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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:57 am 
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First name: Rick
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I'm going to make it as authentic and exact to the original 55 year old build as I can. I bought his 2014 published build book and have been researching it for many weeks now. I can machine a strat body on my CNC in a few hours but body of this jewel will take me weeks because it's very unique and complex even though I have CAD drawings. I have to make my own oak veneered block-board to exact thickness for the multi layered body. Because I don't have a metal Mill I had to order $500 in machined parts and another $500 in parts to come soon. Most parts from the UK. The mahogany veneer arrived a week ago. I'll keep you posted with lots of pictures and links to my video's.

A player of this guitar will never see the 2 layers of oak blockboard and the internal solid oak blocks and the complexity of the tremolo assembly but an authentic build is not all about the finished cosmetics.

Dozens of builders have already built this to some degree of authentic over the years and have posted a thousand pictures and 100 videos. It's just my turn :)

Here's a picture of the Pickguard. I know you'll all guess what it's going to be just from that.
The fun begins!!!
Image

More pictures very soon!

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Last edited by Rick Hubka on Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:10 pm 
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Yes. The recent movie Bohemian Rhapsody pushed me over the edge to build this beauty!
This book he co-wrote in 2014 has a wealth of information on how the 1962-1964 homemade build was done.
Image

Image

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:13 pm 
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Location: Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada
First name: Conor
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City: Duncan
State: British Columbia
Zip/Postal Code: V9L 2E5
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Hey Rick. I'm in Duncan! I'd love to see what you get up to with this.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:15 am 
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For sure Conor! I'll send you a PM when more parts arrive from the UK and I get started.

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Rick Hubka
Chemainus BC Canada



These users thanked the author Rick Hubka for the post: Conor_Searl (Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:01 pm)
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:07 pm 
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I’ve been wanting to make a Red Special for a long time. One of these days.



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:34 pm 
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Country: Canada
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Status: Amateur
First update.

The Red Special (RS) Body is made up of 2x layers of 18-19mm blockboard (pinecore) these have solid Oak sections inserted to add strength which holds neck, tremolo, neck. The blockboard is hollowed out with a router or CNC, 16-17mm deep, so you don't go all the way through, the only totally through cut is the electronic chamber, some of this is under cut with the router/cnc.
The next layer(s) is mahohogany veneer, which covers the entire body.

Brian and his dad got their blockboard from an old Oak dinning table they had. Maybe 100 years old now. Oddly enough I could source blockboard from the UK, but could not source it locally here in Canada. So like others who insist on an authentic build, I will make my own blockboard from pine wood and oak veneer covering layers.

I cut up enough pine blockboard wood for 2 guitars which means 4 layers of blockboard.
Image

Once glued the blockboard pieces get a layer of oak veneer top and bottom that will never be seen later.
Later I even have to glue a 6 pence coin into the electronics cavity later that will never be seen.
Brian and his dad had never built a guitar and had no $ or cool tools like us. It's totally amazing what they did!!!
So... Just saying to do an authentic build requires I pretend I am in the UK in 1960 with no wood sources or modern tools at times :)

Image

Glue up 8 half layers of pine wood (alternating the end grain to minimize warping).
My planner is 13" wide and my pre-CNC pineboard width must be 15.5" to I need to glue up the pine in half's requiring 8 glue-ups for 2 guitars.
Image

I cut out all large knots and made the pine pieces various lengths for authenticity.
Image

Gluing pine half's together after running through the planner. I use a dowel jig to ensure a level fit.
All joints are checked for 90 degree edge and run through an edge planner if needed.

Image

Next I will glue on the oak veneer to both sides of the the laminated pine that will never be seen :)
Some builders use 2 layers of solid mahogany for this guitar.
I'll have 8 layers (2 pine), (4 oak veneer), (2 mahogany veneer) to be authentic.

More updates in about a week. The blockboard making is the boring part. Thanks for watching :)

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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 5:12 pm 
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First name: Rick
Last Name: Hubka
City: Chemainus
State: BC
Zip/Postal Code: V0R 1K1
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Hi People.
It's been a couple of busy weeks. Progress on the Red Special is good, but slow for 3 reasons.
1) Making your own Pine blockboard with Oak veneer is a pain. Laminate various lengths/pieces of pine to 0.63" thickness, then add Oak veneer both sides. Much more work than I thought. I'd buy it locally if I could.

