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34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm a huge fan of the JS series body and, for a first project I thought about building one. I've seen the JS6X a few years ago and fell in love with it since I'm not a big fan of tremolos (And I don't have enough ability with it either :wink:), it has such a sexy shape and I love the woods looks on it... I thought about sharing the building steps with you, with hopes to, perhaps, help someone ... someday ... somehow ... (I’m feeling deep today 8)) ...

I'm just a woodcrafting “enthusiast” with absolutely no training in instrument making (and, perhaps, also no ability ... That I'll see ...), so, some room for error must be considered. Also, of course, I don't expect it to be a perfect replica or anything.

All in all, my goal is to keep a budget of around US$100 and end up with a "playable" (is that even a word?) instrument. This way, if I mess up, I won’t feel so bad in the end.

I bought all the hardware from Asia (China and Singapore), which allowed me to get some cheaper parts (and some concerns about the end quality of this thing also 8O).

The body I'm building from scratch, since I have an old mahogany block around the house, so I won't add any cost to it. The neck is a chinese strat replacement, not very well build, but will get the job done... Here are the prices, so far (in US$):

Body - 0,00
Hardtail bridge - 8,84
Ferrules - 3,84
Neck plate - 6,12
Strap locks - 3,46
Pickup (pair) - 11,84
Pickup selector switch - 3,61
Pots (with on/off switch for coil tapping) - 7,89
Knobs - 4,61
Jack - 5,34

Neck (strat) - 38,76
Locking machine heads - 16,34
String retainer bar - 4,34

TOTAL - 114,99

The locking machine heads made me go out of the budget, but I thought about giving it a shot anyway ... And the jack was not really necessary, but it was cool, so, WTH ...

I already got the neck and neck plate and made some progress on the body, if anyone is interested, I'll be posting some pictures ...

Best regards...

PS: Sorry for the english, "I haz not dictionary" :lol: ... But I hope we should be able to communicate fine...

34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
OK, so before I start, I need to say that this is how "I" did. Use every information wisely...

Part 1 - The template

I spent some time looking for accurate drawings for the JS and the best I could find was the radius body (just yestarday I found some nice ones in Jemsite forum). Since I have never seen a JS in person and none of the instrument shops I visited had a JS (not even a JS100), the best I could do is trust my guts, the pictures on the internet and the drawings.

I did not mention, but I'm an engineer for profession. So drawings are very important for me and I really respect the "language-less" (I also like to make up words...) manner it can transmit information.

That said, the first suggestion to anyone trying to build anything: Get the drawings. If they are not available, create them (even if it is by hand). If they are on 1:1 scale, that's best...

That brings a problem: Given I already have the drawings, how to print an A0 ? Well, you have 2 ways: taking to some shop that would do it for you, or printing in parts.

As this is a low budget project and I'm already US$15,00 over it, spending is not an option! (Did I hear someone saying "Cheap A** F***er!" ?)

Adobe Reader in it's 11th version has a feature of printing posters (Sorry mine is in Portuguese):

After printing (don't forget to enable the "cutting marks" option), you should have something like this:

Then, glue them together to form the complete drawing (I use two sheets of a kind of thick paper plus the regular paper I printed originally). Then cut the edges, which brings us to this:

If you look closer on the pictures above, some inner drawing lines are dashed, but that's not the drawing. I cut slots through the paper following the lines, so, by using a pencil, I can mark the wood below.

I made this for the carving lines and for the electronics cavity. This last one I had to correct, as the drawing was too different.

What is nice about this template method is that it can be double sided:

After transferring the drawing, you should get it all dashed, now, by hand, connect them to form the continuous lines. Below, the back side detail:

In this particular design, I did also a side template, to help me trace the lines equally:

The transfer process is the same, with a pencil, which brings us to the same place:

That's if for today. Next post I'll show how I converted a strat headstock into a JS one. Hope it was helpful.


