Step 1: Materials
Machinery, tools, and electrical things you'll need for this project:
- A Shovel
- Belt Sander
- Metal file
- Coping saw
- Disk sander
- Flathead Screwdriver
- 4 small flathead screws
- Drill Press
- Guitar Pickup
- Guitar string
- Tuning Peg
- Guitar Pickup (plus any other materials that comes with it to hook it up)
- Step Bit
- Wire Buffer
Step 2: Get Yourself a Shovel
Step 3: Clamp Down and Get Ready
Step 4: Taking Off the Top of the Metal
Step 5: Getting the Metal Off
Step 6: Curve of the Metal
Step 7: Cleaning Up the Metal
As you could see in the images I used a file to get into spots I couldn't really get into with the grinder.
Step 8: Flexibility Where You Cut the Metal
Step 9: Marking Your Shovel
Step 10: Sanding the Top of the Shovel
The goal of this is to get the top of the shovel AS FLAT AS YOU CAN. Sadly I didn't get any pictures of me using the belt sander. But I did use it. Sanding is a big deal in this project. So do it well. What you want to do is start where you took off your metal and go all the way up to where you marked where you want your fret to be. From these two points, use a level to make sure the top of the shovel is, well, level
Step 11: Making the Whole Shovel Smooth
Step 12: Setting Up Where to Put the Tuning Peg
Step 13: Setting Up Where to Put Your Pickup
Step 14: The Bridge
As you see in image one, what I had to do was take a coping saw, and make a wedge where I wanted to put my bridge. I had my teacher help me out with this also. Once I had that all cut out I went on to drawing up, and cutting out my piece on the Bandsaw. Once I had it cut out. I took pliers and used a wire buffer to get the rough parts off. After this I took it to the sander and sanded down to my markings. Once my piece was all shaped out, I took it back to the wire buffer to, again, just get it to be smooth. After that was done I got some Epoxy Glue and glued it into my wedge (Let dry for at least 5 minutes or more time if needed). Once your bridge is set and dried, you could go on and make your small slit where your string will be placed. I made a mark before I did it (See image 11). After you make your mark, get a metal, triangular shaped file, and make your small slit (See image 12). This is where your string will be placed.
Step 15: Polyurethane on the Wooden Part of Your Shovel
Step 16: Your String
For this step, you're going to want to grab a straight edge to estimate where you want your hole to be on your shovel. Once you mark where you want the string to be, you could drill a hole in that spot. (I unfortunately can not tell you what size bit to use because it depends on the size of the string you are going to use for your shovel) just be sure to check that your string is not touching any part of the wood AT ALL (See image 3 and 4). As you could see in image two, this is the hole where your string will be feeding through. Once the string is fed through, take it all the way to the top, where your tuning peg is, and wrap it up and tune it to how you desire.
Step 17: Drilling Holes for Your Electronics
For this,I first started my hole with a 1/8 bit. (See image 1) Then I used the step bit to drill a hole big enough for my potentiometers. I drilled 2 holes, and then one more for the connection to the amp (see image 5). Once you have your 3 holes drilled, you could move on to step 18.
Step 18: Electronics
For this step I can't really tell you what to do because everyone is going to have a different pickup. But what I can tell you is, what I did. For my shovel, I used an old school pickup. I followed a simple schematic to do this (see image 1). And I started with a simple hard wiring without soldering, just to see if I was setting up the circuit correctly (see image 2). Once you're all set up and wired correctly, go ahead and put everything where it should go on the shovel (see images 3-7). Image 8 shows you everything connected.
Image 9 and 10 shows my pickup bolted down. Make sure your soldering is good and that everything is grounded. I'll show you how I grounded in the next step.
Step 19: Grounding the Circuit
Step 20: My Shovel Guitar
Here is my a video of my shovel guitar working (Video 1).
I had the opportunity of one of the teachers at Meyers, who is also retired out of a very good band, play my shovel guitar (Video 2). I ALSO had the honor of having my best friend play too! (Video 3)
Step 21: Questions
If I were to restart this whole project, I would really study and read up on guitars and get at least some knowledge on them. I came to the table with no knowledge of guitars at all. I would try to move the tuning peg in a better spot/position and get a much longer string to work with.
How could you make this project better?
To make this project better, I would sand the top of the shovel a lot better than what it is. I would really try hard to get rid of the dead spots . Another thing about the string and the tuning peg, I would get a longer string and move the tuning peg so I could get rid of the buzzing.