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dibart77

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Welcome to Day 8 of my annual New Year's New Guitar Days (NYNGD)!

Thanks for the kind words and comments on Thursday's NYNGD #2016-7!

OK. So we're cranking now. So far we revealed a classic Albert Lee, three MM90 Axis Sports/Super Sports, a Luke I and a Luke III, and the Tangerine Axis... Let's get rare -- how about a 20th Anniversary Silhouette?!? With a custom floating Floyd Rose, how bout?

OK, so this is a cool story. I found this 20th Anniversary Silhouette on eBay, and would normally pass by a Silo 20th because I already have one, but this one was interesting because it had an aftermarket floating Floyd Rose installed (all Silo 20th's had either a vintage trem or hardtail). The seller and I agreed on a fair price and I pulled the trigger.

Some interesting facts: my first Silo 20th was my 33rd guitar, and I purchased it on 11/07/2006; this new Silo 20th is my 133rd guitar (ID number G-0133) -- 100 higher than the original -- and was purchased on 11/23/2016 -- ten years and 16 days later.

When this guy arrived, though, I was less pleased. The guitar was a player's guitar, with some knicks and dents, but I could live with that if it had the mojo and the feel I love. As you can see, it's mostly in great condition, except for the headstock, which is in bad shape. I considered touching it up (I think I can match the stain color), but it seemed like too much of a pain since you can't see the dings from a few feet away.

More disappointing was the quality of the Floyd Rose install -- the floating route looked like it was routed freehand without a template, or maybe the template moved, but it looked BAD; and the headstock didn't have a string retainer -- anyone who knows Floyds knows that the strings have to be pulled DOWN through the locking nut or else when you tighten the locking nut pads the string will go way sharp.

So I decided it needed surgery. I completely disassembled the guitar -- neck off, bridge out, including the Floyd-style threaded bushings and tremolo studs (which are scary to take out with a big claw hammer and a piece of wood across the face of the guitar), pickups out, electronics out. And that's when I got another surprise -- the bridge pickup wasn't the stock DiMarzio Virtual PAF (which you can no longer get), it was a random Seymour Duncan. Bummer.

I used dowels and glue to fill the holes where the Floyd trem stud bushings came from, and then I used my EBMM-accurate floating Floyd Rose templates to drill new holes for EBMM-accurate Floyd studs and then routed the new floating Floyd route, which thankfully was slightly larger than the original (bunk) floating route. One interesting thing: when routing the floating cavity I was delightfully surprised to see the accent layers of ebony-maple-ebony under the maple cap, and then the mahogany tone block under that! See the close-up photo of the route below for that goodness. Really cool and reminds you of how damn cool EBMM and Dudley and Sterling are -- such cool touches!

After sealing the new route with Varithane I re-assembled the guitar with EBMM-authentic (old style) Floyd trem studs and a NOS EBMM Gotoh Floyd Rose trem. And was off to the races. Anytime you do a big mod on a guitar, like going from a vintage trem to a floating Floyd Rose, you run the risk of it just not feeling right, either because of some fluke with the install or something more opaque where the mod just doesn't jive with the original guitar's design. In this case, it is a triumph! This thing feels and plays like a million bucks! Like Sterling always planned to offer it with a floating Floyd (which, frankly, the Silo 20th should've been offered with, IMHO, since the floating Floyd was standard for many years on the Silo). Sounds great, too. The Seymour Duncan doesn't sound "bad", and isn't far from the sound of the bridge pickup on my other Silo 20th, so I can live with it.

So there you have it -- another guitar that was a disappointment on arrival and with some TLC (and 30 minutes with a router) you end up with an outstanding guitar! And because of the blems and dings and tarnished and scratched pickup covers, this is a Silo 20th I'd be cool with playing out live! Total win!


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I'll be back in the next day or so with another NYNGD: New Year's New Guitar Day!

Thanks for looking everyone!

