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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 8:45 am 
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I'm loving watching the progression of this, Dennis. It's going to look fantastic, and I'm sure it will have a sound to match.

Are you bringing it to St Louis this weekend? I'd love to see it in person.


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 8:50 pm 
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Even if its not finished you need to make it to St. Louis this year.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:34 pm 
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Love following this thread. Any updates?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:38 am 
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Kent Wilkinson wrote:
Love following this thread. Any updates?

Not really. I should record some sound clips though. I've had it strung up fretless since the St. Louis gathering, and it sounds wonderful.

The bad news is, I once again failed to understand the geometry of a low-bridge neck, and made the fingerboard too thick. Which means that I need to plane it down, which means that I'll probably need to deepen the fret slots, which means I need to buy that little refretting saw from StewMac to do it without having to sacrifice the binding. And I think I'll have to alter the neck angle by about 1/16-1/8" of height at the nut end as well, which is kind of a good thing since I can make a shim to fix the divot at the headblock while I'm at it. But I'm not sure what to do about humidity since I probably won't be able to get it below 45% until November or so, and if I do the neck adjustment in 45%, it'll probably crack in the winter [headinwall] I suppose I could plane the fingerboard, fret it, play it with a low saddle all summer, then pull the frets, adjust the angle, re-level and re-fret

Actually, maybe I could do it all now, and then just unglue and reglue the heel area of the back when the humidity goes down to relax it. I still won't be able to do back binding until winter, but it'll save me some fretwire.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:45 pm 
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I was sorry to read about the current status of "The Haunt". My newest Harp guitar "Hawk and Dove" is (as of today) ready for finish. Just keep workin' on it and you WILL get 'er done!

Michael


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:41 am 
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I would love to attempt a Harp Uke like the one you made.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:37 am 
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Michael wrote:
I was sorry to read about the current status of "The Haunt". My newest Harp guitar "Hawk and Dove" is (as of today) ready for finish. Just keep workin' on it and you WILL get 'er done!

Michael


Lets see it now, Michael! Eat Drink


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:32 pm 
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I still have a few coats of lacquer to spray so no hardware or bridge is installed. I can post a current pic in the finishing booth or if you want I can start a build thread here (though I have been doing that elsewhere). It will be complete by mid September.

Michael



These users thanked the author Michael for the post: Beth Mayer (Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:15 pm)
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:12 pm 
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Michael wrote:
I still have a few coats of lacquer to spray so no hardware or bridge is installed. I can post a current pic in the finishing booth or if you want I can start a build thread here (though I have been doing that elsewhere). It will be complete by mid September.

Michael

Let's see it :)


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:10 pm 
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OK... It will be prettier when it is done.

Image

Image

Image

It will have 6 regular guitar strings, 7 bass strings and 8 super trebles with individual fine tuners for each super treb located on the bridge.

Michael


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:35 am 
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Michael wrote:
OK... It will be prettier when it is done.

Image

Image

Image

It will have 6 regular guitar strings, 7 bass strings and 8 super trebles with individual fine tuners for each super treb located on the bridge.

Michael

Good Lord, Michael.....it's incredible. Please do a thread on it when it's finished.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:17 pm 
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Lots of respect here! Seems a hell lot of work to do a harp guitar and you're doing it very finely! [:Y:]


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 1:00 am 
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Ok, thanks to duh Padma giving me a little kick in the rump, I finally got back to work on this thing a few days ago :)

I decided to take my chances on the neck angle and try thinning the fingerboard and fretting as-is. The integral headblock should force the fret plane to remain flat even if I do have to shift it a bit afterward.

So, deepen the fret slots with StewMac refret saw and an x-acto knife ground to a sort of micro-chisel. This granadillo fingerboard seems to be pretty chippy... a couple big ones peeled up. I glued the biggest, and thought one of the others would sand out after the thinning, but unfortunately it didn't... so there's a small chip above the 15th fret if you look closely.

