Not sure about string thru. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll look into it.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  6. valvetoneman

    valvetoneman Senior Member

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    How thick is the body supposed to be

    I've got a 2 piece limba body cut out already and I'll just do a normal long tenon when I get round to it

    I'll be watching with interest Peter and hopefully learn a bit about firebird construction, I prefer reverse btw and even i'd do that headstock as it looks so right to me
     
  7. S_G_D

    S_G_D Senior Member

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    It would have to be very nice looking walnut for me to cover up korina.
    The string through is a pretty cool idea.

    Will you be going with firebird minis?
     
  8. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    I'm looking at some options to reduce the neck dive issue, if I'm going with Kluson Firebird / Banjo tuners that is. I'd like to because I like that design.

    I also have a lot of walnut, which is pretty much free, and it has quite a bit of character. I might make two guitars. One somewhat vintage like a 63' Firebird V the other would be the same design with different woods.


    Guitar 1 - Korina / Walnut

    laminated 5 ply neck through - 2 - 1/4" strips of walnut in between 3 pieces of Korina
    black walnut wings

    Here is what I am thinking in CAD form -
    [​IMG]

    regular humbuckers (possibly minis) - I have some humbuckers that if I find a use for I might order minis for both
    stop tail or possibly string through - kind a like that idea but we'll see it may look strange with the different wood
    TOM bridge

    Guitar 2 - Mahogany / Walnut

    I'll try and make this as close to the originals as possible
    9 ply neck through - does anyone know the sizes of the plys? The walnut must be quite thin, like 1/8" or so.

    mahogany wings - tapered as per originals - I believe they started at 1 1/2 and tapered about 1/8" top and bottom to the furthest point. Does anyone know if this is close? I would also assume that the neck through body portions would be about 1 3/4" with an 1/8" drop to the wings both top and back. I will see if I can get a 1 1/2" V bit for the neck through side of the wing joint. This should work -
    [​IMG] or I might be able to find a simple V tongue and groove bit set.

    It should be an interesting build. Looks like the fret board is the same as an LP anyway. I could probably start on those. I'll just use IRW with cellulose nitrate trap inlays and royalite binding with nibs.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  9. truckermde

    truckermde Senior Member

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    Gonna be a great build!

    Looking forward to further developments.

    Thx for posting :)
     
  10. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    So I had a little bit of time to do up some neck drawings. I'll be using a standard TOM bridge and a Gibson modern scale - 24.562". I've got a nice pre-slotted RW fret board that I bought a while back from Stew Mac.

    So here I'm trying to figure out body angle, neck angle, and headstock angle to size my neck through wood.

    [​IMG]

    I've come up with 3.0 degree neck angle and I'll go with an 11 degree headstock angle.
    Cad pic -
    [​IMG]

    For this build I want to minimize waste wood, so I think I'll go with a scarf joint and may even add an accent piece, much like I've seen a few times around these parts. Notice in the drawing above there is a slab between the scarf and the headstock. Here are the laminated pieces to make what I need. Green is walnut and yellow is korina.
    [​IMG]

    So this gives me the dimensions of my neck through. Now I can get my wood together and start cutting.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  11. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    rough cut some korina and walnut for the neck through.
    [​IMG]

    resawed - jointed, planed and thickness sanded ready for clue up.
    [​IMG]

    glued up neck through -
    [​IMG]

    Also glued up vertical scarf piece -
    [​IMG]

    planed and flattened -
    [​IMG]

    Unclamped and jointed and thickness sanded
    [​IMG]

    For the thickness of my neck through it doesn't look like I'd have to do a scarf joint but I really liked the look of knightroexpress's scarf joint and would like to put one in there, like my drawing above. I'll have to figure out where it will look best. If I put it next to the scarf joint at the headstock the 1/4" walnut pieces become 1 5/16" at the bottom of the neck. That may be a bit too much?? I could do the scarf joint strictly for cosmetic reasons and then could adjust the angle to anything that looks decent. I'll have to give it some thought.

