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-= Building a Guitar from Scratch with Absolutely No Woodworking Experience "


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What has happened over the weekend???

 

A lil love for that joint

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Thats a joint

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oh boy... a prehistoric guitar

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i love it

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some thinking...

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... and marking

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As i decided to go the stony way whenever possible, but for the real reason i wanted to do the things that you don´t get on a machine made guitar - the decision to carve was obvious.

i love my garden and my tools

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workbench from hell, clamping ... no comment

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that´s better (moved there after 20mins)

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thats fun but i don´t really know how much to do... or better when to stop...

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thats already so much better, and that wood is performing way better than i ever imagined

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getting there aka stop! Access should be perfect to all high frets there, i hope that horns will look fine

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I think what most guitars lack is a comfy carved back, no wonder - i think that just has to be done by hand, makes sanding harder, will add like a good 100€ to the price of a normal guitar which is unacceptable for the greater part, or maybe just noone wants that?!...

... plus it denies a normal flat backplate, so i suppose it´s time to create one BEFORE i carve there....

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what????

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however.... for the form of the backplate... i first wanted to do a Skull or amthg like that, but then i decided i wanted to make it not from the same wood as the body but from a leftover from the fretboard to see how the finish will differ there then, and as the fb is already cut on the long sides i just went for a std geometric form.

I decided to for every routing create a temporary template (maybe except i might make a permanent one for humbuckers) ... so i tried

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routing is fun

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yes!  .... am i being too far away from the border for the cable plug?

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Now for the cavity for the pots..

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a template on the other hand would have spared me the paperwork

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i went a lil soo narrow there

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fitting

 

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after a lot of filing and sanding..... yay


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a custom backplate

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So... outside again... let´s get carving II

Always keep looking for the perfect unexpected spot in your garden

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I think i really should move to sanding on the front

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so.. lets pay attention to that back

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my hands are hurting

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yes, that´s somehow how i thought it should be carved

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now... just carving over the backplate edges

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i´m happy

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an to the sander....

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Custom dust extraction

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Owwwwww.... that will take forever... and i mean a lot of hours.... the carving leaves quite deep scratches, i have a lot of diff sandpapers, but even on 40gr it takes a long long time to even those out, and it´s sooo noisy... i think i´ll move to files .... and instantly order a rounded metal handscraper

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Scary fact is that i will soon reach a point where i am not gonna fail anymore in the meaning of taking the thing and burning it, still there are the pickup cavities to be routed (i think that will be ok), connection holes to be drilled - damn scary, and most scary potholes to be drilled and fit - as the surface is carved that might be adventurous, i really really will have to look before the leap there (i know i wont), the same goes for the plughole, and where i could really destroy everything is final depth adjustment of the neckpocket which is by 3mm not deep enough, but i swear i will do that work mainly on the neckside which is less less dangerous. From that point i think i´ll end up with an instrument - a very bad one maybe, but undeniably a guitar. We will see...

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The journey continues...

Memo to myself:

Draw the lines to carve to before carving, take your time with that and think twice, do that completely it will save you hours if you do the carving once only 😉

 

obviously i went back to start and finished (or continued my final carving lines) for front and side at least

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Yay - new tools extremely needed - at least the carved scraper

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and here it goes

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scrapers are tools from the gods because...

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removes a lot of material in every pass, leaves a very smooth surface already and no noise and dust at all, so no eye and ear protection, little cleaning up.

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if you ever will go for something like that consider well if you will go for a caved surface - thats the part of the build that is gonna take the most amount of time by far!

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however - i will always do that

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i am soooo unsure about the end of that horns... they will be worked over

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the lower one looks a bit cut off devilhornish - i like that. maybe that one is final

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let´s make it pretty and shaped to see

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hammer

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gotta be thinking that the surface here un the lower part will be holding controls - fitting will be ... interesting

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now to the front fishmouthy part ... esp i want to have really nice sharp transitions... drawing lines to add a symetrical aspect in forming them

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remember that between each photo there is at least 10min of carve work avg.

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tried to accent with chisel

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now for the side..... thats only in the state of being cut with the bandsaw.
Now i can sy it would be best to after cutting first smooth the sides, draw the carve lines and carve, but my order is not a big problem also, it just makes a bit more moving from surface to side and vice versa

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it took an hour, but i got that sharp line to the upper horn exactly as wanted.

