New Javamagic project under way - John Cipollina Tribute SG!!!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by javamagic, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

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    Javamagic!!!
    Sweetness! Looks like a very cool project. Like those low cut bevel pics :D deep man.
    :)
    I personally like the following option for SG's, that it's getting an ebony fretboard. Forgive me if I missed it, but, do you have pickups and hardwear already picked out?

    One thing I'm curious about since you put the truss rod in straight. How would that effect the adjustment for the amount of relief/bow in the neck?
    Excellent project!
     
  2. javamagic

    javamagic Well-Known Member

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    I have most of the parts I need for this project, having been collecting them over the past few years. I've got a pair of Fralin humbuckers, a Gibson ABR-1, Bigsby B-5 and Grover Imperial tuners. I will probably get the Vintage SG wiring kit from RS Guitarworks but will not be wiring the guitar in stereo as the original. I shall be buying the knobs next week and adding coins to the tops to replicate the dimes that Cipollina had on his.

    As for the truss rod there's a certain amount of luck involved. ;D The requirement is for the string tension to put some relief in the neck and to use the truss rod to counteract any excessive bow. With a laminated neck and a fairly rigid fingerboard there should be an inherent amount of stiffness and, as the relief needed is minimal, there is always the possibility of putting some into the frets. As I said about my "Blue Meanie" Coronet style guitar, the laminated neck has been fine for 30 years as has only needed a slight adjustment on one occasion, just tweaking the tension on the rod a little. :)
     
  3. njpaulc

    njpaulc Active Member

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    Boy, I wish I had enough talent to be able to think about what you're doing.

    Cipollina had a number of SG's. One was built on a '61 Les Paul SG and was, I believe, featured in a late '60's issue of GUITAR PLAYER . The one you are building might have been based on a similar vintage 3 pickup custom, explaining the block markers on the neck, the laminate on the top to cover the hole for middle pick-up, and the sall heel where the neck joins the body. Ron Sanchez, (Donavans Brain?) who was a friend of Cipollina's and introduced him to Man, has said the Cipollina was always modding SG's, and Gary Duncan, the other Quicksilver guitarist, would play his projects with the band, sometimes before they were completed.

    I can't wait to see your finished guitar, it looks like it will be something special.
     
  4. Tricone

    Tricone Member

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    Javamagic,

    Cipollina's guitar is amazing looking! I can't wait to see the finished project.
     
  5. Voxman

    Voxman Moderator Staff Member

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    Outstanding Java. simply outstanding
     
  6. Six String

    Six String Moderator Staff Member

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    Ditto that JM! 8)
     
  7. javamagic

    javamagic Well-Known Member

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    Have now got the ebony fingerboard and head overlay so work will recommence when I get back to Ireland next week. Currently in England seeing family and old friends over the holiday period. Hope you're all having a good one. :)
     
  8. javamagic

    javamagic Well-Known Member

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    Got a bit of work done this week. Tapered and radiused the fingerboard

    [​IMG]

    Marked up the fret positions. The ebony has been given a coat of white emulsion to make it easier to see the marks.

    [​IMG]

    Those are the precut block inlays beside the fingerboard.
    Also cut the rebates for the headstock overlay inlays and glued them into position (hence the sticky black mess all over the face). The ebony overlay is 2mm thick so has been cross-banded with a rosewood veneer to bring it up to about 3.2mm. This will also serve to strengthen the head. Got to wait for the Araldite to cure properly before I sand it down.

    [​IMG]

    Will be getting to work on the fingerboard soon. Have just bought a book, "The Les Paul Legacy", which has some clearer pics of John Cipollina's SG in it and have noticed that one of the inlays I've cut (fret 20 to be precise) is actually an S shape rather than a W. Can I be bothered to cut a new one? I don't know yet! ;D
    BTW, the book is very interesting with lots of facts and info about Les, his career, guitars, Gibson prototypes and production models right up to 1963, including SG models. There's also a second volume covering 1968-2007 but I haven't seen that one. :)
     
  9. barbas23

    barbas23 Active Member

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    fantastic stuff O0
     
  10. javamagic

    javamagic Well-Known Member

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    OK Cipollina fans, the inlays are done!

    First the routs for the block inlays

    [​IMG]

    The blocks glued in and the tricky bastard routs done

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The finished inlays

    [​IMG]

    The head overlay, laminated with a rosewood veneer on the back

    [​IMG]

    And in close up, frets 7-14 ...

