BYO DCjr Kit build anybody?

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Hey everyone!

I'm currently working on a DCjr kit build from BYO Guitars using nothing but StewMac rattlecans for finishing. I've looked to see if anyone's done a thread on BYO's guitars, and didn't see one. I figured it be another option for users looking for inexpensive kits to check out here.


So what say ye? Shall I start the "Lenny" Chronicles?
 

gator payne

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I have had 3 students build BOYG kits. They are Ok but nothing to write home to mom about.
 
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Quite true Gator. While it's certainly not the best kit one could buy, with time and effort, I'm hoping to have a very nice instrument that I can be proud of. :)

This is my first build on my own (my late uncle was a phenomenal luthier and he got me started with instrument building when I was a child at his shop in West VA, but more on that later), and I wanted something simple to start with, so I went with a BYO kit, mostly because of their prices, and excellent customer service.

I ordered the double cutaway Les Paul Jr. kit, which comes with all hardware and trim included, but I am upgrading quite a few pieces as follows...

Stock P90 replaced with a Kent Armstrong WPULJ pickup
Stock nut replaced with GraphTech Tusq
Stock tuners replaced with TonePros vintage Kluson butterscotch keystones
Stock pickguard altered with some Macassar Ebony veneer
Stock tailpiece replaced with Badass bridge.

Also, for finishing supplies, I'm using all StewMac rattlecans (1 can sanding sealer, 1 can of cherry nitro, and 3 cans of clear gloss nitro) and TimbreMate woodfiller.

Everything listed above cost me about $400 US, which is INSANELY inexpensive.

Unfortunately, I don't have many pics from the start of the build, but I'll show you what I have so far...


Here's the 3 piece Mahogany body right after I put the bushings in to check the original tailpiece.


Plopped it on the bed to check the neck fit. (which was pretty snug by the way. I could hold the guitar up by the neck with no glue, and the body stayed put, which I was very happy about)


Fast forward a day, and here's the neck being joined to the body using some good ol' Titebond II and a couple of clamps. I even went as far as using a insulin needle filled with Titebond to inject glue into any gaps I could find (namely, one somewhat noticeable one on the top) to make sure there were NO spaces whatsoever.


I let it sit for 3 days before removing the clamps, just to make sure the bond between neck and body was impermeable. And here he is with a quick test fit of all hardware and trim (minus the ebony PG. That comes later)


I had to route the pickup cavity a bit more on the sides, because I couldn't fit the Kent Armstrong P90 in there, so I borrowed my buddies router, and had at it. Took all of two minutes, and it was all good!

At this point, I decided to go ahead and give him a quick trial-by-fire. I wired everything up, threw some Elixir 11s on, gave him a quick setup, and took him out on the road for a three day test run with my band.

Sounded PHENOMENAL!! Lenny's definitely going to be a pure P90 powered rock machine.

However, I wasn't thrilled with the tailpiece placement, and lack of total intonation adjustment, so I decided to go ahead and order one of those fully adjustable tailpieces from Badass (from ebay, of course :))

After surviving the 3 day run, I brought him home, removed the electronics and hardware, and started prepping him for sanding and finishing!

more to come...






S
 

gator payne

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Quite true Gator. While it's certainly not the best kit one could buy, with time and effort, I'm hoping to have a very nice instrument that I can be proud of. :)

This is my first build on my own (my late uncle was a phenomenal luthier and he got me started with instrument building when I was a child at his shop in West VA, but more on that later), and I wanted something simple to start with, so I went with a BYO kit, mostly because of their prices, and excellent customer service.

I ordered the double cutaway Les Paul Jr. kit, which comes with all hardware and trim included, but I am upgrading quite a few pieces as follows...

Stock P90 replaced with a Kent Armstrong WPULJ pickup
Stock nut replaced with GraphTech Tusq
Stock tuners replaced with TonePros vintage Kluson butterscotch keystones
Stock pickguard altered with some Macassar Ebony veneer
Stock tailpiece replaced with Badass bridge.

Also, for finishing supplies, I'm using all StewMac rattlecans (1 can sanding sealer, 1 can of cherry nitro, and 3 cans of clear gloss nitro) and TimbreMate woodfiller.

Everything listed above cost me about $400 US, which is INSANELY inexpensive.

Unfortunately, I don't have many pics from the start of the build, but I'll show you what I have so far...


Here's the 3 piece Mahogany body right after I put the bushings in to check the original tailpiece.


Plopped it on the bed to check the neck fit. (which was pretty snug by the way. I could hold the guitar up by the neck with no glue, and the body stayed put, which I was very happy about)


Fast forward a day, and here's the neck being joined to the body using some good ol' Titebond II and a couple of clamps. I even went as far as using a insulin needle filled with Titebond to inject glue into any gaps I could find (namely, one somewhat noticeable one on the top) to make sure there were NO spaces whatsoever.