9,335 Posts
Good luck with this project. I hope at the very least you end up with a playable guitar. $100 is an extremely small budget. The good thing is if your body turns out nicely but the neck is rubbish you could always upgrade the neck to a better quality one down the track when you have funds.

34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That's true and this is what I thought ... Also, if this neck suck in the end, I'll be able to remove its parts (truss rod and, perhaps, the fretted fingerboard) and build another one.

EDIT: Grammatical error.

34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Part 2 - The Neck: Shaping the headstock

Before starting this project, the neck was a main concern. I had to decide what to do with it.

Warmoth and Stewmac have some pretty nice examples, but the price is WAY out the budget I settled. I have some brazilian hardwoods at home, but I would need a truss rod anyway, which would also have some cost (about US$25,00 in Brazil). I could make my own truss rod, but this is just way too much DIY for a first project to work out =)...

Used necks are an option, but good ones are not always available ... And this is an Ibanez style guitar and so must be the headstock. Then, it occurred to me: What if I get a regular strat neck and cut the headstock to the Ibanez shape. After some studies with CAD software I came to the conclusion that it was possible. Now things got easier, because I was searching for a very common neck.

After some search I found a really cheap neck on a wholesale chinese website that would worth the try. I had already bought stuff on this kind of sites before, but never a guitar neck. Two main concerns: the product quality and brazilian customs. Importation taxes in brazil are crazy and that would definetly make me explode the budget. But WTH! I had to give it a shot and, by luck, everything went just fine and after 30 days of purchase I had it in my hands.

The neck, in its construction is not a masterpiece, but is also not useless. Some fretting flaws and a 0.25mm height difference in the nut:

But all in all, pretty OK for me.

Next step, was to reshape the headstock. This is not hard, but it's tricky...

First step, you need a picture of the headstock from a 90º angle:

Then insert it on CAD software and scale the picture based on a known dimension. In this case, I used the nut that is 42mm wide.
After properly scaling, it's time to actually draw the headstock. I did it based on an existing drawing:
NOTE: There is no need to be ultra precise here, since the cutting process will be done by hand later.

So this is the final work, below is the original headstock, and above is the one recently drawn. Pretty close IMO, what you think?

Now it's time to print the drawing and transfer it using a pencil. I did it on the back as it is straighter:

Ok, so, now, hands on the jigsaw (if you have a bandsaw, that'd be better) and cut around your marks. Below, the final result:

Hope it was helpful. Next post I'll try to show how I'm making the electronics cavity cover out of a cofee tray.


34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Thanks for the encouragement y'all !!! ... Really appreciate it ... :D

I'm struggling to find the time between work, family and studies to go a little further on this project (I'm obsessed with it :mrgreen:)... Also, the parts will take (at least) about 20 days to arrive, so, I shouldn't be doing much anyway, as I need some of them for correct measurements...

Although, there are some details I'm sure some of you would be able to give me some light, which, skipping the coffee tray cover, brings us to...

Part 3 - The Neck: Designing the logo

I'm not very fan of custom guitars with stock logos. Even if the end result is a better instrument than the real deal, that still feels like fraud ... On the other hand, custom logos like the "Fedner Scrap-o-caster" may even sound funny.

So I'm trying my own logo, inspired on the Ibanez one. I've made my design, but that still didn't convince me, I may need some suggestions ...

The process used is pretty simple, using the CAD software I could design the stripes in scale, than, using Le ol' MS Paint for the text, I managed to get this:

The idea is to make a mask with some adhesive paper and paint the stripes black. Then, using aluminum or stainless steel and with the help of some needle files, produce the text, which could be screwed with some really small screws (glue just doesn't sound as a long lasting solution - even epoxy). I made a prototype with paper to check dimensioning (the washers are from some Left machine heads I got, just to check interferences):

I have an aluminum plate that needs some polishing...

... and will have some SS left from the coffee tray ...

So, now I need some critics on the design and suggestions on the implementation ... anyone ? Thanks in advance =)

Regards ...
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