    [​IMG]

    ... and 14-22.

    [​IMG]

    Enjoy. :)
     
    ninjaking67 likes this.
  11. barbas23

    barbas23 Active Member

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    :Bangin:
     
  12. Tricone

    Tricone Member

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    :Droolin: Wow! That looks outstanding!!
     
  13. javamagic

    javamagic Well-Known Member

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    Have been working on the neck since the fret tang nipper arrived from Stew-Mac. I also made some fret bending pliers from an old pair by grinding a groove in one face and wrapping masking tape around the other. Here's the neck with the frets cut and ready to go...

    [​IMG]

    ... and with frets installed and the ends nipped and filed to a nice rounded edge, i.e just onto the binding.

    [​IMG]

    The head overlay being glued in position. Note the small blocks glued temporarily to the paddle to locate the overlay in the correct position.

    [​IMG]

    And the finished article with the holes drilled for the Grover Imperials.

    [​IMG]

    Here's the back of the head with the rosewood "stinger", added to replicate the ebony of the Cipollina original and to add strength to the multiple pieces of mahogany used in construction.

    [​IMG]

    The neck has been profiled and has given a neck thickness at the first fret of just under 24mm. It has a slightly triangular section at this point but rounds out down the neck, only gaining about one millimetre in thickness along the length. Neck thickness has been determined by the depth of the truss rod rout and I suppose it could have been reduced if I'd planed the fingerboard a bit thinner but that's one of those things you learn as you progress. :roll:

    [​IMG]

    The side dots are 2mm abalone. With all that pearl on the fingerboard it seemed a bit cheap to go with plastic! ;D The finished neck, nearly ready for gluing to the body. I shall apply sanding sealer and grain filler to the neck and body seperately before gluing together. It's just a case of makingb life a bit easier for myself in the process.

    [​IMG]

    While I had the Araldite at hand I also glued the coins to the knobs. These are old Irish 5 pence coins (pre-Euro!) which have a harp on one face and a bull on the other. In a fit of inspiration I realised that the bull would do for volume and the harp as tone. BTW they are Schaller metal speed knobs.

    [​IMG]

    All being well I should have the sealing and grain filling done in the next week or so and then glue the two parts together. I'll update when that happens. :)
     
  14. barbas23

    barbas23 Active Member

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    :coolsmiley: :coolsmiley: :coolsmile

    neat!
     
  15. mr_dj07

    mr_dj07 Member

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    Java, this is truly a work of art.

    It's absolutely gorgeous !!
     
  16. javamagic

    javamagic Well-Known Member

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    OK, so after applying grain filler and a few coats of sanding sealer (I'm using acrylic) I got the neck glued to the body.

    [​IMG]

    Uncramped it this morning and cleaned up the bit between the end of the neck and the pickup rout. I then set out the bridge position and the Bigsby and, with an extra long 3mm bit, drilled the earth connection though to the control cavity. To get the bridge position I got out my '64 Standard and transferred the measurements from the last fret to the bridger post centres. This is when I began sweating and a moment of panic set in. The bridge was too close to the pickup mounting! Oh ****! I got out my Custom and checked the measurements from that and it worked out OK. Heaved sigh of relief. I measured the scales on both guitars and the Std is longer than the Custom. I had taken all the measurements from the Custom, including the fret spacing but picked up the Standard as it was nearer. Anybody else noticed differences in scale lengths on their supposedly identical/same model/same year guitars?

    Luckily it got sorted and work will (hopefully) proceed through the finishing process without problems. Here's the happily married parts (with the holes drilled in the right places) hanging in my kitchen awaiting some more coats of sanding sealer. For those of you who are interested the bare weight of this thing is around 5 1/2 lbs. :)

    [​IMG]

    More pictures soon, all being well.
     
  17. AznSGPlayer

    AznSGPlayer Member

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    wow looks great, cant wait till its done!
     
  18. Six String

    Six String Moderator Staff Member

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    That is a pretty impressive combination you have there............! 8)
     
  19. sgtbeefheart

    sgtbeefheart Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't want to be the rest of the guitar, having to live up to that neck.

    In fact, I'd be happy to have the neck, and forget the rest.

    That's a great job you've done. :Bangin:
     
  20. barbas23

    barbas23 Active Member

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    rock on! :Bangin:
     

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