2 New  Cutaway Archtop Plectrum Guitars

Working with a builder overseas, trying to get what I need for a 22 fret cutaway
First Bodies and necks arrived.
Something is always lost in translation so the necks are too long, and the fingerboards are not slotted.
So I will use these necks to make template necks so that one can be sent back for build changes.
I'm going for 26 1/2 scale since I found a quality board I had in stock tonight.
Rosewood, CNC slotted

Initial pics

I will not use dove tails, preferring a bolt on neck

Dovetail removed to get measurements

The neck scales out at 29", far too long.
The also misinterpreted "No Frets" as "No slots", that is easily remedied on next run

I will have to come forward this amount, all of the heel will go away, extension will grow longer

With a 26-1/2" board, this shows how far I have to go with this neck neck, to get there

Taking off the heel looking for the end of truss

Now to get as close to it as I can....

I can see it at the back of the cut, stopping here

Now this is how the finished neck would look, in Length/Fingerboard extension

I will fabricate the old heel back to the neck, shape it all in, and make it fit the body with the attachment method I have planned.
Then pull old Fingerboard, install  bound -  CNC slotted board.
Then we will have a good template to go forth
As time permits, this is a pet project

Stage 2
More on the Prototype neck

Building up with laminate to level my rough cut
Heel attached where I want it, glued and screwed for the initial set, more to follow.

Now to Sure-form it all to the level I want

Close, now some finer cutting

Building up around periphery of the heel, will use cut wood, wood dust and glue

Profile I want

Removing the un-slotted fingerboard

very easy, going well, and quick

Their glue is the equivalent of our construction adhesives used on buildings.
Sort of a Strong caulk, it feels just like what I have used in construction.

New CNC board from Allen Guitar, 26.25" scale

Scoring the neck and board for good glue anchor bond.
Never leave your stuff "Slick"

ready to rough shape with sure-form.
It takes years of using one , to know how hard to push, very aggressive but fast, and I'm not trying to make a perfect neck, just the proper template for others to come.

A shot of black just to give me some sanding indicators, and a look of where it started to where it is now.

My plan is to come in thru the heel as I stated, and have threaded collars set in the neck block to sink screws into that will be hidden with plugs
I will also come thru fingerboard with 2 screws that go down both sides of the heel, missing the truss pocket but adding extra retention for the Mule neck.
They will be covered with inlays, in the National Triolian manner.

Made a dot so I wouldn't have to look for 12 every time.
12.75" from nut face to 12 fret ctr.

Making me right on the F hole cut, suits me.

Here I am "pinning the heel with 3/32 brass tubing.
Will cut it short enough to get inlay over it
Thru the fingerboard, I want some retention for this Prototype neck because I guarantee you some poor player out there will want this first guitar  no matter the research and development and that will help finance a few more is my guess.
It will be very affordable.
This heel will be as strong or stronger than a normal heel, and finish /inlay will hide the efforts.

Simple split diamonds, leftovers from Liberty Banjo Co. , many many moons ago now.
R.I.P.  Paul, thanks for helping me get started.

Side markers in

All inlays in

Now I am coming from the bottom with 2 more tubes, and ending up in the fingerboard, just more retention

After final sanding
Ivoroid heel cap to hide it all, a shot of tint and clear, its looking like a heel.
Now to the top for awhile

Drilled for 3/8 tuners, will use Banjo style, not Horizontal

Fretting with 147 wire

Stopped to cut the extension. I like a flair.

Ready to for inlay on peghead

Something else from the box.
Now to dye it and add a logo furnished by Mr. Mike Soares, the man that keeps the parts coming.

Ready for some clear coats and a nut

Coming along, now I will have something to show the builders so the next run will be more "production"

Shot a coat of sealer on the body
Stuck some mock up parts on for a look
Now to mount the neck
I will do a simple mount that will be very strong and easy to remove.
One screw thru the heel, countersunk
2 thru the fingerboard at the 15 fret, into the neck block
3 point mount will hold this neck nice and tight with no glue joint.

I will get 2.5" into the block, plenty of retention

The next 2 will go on each side of this inlay.

Drilled thru top for 2 more mounting screws to be hidden with inlay

Tuners installed, Gotoh
Tortoise shell colored pick, now a truss cover
No expense is spared on this Mule.

A part from a banjo armrest that will suffice for a string post for the G-D string angle needs

After installing strings, the scale  pressed the bridge too far towards the tailpiece which would choke tone.
My measurement for scale  appears to be this much off, to get my octave correct, and the bridge centering the Fholes
So I must add a spacer block to push the neck back to where it will compensate the scale and make the bridge land where I want it.
Not sure where I missed the mark, but I missed it big time.
It matters not other than hours spent, this is all an experiment to get something right, and then the maker can build to suit..

Adding the block

Stringing up to check octave

Body now meets the neck at 15.25" from nut face to body
before it was 14.5"

Once again checking the scale for the 100th time...

 12.75" to center of 12 fret

26.5, on the F hole split....moving on as time allows,
Not this week.
Tone, for sure will only be good as electric.
This will not be an acoustic wonder without amplification.


Since I want to have this neck ready for showing as a prototype I will add the "D" profile that I like, not what was on it.
Its a temp finish and good to show contour as I remove it quickly with Sure-form

After adding the tint back on and fading it to the heel and peghead colors
Body also got its fine sanding, tints and 1st clear coat.

3rd tint, that makes 3 :)
now it will be clear coats to the finish line.

That is 2 coats on, showing some depth. it will get 6 total, not looking for thick mirror'ed finish on prototypes

Bottom tape will stay on until I shoot the back next

Tint 1

Tint 2

Tint 3, with 1st clear coat

Now for 3 shots of clear, that will be all for this Mule.

Shaping the contour on bridge base to match body
Starting with flat bottom.

Out of long sand paper tonight so will get the bulk of it done and then go get paper tomorrow.
This is 80 grit, with 2 sheets paper under so as not to allow finish to heat up with the friction.

I stay as centered as possible with strings over fingerboard and slightly tight
You see the middle cutting first

Then it gets wider as it matches the radius
We will go until we run out of paper at the side

That's close, will finish it up tomorrow.
Going ahead with setup.


Finish is cured enough to go ahead
Will not worry about buffing it.
I will the neck, because I'm practicing some "distressing" techniques I have been working on.
Some players want a worn look, its like Blue Jeans :)

I will say again ..."Prototype" its never been meant to be perfect, just get a point across to our parts makers.
I will stop here and wait on the electrics.

My old amigo  Kurt Abell and our buddy Dave Frey looking over from the back.
What better people to have in the background of a Plectrum instrument.
R.I.P. Dave!

Mike made me a simple setup, he calls it "Vinnie Proof"
I am not known for my knowledge in this realm:)

I made a paper template for the cut out

Will place the pickup and controls in the same place as my ETG -150

Rough cut made

Smoothed up, control and pickup holes drilled

Making a trim plate from ivoroid

I will get it strung up to see how high the pickup needs to go, it is a high elevated fingerboard on this one.
I may need to make a taller trim plate, we will see.

Strung to pitch, I plugged it up and got tone and volume, will start adjustments.