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happy.
 

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don´t hesitate - on to sanding

starting with 80gr

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ah... that wood begins to reveil some of it´s pure awesomeness

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that first time ever carving/sanding went better than expected

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Yeah... that upper Horn is already a lot better like that... i cannot go all wild there cause it is gonna save the puprose of presenting the strapholder.
If anybody with design talent (which i harshly lack) has a great idea how that hornend will look best - please shout!

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those will be handy, i´m happy they made it to my mailbox quickly

 

Sanding 180 and  320 or 400 is up next so is carving of the back and sanding there, then scary things.

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so... on to thinking about carving the back, not really necessary, but on my likelist


starting off with installing a flapdisc that has been in the mail. I am hoping to already get smoother pre-sanding results in comparison to the carving disk... let´s see - i got the choice from 40-120gr, so it´s 80

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First try  on and over the coverpiece is promising.... i already did a lil carving in the middle, what i have in mind about backcarvings is that carve on top of the Strat is really comfy....

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... so lets check

Pah! Thats bigger and deeper than i thought

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let´s see how much side is left...
OUCH . if i would have just carved that big i would have been destroyed for the sure feeling of having overdone and basically destroyed the thing... that´s an enormous carve... i am gonna find my way

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reverse engeneering is primitive but fun

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gotcha

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copy paste

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yes, roundabout it

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what the hell.... put the piece togehter to hold for testing the position of the carve to be - yay.
Good that i am not a bit too confident on that junction - or would i just love to see that neck hit the ground - stupid!

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what?

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nevermind - tabletennis time

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yes, gotta go a bit deeper and carve it the other way, but flapdisc is working really really well.

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So enjoying this. I only wish to have the patience you have lol. There's no way I'd have a natural finish guitar, definitely not my thing. However, I do really appreciate the workmanship that goes into building any guitar and then seeing the stain and coloring of the finished product. 

The neck on your build should turn out amazing! It's already got that iridescent 3d look in a lot of the grain 🙂 . 

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3 hours ago, sh4rkbyt31 said:

So enjoying this. I only wish to have the patience you have lol. There's no way I'd have a natural finish guitar, definitely not my thing. However, I do really appreciate the workmanship that goes into building any guitar and then seeing the stain and coloring of the finished product. 

The neck on your build should turn out amazing! It's already got that iridescent 3d look in a lot of the grain 🙂 . 

Yeah, lookin sooooo forward to oiling that up. Thx man! Staining is an option, but the wood will beg the other way maybe.
We will see.

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The journey goes on.

 

That back needs more love. Plan is to finish that carving... lat´s go

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lil bit more

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yes

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using a flap disc that time soft grain 120 - that shall also get rid of those deep scratches left by the hard disc

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yes, that works  well... Fun carving when temp is 35°C

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The cover is carved also into the whole system

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that´s going in the right direction

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then.... suddenly..... i saw a tunnel at the end of the light...

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... and carved it in there

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that´s ok
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now.... for the experiments again

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building a valley, but why?

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still fits ....

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.... and works 😉

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the drill

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the lil strong guy 😄

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that´s an army

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marking

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drilling

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hmmm.... i have not the slightest idea how long 1x5mm magnets will keep their strength, i bought damn strong ones, but do they stand the test of time....
so i decided to glue at least the base using a tiny shield of masking tape to be eventually able to exchange them some time...?

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superglue on the other side will be so strong on the sides also that it´s gonna be messy then.
Solution: when to be replaced i will cut out and replace by 6mm mags

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on the other side

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... but does it work????

 

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a nightly sanding session per hand leaves a battlefield of dead 40Gr sandpaperbodies but a lil improved result on that body

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i love that sharp defined line from the upper horn, the hornend may still be subjet to change

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Neck pocket time....
I must say deciding to use that slim bridge - hard egg.... the saddles have like 2.5-3mm adjustability, and like 1.5 is already used for the (middle) strings match the radius... so so so - i gotta create the height of the fb on the body and the angle perfect in a way that my remaining 1.0 - 1.5 mm adjustability grants me a perfect action. pffffffffff

 

Neeeew arrivals 😄

Far better to handle dust extraction, thats good

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Yeah, sometimes size does matter - those guys will be needed soon, hopefully

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looks like a wooden guitar... that magnet bar, usually for kitchen knifes is also a new arrival - will hold my scrapers and chisels nicely

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So... for the dangerous part - bringing the neckend to size... didn´t dare to plane, as that will be problematic on that small area in terms of keeping it perfectly straight and flat.. so sanding is tried

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like that

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man.... that wood is soooo hard  - 10 mins of good sanding does not remove more than 0.1 mm (!!!!)