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Past Days:
#2016-1 | #2016-2 | #2016-3 | #2016-4 | #2016-5 | #2016-6 | #2016-7 | #2016-8 | #2016-9 | #2016-10 | #2016-11 | #2016-12 | #2016-13 | #2016-14 |
#2016-1 | #2016-2 | #2016-3 | #2016-4 | #2016-5 | #2016-6 | #2016-7 | #2016-8 | #2016-9 | #2016-10 | #2016-11 | #2016-15 | #2016-16 | #2016-17
#2015-1 | #2015-2 | #2015-3 | #2015-4 | #2015-5 | #2015-6 | #2015-7 | #2015-8 | #2015-9 | #2015-10 | #2015-11 | #2015-12 | #2015-13 | #2015-14 |
#2015-1 | #2015-2 | #2015-3 | #2015-4 | #2015-5 | #2015-6 | #2015-7 | #2015-8 | #2015-9 | #2015-10 | #2015-11 | #2015-15 | #2015-16 | #2015-17
#2014-1 | #2014-2 | #2014-3 | #2014-4 | #2014-5 | #2014-6 | #2014-7 | #2014-8 | #2014-9 | #2014-10
#2013-1 | #2013-2 | #2013-3 | #2013-4 | #2013-5 | #2013-6
#2012-1 | #2012-2 | #2012-3 | #2012-4 | #2012-5 | #2012-6 | #2012-7

(The back story in case you're new to my NYNGD: For the past couple of years I've done a fun thing that most of you I think enjoyed, and I thought I would do it again this year. Every year, I am a slacker about keeping my Guitar Gallery up to date... So, as a fun holiday thing, let's launch a guitar in the Guitar Gallery each day leading up to New Years Eve! In the past I've received PM's about my collection and whether I play all of these guitars. :) The same question came up during my NYNGD posts a few years ago and my answer was pretty detailed and well thought-out, so please check it out here!)

(Also, in case anybody gets any funny ideas -- these guitars are not at my house. They are all in my very secure and alarmed studio facility. I usually only have two guitars floating around the house...)


 
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dibart77

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Wow. That came out just great! The ebony-maple-ebony thing is very cool too. I wonder how many people own one of these and don't know?!

Well, the ebony-maple-ebony you can see on the edge of the guitar, too. Kind of makes a natural binding. This is similar to how the BFR JPs and the LIII BFR are -- but those just have one 1/16" piece of rosewood between the maple top and the body wood which you can see. But on the Silo 20th, it's the 1/8" maple top (either quilted or flamed), a 1/16" layer of ebony, a 1/16" layer of maple, a 1/16" layer of ebony, and then the body back. You can see it on the side of the guitar (see the photos above). But seeing it in the middle when you're routing the body is pretty damn cool. And then seeing the mahogany tone block when you get further down is cool too!


 

jones4tone

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How did they keep the maple middle of the "ebony sandwich" from getting any of the darker stain from the top and sides of the body? Just very careful masking during finishing? When looking at the body of the 20th Silo I picked up this year, I wasn't sure if those layers were wood or some other material. Truly amazing to know the lighter layer is maple that didn't get stained.

Beautiful job on the Floyd reinstall, Jeff! I'd love to see a picture of one your routing templates, just to get an idea of what you work with.
 

beej

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Tremendous. Great story, killer guitar. Jeff, your collection is amazing. I can't read enough of these threads.
 

xjbebop

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AZ High Country
" (which are scary to take out with a big claw hammer and a piece of wood across the face of the guitar)"
Oh no.... you didn't..... dude....!!!! :p

Gorgeous guitar! Love the finish & the hippy sandwich!

As for the head stock, just looks like beauty marks to me... Rock that thing! :D
 

Cordarino

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Wow looks like it comes straight from the factory ( except for the dings: how can somebody treat so bad such a gorgeous guitar is out of my mind). Happy it ended in caring and skillful hands.
 

dibart77

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How did they keep the maple middle of the "ebony sandwich" from getting any of the darker stain from the top and sides of the body? Just very careful masking during finishing? When looking at the body of the 20th Silo I picked up this year, I wasn't sure if those layers were wood or some other material. Truly amazing to know the lighter layer is maple that didn't get stained.

Well, I'm actually guessing that it's ebony and maple. It's "very dark wood" and "light wood". The original 20th Anniversary cut sheet (the last photo above) just says "Alder body with bookmatched Maple top. Optional Premium Quality Top, Quilt or Flame". BP or Dudley or someone from EBMM would need to confirm what woods are in that sandwich and how they avoid getting the top and burst color on the accent binding. Actually, looking at the cut sheet, there's no mention of a mahogany tone block. Am I mistaken? The wood seemed darker than alder.


Beautiful job on the Floyd reinstall, Jeff! I'd love to see a picture of one your routing templates, just to get an idea of what you work with.

