Guitar project

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Guitar project

Postby jae » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:39 am

I know we've got at least one guitar "geek" (if names are to be believed) on this forum, so this might be interesting to some.

I recently picked up a DIY p-bass kit from thefretwire.com to build for my wife. She's a cellist by trade, but is picking up other stringed instruments here-and-there and has been asked more than once to play bass, so we figured she could probably use one at home to practice on.

Image

Everything looks like it fits together pretty well, but I have a friend locally who knows a lot more about fitment and such who is going to help me there. So now I need to figure out how to finish out the body. On the body I'm leaning staining the wood and then using a urethane coat on top to seal it and using a gun stock oil/wax system on the back of the neck, but figured this would be a good time to get input on what products would actually be good to use.

Thinking we're going to go for a green/black reverse starburst stain, and either a solid green or black stain on the head. Fretboard will probably remain bare rosewood and get a light coat of Gerlitz Guitar Honey (or similar, happy to get recommendations on this).
http://www.stewmac.com/Materials_and_Su ... tains.html

Will update as I begin actual work on it.
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Re: Guitar project

Postby thack » Sun Nov 20, 2016 7:42 am

that looks like actual fun.

i use linseed oil on my rosewood boards and it keeps them shiny enough, and since it's polymerizing when dry, sort of durable.
i'm hard on frets and boards though.

you're going to want to either have the frets done or do them. a luthier can tall you more, but they're going to be sort of raw from the factory.

for the back of the neck, i prefer a satin-y finish - some finishes seem to melt under my body heat and corrosive sweat. esp lacquer. never tried gun oil, but it sounds comfy.

good luck, post pics.
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Re: Guitar project

Postby wyckedsin » Sat Nov 26, 2016 12:57 am

Guitargeek actually does Guitar repair and rebuilding. Definite font of information there. Good luck on the project!
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Re: Guitar project

Postby jae » Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:48 pm

It's taken me a while to get around to messing with this, but finally started on staining. I think I'm about done with the green on the body, next will be to do a bit of a reverse starburst pattern with black on the front and back.

Image

While I'm at it, I decided I want to be really frustrated, so I'm replacing the broken push/pull volume pots (and the rest of the wiring) in my ES339. Now I just have to figure out what to do with the wires from the humbuckers. Everything I'm finding on humbucker wiring shows 4 wires and a ground, so I'm assuming the thicker wire of the 5 in the connector (first pic below) is the ground wire. Kit was the "Jimmy Page direct-connect" from Jersey Shore Guitar Garage, run by a guy I met through another motorcycle forum.

Image

Image
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Re: Guitar project

Postby guitargeek » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:08 pm

How did I not see this before?
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Re: Guitar project

Postby Jaeger » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:24 pm

guitargeek wrote:How did I not see this before?


Uh... I'll guess drugs and life?

:mrgreen:

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Re: Guitar project

Postby guitargeek » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:00 pm

Looks like you're on the right track. The only advice I can think of right now is to maybe do a thin coat of lacquer instead of urethane...

As for wiring the 339, ask the guy in Jersey how to connect that stuff.
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Re: Guitar project

Postby guitargeek » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:03 pm

I like guitars...
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Re: Guitar project

Postby guitargeek » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:06 pm

I REALLY like guitars...
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Re: Guitar project

Postby guitargeek » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:15 pm

My happy place...
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Re: Guitar project

Postby jae » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:04 am

guitargeek wrote:Looks like you're on the right track. The only advice I can think of right now is to maybe do a thin coat of lacquer instead of urethane...

As for wiring the 339, ask the guy in Jersey how to connect that stuff.


He seems to be fairly busy, and thus tough to get ahold of to chat. Either way, I found some good wiring diagrams for humbuckers and the double push/pull pots that I can try out before getting it all reassembled. Luckily soldering is easy. I'll give it a shot before really starting to bug him.

Hoping to get some of the black stain on the bass body this evening as well. I'll have to see what I can find as far as lacquer goes.
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Re: Guitar project

Postby guitargeek » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:57 am

http://www.reranch.com/101.htm

You strike me as the sort of guy who might have a spray rig in the garage.

...