I let it sit for 3 days before removing the clamps, just to make sure the bond between neck and body was impermeable. And here he is with a quick test fit of all hardware and trim (minus the ebony PG. That comes later)


I had to route the pickup cavity a bit more on the sides, because I couldn't fit the Kent Armstrong P90 in there, so I borrowed my buddies router, and had at it. Took all of two minutes, and it was all good!

At this point, I decided to go ahead and give him a quick trial-by-fire. I wired everything up, threw some Elixir 11s on, gave him a quick setup, and took him out on the road for a three day test run with my band.

Sounded PHENOMENAL!! Lenny's definitely going to be a pure P90 powered rock machine.

However, I wasn't thrilled with the tailpiece placement, and lack of total intonation adjustment, so I decided to go ahead and order one of those fully adjustable tailpieces from Badass (from ebay, of course :))

After surviving the 3 day run, I brought him home, removed the electronics and hardware, and started prepping him for sanding and finishing!

more to come...

S
Looking good:thumb: I am guessing that you did comfirm the bridge location. that was the on are that 2 of my students had to redo. but they both built the LP carved top.
 
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Looking good:thumb: I am guessing that you did comfirm the bridge location. that was the on are that 2 of my students had to redo. but they both built the LP carved top.
Thanks man! Yeah, the bridge location is definitely not where it should be. All the strings are pretty flat at the 12th fret, even with the intonation screws tightened all the way on the bridge. I guess that's one of the inherent problems with BYO kits? I'm not 100% sure what I should do about that. Once my adjustable bridge gets here, I may be able to intonate the problem away, but that's not a sure bet. What are my other options as far as fixing that problem? I'm guessing I can do the mahogany dowel thing, but...
a) where's a good inexpensive place to get them from?
b) I've already sanded, filled, and sealed the guitar. could I just fill and seal those areas that I drill and plug, or should I redo the whole top?

Thanks in advance for any input!

S
 

gator payne

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Thanks man! Yeah, the bridge location is definitely not where it should be. All the strings are pretty flat at the 12th fret, even with the intonation screws tightened all the way on the bridge. I guess that's one of the inherent problems with BYO kits? I'm not 100% sure what I should do about that. Once my adjustable bridge gets here, I may be able to intonate the problem away, but that's not a sure bet. What are my other options as far as fixing that problem? I'm guessing I can do the mahogany dowel thing, but...
a) where's a good inexpensive place to get them from?
b) I've already sanded, filled, and sealed the guitar. could I just fill and seal those areas that I drill and plug, or should I redo the whole top?

Thanks in advance for any input!

S
Did you stain? If you staind you are likely better off to redo the top so that your stain has no wittnes lines boundrys.

I turn my own dowels but Woodcraft.com is a good source
 
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Did you stain? If you staind you are likely better off to redo the top so that your stain has no wittnes lines boundrys.

I turn my own dowels but Woodcraft.com is a good source
I haven't stained yet. All I've done finish-wise, is pore fill, and threw 3 coats of the StewMac nitro sanding sealer on it. I can't do any staining until this darn tropical storm stops humidificating on my back porch!

(edit) btw, I checked that site, and they didn't have any mahogany dowels that I saw.
 

Reverend D

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If its really close, your bridge should cover the plugs once they're sprayed in cherry? If they were so far out the bridge wouldn't cover the difference then you'd of course see them. Just a thought.. For mahogany plugs, get a plug cutter and a small piece of mahogany and cut your own plug. They look something like this:



Like I say if its not a huge difference you won't see it once its stained I'd bet, thats why Gator was asking about if it was stained and witness lines I think. :D

Regards,

Don
 

gator payne

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Ok so your not staining you doing a tinted finish.

The reason i aasked is that if you stain wood (as in stain the wood directly while in the white) then sandign back an area and re-staining that area will leave a notible preimiter with a very slightly different hue or a least a wittness boudry.

As things are for you just drill, plug, level. and re-seal and go on from there. you learned a good lesson here a very little cost. that lesson is never trust a pre drilled kit! If you have the option always buy kits un drilled for bridge and tail pieces.
 
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you learned a good lesson here a very little cost. that lesson is never trust a pre drilled kit!
Amen!:)

Now... Should I still sand and re-seal the whole top? or just the area that I work on?

Also, you said you turn your own dowels... Got any mahogany that you're looking to get rid of?
 

gator payne

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Amen!:)

Now... Should I still sand and re-seal the whole top? or just the area that I work on?

Also, you said you turn your own dowels... Got any mahogany that you're looking to get rid of?
with any type of coating ther is always the chance for witness lines. most of the time this can be avaoided with carfull prep and clean up but it is always safer the take every thing to wood and rebuild your seal coats.
 

ctmullins

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I know this may not be helpful, since you've already glued the neck, but - depending on how flat the strings are - it sounds like perhaps you didn't get the neck tenon fully seated into the mortise, making the bridge-to-nut distance a little longer than it should be?

In hindsight, maybe it would have been prudent to clamp the neck into its mortise, install the bridge, string her up, and check the intonation? That way, if it was a bit flat, you could have shaved a bit off the end of the neck tenon.
 


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