Q418C Roland’s headless build

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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2369
    @Andyjr1515 Two reasons. The 1.2mm wire is all I’ve got, unless I buy a metre or so just for one fret. Secondly, some of the other frets are cut too short and ought to be replaced. Rather than mess about with individual frets I plan to do a complete refret, but not just yet.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2369

    Andyjr1515 said:

    Looks great too.

    Thank you. It’s just low res photography hiding an amateur finish.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2369
    edited November 2018
    Prompted by @Andyjr1515 I’m looking at the possibility of moving the existing fret. The old fret came out easily. There’s a slight bend, but the metal is so soft that it will straighten up when I push it back in. The inter-fret gap should be 36.35mm. The actual is about 37.7mm. Not close enough for rock and roll.



    The slot will have to be filled. If I try to cut a second slot that close, without filling the first, I’ll end up with a trench wide enough for a conventional nut. I need to think about how to do this. Maybe sand a bit off the other end of the fretboard, and mix the dust with glue. Maybe make a sliver of some other, lighter coloured wood which I can glue into the slot. Maybe just fill it with glue. Answers on a postcard please.

    Thinking of progress. These two are the only pieces of the kit which haven’t been replaced or modified. You can see from the gaps around it’s edges that the cover plate should have been.


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  • A sliver of veneer will usually do it.  Veneer at 0.6mm is ptretty much the same as a fret slot.  If you can wait until mid week, happy to pop some offcut in the post to you.  For some reason, can't see any of the photos.  What colour's the fretboard?
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2369
    Thanks for the veneer offer. That would be very helpful. I’ll PM my address.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2369
    Thanks to @Andyjr1515 the guitar is up and running with the zero fret moved 1.7mm, and the old slot barely visible. First impression is that the intonation is good. I’ll take it to Saturday’s gig to see how it performs in a band setting.
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  • Excellent!  
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2369
    We can’t stop tinkering can we? Well I can’t. So this afternoon I’ve moved the strap button to the back of the upper horn, re-seated the headpiece using longer screws, re-seated the neck, and changed the strings for a newer set. Then I played it for a while, and checked which pickup settings and patches to use for our set list. I don’t like continually switching guitars mid set, so I’ll start the second set with it and see how it goes.

    The intonation is fine, and it even stays in tune with a capo on the third fret. The tuners were always going to be stiff, but they are workable. Their biggest problem is the ratio of the M3 thread. They were never going to be as precise, or as easy to turn, as the 19:1 tuners on my current Tele.


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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2369
    This evening I started the second set with the guitar. Mechanically it was fine. I loved the light weight, and the lack headstock made it easier to move around without clouting someone. The sound is brighter than my Teles. For the rock numbers it cut through the mix nicely. For the less rocky numbers I struggled to find a warm sound. Probably the wrong choice of neck and middle pickups.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2369
    Well here it is. A usable piece of musical equipment from a kit. Strangely it looks blue in the picture whereas the real thing is more turquoise, and the colour less patchy. Since its gig debut I've moved the strap button to the back of the upper horn, where it sits more comfortably.



    What I like about it:
    1. It's light weight and balances nicely on the strap.
    2. The tuning is very stable.
    3. The curved neck joint and neck profile make upper fret access easy.
    4. The double strap pin means that I can lean it against the wall quite safely.
    5. Visually I like the combination of dyed and plain wood, with white binding on the front edge.
    6. Being small and light it's an ideal guitar to keep beside the sofa.
    What I don't like:
    1. The guitar lacks vibrancy/resonance or whatever you want to call it. The soft, low quality wood must play a part in this, with a possible contribution from the roller bridge.
    2. Stiff tuners. A lot of that is due to the turn/pull ratio of the M3 thread.
    3. Those string clamps on top of the headpiece get in the way when I slide my fingers down to the end of the neck.
    4. Sharp ends of the strings stick out of the back of the headpiece. I've already caught my finger on them, and I'd hate to think what would happen if I collided with our singer.
    5. I can't see the selector switch behind the volume knob.
    6. I can't trap the cable behind the strap without getting in the way of the tuners.
    What next? Nothing more on this particular guitar. I like the headless concept, so early next year I'll build another. It will have a cedar body, maple and rosewood neck. Telecaster pickups, nowadays I get on better with those than humbuckers. The switch will come out of hiding behind the volume knob.

    There's still a question about tuners, bridge and headpiece. Do I bite the bullet on the Hipshot price and $ exchange rate? Do I persuade ABM to make me some (my son lives a few U-bahn stops from their office)? Do I make my own?
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 15043
    That looks really decent, and a great build thread. Excellent work  
    Every year, I grow half as pretty, and twice as drunk. 
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  • carloscarlos Frets: 1549
    Sharp ends of the strings stick out of the back of the headpiece. I've already caught my finger on them, and I'd hate to think what would happen if I collided with our singer

    You can cut them pretty close to the headpiece but it's never perfect. The headless guitar trick is to bend then at a 90 degree angle as close to the metal as possible and then twist them until they break. I find that gets them short enough not to harm anyone

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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2369
    ... and this is a similar guitar built from scratch, and costing about £130 less.



    Cedar body with walnut veneer and black binding. Bastardised Overlord tuners. String-through Telecaster bridge. Oil City Wapping Wharf and Winteriser pickups. Five way switch.
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1899
    Roland said:
    Well here it is. A usable piece of musical equipment from a kit. Strangely it looks blue in the picture whereas the real thing is more turquoise, and the colour less patchy. Since its gig debut I've moved the strap button to the back of the upper horn, where it sits more comfortably.



    What I like about it:
    1. It's light weight and balances nicely on the strap.
    2. The tuning is very stable.
    3. The curved neck joint and neck profile make upper fret access easy.
    4. The double strap pin means that I can lean it against the wall quite safely.
    5. Visually I like the combination of dyed and plain wood, with white binding on the front edge.
    6. Being small and light it's an ideal guitar to keep beside the sofa.
    What I don't like:
    1. The guitar lacks vibrancy/resonance or whatever you want to call it. The soft, low quality wood must play a part in this, with a possible contribution from the roller bridge.
    2. Stiff tuners. A lot of that is due to the turn/pull ratio of the M3 thread.
    3. Those string clamps on top of the headpiece get in the way when I slide my fingers down to the end of the neck.
    4. Sharp ends of the strings stick out of the back of the headpiece. I've already caught my finger on them, and I'd hate to think what would happen if I collided with our singer.
    5. I can't see the selector switch behind the volume knob.
    6. I can't trap the cable behind the strap without getting in the way of the tuners.
    What next? Nothing more on this particular guitar. I like the headless concept, so early next year I'll build another. It will have a cedar body, maple and rosewood neck. Telecaster pickups, nowadays I get on better with those than humbuckers. The switch will come out of hiding behind the volume knob.

    There's still a question about tuners, bridge and headpiece. Do I bite the bullet on the Hipshot price and $ exchange rate? Do I persuade ABM to make me some (my son lives a few U-bahn stops from their office)? Do I make my own?
    Actually, after all this, I somehow missed the final result!!!!

    It looks great!  Love the colour and the overall look...and that it's lightweight :)

    The other one looks like an ideal 'one to take to the slightly dodgier venues' too!

    What's next?
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2369
    @Andyjr1515 My granddaughter wants me to make her one:



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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1899
    I'm not surprised.  It's great!  I like everything about it - and it's given me some inspiration relating to a potential build I've been asked about...
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  • PlukkyPlukky Frets: 277
    Nice International Brigade jumper!
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