Stewmac has good wiring diagrams.

Once you get the pots and jack wired up, plug in and test everything *before* installing everything in the guitar.

Keep us posted!
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Re: Guitar project

Postby jae » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:18 pm

guitargeek wrote:You strike me as the sort of guy who might have a spray rig in the garage.

surprisingly enough, I don't. I generally have little patience for aesthetic endeavors, so if my vehicles are running, I am usually more than happy to settle with a spray-bomb finish. I've got an OLD craftsman HVLP compressor I got round-about from my grandfather, but haven't bothered to test it out yet as I don't have a 240V outlet in my garage yet (though that is a goal for this year).

stewmac does have aerosol lacquer now though... http://www.stewmac.com/Materials_and_Su ... cquer.html

part of the same finishing "system" as the stain dyes I purchased, also through them, so it doesn't appear I have much to worry about in terms of compatibility.

This is the diagram I'll be using, as it appears to be nearly identical to the equipment I've got to stick together.
Image

I'll check out that link here in a bit. Taking a short break from trying to prepare for a meeting.

I really like how this guy's harness turned out, I'm hoping to follow his lead and make something functional, and (hopefully at least) half as attractive.
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Re: Guitar project

Postby jae » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:31 am

got a little black on, will sand and start blending tonight, and probably get another coat of green stain on. May add a little more tint to get it darker.

Image

Image
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Re: Guitar project

Postby guitargeek » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:01 pm

Looking good!

Reranch is a good source for rattlebomb lacquer, I've seen several guitars painted with their stuff and the quality looks to be as good as factory. Important to follow the directions to the letter, including weather conditions!
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xtian wrote:Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken
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Re: Guitar project

Postby jae » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:46 pm

I did a little more sanding to blend the black, then another coat of green. Think I need to add a bit more dye for the green, as I originally used about half as much pigment as recommended.

Image
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Re: Guitar project

Postby guitargeek » Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:13 pm

Tell me about the electronics package that came with that kit. One of the main differences between a mediocre bass and one you'll actually want to use is it pickup, pots, and output jack. That, and tuners, are where manufacturers like to cut corners. Luckily, a P-bass doesn't have much going on there, so replacing that stuff doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Cheap pickups often have ceramic bar magnets glued to the bottom, and a lot of people are experimenting with neodymium magnets in search of better tone.
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Midliferider wrote:Wish I could wipe this shit off my shoes but it's everywhere I walk. Dang.
Pattio wrote:Never forget, as you enjoy the high road of tolerance, that it is those of us doing the hard work of intolerance who make it possible for you to shine.
xtian wrote:Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken
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Re: Guitar project

Postby jae » Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:49 am

I'll get a picture of the ES up in a minute. Took me a few days of troubleshooting and massaging to get it together and working, but I'm looking forward to trying it out. Got it strung back up last night and need to get the action reset, but it shouldn't be too much more work.

Initially I'd combined the red and white wires for the (respective) humbuckers but then found that my selector switch did nothing. The push/pull on the volume pots acted as on/off switches. After some discussion with Jimmy about the pickups (the guy who built the harness) we decided that the white should've been run with the green wire, and all the pots seemed to be working after that. Had another issue with the pickup switch, as neither pup seemed to be connecting in the middle position, but the terminals just needed some manual adjusting so they made contact in the middle position. Last thing was that I needed to enlarge the holes in the guitar for the new pots, as the threaded shaft was 3/8" thread and the old ones (didn't measure, but are close to) 5/16".

side note, I found out that a watch is a great way to test pickups. I discovered this on accident, and was pretty amazed how well they picked up the ticking.

GG: I'll get some pics of the electronics that came with the bass. No idea how they stack up, but I've found "premium" kits for it under $100, which would still put the full price of the guitar under $250, so it still seems like a bargain so long as I can get it set up well.
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Re: Guitar project

Postby jae » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:54 am

the finished ES:

Image

bass electronics. I can't imagine it would hurt anything to replace them with anything that's a known quantity, so to speak:
Image
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Re: Guitar project

Postby guitargeek » Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:04 pm

Yup, what you got there is the bare minimum quality.

