MLP Bartlett Build

alk-3

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Once the body is trimmed up, and flush its ready to mill the cavities for controls, pickups and neck.
The first thing to do is drill the jack hole.

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now I place it in the first fixture. This will rout the neck mortise and the pickup legs.
You can see here how it indexes off of the neck joint area of the cutaway. This single point, or corner is where everything is measured from. It is critical that this location be consistent throughout. The shape and size of the rest of the body doesn’t matter at all as long as this point is indexed properly with each fixture.

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At the tail end it indexes off the very centre of the body by using a screw into the strap button hole. It is shimmed for a very tight fit.

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Now I can start routing for the neck and pickup legs. These routs are all done at the same angle as the neck, and are milled to the same depth as the neck mortise. I use a 3/8: router bit so that the corners have the correct radius.

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Now I flip over the body to rout the rear control cavities. This is the jig used and you can see that once again it indexes off the strap button hole and the cutaway corner.

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. In the cavities of original guitars, you can clearly see the steps left by the pin router in the sides of the cavities. This gives a good indication of how it was cut. I do this in two passes to leave the correct steps in the cavities.
Here is a control cavity with the little router depth step clearly visible.

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I set my router up to do the cavities in two passes, just as the original, and begin cutting. The resulting 'steps' are easy to see here in the switch cavity.


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Its important to note that the switch cavity is not as deep as the control cavity. There should be around 3/16” or so of mahogany left. In earlier les pauls, this was much thinner.

Notice the control cavity has all four 'lobes' in place, all of them are rounded with no flat spots yet.

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The next couple of steps are done in the same way by using fixtures on the pin router at the right angles, and allow the pots to sit down in the cavity enough to project through the top at the right angle, and the right amount. These steps leave their own distinctive tool marks.
I test the fit of the electronics to make sure everything fits properly, and is lining up nicely.

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Here is comparison of my control cavity next to an original 1959 cavity.

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That's it for today! Have a great weekend everyone, I'll be posting more next week as I move forward. I hope everyone is enjoying watching it all come together! :thumb:
 

nicolasrivera

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Man, i completely ENVI YOUR WORKBENCH!!!! its a dream of a bench
 

MRJ5

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Great so far Tom. :thumb:

Those fixtures are cool and spur many good ideas. :hmm:
 

pinefd

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I love your builds, Tom! Thanks for letting us watch!


Frank
 

TKOjams

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Your attention to the finest detail is wonderful. I'm glued to this build.

Ken
 

shorty85

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Very cool thread Tom! I've subscribed and will be following.

I'm currently trying to prepare myself to attempt guitar building. I've been gathering tools and recently built myself a small work space in the basement. I actually just purchased your Les Paul plans (which look very nice) and am about to begin building some templates. Wish me luck! :fingersx:

I'm looking forward to seeing how this thread progresses, and I've been learning a lot from reading through the other build threads I've found on this forum.
 

'59_Standard

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Great thread. Two things: Why is there such a big gap between the top-left pot and the bodies wall - compared to the other pic. The distance is also different on the bottom-right pot, to the bottom wall. And the pot on the bottom left, too. The wall areas of where the screws sit also look slighter thicker/bigger. Or are my eyes deceiving me.


I think the poster mentioning the glue was asking about the brand/type of PF you use.
 

Barnaby

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Great thread. Two things: Why is there such a big gap between the top-left pot and the bodies wall - compared to the other pic. The distance is also different on the bottom-right pot, to the bottom wall. And the pot on the bottom left, too. The wall areas of where the screws sit also look slighter thicker/bigger. Or are my eyes deceiving me.

I think the poster mentioning the glue was asking about the brand/type of PF you use.

I think, after looking at the pics and measuring with a ruler (crap...I'm such a nerd) that it's mostly an optical illusion created by the differering placement of pickup wires in both cavities in the first case and the effect of a darker finish in the second. There may be a mil or two in it, but the only way to be sure would be to compare the two directly with calipers.
 

'59_Standard

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Don't concern yourself with the wire placement. Look at the top left pot and imagine its a clock. Look at where the 9 would be and compare both. (Edit - is it the photography angle?)
 

Barnaby

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Don't concern yourself with the wire placement. Look at the top left pot and imagine its a clock. Look at where the 9 would be and compare both. (Edit - is it the photography angle?)

I did that. Measuring the distance from the edge of the cavity to the pot, they come out almost exactly the same.
 

yeppedeppdepp

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I would literally kill for that workspace right there...it just looks so cozy :3

And the guitar being machined in it...well I can't bring up the words to say how awesome this is.
 

alk-3

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The picture angles are a bit different, but in studying other cavity shots form burst serial log you will see it's very evident that each cavity it a bit different, and some are way different.
I arrived at these angles by placing an original burst on my pin router and backwards engineering the cavity, without the electronics in place. My cavity is identical to the cavity i used to backwards engineer it from and that's all I care about, as far as comparison goes, because that's the one i was directly comparing to.
The pots don't sit in routs either, it's actually a three step procedure not a two step procedure.
Glad everyone is enjoying this build!
 

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