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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:58 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:42 pm
Posts: 24
First name: Mitch
Last Name: Berry
City: Austin
State: TX
Zip/Postal Code: 78727
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Hey guys,

I understand that this may have been asked here already.

I got a stewmac es335 kit before the sale ended. I have done two of their LP kits, and I have to say, their neck joints were pretty snug, and there was little worry that the neck was straight when gluing them. Obviously I did my best to check before leaving it to dry.

But this es335 kit has plenty of sway between the neck and body. In order for it to be completely snug, I have to pull the neck out (opposite of the bridge, extending the "scale" if that helps in reference) a good 1/4 of an inch. Obviously this is not where the neck goes. The heel of the neck has a pencil line that someone at the factory drew, and it is probably 6 degrees off from square, but the neck was NOT cut where the pencil line is.... but... it still isnt completely square.

I feel like the end of the neck was supposed to firmly and "squarely" plant itself against the bottom side of the pickup route. Of course it doesnt, because the neck was cut slightly off angle.

When I push the neck completely into the pocket, firmly against the pickup route, it FITS.... and it LOOKS straight, but there is only a small portion of the back of the neck hitting the pocket.

Long story short,

This neck can move close to 2cm left or right with minimal persuasion. Obviously I run a great risk of the strings coming off the side of the neck and not aligning at all.

How..... the... heck.... do you measure and straighten a neck left to right accurately, with no laser? If I had a really thick straight edge that doesnt bend, it may make life easier. But I dont (yet).

I've been pulling a length of string across the body from the bottom to the center of the nut, (using the glue line in the book matched top and fret dots as a guide) but this is proving to be problematic since the neck is at a back angle and the string does what strings do on necks, at the end of the fretboard.

Any tips here? I really dont want to have to throw away a kit because I glued the neck incorrectly.

I've been happy with the LP kits but this ES 335 neck pocket leaves a lot to be desired.

Granted, this is no different from what a full on build would be I guess. With the exception that I guarantee that anyone on this forum would have made a tighter pocket.

I'm considering sending a complaint. But.... on the other hand, what I am asking, is a necessary skill for me to learn, so if anyone has tips please share asap. I am trying to glue this thing when I wake up in the morning so I can work on it a little more sunday.

Thanks as always!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:56 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:06 pm
Posts: 2339
Location: Magnolia DE
First name: Brian
Last Name: Howard
City: Magnolia
State: Delaware
Zip/Postal Code: 19962
Country: United States
Focus: Repair
Status: Professional
To align a neck I add some shims where I think I need them and lightly clamp in place. I use a straight edge down each of the edges of the fretboard and center these lines on the bridge mounting holes or center of the body at the bottom of the body if the bridge location is not defined as on an acoustic. adjusting shims as needed.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:20 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 1548
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Mitch, I have to be kind of careful about how I say this but I have been watching those new StewMac kits since their introduction to see what kind of comments were forthcoming from people building them. I think the world of SM's acoustic kits but my experience with other MIC kit guitars has left me very dubious about these (and for that matter the LP and amp kits).

I have scratch built two LP-clones, two 335 clones and a couple of 175 clones. On all of these the neck joint is absolutely critical to both the geometry of the guitar and whether you can successfully make it playable and to the structural integrity of the guitar. You are probably aware that with real 335's there are three different neck joint design, some are more problematic than others.

In my opinion the long tenon joint has plenty of gluing surface if it is well fit. If you have significant play then the only option it to make it tight - which I guess means shims. This is one of my lesters with no glue, the joint is snug enough that I can lift the weight of the guitar

Attachment:
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But what really concerns me about your is, I assume the holes have been drilled for the bridge and tail piece. That means that you need to align the neck perfectly with the holes. Both side to side (place straight edges on each side of the neck and measure to the stud holes), distance into the neck pocket (scale length plus compensation for the ToM bridge, and neck angle (nominally 3-1/2 to 4 degrees but the real criteria is where does the fret plane hit the saddles?

When I build a set neck guitar I get the neck fitted to the body first in all of those dimensions. Then I measure and mark and drill the mounting holes for the bridge. You, on the other hand are trying to make the neck fit the holes - a considerably more difficult task.

Attachment:
IMG_2538.JPG


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IMG_2631.JPG


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IMG_2656.JPG


Attachment:
IMG_2657.JPG


Take the time to get this right, you only have one chance.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:45 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:42 pm
Posts: 24
First name: Mitch
Last Name: Berry
City: Austin
State: TX
Zip/Postal Code: 78727
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Thanks guys.

After much deliberation and dry fitting, a little shining I think I got it right. But I wont know for sure until I get the bridge installed and string it up.

I wont explain the entire process, but in short, I measured out the scale, then laid the bridge out, used two straight edges to match the pre drilled holes, made some pencil Mark's, glued it in, adjusted as I tightened it, etc etc. The process took me a few hours and I feel fairly confident that I got it. But yeah. This kit could have been tighter to start with.

The first LP kit I got was spalted maple and it had cracks in the spalted top and some bad binding areas. They sent me a new kit for free. I opted for the flame maple. I built both of them anyway and sold the spalted maple guitar. The guy loved it.

The flame maple guitar received CTS pots, Seymour duncan blues 59 pickups, locking tuners, and about 60 hours of hand finish, sanding, and clear coat work. It came out flawless. After a good setup it's honestly the best guitar in my arsenal. I don't say that lightly, and I dont say it because I assembled it myself. It plays amazingly well and sounds great. Both LP's from SM came out great. And like I said the neck joints went right into place. This 335 was almost like they had a new guy running the router or something. We will see how it turns out. Ibwas also kind of disappointed in the level of flame on the top. It seems 2a at best.

I have had to do a lot of stain work to get what little flame there is, to stand out. But in the end it will still be beautiful, even if the strings hang off the side of the neck.

It may be a beautiful waste of money. I'll let you know soon enough. Lol


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:41 am 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:06 am
Posts: 94
First name: Mark
Last Name: Gammell
State: NE
Country: USA
For future reference, I've called Stew Mac a couple of times and they're always very helpful.

_________________
"Real guitars are for old people, Mr. Marsh."

Eric Cartman


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:53 am 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:42 pm
Posts: 24
First name: Mitch
Last Name: Berry
City: Austin
State: TX
Zip/Postal Code: 78727
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Agreed, they are very helpful



These users thanked the author MythicGuitars for the post: Dmaxwell (Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:53 am)
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:36 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 1548
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
MythicGuitars wrote:
Thanks guys.

. This 335 was almost like they had a new guy running the router or something. We will see how it turns out. Ibwas also kind of disappointed in the level of flame on the top. It seems 2a at best.



Mythic, the perspective that I keep coming back to is either these kits are one heck of a bargain or maybe garbage. You are paying $339 for your LP kit, 449 for for the 335. When I build my LP I paid 200 just for the top (I think it is 4A) and if you look at SM's web site right now they will sell you a plate for a carved top guitar for $268 (they don't rate it). My total cost for the Lester was a grand, but then I put pretty nice pups and hardware in it and everything was sources domestically.

The 335 is even more dramatic, if you buy pressed laminated plates form the few domestic suppliers (most of us will never be able to make them ourselves) you are looking at over 400 just for the plates - for a bit more you get the whole guitar. That is why I was so interested in your reaction in the first place - exactly what is StewMac bringing to the table with these new offerings?

I also enjoyed reading this, taken from their web page, in light of your experience

"Each of our kits comes with the neck individually matched and fit to each body, for a perfect fit. No need to worry about getting the neck angle just right, we've dialed it in for you."


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