So, plane down the board some, sand the radius, polish it up, bevel the edges of the slots just a bit with a needle file, and here's the chip:
Attachment:
FingerboardChip.jpg

I've always had trouble getting frets into slots. Not sure if my saw cuts too narrow or what. But a while back, I bought the StewMac fret barber (http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_tools_for_Fretting/Fret_Barber.html), and finally got to try it out on this one. I'm using LMI fretwire FW9666, so .019" tang width, and .032" barbs. I filed them down to .026", and they went in perfectly. Still a bit of pounding, but not enough to damage anything. Excellent tool [:Y:]

But before the installation, I decided to try a new approach to shaping the fret ends. I like the spherical shape rather than beveled, which usually involves filing away a bit of wood in the process of rounding off the corners that are in contact with the fingerboard. So this time I decided to try cutting them to precise length and rounding the ends before installing them. I used my XXC and XF diamond stones.
Attachment:
FretEndShaping.jpg

Then sand 320-400-600-1500 grit, and polish with a 12000 micro-mesh pad. Took a long time, but I think it was a little faster than doing it on the guitar, and they came out more perfect too. Plus I made them just a hair shorter than the full width of the board, so there's no way to snag your fingernail under the end of a fret when playing over the board. Particularly important on this one, with 24 frets.

Then for each fret, fill the slot with hide glue, carefully position the fret and push it in a bit, hammer it home, and peel away the squeeze-out with fingernails.

Unfortunately, hammering didn't get them absolutely level, so I had to go back with a wood block and cam clamp and C clamp to press the centers down all the way.
Attachment:
FretPress2.jpg

Attachment:
FretPress.jpg

The wire came bent to about 17" radius, and the fingerboard is 20", so maybe I should have straightened it out a bit before cutting the frets. But it all turned out nicely in the end. Fret rocker still taps a tiny bit in a few spots, so I'll probably level them later, but close enough for now. One day I hope to get them perfect on the first shot, so I can keep the original fretwire profile and shininess.

The 12th fret action is about 3/32" on the low E and 1/16" on the high E. Not bad, but still a little high for my taste. But the saddle is still a little over the 3/8" design height, so I can bring it down a bit, and I don't think I'll be needing a neck reset. Yay! A whole summer of procrastination for nothing [headinwall]

I did a photo shoot this morning and video a couple hours ago, so as soon as that finishes uploading I'll make another post so y'all can hear it :D My strings are a little dead after hanging on the wall all summer and corroding, and then I tried polishing them with that micro-mesh pad to see if it would fix the rough, hard to play surface... it did make them smoother, but also made the wound strings sound like crap :lol: Guess I'll have to order some more.

But overall I'm pretty happy with the sound. The high range has a bit of that "hollowness" I got on a previous experimental guitar, but not too bad. I think it may be caused by notching the smaller braces into the X at too tall of height. I'll try keeping it a maximum of 1/16" notch height next time. Low harp strings are a little weak, but about as good as I could expect from a box this size and low tension strings. I still want to try building one of my early instrument concepts that I came up with before I knew much about guitar design: the piano harp guitar :D
Attachment:
PianoHarpGuitar.png

Named for the piano shaped end of the soundbox, which should allow you to tilt it up some before the bottom runs into the floor, when sitting on the floor and playing like I normally do. The basic idea was to make the soundbox as big as is humanly possible to play in normal guitar holding position. Any bigger and you'd have to change to a cello or upright bass position.

I think I'll remove the armrest bevel, since I now realize they have more benefit for smaller guitars, where your forearm rests on the edge, rather than this monster that will reach more to the elbow. And I'll shorten the harp arm to be more like The Haunt, but have the bass strings increase in length more quickly, extending back onto the "piano" section. The only question is... how to brace it?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 1:47 am 
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Photos and video :D I still need to do the back binding, headstock logo inlay, make a truss rod cover, round over the bindings, and work on the finish a bit more, but it's pretty great just like it is.

Attachment:
FrontLarge.jpg

Attachment:
FrontAngle.jpg

Attachment:
BackAngle.jpg

Attachment:
Cutaway.jpg

Attachment:
FretEnds.jpg

Attachment:
Heel.jpg

Attachment:
Rosette.jpg

Attachment:
Snake.jpg



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:25 pm 
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Really awesome, Dennis! I so enjoy reading your thought process as you do the various steps. I've had the same problem getting my frets all the way in, even when I think they are….and end up doing an unacceptable amount of leveling. I may try that Fret Barber. I have filed the tangs by hand, but talk about adding time to the procedure!

It looks and sounds really great. I wish I had your long fingers for playing. You play beautifully. [clap]


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:44 am 
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Beth Mayer wrote:
Really awesome, Dennis! I so enjoy reading your thought process as you do the various steps. I've had the same problem getting my frets all the way in, even when I think they are….and end up doing an unacceptable amount of leveling. I may try that Fret Barber. I have filed the tangs by hand, but talk about adding time to the procedure!