2) I obtained the files for the plans here:
http://www.redspecial-library.com/plans
for only $7.80 US. A steal.
The metric plans come in PDF, DXF, STEP, SolidWorks and Fusion 360. Wow!
I'd like to use Fusion 360 but... I'd have to become an advanced user over night. However, I am proficient in Vetric Aspire so...
I figured out how to get Fusion 360 to convert mm to inches and saved a copy. Easy. Next I split out the drawing into seperate components and saved them separately. Then I learned how to select the objects I wanted and saved them as drawings that I can export to DXF. Then I import the DXF into Vectric Aspire. Now in Aspire I have spent 50 hours so far manipulating measurements, creating toolpaths and creating a 3D model of the 3 connected holes for the Jack Plug.
Next I have to learn how to model the Red Special neck in Aspire and using this tutorial:
https://www.vectric.com/vectric-community/free-projects/tips-and-tricks/MakingaGuitarNeck?category=undefined&page=1&items=0
and others that could take another 100 hours. Yikes!

3) Parts/Hardware - It takes a lot of research to know what parts you need. Many parts are non-standard for an electric and only sold in the U.K. I got many parts here at Guitar and Woods in the U.K.:
https://guitarsandwoods.com/red-special-parts-kit-1.html?fbclid=IwAR1SrlitBiZEjek5etVxrc3ppO-Ta9E7NEvdPbALGVukLX9xNTmLXeJ2SMo
https://guitarsandwoods.com/index.php?route=product/search&search=bmg&description=true
I bought the pickups here:
http://www.burnsguitars.com/trisonicvintage.php

I have most parts now and it looks like it will cost me approximately $1100.00 U.S. for parts to build one Red Special. I'm building two.
Here's a picture of just some of the parts:
Image
Pickups from Burns of London in U.K.
Image

Gluing Oak Veneer to one side of a Pine Blockboard.
Image

Clamping
Image

It's Blockboard now!
Image

Countless fun hours taking Fusion 360 sketches and exporting them to DXF files to be able to import into Vectric Aspire. Then modify and creating toolpaths. The big opening in the middle of the left body gets a solid piece of oak. Why? It's for the bridge to neck connect and... that's how Brian May and his dad built the original Red Special in the early 60's.
Image

Right now I'm going to learn to carve a neck in Aspire while I wait for large and small Ball End bits to arrive from an Ebay seller.
I really am having fun people! I'll be back in a few weeks with an update on CNC'ing the interior of the body.

Cheers

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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 6:58 pm 
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First name: Conor
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I was just thinking about your project this afternoon. I'm not too familiar with the "Red Special" other than it was Brian Mays guitar that he made at home. I was curious, did he hit it out of the park with the first try, or were there quirks he either learned to live with, or addressed later on in the guitars life time?


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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 9:14 pm 
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Brian has said... After all these years there are NO changes he would make to the Red Special him and his dad made. He has played this same guitar since 1962 and with Queen 99% of the time all these years.

If you'd like to hear Brian talk about the Red Special guitar, here are 2 interviews:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TS6bPFoCIkc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ_OamX-PA8&t=829s

Brian Playing/Teaching Bohemiam Rapsody
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEtLC0MEguA

Hope this helps those not familiar with the Red Special.

Cheers

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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 3:44 pm 
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Hi people

It's been a couple of weeks again and here's the update. I have been very busy converting measurments and drawing in Vectric Aspire to get the bloakboard pieces for the Red Special ready for cnc cutout. Way too many hours!

With the Bloakboard ready I screwed down the 4 corners and had the cnc drill needed holes that will later be used for screwing the 2 bloackboard halfs together
Image

Then I cut the large piece of oak which will be inserted into this layer.
Image

I CNC cut the recess for the oak into the bloackboard. I could spread the hole using a relief cut I made at the top and that same cut allowed me to clamp the oak insert. My first oak piece was too small but my second try fit perfect. I always seem to have trouble with clearances for inlays :(
Image

This is the drawing I used to create the cutting toolpaths for this lower bloackboard piece. It's one of a dozen drawings I'm working on for the multi piece body, neck and fretboard. I have to hand it to Brian May and his father. They created a very unique work of art when they built the Red Special by hand in the early 60's.
Image

After glueing in the Oak I ran the first set of toolpath cuts on the oak for the guitar tremelo cavities here.
Image

Yeehaw!!! bliss The bottom bloackboard piece is done. The large left cavity is half of the guitars internal acoustic chamber. The large right cavity is for the electrics.
Image

Front angle
Image

Test fit the Tremelo assembly I purchased in the UK. Brian's tremelo is a one of a kind!
Image

Hopefully I'll update the build with pictures of the upper bloackboard layer in about a week because the drawing is 90% done.
Cheers!

