Grohlstheman's Trini (Kit) Build

grohlstheman

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2014
Messages
984
Reaction score
676
Hey everybody,

It's been quite some time away...WHEW. I've been out of this game for too long.
I'll get straight to it: Build number four (?) is kicking off! As some might have seen a few years back, I completed an R.M. Olson DG-335 kit build in Pelham Blue. Shortly after, Robert retired from building, and I was in search of a halfway decent Trini Lopez/DG-335 style kit. Semi-hollow bodies are one style that I will never build from home, as the labor and tools needed to do one are not very cost- or time-friendly.

Long story short- The Fret Wire recently got these back in stock, and I must say I am pleased with the quality. for $300 and some change, I received this kit with Grover Rotomatics, upgraded Switchcraft parts, and matched neck to body. The hardware is quite decent per general kit expectations.

MY PLANS FOR THIS BUILD:
-
60's Trini Lopez "half-assed replica"
- Cherry Red (stain? I will need some help with the period-correct completion of this process) to include nitro clear
- Chrome Hardware
- Trapeze tailpiece (possibly with period-correct wood insert in accordance with Trini models)
- SD Phat Cat in neck, ? in Bridge

Here are the preliminary impressions of the kit:

Very rough sanding, which isn't an issue at all. Drilled holes and routes were not as clean as the Olson kit, but I am still pleased (there was just minimal tear-out in the neck route as you can see.








Let me know what you think, questions, comments, concerns, and most of all ADVICE on this cherry red finish!

Ethan
 

grohlstheman

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2014
Messages
984
Reaction score
676
Update:

I have sorted out the strategy for a cherry red finish over maple, and will be receiving supplies over the next two weeks. Temps will be dipping into the low 40's here at night on the dates I will be shooting this, so I will either periodically heat my garage or I will take it inside between extended coat breaks. Situation will dictate.

Happy Friday!
 

grohlstheman

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2014
Messages
984
Reaction score
676
Okay, so this is where I really familiarized myself with this kit and its shortcomings. Since the stud holes came drilled, I didn't have much of a say in establishing perfect scale length from that side. So, I had to set it via neck position. Here is my quick process:

FIRST STEP- Sanded everything to 400, then 600 in all the hard-to-reach places when neck is glued and bushings are pressed.

I remembered ground wire before pressing bushings in. This can be tucked away until build is complete.



Then I pressed bushings in via pressure, not direct blows via hammer or the like.



Now I string up both E's and clamp the neck in place (12th fret equidistant to bridge and nut). This was the first fault in the kit. The neck scale was correct, but the bridge hole placement was 1/8" too far back.

Now, you're probably thinking "But the saddles are adjustable, not to mention you can set the neck closer". Well, Yes and No...Yes, they are adjustable- so they saved my butt with this issue, but are now nearly maxed to compensate. The reason I couldn't set the neck closer is because it encroached on the neck pickup route if I did so. Fortunately, the saddles were forgiving and I worked the neck placement to a functioning compromise, without subtracting from intonation. I intonated both strings, and they are spot on with the saddles positioned like so.





The steps taken today, despite the neck not yet being glued, are what pay off most evidently in the long run. Paying attention to string centeredness, neck pitch, bridge placement, intonation, etc. will all make it a player, not just a pretty paperweight. That IS why we're making guitars, right?

I proceeded to fine tune the neck pocket, heel shape, and transition.




Next issue: Tuners.
The Fret Wire offered hardware and wiring upgrades integral to the kit buying process. I chose to upgrade to Grover tuners. Well, I was very surprised to find they drilled tuner screw holes for the cheap stock tuners, not for Grovers. You would think they would have thought about that before offering hardware upgrades.

So...Titebond and Sawdust for filler?
The holes are about 1/8" south of where the new holes will be, so barely visible (albeit still there, peeking out from under the tuner).

Another gripe of mine- The headstock blank shape.
It's like it was shaped and drilled for a F-style headstock, not a G-style. Note the elongated shoulder to the right. I've done my best to solve it with a ballpark Trini Lopez headstock shape (which DOES deviate from the Firebird headstock. They are slightly different in shape and size.)



Anyway...That is all I have for today. I will route headstock shape as soon as I finish the MDF template, then the neck is going in for some glue. I will be using hide glue again, as I have been very pleased with the results in the past.

Cheers
 
Last edited:

grohlstheman

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2014
Messages
984
Reaction score
676
Additionally, I have now compiled a stock of the following supplies:
- Cherry Red can x2
- Black x1 (headstock)
- Clear Sanding Sealer x2 (maybe overkill, i dunno)
- Mohawk Clear x6 (also for future projects, since my spray rig is not accessible right now)
- Amber Clear x1
- Assorted sandpaper grits
- 1/4" tape for binding, 1.5" tape for fretboard+headstock

I still have aluminum buffing compounds, which worked well. What are your buffing materials and steps? I want to try something a little different.
 


Latest Threads



Top