It looks and sounds really great. I wish I had your long fingers for playing. You play beautifully. [clap]

Thanks Beth :) The long fingers are indeed useful (especially for piano). I designed the string spacing on this one specifically so I could pluck the lowest and highest at the same time without too much of a stretch. The sub basses are pretty close together though, and I can't reliably jump around them without looking yet. I need to try some smaller people on it and see if they think the sub basses should be spaced wider, bunch everything even closer so short fingers can reach them all, or if it's good as it is.

Another minor issue of the spacing is that if I pluck the second lowest string, and then the lowest, both at high amplitude, they can run into eachother and rattle.

I also have an odd buzzing problem on the 3 lowest strings. Odd because it goes away for a while (individually for each string) if I detune them and then bring them back up to pitch. I thought it was the windings on the strings rattling at the post due to my skipping any "nut" for the basses, but after spiralling them down the posts so the string is never in contact with itself, it still happens. May be at the saddle instead... perhaps due to the large windings indenting the African blackwood, and then shifting a bit as it settles under tension? I'll keep fiddling with it.

Anyway, I've tweaked the intonation and action some now, but went a little too low and get some fret rattles here and there. I'll make a slightly taller bone saddle as soon as I can find a blank long enough. Or maybe just glue two together with CA.

I made a couple more recordings today with new strings on the neck (higher gauge, too). I need to get a new audio interface box for my computer so I can use my good microphone. Old one died a while back, so I'm just using my camera for now.
http://deku.rydia.net/music/haunt_2013dec08.mp3
http://deku.rydia.net/music/haunt_2013dec08_2.mp3


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:40 am 
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Wowsers! Didn't see your post on the 1st! So beautiful, Dennis! Incredibly impressive.
Having that extra bass at your fingertips seems like so much fun!

Congratulations! This thread is inspirational!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:17 am 
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Congratulations, that is a very cool instrument and it sounds great. I really like all of the inlays and the overall design of the instrument.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 2:17 am 
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Here are a couple more recordings of this one. Still no masterpieces produced on it yet (at least not while I happened to be recording), but might as well keep posting the decent ones :)
http://deku.rydia.net/music/haunt_2014jul19.mp3
http://deku.rydia.net/music/haunt_2014dec21.mp3

And some notes after a couple years of extreme humidity exposure...

Similar to Coral Snake, this one shows that my spool clamp method of gluing the back on isn't fast enough with hide glue. Popped in the bottom center in low humidity during the first winter. But after regluing, it's held just fine. Also popped a back brace in the harp arm, which was feathered down to nothing rather than notched into the linings. May have also been due to cold glue, but I'm fairly sure notching would have held it even in that case, so I'll be doing that in the future. Reglued working through the soundhole, and no problems since.

One of the back center seams opens slightly in the winter, due to the osage orange grain going toward flatsawn as it approaches the seam, so it curls outward when dry. Doesn't cause any issues so I just leave it. A solid wood backstrip inlaid at half the back thickness would probably hold it closed, but would be aesthetically bad on this one.

Also got one small back crack right above the upper transverse brace on the bass side a few months ago, and glued it. First time I've gotten an actual crack since building in low humidity, though it actually wasn't that low at the time I was working on the back, so I was drying it with heat before each operation, and together with the popping of the rim joint, I don't think I was getting it dry enough.

Other than those issues, all is well. The bracing stiffness seems to be just right, and I'd say my hunch to use 3/8" string-height-at-bridge to reduce bridge torque was a good one. I still need to raise the saddle a bit for the high E string... I actually haven't changed the strings since the last update, despite playing it most days :P They're in surprisingly good shape. Newtone Master Class, if I recall.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:40 am 
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:shock: :shock: :shock:

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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 11:59 pm 
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really lovely work. Are the tuners friction pegs or peg heads? If the latter, would you recommend them/what's the gear ratio?


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 1:00 am 
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oval soundhole wrote:
really lovely work. Are the tuners friction pegs or peg heads? If the latter, would you recommend them/what's the gear ratio?

4:1 Pegheds. They're great tuners, but really designed for nylon strings. Using them on steels is much like using friction pegs on nylons. Functional, but very touchy.

My next harp guitar will have a slot head with regular tuners on the neck, but still Pegheds on the harp strings.

There are also 16:1 ratio Pegheds, but they cost more, and don't feel quite as tight and smooth as the 4:1. Still a good option though.


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