Thanks man! And thanks for the question. A few years ago when I was getting ready to make my Snakes Guitar, I made up routing templates in Adobe Illustrator and had them created in 1/4 acrylic. They were pretty cheap, maybe $15 each, and are laser cut exactly to my file. The templates have a center line laser etched in them, which you can align with the center line in the quilt top (or body blank, if no top). I have a few different ones. Here's a Silo body with the first template, which lets you drill the holes for the trem studs on the drill press, and the through hole for the trem block. You could also route the pickups and neck pocket from this if you wanted:

routing1.jpg


This is another 1/4" acrylic template, which has the floating Floyd cavity route. I worked PAINSTAKINGLY with a dozen trial and errors to get this 100% accurate to the EBMM Silo routing:

routing2.jpg


However, the 1/4" isn't "tall" enough for my templating bit, because the ball bearing is on the TOP of the cutter head:

routing3.jpg


To use the 1/4" template, you'd need to be routing a 5/8" deep hole, which (A) is usually deeper than you need to go, and (B) you would never do a 5/8" deep cut as one pass or your bit would be done quickly. If you try to use the 1/4" acrylic template and the bit isn't deep enough for the ball bearing to ride on the template, you end up routing (and ruining) your template (see the knicks in the thru hole on the first template above, where I did just that my first time.

So from that 1/4" template I made a duplicate in 3/4" MDF. But, of course, I can't see through the MDF to align with the center line on the guitar, so what I do is mount the acrylic template with double-sided tape, and then mount the MDF template on top of that and you feel with your fingers that the edges of the MDF's routing holes are perfectly aligned with the acrylic's holes. I use double sided tape to stick the MDF onto the acrylic, but then I usually use some deep throated Bessey clamps to hold the whole sandwich in place. Here's the body, acrylic, MDF sandwich (without clamps):

routing4.jpg


Notice the MDF template is also shaped like the body shape. So you can actually use it without the acrylic one, because you can use a square to ensure it's aligned with the body perfectly, if you're working on a Silo body. But a Silo 20th is slightly different than the outline of a Silo. So the sandwich method was necessary. I actually also have an MDF template that is just square (not body shape) but I was too lazy to dig it out and photograph it.

And then I use a digital depth gauge ($20) to ensure my router bit is only a max of 1/4" deeper than the top of the guitar/bottom of the template (meaning your initial bit depth is 1-1/4" (1/4" acrylic + 3/4" MDF = 1". + another 1/4" deeper = 1-1/4"). And then you increase the depth in 1/4" increments after each pass. In the case of the floating Floyd cavity, I think it's about 3/8" deep at its deepest (I actually do all of this in millimeters, not inches, but explaining it makes more sense to us Americans in inches). You'll see on the MDF template that I have numbers -- like for the neck pickup, on the left it says "WITH TEMPLATE 33.5mm" and on the right it says "ACTUAL 14.0mm".

Hope that answers your question!


 

jones4tone

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Thanks man! And thanks for the question. A few years ago when I was getting ready to make my Snakes Guitar, I made up routing templates in Adobe Illustrator and had them created in 1/4 acrylic. They were pretty cheap, maybe $15 each, and are laser cut exactly to my file.

Hope that answers your question!

Sure does. I'm somewhat inspired now. I have all the tools to take on such a project, but I'm not sure I have the guts to drop a router into the body of one of my EBMMs!

Thanks for taking the time to make the detail photos. Very interesting. You're a very resourceful fellow when you're on a mission, clearly! I wouldn't have known where to begin to have templates produced.
 

dibart77

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Sure does. I'm somewhat inspired now. I have all the tools to take on such a project, but I'm not sure I have the guts to drop a router into the body of one of my EBMMs!

Thanks for taking the time to make the detail photos. Very interesting. You're a very resourceful fellow when you're on a mission, clearly! I wouldn't have known where to begin to have templates produced.

I would recommend you buy some test wood or buy some crap $30 guitars on eBay for practice first. If you're interested in where I got the templates (or the templating bits) PM me and I'll give you the details.


 

kimonostereo

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Thanks for posting all of your pics of your templates! This is pretty neat stuff. I've always wanted to get a router but I know I'd need lots of time to learn and practice before using one.
 

Magic Jason

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Your posts get more interesting by the day! Thanks for sharing your routing experience.

I love it!

You wouldn't have a template to covert an AL SSS to a HSS?

Thanks again!
 
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