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not far apart... if i was to use a Gibson style bridge - all would be perfect already for there would be 8mm+ ad adj. space

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might work out nicely that back

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still there was that hole on the spot i drilled too deep, would of course be hidden inside the joint and well filled with glue, but no, lets close that

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sawdust

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superglue .... cough cough.... hmm... there was a strange chem reaction with smoke coming up from there, that was unexpected but unimportant also. Opening the window a bit before next layer ... and putting on a FFP3 mask, good thing those are everywhere those days

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that will reach the desired height

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a bit of sanding

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yes, that´s good. I think 1mm of too much material left on the neck, and i´ll have to measure so precise ... though i don´t think this ever can be submillimeter science within the building process as we have dynamic material for some extend... the action is the most important thing for playability though........ so in the back of my head i have worked out the escape plan just in case....
if i was ending too low - not a problem cause sanding down a lil the bridge position will always be possible, still unwanted for it is straight and good already.
If i was going to end up too high still i can augment the bridge a mill or 2 with a couple of washers in the matching colors which i tried and gives a fancy elevated bridge look... so here we will survive the storm.

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Been watching those brave men from Swizerland playing the game of their lives and kicking the Frenchmen home, so 120mins of neckpocket work with few fotos as game was running on my cellphonescreen.

 

been measuring again and to get 5mm space from the FB to the strings that blue line should be it


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as that wood is (luckywise) soooo damn hard that sanding does hardly have any impact i chose file, a coarse one....

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that still takes a lot lot of time, but was getting closer

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close to the finish switching to sanding to get a plane and nice surface for glueing

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let´s see

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i decided to round the edges, as that might be potential highspots inside the pocket for reachability at sanding there

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and sanding down the fretboardend to open up the gap so the base can fit the pocket

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i ended up with a slight slight angle of the neck falling away from the body which leads to the strings hitting the bridge a tad higher - and as the fixed bridge is so limited in adjustability i did start to get back to 0° with sanding the front of the neckend marking the surface before each sanding run to see how much is done and be sure that material is more taken away at the front

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i´m close to be there... next time hopefully final joint result with pics

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Let´s bring that neck-pocket to sleep!

 

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a lil more filing to enable the end to sit down tight

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ahh.... so much better already, rising about 1 slim mm from Fretboardend to Bridge

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getting rid of that with leveling beam that time

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6mill in the FB side

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6.9 on the bridge

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after another cycle of sanding - we are dead straigt 😄 .... 
 

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.... and it looks like all is good, strings are likely to come at 4mm above the fretboard (1.4 frets + 2-3mm (depending on string) of action) and that seems to hit the middle of my adjustability range now. Yay

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Now let´s do irreversible things!

 

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starting to carve that neck-body transition...

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of course it must enable a good access to the high frets, so the lower part must be carved more extensively

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works but thats ugly so far

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getting a bit better

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at least its a smooth connection

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optically i don´t like it so far, i feel there is a lot more to be removed and probably concave carving to be applied, but extreme caution (not in my vocabulary and agenda) should be applied because that joint defines the stability for the whole thing... i am positive that it will be absolutely enough to have the greater part of the neckbase only from the 16th fret up - if so i can carve on the next 5cm as much as i want, but i will have a look at my guitars for reference before killing it all.

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The "hold it like you should" test surprisingly yields excellent access to all frets already, so modification is an optical only thing, and that final cave i will do when finalising the neckback.

 

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here you can see my marking of the 16th fret.

Memo to myself and anyone: Do everything once! Meaning... try to plan all the steps one after another because going back will double the time of the process. In practice - i am experimenting here and enjoying every minute so i absolutely do not mind but - carve the body completely - do the pocket - carve the neck in one process - do the carving connection will save a lot of time.

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