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Rick Hubka
Chemainus BC Canada



These users thanked the author Rick Hubka for the post: Bosco Birdswood (Wed May 15, 2019 4:44 am)
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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2019 4:57 pm 
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Hi People
Just a small update on an important 3" wide piece of oak for the bridge and temolo mount I just CNC cut this morning.
Note... This piece is my second try :( The first one failed quality control :)
This piece gets glued into a small recess in the lower large oak piece. It will protrude up into the upper Blockboard piece.
Image

Here the small oak piece sits in it's home and it am test fitting the purchased tremolo and bridge parts.
Image

Trivia time...
Did you know that Brian May has used a UK 6 pence coin as a guitar pick his whole life?
He glued a 6 pence coin on the head stock of his Red Special guitar and glued a 6 pence coin inside the guitar electrics cavity.
I purchased 50 of the old 6 pence coins on eBay for $10
Image

Another update next week. I hope.
Cheers

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Rick Hubka
Chemainus BC Canada



These users thanked the author Rick Hubka for the post: DavidSchwab (Thu May 16, 2019 5:27 pm)
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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2019 5:30 pm 
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Rick Hubka wrote:

Trivia time...
Did you know that Brian May has used a UK 6 pence coin as a guitar pick his whole life?
He glued a 6 pence coin on the head stock of his Red Special guitar and glued a 6 pence coin inside the guitar electrics cavity.
I purchased 50 of the old 6 pence coins on eBay for $10
Image

Another update next week. I hope.
Cheers


I saw Queen in 1977. My girlfriend at the time, who besides being a talented guitarist, was a huge Queen fan. After the show she was asking May’s roadie if there was any coins up there she could have. Lol. She didn’t get one.


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2019 1:48 pm 
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Last Name: Hubka
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Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
"The Naked Red Special" coming soon:) Not really... I'm just giving my future experiment a name. This is just a 1 day test of a RS with no body.

People like how complex and fantastic the "small tremolo/bridge oak block" is that I'm going to spill my guts on a cool surprise project diversion I will have soon.

Here goes... I think Brian and his father unknowingly created kind of an electric guitar system just by the way they designed and built the Red Special's internals. I mean internals could remain the same and they could have wrapped any shape electric guitar body around it.

To prove my "Brian May Guitar System" theory I am going to assemble and play a "Naked Red Special". I'll start by putting together just the RS internal 2 oak blocks and the neck.
Then install the tremolo/bridge and pickups, ETC. Then plugin and play my RS naked. It will look like a skinny travel guitar or... something like this...
The marvel of CAD eh! (Canadians love to say eh)
Image

The wiring? Oh... it will be a hanging mess but we don't care.

I'm really excited about doing this little diversion project in the middle of my RS build. I will take lots of pictures and maybe a video.

Stay tuned for my "Naked Red Special" experiment in mid June.

Ok. Back to my RS build. Being retired now is so cool. I have so much time to do silly little fun things!

Cheers

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Rick Hubka
Chemainus BC Canada



These users thanked the author Rick Hubka for the post: DavidSchwab (Fri May 17, 2019 1:53 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 4:42 pm 
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Hi Gang.
This update demonstrates making the upper blockboard cnc cut steps. This is more work than the lower bloackboard was because we need to make the top/bottom cuts precisely aligned cuts on both sides of this piece.

