View Full Version : My 3rd build.

09-07-2011, 01:50 PM
Not sure if you guys count these minis as a real build, but here is my 2nd mini, (3rd build if you count my steel string Les Paul).

Not quite done, still need to add the headstock veneer. I thought I had a wide enough piece of rosewood, but didn't, so I am waiting on more rosewood to finish it up. The saddle is done, but just not on it so it doesn't fall out. The friction tuners are also done, But I have not yet tapered the holes in the head until the veneer is on. But, she's done other than that.


09-09-2011, 10:42 AM
Ok, build #3 is complete. Sounds a bit better than my #1 (prototype Aphid), because I gave this one a bit thinner top. I also but one brace in the top just under the sound hole like suggested. I also built a better dual dowel rod neck to body joint to strengthen that. My #1 Aphid prototype, I used a single screw from the inside running the center of the heel, and it gave a little bit after a couple days of string tension. It's still playable, but there is a slight crack you can see on the back between the heel cap and the body. So, the neck flexed at least a little bit under sting tension. So, I used a dual dowel rod joint, one higher (near the fretboard), and one lower (closer to the heal cap) to help support that joint under tension. It seems to be working well, because the neck on this one seems very stiff, and no give under tension, which also keeps the action like it was intended. I am happy with this build.


Aphid has an ebony fretboard, headstock veneer, and bridge. This one has rosewood fretboard, headstock veneer and bridge. They both have ebony friction tuner tho.

09-09-2011, 11:03 AM
Number 3 looks good. Don't have a clue how a guy with hands as big as yours could play one though.

Have you considered using a Spanish Heel design for your neck / body join? If you're not using bindings then I think it's by far the easiest neck joining method there is. If you do use bindings it's a bit of extra work to get them right at the fret board end, but still is my preference. And the neck to body geometry stays where you set it.

Thanks for posting your pics. No worries traveling with a uke that size.

09-09-2011, 11:18 AM
That might be better for sure. I will do some reading up on that design, and may just very well change to that, because it can be a PITA to get the dowels right to line up like it should. That would remedy some of that hassle. Thanks..

Rick Turner
09-09-2011, 11:28 AM
100% agreement with Allen (naturally!). I teach with the Spanish heel, and it just simply works. The more finished you can get your neck carve before gluing in the sides, the better; you should be able to get a neck about 95% carved before gluing to the top; then sides go in and fingerboard goes on. I don't see why some luthiers leave the neck like a 2 x 4 and then carve neck and heel with the body in the way. Just because that's how they do/did it in Spain doesn't mean there isn't a better way.

09-09-2011, 11:36 AM
Yep, it just makes sense to get the neck carved as much as it can be not connected to the body. I do it that way because I am afraid I will mess the body up while working the neck, not sure why anyone would do it the other way.. But, like everything, I guess it's depends on how it was learned, or trained..

09-09-2011, 12:09 PM
I don't see why some luthiers leave the neck like a 2 x 4 and then carve neck and heel with the body in the way. Just because that's how they do/did it in Spain doesn't mean there isn't a better way.

I'm definitely a hobby builder rather than a luthier, but I've just attached an uncarved Spanish heel neck to the top preparatory to attaching the sides. Though I did carve the heel and peghead first!

My reason is that on previous necks I've failed to produce a neck profile I was completely happy with. I think this is because, without the fretboard attached, I'm guessing at the final "feel". Re-carved the neck of my first build (which was distinctly a 2 x 4 with the corners knocked off) and achieved a much better profile.

So that's why I'm doing it the traditional way this time.

09-11-2011, 10:54 PM
I will do the heel and up to about the 9th to 10th fret on a 12 to the body. It finished and sanded up to 80 grit. But leave about 2mm next to the fret board unfinished. I find that the flat part on the back of the unfinished neck makes clamping on the fret board a lot easier than a rounded over one. As well I like to finish the neck into the fret board after stuffing up a couple by trying to get too cute with the rasps.

I use 1mm brads through the 1st and 11th fret slot to locate the fret board prior to fretting. Based on a centre line and the slots in the heel giving my by fret to body alignment. This allows me to use the nut to space the peg head overlay and glue in place. Then the peg head is fully shaped. This for me is pretty important because doing a fair number of slot heads, there is much more room for disasters, and the last thing I would want is to have all that time building an instrument only to have to toss it away because of stuffing up the peg head.

From there the top is glued on. Body assembled. Fret board glued on using the nipped off brads as locating pins. Makes sure that it goes down in the right spot and stays there when it's clamped in place. Then the rest of the neck is easily shaped with the fret board in place.