    Cheers Peter.
     
    dickjonesify likes this.
  12. fumblefinger

    fumblefinger Senior Member

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    I'm sure you've thought of this Peter, but the decision on the tuners will drive a portion of the headstock shape. I happen to be converting an open book shape headstock into a firebird shape for a customer. The issue that took the longest to resolve was the tuners. If he went with conventional "side winders", they would have to be placed closer to the edge than the banjo style tuners. The down side to this was it angled the strings to one side rather than letting them go pretty much straight from the nut to the tuner peg. If you compare the Epiphone firebirds with conventional style tuners to the Gibson's with banjo tuners you'll see the difference. After driving this point home, thankfully he chose the Kluson banjos so I could make everything line up. The cheapest he could find them was about $140 for a set of 6.
     

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  13. valvetoneman

    valvetoneman Senior Member

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    Why were the wings tapered, was it deliberate or just sanding and is the taper on the whole wing front to back

    Thanks
     
  14. Open_Book

    Open_Book Senior Member

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    Gibson didn't design it Darren, they had a car designer on it - just like the fins on those big old cars.
     
  15. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    It's seems crazy to me as well but yes, it looks like front and back are tapered. They get quite thin I would imagine as well. I'm concentrating on the neck right now but have done a bit of homework on this.

    Here is one of the better images I have found to show the taper.
    [​IMG]

    and this -
    [​IMG]

    I have some web pages saved in my favorites for this build that have the taper dimensions.

    I would love for someone to confirm them. It would be nice to have an angle from the top plane as thickness of the edge will vary because of the distance away from the centre section also varies.

    Another question I have is regarding the vintage firebirds and the lamination dimensions. I've seen some that seem to only have 5 piece laminations of mahogany, others have 9 piece laminations with a thin slice of walnut on each side of the thinner mahogany strips.

    Here is a pic of what I mean -
    [​IMG]

    It looks to me that the walnut strips are about 1/16" on each side of a 1/8" mahogany with about 3/8" strip in the middle. I would love to get some confirmation on that as I really just sized the image above and drew some CAD lines on top. I might also have an interesting time sourcing the walnut and mahogany that thin.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  16. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Yes I have ordered and received my Kluson banjo tuners. I had a tough time finding a decent price as well. I got some on ebay for Can$150, which were substantially cheaper than the others I saw. They were from inside Canada as well so there were no duties, and taxes and shipping were included.

    The harder source is vintage mini-humbuckers. You can buy super cheap ones that I would imagine are crap or really nice ones from the usual vintage suppliers for quite a chunk of change. Like in the US$300 - $400 range. I found a guy in the tonefreaks section here on MLP that winds them for a reasonable price, which was half of the higher priced ones I noted.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  17. valvetoneman

    valvetoneman Senior Member

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    I can definitely recommend mojo pickups over here, if you get stuck I can sort a trade price out if you want, all this stuff adds up

    My trade price on 2 mini humbuckers is about $130ish
     
  18. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Thanks - I've already ordered a set from zhangbucker pickups. The price was right and David is a member here. I found him in the tonefreaks sections when I posted a query. Very reasonable price for the PUPs as well as shipping to the great white north.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  19. valvetoneman

    valvetoneman Senior Member

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    Glad your sorted out

    Hopefully I'll learn a bit about firebirds but I'm definitely doing my own take with a set neck

    What colour are you going for Peter
     
  20. TheHarleyMan2

    TheHarleyMan2 Senior Member

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    I had thought about doing a Firebird build and was wondering about the neck through as well on what the thickness of the wood needs to start out with. I have several Firebirds, the oldest one is (2) 1976 models. So I had placed one of the birds where the body would be level on blocks of wood under it and the headstock touching the table so I could measure the top of the body to the table and measured the distance top of body to table.

    With the body thickness, the neck and headstock angles, I think I came up with that the center body, neck and headstock block of wood had to be a total of 4" thick to be able to cut the correct neck and headstock angles. (I think that was what I figured in, (I am out of town due to death in the family so I can't go back to my notes), but it is somewhere around that thickness.) Unless you plan on scarfing the headstock on the neck then that is a different story.
     

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