Cutting the Upper side of the top Blockboard piece. Some of these cuts only go part way through with the full cut being completed from the underside. I spent hours deciding and planning how this piece would best be cnc cut from 2 sides.
Image

Ok... The upper side is cut and I am very pleased!
Image

Now the piece is turned over and I had to align the 5 screw you see here to 5 screw holes I cut into the cnc table surface. I was very worried about this because I had never cut 2-sided on my cnc machine before where the top and bottom machining must line up 100%. I built this cnc machine myself 5 years ago but had never had the need to do precise 2-sided until today. Yikes!
Image

Well it's seems to be cutting in the right areas? I hope I have not destroyed the whole piece??? I need the line up to be within 1/100th of an inch!
Image

Here a big 1/2" bit is clearing out 95% of the 2 large pockets fast before before a 3/16" smaller bit tidy's up the edges. Saves 1 hour of cutting time that way. I use Vectric Aspire CAD/CAM software to draw and create the toolpath files for the cnc machine. The software cost $2k US. Yikes again!
Image

I am over the top happy with the alignment of the 2 cuts. It was perfect!
Image

Showing you how the 2 blockboard pieces are like a clam shell which will soon be glued and screwed together. Man... How did Brian ever design this baby that long ago!
Image

It's starting to look like a guitar! We have the blockboard wood portion of the Red Special body build done. This will all be covered with a beautiful layer of red mahogany veneer soon. But before that there is a lot of work ahead of me. The neck and fret board. The wiring, Staining. Painting. ETC...
Image

Stay tuned. I'll have another update in about a week.

Cheers

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Chemainus BC Canada


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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2019 4:42 pm 
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I had someone comment on wanting me to work faster to I could post more updates. I'd like that too but...

This post shows one of many small obscurities in the RS build. It will also show that I am cursed with being way over the top obsessed with detail and doing it right.

Brian installed 6 posts (nails) in the electrical cavity to connect the 3 pickups to the 6 switches. Now normally we just solder pickups directly to the one 3-way switch (or other) and there is no posts or nails. Us RS builders believe that Brian did this so he could repeatadly test and modify pickup phase/polarity etc.
See the 6 yellow wires in the picture. The posts have square holes around them cut into the shielding copper foil to ensure the grounded foil does not touch the posts.
Image


Questions I have about what I see here are:
Are those nails directly pounded into the wood or are they insulated? Do they need to be insulated? I have a pinned moisture meter that tells me the mositure content in a piece of wood. Moisture means electrical connectivity. The UK. has high humidity the same as where I live on an island off the west coast of Canada. I have a dehumidifier in my shop that keeps the humidity at 35% if it is greater.

So... To make a long story short... I have decide to insulate the posts/nails from the wood. I have also decided to protect the wood from the wire soldering heat.

Common solder melts at 370 F. But someone soldering will often heat the surface past that temperature.
I researched and have decided to seat the nails in High temperature Gasket Silicone.
I bought and tested with an ohm meter what I hoped would do the job. Tested it. No connectivity after curing. Excellent!
Image


Specifically I am using Permatex Ultra Copper Silicone which protects against temperatures uo to 600/700 F.
Image

Ok. Time to install my 0.097" nails into Ultra Copper. I trimed them with bolt cutters and touched them up on my grinder.

Can I work faster and post more updates? Not likely. It's Brians fault not mine. :)

Hey... White plastic binding material arrived in the mail today!

Cheers
Rick hubka

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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2019 7:18 pm 
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Oh.... I just saw this and it is so good!!!
As you probably know Brian May used a Treble Booster.
Well today Pete Thorn just posted a new video titled...
TREBLE BOOSTERS- the most UNDERRATED GUITAR EFFECT!
The video starts off featuring the Brian May sound.
If you enjoy Brian May guitar sound, this video is a must see.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQFdP6P ... oYFW56ITJw

Cheers

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:10 pm 
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Sorry. Almost 2 weeks since an update:( I had some non guitar projects that needed doing.

