Explorer build - 1958/1963 style

pshupe

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You should have a little bit of room with 8/4 or 2" thick stock. I haven't confirmed these dimensions but it looks like finished dimension would be really close to 49 mm. I sure wouldn't want to start with that though.
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I'm just in the beginning stages of developing the drawings. I know you can get an Explorer neck from 8/4 material.

Cheers Peter.
 

lee1964

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I just checked my original drawings with a 17 degree peg head, you should be able to get it out of 2 inch stock but it will be really tight and not much room for error, virtually no room to be precise.

Lee
 

LPTDMSV

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Or you buy it and you flaten the angle of the headstock, say 14° and you should be good ;)
My 1981 Explorer (now sold) had a 14° headstorck, it was supposedly in the series of Gibson's first accurate copied-from-an-original replica, as opposed to the 1976 guitars and '76 re-issues.
 

dasherf17

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Hello,

This is my first thread here but I read a lot of very interesting posts accross this forum and I like the atmosphere. Excuse my english I’m french.

I started an Explorer a long tme ago thanks to Lee’s plans, thanks a lot Lee. Don’t expect a fast build with a lot of updates because I’m usually super slow :)

The woods :

Limba for the body and neck, very light for the body and heavier for the neck.

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Can't wait to see that grain pop! Your work is verrry good! Nice job!
 

pshupe

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My 1981 Explorer (now sold) had a 14° headstorck, it was supposedly in the series of Gibson's first accurate copied-from-an-original replica, as opposed to the 1976 guitars and '76 re-issues.
I think it is pretty well known that all of the modernistic guitars, as well as others of the day, were 17 degrees. The marketing spiel at the time was that it increased sustain. I believe some of the later re-issues used a shallower neck angle in an effort to reduce neck breaks. Like what was done in the late 70s and early eights with the Les Paul along with adding a volute.

Regards Peter.
 

Johan79

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I measured vintage Explorer headstocks (on pictures found on the internet, never had one on hands) and they all look like 17°.
 

Johan79

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Hi, not much done today, I just received the spotfacer bit and drilled the truss rod access.

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And this week I received a new toy that will save me hours of work. I used to hand plane the bodies to thickess. I.e. this Explorer body blank was 60mm thick and needed to be 38mm, a lot of time was spent with the N°7 plane.

IMG_5002.jpg
 

LPTDMSV

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I think it is pretty well known that all of the modernistic guitars, as well as others of the day, were 17 degrees. The marketing spiel at the time was that it increased sustain. I believe some of the later re-issues used a shallower neck angle in an effort to reduce neck breaks. Like what was done in the late 70s and early eights with the Les Paul along with adding a volute.

Regards Peter.
Yeah, on reflection that could well be my mistake, you're most likely right. I owned a '90 re-issue Firebird and the '81 Explorer at the same time, it was probably the Firebird that had the 14 degree headstock . . . one of them did!

I took some notes and tracings at the time, can't seem to find them at the moment - I keep tidying the house up recently which means I can never remember where I tidied stuff up to :(

(edit: Although it could also be the case that early '80s Explorers, even if they got the headstock and body shapes closer to the original than the '76 models, retained the 14 degree angle because that was the general Gibson production standard of the time, possibly excluding "Heritage" models; the 14 degree angle persisted into 1983 for most models as far as I know, having started circa 1966 - I've read a lot of the discussion on forums about whether the headstock angle affects the tone and those are certainly some of the least informative forum conversations ever - don't go there!)
 
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pshupe

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Yeah, on reflection that could well be my mistake, you're most likely right. I owned a '90 re-issue Firebird and the '81 Explorer at the same time, it was probably the Firebird that had the 14 degree headstock . . . one of them did!

I took some notes and tracings at the time, can't seem to find them at the moment - I keep tidying the house up recently which means I can never remember where I tidied stuff up to :(
Could be. Gibson changed head stock angles a lot over the years. The original 1963 offerings of the Firebird had, I believe, an 11 degree head stock angle. This might have had something to do with the banjo tuners making the head stock very thick. Lots of options followed in later years from through neck to set neck and head stock design changes to incorporate a more standard perpendicular tuner. They could have angled the head stock more to 14 degrees with those changes.

Cheers Peter.
 

Johan79

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Hi, I worked on the truss rod today.

First I prepared a fresh batch of bone and hide glue.

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Then I threaded the rod. This was the first time and I wasn’t really confident doing this.

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I touched up the truss rod access with a gouge because there wasn’t enought room for the wrench, approximately 1mm deeper. I soaked CA glue in the end grain for added strength.

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Then I made a limba filet and glued it with hot hide glue.

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That’s all folks.

.
 
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Johan79

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Hello,

Do you know guys if the thickness of an Explorer is tapered? What is the typical thickness with the veneer?
The two “ears” are glued, I choose Titebond for this. I also cut a 1mm thick maple veneer to shape because I don’t have holy.


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LPTDMSV

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Today is a bad day. Big fail.

View attachment 535549
What happened?! It looks like you were trying to blacken the headstock veneer . . with fire?

But the neck is not broken, so it can be cleaned up I hope.

This is what we call a "learning opportunity", not a failure :)
 

Johan79

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The veneer slipped and I had to unglue it with heat. I just used a kitchen electric stove and a knife. After a little cleaning the headstock was as new. A new veneer is gluing right now and didn’t slip. I used small nails to secure it this time.
 

LPTDMSV

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The veneer slipped and I had to unglue it with heat. I just used a kitchen electric stove and a knife. After a little cleaning the headstock was as new. A new veneer is gluing right now and didn’t slip. I used small nails to secure it this time.
That's not so bad - do most people put the veneer on before shaping the headstock? I thought it would be the other way round?
 

TeleDog

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I understand those concerns about the quality of the wood and the neck angle, but you can't overlook one simple ingredient, the fretboard.

You can have the best wood, the best HPLV spray turbine, everything, but if you miss on the placement of the frets you'll end up with an unplayable instrument. Please, I cannot say this enough, pay attention to the fretboard and the spacing and placing of those frets. You already probably know this, but what you see in paper and on some design plan doesn't always translate to the fretboard. Make sure you're 100% right on those frets and the position of your bridge!
 

Johan79

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That's not so bad - do most people put the veneer on before shaping the headstock? I thought it would be the other way round?
Yes the veneer is always glued in before the headstock is cut to shape.
 

Johan79

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I understand those concerns about the quality of the wood and the neck angle, but you can't overlook one simple ingredient, the fretboard.

You can have the best wood, the best HPLV spray turbine, everything, but if you miss on the placement of the frets you'll end up with an unplayable instrument. Please, I cannot say this enough, pay attention to the fretboard and the spacing and placing of those frets. You already probably know this, but what you see in paper and on some design plan doesn't always translate to the fretboard. Make sure you're 100% right on those frets and the position of your bridge!
Why are you concerned about the quality of my fretting?! I use cnc cut acrylic templates, no problem here.
 

Johan79

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Great joints here. How did you clamp?

Cheers Peter.
Thank you Peter. One ear at a time, in order to clamp parallel or almost parallel pieces. And I plane the pieces perfectly flat before gluing.
 


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