Rio Grande Pickups are made in Houston, in case you're interested...
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xtian wrote:Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken
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Re: Guitar project

Postby guitargeek » Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:06 pm

That 339 is so pretty!

Here's what I'm working on at present...
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Pattio wrote:Never forget, as you enjoy the high road of tolerance, that it is those of us doing the hard work of intolerance who make it possible for you to shine.
xtian wrote:Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken
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Re: Guitar project

Postby jae » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:04 am

Nice, looks like it's a very similar finish to mine. I made a mistake putting the last pot in (didn't quite enlarge the hole enough) and don't want to show a pic of the damage, but thankfully it's hidden by the knob.

I'll check out those pickups.
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Re: Guitar project

Postby guitargeek » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:24 pm

Got my monthly poisoning last Wednesday. Today, I can focus my eyes! My fingers work!
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Midliferider wrote:Wish I could wipe this shit off my shoes but it's everywhere I walk. Dang.
Pattio wrote:Never forget, as you enjoy the high road of tolerance, that it is those of us doing the hard work of intolerance who make it possible for you to shine.
xtian wrote:Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken
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Re: Guitar project

Postby jae » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:02 am

I took a bold (for me) leap and decided to attempt some fret repair on a friend's guitar. I got a friend who has experience with some basic guitar tech to help me swap the nut, but he didn't want to bother with the frets as he was doing this as a favor to me and had a bunch of other stuff demanding his time. Thankfully GG was willing to walk me through some of it over messenger and it seems to have turned out pretty nice.
Image

Image

I guess I could go ahead and provide some updated pics on the bass build since I'm getting close to assembly:

just after spraying some aerosol nitrocelulose lacquer (it smoothed out quite a bit as it dried)
Image

I'll get some better pics of the neck as I get around to assembly, but treated the back of the neck to a few coats of gun stock oil, the fingerboard to Gerlitz Guitar Honey, and the head to a few coats of lacquer
Image

...and the body, after what I think will be the last coat of lacquer
Image

Still have a few small spots to sand smooth before I start buffing, but I think I'm pretty happy with it so far. Initial assembly will be with the white pickguard and cheap electronics/pickups from the kit, but I've got a black pickguard and upgraded pups/harness to put together and swap in once I'm happy with the basic setup (fretboard leveling, etc.).
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Re: Guitar project

Postby guitargeek » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:42 am

Right on, glad the frets worked out!
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xtian wrote:Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken
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Re: Guitar project

Postby jae » Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:05 am

Quick update, did a "dry run" assembly to check fitment and such. I had to do a bit of sanding in the neck pocket to get them to mate well, and went ahead and did some initial sanding on the clear before deciding that it needs another coat. I'll blow it back apart tonight to do the (hopefully) final coat of clear and then start getting the new pickguard and pups wired up.

Image
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http://youtube.com/kacivic

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Re: Guitar project

Postby guitargeek » Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:02 pm

You're going to do something with the headstock, right?
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xtian wrote:Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken
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Re: Guitar project

Postby jae » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:32 pm

trying to decide what to do. yes, there is a plan to do something, but no plan on anything in particular. thinking about doing some kind of shaping and then some hand carving.
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Re: Guitar project

Postby jae » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:58 pm

black pickguard did not work out. it was cut funny in several places and did not fully cover the routed pocket for the harness, so I had to stick with the white one. tried my first application of vinyl wrap with some scraps I had sitting around from a buddy's bike wrapping. I think it turned out ok, but I still want to go with a black. got the upgrade pickups and harness installed in the white guard after getting it wrapped.

Image

Image

Got everything reassembled saturday morning, around the time my wife was waking up, so I had to get her to try it out. I think she'd shoot me if she knew this picture was out in the world, but it's the best picture I've got of how the gloss on the body turned out.

Image
There, I said it.
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http://youtube.com/kacivic

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Re: Guitar project

Postby guitargeek » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:23 am

Image
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Midliferider wrote:Wish I could wipe this shit off my shoes but it's everywhere I walk. Dang.
Pattio wrote:Never forget, as you enjoy the high road of tolerance, that it is those of us doing the hard work of intolerance who make it possible for you to shine.
xtian wrote:Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken
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