Sunday, 24 June 2018

The Piglet guitar build project, part 14

Moving on to assembly, which meant much measuring...

...drilling of holes...

...and even more measuring!

In the picture above we are determining the optimum position for the bridge before screwing it into place permanently. I had created a crude but effective device from some offcuts which is effectively a temporary tailpiece clamped to the rear-end of the guitar. This allowed us to align the bridge with the outer E-strings in place and ensure that both were going to be the correct distance away from the edge of the neck. With the strings taut we were able to make precise movements to the placing of the brdge until happy with it and then we marked the positions of the five holes where it is to be screwed down.

Unfortunately mistakes will happen, and gettting confused about which holes we were drilling - the screw holes or the strings-through-body holes - we managed to drill one of the screw holes right through the body. A silly mistake but all part of the learning curve. We'll worry about disguising this later. (Hey, at least it's on the back of the guitar!) As you can see we also drilled the holes for the strings to pass through the body and for the ferrules to be inserted.

Next we mounted the electrics, which basically means the volume control and putting the pickup into position which will be screwed down more permanently once we have all the strings on so we can align up the pole-pieces. Thankfully the pickup routing allows for some movement to let us do this.

Gunner hard at work doing a preliminary set-up on the guitar; in this picture he's filing the nut slots.

Gunner commented on how easily the guitar intonated. Reckon all those precise measurements paid off.

Here I am having a little test play. First impressions are that it feels good.

We spent a while assessing the balance of the guitar before attaching the strap buttons. Hangs quite nicely on a strap. Is quite a heavy guitar, maybe 10lbs or so at a guess, but then it is quite big and is mainly solid poplar. Just as well I put in quite a few tone chambers or else it'd be heavier!

Here's a photo of where we've got to at the moment. It's not quite finished yet. The output jack is not yet wired up, and I still need to attend to the truss rod cover (I did have one but it split when trying to screw it into place). But we're allowing it to settle in for a while before giving it another set-up, just picking it up occasionally for a little unplugged play.

The next post should be the final one in this series. I hope to include some video footage.

G L Wilson

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  1. I have to admit that looks really good,although one of those necks with an unshaped headstock you get in some "kit guitars" would have allowed you to perhaps put numerous "Scallops" on the bottom edge, to represent the pig's curly tail and make it more individual (this isnt a criticism, more an observation, and I'm sure that unpleasant word "budget" cropped up numerous times during the build. Since the last time you posted, the guitar didn't have an output jack, I'd be interested to know how it sounds acoustically, with that weight, and the acoustic chambers. Have the dog and cat played it, and if so, what were their views? And does anybody want to make bets on how long we have to wait to find inferior chinese ripoffs on certain well known auction sites? Once again, Gavin, thanks for a wonderful blog that's always interesting.

    1. HI, yes the headstock blank idea occured to me later on too. Still, this is a first build really; at the time I wasn't too confident with the idea of cutting the head and potentially ruining a neck. I think I would do it now though, if I was doing the build all over again. We had another idea for a curly tail which would involve making a tail covered in pink fur fabric and attaching to the strap button by the neck. Still might do this, but it's not essential.

      Otherwise the guitar HAS now been finished, and has already been gigged when we supported Not The Sex Pistols last Friday. The guitar got a lot of attention - the audience seemed to like it.

      I am going to post again, but I'd like to get some video footage of Gunner putting The Piglet through its paces. I know, I could post footage from the gig, but the singer's guitar playing is quite rudimentary - just a few barre chords really - so wouldn't really highlight the guitar that much.

      I wondered about the possibility of Chinese rip-offs. That would be quite amusing if that happened!

  2. I found this blog by accident and I've suddenly spent a very good time reading about stuff you've done. This guitar building project is pretty interesting. It looks funny but does play well?

    1. It was originally envisaged as a stage prop, but preferably a playable one. It's used by the singer in the band, who by his own admission, isn't really a guitarist, but he does know a few basic chords, barre chords, etc. He plays rhythm guitar on a handful of songs in our set. However, the finished guitar has exceeded our expectations and is actually quite a nice player. A few other local guitarists have tried in out and put it through its paces and it can handle most anything you care to throw at it. And while it is not exactly ergonomic it does - through accident more than design - hang quite well on a strap with the right arm resting neatly between the pig's ears. The (cheap Chineses) pickup could be swapped out for something a bit more tasteful; I'll probably get around to doing that at some point.

  3. Hi buddy, any chance that left handed Vox Phantom bass listed in 2015 is still for sale? Highly interested



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