Guitar build CD60-7

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ASSEMBLY

I will assemble the parts and pieces to finish this project. The photo above shows a Piezo under saddle pickup. We provided for this element earlier in the build, test fitted it and trimmed the saddle to accommodate it. This guitar will have two separate sound sources, the Piezo and a single coil pickup mounted in the sound hole. Each will have its own EQ control and its own output in the form of a ¼ inch cable plug-in.

This is the plastic plate I built out of scrap to hold the dual ¼ inch jack plates. I simply need to mount the dual jacks, add some dots to define which is for which and install it. I will also smooth out the rough cuts and polish the edges before I am done with it.

Here the opening is rough cut for the dual EQ controllers. The next image is the controllers installed. They are very straight forward single channel controllers. Each controls one output. They are not yet marked, but I devised a red dot and a blue dot to determine which is which that will correspond to the output plate. That way I will know which output I am dealing with.

I wanted this setup so I could run each line out separately to their own EQ, mix it for sound, and shoot it out to the same or a separate amp for FX, mixing, or what have you.

Strap buttons and a small digital tuner. Because I pre-drilled and cut all the holes these items drop write in with no trouble. The in-body chromatic tuner includes its own Piezo element and its own battery source. I have used this style before and found it both accurate and unobtrusive.

At this stage the bridge is test mounted, the electronics are mounted in the side, and the strap buttons are on. The wiring inside is very straight forward, the ¼ inch jack plugs are wired to a plug that plugs directly into the EQ, and the Piezo and the single coil are pre-wired to plugs that plug directly into the back of the EQ.

I made the connections during the test fitting, soldered the connections and all that was left was to physically connect them: Another benefit of thoroughly test fitting everything beforehand. In this case I simply installed the items via screws, plugged them in, used a tie back to secure the wiring so it would not flop around inside the instrument and I was done.

Next, using my home built jig I installed the bridge. I am using the wing nuts through the screw holes that will eventually be used to supplement the bridge as it was on the Ovation donor body. It would be equally easy to go through the string holes and use the clamp on a traditional bridge.

The next step before gluing is to check the bridge for squareness with the neck: To do this simply measure from the fret board to the bridge on either side so you are at equal distance on each side. Make an unobtrusive mark in pencil, or use a small piece of masking tape on the sound board to mark your position back from the neck.

Next, using an 18 inch level, check that the bridge is centered with the neck. Check both sides and mark again, either with an unobtrusive pencil mark or a piece of tape. We are now ready to set the bridge. You can see that the scrap piece is a bit more than just a scrap piece. But if you look closely it is not hard to build something similar. There are extensions on each side that fall over the bridge full length. These extensions have extra pieces glued to the bottom so that they will make contact with the lower portions of the bridge before they bottom out on the raised center. This allows you to spread the clamping force across the entire bridge surface.

Once you have all your measurements marked, remove the jig and apply glue, I use Aliphatic Resin, to the bottom of the bridge and the area of the soundboard that it will make contact with. Touch the two together and then pull them apart. Reset the bridge and align it with your marks. Install the jig and the bolts.

At this stage tighten until the glue begins to squeeze out. Check for squareness, and remember once it is set it is all over, so make sure you have squared it to the neck using your marks and that you have used sufficient down force without over tightening and squeezing out all the glue. Wipe the excess glue up immediately with a damp cloth. Leave it set for the next 24 hours as you attend to other things with the build.

Once the bridge has set up, remove the jig and the bolts, install the original bolts, washers and nuts that came with the donor bridge and tighten them down. I use a dab of Aliphatic Resin on the nuts and take them just past hand tightened. The glue will set and hold the nuts so they will not loosen from string vibration, yet they will easily come apart if need be.

I capped the bolt holes with a matched pair of ceramic skulls. It was fairly easy to carve the backs of the skulls into a round shape that would fit snugly into the old holes using a flat file.

I next installed the single coil pickup that is suspended over the sound hole.

This is a very straight forward installation. Center the pickup for the string spread, in this case slightly angled, tighten the screws, plug it into the EQ destined for it. The cable itself will be tie wrapped on the inside to keep it from causing problems or phantom sounds.

The plate is installed and the dots, one red, one blue, with corresponding dots on each EQ allows you to know exactly which output you are dealing with. I made the dots with an 1/8 inch drill bit and a stop set onto the bit so it would drill no deeper than 1/16 inch. I drilled the holes and then filled them with red or blue lacquer using a toothpick to flow the paint into the bowl created by the drill bit.

The installation is clean and simple, but allows me to run lines out to separate amps or lines into my computer for different FX or sound mixing inside the studio software I use. The Guitar can also be mic-ed and played like a standard acoustic guitar, so if I am trying out something I can pick it up and just go.

I installed the machine heads and strung up the guitar with the same type of strings I had set it up with. There were a few very minor corrections, adjusting the single coil at a slightly steeper angle to align with the string spread, carving and installing the two small skulls to close off the old bolt holes that the Ovation bridge uses. I had thought to re-use the small dots instead, but I simply didn’t like the look. The skulls were something I had picked up months before. Although ceramic they are able to be hand carved using a flat file and easily shaped at the back to be inserted into the holes.

The guitar plays beautifully. It sounds amazing as well.

ACCOUNTING

I built this guitar on a tight budget, a pick this part up here, that part up there kind of budget. Here is the breakdown:

Guitar husk Fender CD-60 ———————————————- $25.00

Ovation bridge (Recycled from the AdjustOvation project) —- $00.00

Mini EQ X 2 —————————————————————– $19.99

Dual ¼ inch jacks ———————————————————- $05.00

Strap buttons (Recycled from CD-60)——————————— $00.00

Bone Saddle and Nut set————————————————- $10.00

Alesis Single Coil pickup ———————————————— $12.99

Scrap plastic, wire, etc. ————————————————— $02.00

Paint (Rattle cans and spayed clear coat, primer/sealer ——— $22.00

In guitar Chromatic tuner ———————————————– $08.00

Total ————————————————————————–$104.98

Of course the labor would be figured in, in most cases, but this is a project that you are doing for yourself so labor hardly matters. But, for the record, I put approximately 10 hours total into this project including the neck repair, fret leveling job, shaping and set-up for the saddle and nut upgrade, prep and paint.

Get the manual at Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/guitar-works-volume-four-the-cd60-build/id1357860865