My guitar-adventure continues. Today I faced some of the problems, which had popped up last time. First I changed the angle of the neck to get free ringing strings. Because the bridge is so low I could not use a straight neck-angle and had to make it slightly upwards. Another solution had been to lower the neck-pocket again, but I will try to avoid this. You can see the neck-angle in the picture below, if you observe the line of the fretboard. As you see the fretboard goes downwards towards the bridge. To achieve a working angle I had to detach the neck more than five times, because every Millimeter has a huge effect. I used three stripes of scratch-tape to raise the neck. Maybe this is not a professional method, but it works. Years ago I used a plectrum to raise the neck-angle of a Stratocaster and I could not recognize a degradation of the sound.
Next I strung the instrument for the first time, plucked the strings and tested different areas on the fretboard.
While testing I registered many things, which had to be improved
- The D-string was rattling. I observed, that the D-string was not properly lying on the Zero-fret. The string-slot was too high. Meanwhile I have corrected the saddle.
- There was a defective contact at the jack plug. When I installed the electronics I had to push the jack-plug with some effort into the whole. Therefore I suggested, that the contacts were pushed together, when inserting a cable, which probably caused a short-circuit.
- The amplified sound was too thin. I could test the sound, when I pulled the cable half-way out and registered a lack of bass in general. Because I am familiar with EMGs I saw immediately, that the Humbucker was too far away from the strings to sound well.
- Though most of the notes had already a nice sustain across the fretboard I registered some spots, which caused rattles. Overall the fret-edges are still not well integrated and disturb the hand sometimes and the edges of the fretboard are too sharp and should be more rounded. Some areas on the backside of the neck are still not smooth and need additional sanding. The string-action is also too high for my taste. Now it’s clear: I have to do a fret-job, Good luck to myself! Actually the Zero-Fret is at the same height as the other frets. When I sand the frets I will spare the Zero-fret, because I have the impression otherwise the low positions will not work. It’s important for me to achieve a similar string-action across the fretboard.
Which issues I could address today?
First I disassembled the electronics and removed the strings. Then I widened the battery-cavity with the router. The jack plug was widened with the Dremel. I wondered how much I had to widen the channel, but I learned, that the jack-plug is getting bigger, if you plug in a cable, something I had not calculated, when I had drilled the channel the first time.
Next I tried to cut new electronic-covers. I say “I tried”, because it turned out not perfect, but better than the last time. This time I drew the contours again on a film and cut them out with a scissor. Then I transferred the contours to plywood. At last I used the coping saw.
Because I was satisfied with the little covers I have spray-painted them already.
Then I faced the problem with the Humbucker. I packed more foam into the Humbucker-cavity and used longer screws on the sides. Fortunately EMG delivers the product in a box with foam, so I could recycle the package-material.
Outlook: I have ordered finer sandpaper for the fretjob and have to wait until it arrives. Maybe I will work on the other neck-tasks tomorrow: Smoothing the fret-edges and the fretboard-edges.
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