Black acrylic paint, cooper foil tape and a 6 pence coin. Still need to solder the tape layers together. Then I'll be able to permanently glue/screw/join the upper and lower halfs
Image

Picture of Brian's Red with the 6 pence when his paint job was refurbished and the binding repaired. His has cooper foil now too.
Image

I wanted to mix up the build process a bit so decided to work on the shiney black oak fretboard.
Mahogany neck stock to the right. Oak fretboard center. One of 4 pine test fretboards was just radius cut. Far left is a radius sanding block I just cut to sand the fretboard.
Yes... no way I'm going to cnc that oak until I have done several tests with some cheap pine fretboard material.
Image

I made a jig to hold the fretboard on edge while drilling the tiny fret side dots and lines. Brian's side dots consist of 1, 2, and 3 dot sets as well as a couple of lines.
Image

Originally Brian's side dots were just painted on the side. But now they are inlay-ed and filled with white epoxy. That's why I have that bottle of epoxy white pigment there so I can do the same.
Image

I'm so glad I'm testing with cheap pine. We can see here (on the 24th fret) that I need to make a tiny shift to the left to line up the side dots.
Image

Ok... Testing almost done. Time to cut, dye and grain fill an oak fretboard.
Image

StewMac's Black Fingerboard Stain is actually "India Ink" so I bought Super Black India ink from a local Art store. I gave the fretboard 2 coats of dye.
Image

Look at those huge deep pores! Tomorrow I'll start to grain fill that dyed oak wood. I'm going to use "Aqua Coat". It's a clear water base filler and has been used by many luthiers for several years now. Just don't use it on Koa wood.
There are dozens of YouTube video demo's on using Aqua Coat.
Image

That's all for now folks. Hope to have another update in about a week.

Cheers

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:44 pm 
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Hi. It's been a few weeks. Was waiting for more parts and had friends visit for a week.

Continued... The fretboard - Usually fretboards are not oak and they are not painted black like the RS.
When I installed the pearl dots and sanded them down, about half the black ink dye was sanded off. So I re-dyed it black but... the pearl absorbed some black and each dot was cleaned with a Q-Tip and solivent.
So I still had a second fretboard to make and decided to improve the process.
On the second fretboard I drilled the 1/4" pearl dot holes first. Then filed the holes with black epoxy before inserting the pearl 6mm dots which are a tad smaller than 1/4". The black epoxy fills the larger hole and there is no gap.
Once the epoxy sets I radius the fretboard with dots and no sanding is required. Nice!
Image

Then before putting on the black dye I covered the pearl dots with 1/4" red stickers from the local stationary store.
Image

The fret slots will be done after a clear finish is applied to the fretboard to eliminate masking the frets.

The bridge has 6 brass nuts that hold down the 6 aluminum pieces. The brass nuts are epoxied into 6 pocketed holes in the oak bridge block. To ensure perfect alignment I temporarily crazy glued the 6 aluminum pices together and mounted the 6 brass nuts. Once assembled I epoxied the brass into the oak block.
Image

The tremolo blade is held in place by 3 screws and (2 bolts that go right through the guitar body). Brian did not want it to come loose because mahogany veneer will cover the tremolo blade. I have pointed out the 2 bolts on the blade with red arrows and show the 2 back nuts on the body back which again will be covered with mahogany veneer.
The tremolo arm pivots on the blade. The string tension and the 2 motor cycle valve springs tension keep the tremolo arm balanced. This system along with using a zero fret allows the guitar to stay in tune better than most guitars.
Image

In this image I have glued the upper and lower half's of the body together. I removed the tremolo blade and soldered a ground wire to the metal tremolo tension block. Also soldered the pieces of copper foil together in the electrical cavity. Painted the neck cavity black. Showing both fretboards.
Image

Mahogany Veneer Color - I have hundreds of images of the Red Special guitar and 90 of them are of the origional. Yet... most of the color pictures show Brian Mays Red Special in different colors for one reason or another. This image shows 6 different colors and all 6 are of Brian's original guitar.
Image

In the last few weeks I have been experimenting with many stains ($$$) on the mahogany veneer I have made the decision. The stain below gives me the red shade I want. I also added the stain to the grain filler. Once a high gloss finish is applied it will look stunning. I hope you agree?
Image

Next...
Veneer the body and add the top/bottom white bindings.
Make the neck.

I'll have an update in about a week just before we jump on a bird to a family wedding.

Cheers

_________________
Rick Hubka
Chemainus BC Canada


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:00 am 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:39 am
Posts: 83
Hurry up and update us already! Following eagerly! Great build and fascinating to learn about the construction of this unique guitar.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:53 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 4:02 am
Posts: 2109
Location: The Woodlands, Texas
First name: Barry
Last Name: Daniels
I suggest making the pore filler a little bit darker. This will help to enhance the grain which is what I see in the photos of the original.


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