Disaster leads to learning experience...

...that I hope never to have to do again! LOL

Last Wednesday I was working on the head piece for my first CBG build. Drilling holes for the tuners that had just arrived. I was feeling pleased with the knowledge that I would soon be done with my first build and that I would probably have it ready before the new year and present it to my lil boy.

After looking at and measuring the tuners I realized that I was gonna have problems with the action/height of the strings over the nut. That lead to the decision to make a slotted headstock. I created a jig to help guide the hand drill shaft straight and set about making turner holes which all came out very good. I was ready to cut the slot when I had to stop to take the kids to 'zoolights' for the evening (an annual holiday light show at Lincoln Park Zoo-- a holiday tradition in our house.)

When I got back, I, anxiously, went right back to work after going over the steps in my head on the drive home. It was too late to use the router table, so I decided the trusty RotoZip would have to do... figured it would only take a few minutes and I'd be done. So I set up an impromptu guide to make sure I wouldn't go offline and began my work.

After making the first pass, I decided that if I turned the rotozip around 180 deg (to the front) I'd be better able to see my work while sitting down to get a closer view. Big mistake! LOL

In my haste, I forgot that by changing the orientation of the rotozip I also needed to change my feed direction from left to right, to right to left.

The rotozip bucked at the end of the slot (near the nut) and ripped it to pieces!! GOTDAMNMFITALLTOHELL!!

ROFL!! I can laugh about it now... I couldn't last week!! LOL

Instead of creating another neck/headstock. I decided to see what I could do to fix the thing. I ran thru a number of scenarios that I could think of and tried a few that didn't work and left me with no headstock whatsoever. By the time I got thru tinkering I was down to the fret area --- not even space for the nut!

No choice now but to lengthen the neck or start over.

It would've been much easier to start over, I had more wood for a neck, but since I screwed this up I thought best to make a learning experience out of it. After looking at any number of joints that I could use to lengthen the neck, the only plausible solution (at least for this amateur) seemed to be a lap joint -- glued and doweled together.

Took me some time sawing, sanding and filing to get a good, straight joint line by hand, but I think it came out pretty nice. I was/am a bit worried about the amount of stress on the joint and whether or not it will stand the test of time. Still have to put the dowels in -- want to let the glue cure for a week or so and test out the joint by stringing the instrument w/o dowel. So far so good, the joint seems to be holding up just fine -- no bowing at all. But I'm still going to put in the dowels.

I broke a few strings while stringing my very first instrument. Followed Keni's suggestion to use the 3,4,5 strings (but I used light gauge instead of his recommended medium) and used the instructions at Fret Not Guitar Repair on how to string a guitar. I used D'Addario EJ16 Acoustic Phosphor Bronze (Light .012-.053) <-- Whatever the hell all that means, I have no idea! LOL And I ended up breaking the A & G strings -- have no idea how tightly/loosely the strings should be tuned or even if I've tuned them to the proper tones -- so I'm using E, D, E (1, 4, 6 strings from the pack) maybe I should use the B instead of the .012 E. But I don't know what I'm doing anyways so it might not make that much of a difference! ROFLMAO! HAHAHA

AH, I'm having a good time!

I'm gonna start on the 2nd build straight away.. still working out the plans in Sketchup. And I bought some 1x2 Maple that I haven't decided what to do with. Was looking at the Mahogany, Walnut, and Ash and there's a great exotic wood shop a few miles away that I haven't visited in many years (since I bought the purpleheart). Scared to go in that place -- thoughts of Bocote, Bubinga, Jatoba, Padauk, Wenge and Zebra wood dancing in my head and scorching a big fat hole in my credit card.

For a guy who doesn't know a damned thing about guitars, this has been quite an enjoyable (and frustrating) project. But I'm learning a lot which is teaching me that I have a helluva lot more to learn !! LOL

I'll post some pics soon... be gentle with me.. LOL.

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Comment by marcianx on January 10, 2010 at 3:02pm
thanks for the comments guys. trying to remember to be patient and enjoy the journey (mistakes and all) is one of those things that I have to constantly remind myself to do -- in everything I do. I'm impatient by nature (who isn't to some degree) but I seem to enjoy doing things that require patience -- the universe just screwing with me, obviously.
Comment by Eric "psychoboy" Henderson on January 10, 2010 at 9:44am
Ya know, this whole blog is great. Really reminds me to slow down and laugh at my mistakes, as everything that happens we learn from, beside I don't know shit about guitars but by building this one (my first CBG) I will learn something good. Spread the gospel of CBG. Thank you.
Comment by Tres Seaver on January 7, 2010 at 11:54pm
I don't think I have a build yet (12 guitars completed or nearly so) which doesn't have at least one "OMFG" stupidity in it: finding ways to fix my mistakes has taught me an enormous amount, both in terms of skills and in terms of self-knowledge (no power saws for me, TYVM: I'm too damned impatient to use them safely).

Keep on keepin' on!

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