OK, I got a wild hair and wound my first pickup last night. It works...not real loud, since the smallest wire I had on hand was 34 gauge, but still not bad. It is a short fat little guy and I like the tone...it tames the highs quite well in comparison to a piezo. A little 2 transistor preamp, and it will be fine.
Anyway, I have obtained a black Cohiba box I want to do my first 4 stringer with, and I want to use the pickup in it. (I built the pickup with 4 poles just for this guitar)
I know that there will be a little more neck stress with 4 strings, and I am wondering about neck strength. This will be a neck thru build, but what will I need to do to brace the neck to make up for where I will need to relieve it for the pickup? Will adding a "doubler" brace under the neck be enough, or will I need to add "wings" as well?
The neck will be red oak, fretted (no separate fretboard, unless that is the best way to retain strength), and I would like to shape the neck a little as well, to make it easier to play.
I don't want to bow the neck with the added tension of the 4th string and the relief cut for the pickup. As far as the pickup position, I am thinking I want it at the base of the neck or relatively close to there, for a more mellow sound. I also would like to relieve the neck under the lid, like I have done my prior builds for a decent unplugged sound, unless that is asking to much as far as strength goes.
You should be ok but I would double up on the neck under the lid. See my pics on my page for more info on that. Message me if you have questions. I did the same on a Cohiba box 'sept the neck is poplar. I did note that the recessed area for the pickup (I assume you mean mag pup) did weaken the neck and some bowing did occur but I added more reinforcement and it works good now. You might want to consider a laminated neck. I can explain that too.
If you are going to make it an all elec (not acoustic at all) I would fill the box with plywood or pressboard with routed areas for the pup, knobs, wiring. You can make a thru neck if you want or 'bolt on'. My dream 6-string will be 'solid' with a bolt on neck.
If your strings are .010 -.026s your neck should be okay tension wise. I have always doubled up the neck in the box, just in case. Notch out the neck where the pickup will be placed and glue another piece of Oak, or whatever, beneath it for strength. If you can get the pick up in the area of where the 24th fret would be you pick up some of the string harmonics. adds to the sound. Adding a fret board, even 1/8" to 3/32" will help strengthen the neck. If I'm shaping the neck a lot and taking away a bit of the bottom of the neck I tend to add a fret board just to be on the safe side.
Thanks, guys...I will try to get the pickup in the area of the 24th fret, and I will brace the fool outta the box...This is a thinner Cohiba, so I am thinking hard about doing like you suggested, Wes, and making it a "solid" body, since the box is shallow (1 1/4" deep with the lid closed..) That might be my only choice, seeing as the pickup is 5/8" thick....If I made it into a solid body, that should give me some strength so I won't have to worry.. If I go that route and make it a "pure" electric, I will prolly sting it with .009's since thats what I use on my Strat.
Build the neck like I did the Mac that Chris bought. I just added a full thickness piece of scrap That I cut off of the too long neck blank. But instead of making just as long as the lid relief, I left it long in the front and shaped it into a heel.
You may need to add "wings" just to have something to ount the pick-up to, depending on the width.
btw- I scored a couple of Cohibas myself. A black Supremo and a natural Crystal Corona.