My First Build

Ole'Lefty

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Blem--the style is not a possibility for me at all. But, I have to tell you that I check you regularly and I get a big smile admiring you going at it--and your good cheer. It is just a pleasure to have you working around here. Damn, you are having fun; and I am convinced this will be a kick-ass player. Thanks!!!:applause:
 

BlemMusic

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Blem--the style is not a possibility for me at all. But, I have to tell you that I check you regularly and I get a big smile admiring you going at it--and your good cheer. It is just a pleasure to have you working around here. Damn, you are having fun; and I am convinced this will be a kick-ass player. Thanks!!!:applause:

Thanks! I am having a blast with this!
 

brv0625

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You inspire me man! One of these years Im gonna make my own guitar!! Keep it up! You got some raw talent! You sure this is your first build?
 

emoney

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There's not much cooler than building your own guitar. Great work!
 

BlemMusic

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You inspire me man! One of these years Im gonna make my own guitar!! Keep it up! You got some raw talent! You sure this is your first build?

Thanks! It's definitely my first build, I've done a lot of day dreaming about doing this for years though. I'm thinking it's more luck than talent, lol.
 

BlemMusic

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In the last few days I've gotten a lot more done. I filed down my fret ends and my leveling kit is on the way.

I also sanded and sanded and sanded and sanded.....

Here is a picture of my guitar with the fretboard on and the clamps off.
aUAuJ.jpg


I also had to figure out where I was going to put my straplock buttons. I decided to file down the middle of the point on where the strap would be on a normal guitar because I didn't want to attach the strap to the back of the guitar. This was a little scary because of the angle the hole had to be, if I was off I would have gone right through one side or the other. I don't have a picture of the notch I filed out but I had to put the strap on and see how it felt! I took the picture with my phone's front camera and for some reason it looks like I'm a lefty but I'm not, it gave me a mirror image type picture.
vHLYA.jpg


Here's a good shot of the body after I final sanded it. The top was reflective like glass, it felt awesome.
0FLV3.jpg


Next I cleaned the guitar with alcohol and started staining it. I'm trying to give the top a 3D type look so I put 2 coats of black stain on the top.
Here's coat 1.
q0SNm.jpg

Here's coat 2.
EgFYv.jpg

I wasn't sure how the birdseye maple was going to look doing this but if I do it right I think it will look pretty cool.

I also stained the neck and back. I decided do them black. The top of the body is going to be green. I think the black and green combo will look nice.
D1ShM.jpg


After the top was totally dry (which happened fast thanks to the stain being mixed with alcohol) I started sanding it off, lightly!
L73mC.jpg


This is how I left it because I had to go work some NCAA women's basketball games at Vanderbilt doing medical coverage.
PUKew.jpg


When I got home at 10pm I couldn't help but go do a little more work. I sanded a little more and then glued on my veneer. This is how my guitar is sitting in my garage right now while I'm at my normal job wishing I was home working on it!
ov7Bo.jpg


I'm not sure if I used enough clamps.....

I'm also not sure how much of the black I need to sand off before I put on the green. If anyone has any suggestions I would appreciate it big time! I'm tempted to try the green now but I'm not sure if the black should be a little lighter before I do it.

I'll be back to work on it a little more tomorrow before I go to job #2 again.
 

BlemMusic

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I'm in the home stretch! I've made a lot of progress and here it is...

My pickup ring for the bridge pickup was too big and I was watching a video on youtube where I saw this trick so I gave it a shot.
lUkqt.jpg

I thought it was a pretty good idea.

I also sanded the body more. I wasn't sure how much I should take off. I was thinking that something I read said to sand it all the way so only the darker grains kept the black but I decided to stop here.
t5XXF.jpg


Next I put the green on. This is 2 coats.
8Q32A.jpg

This is 3 coats. I was afraid that it was going to be too dark and I debated sanding it back and maybe putting a lighter coat on.
HtkDZ.jpg


I also had some cracks in the body. I was worried about them with the lacquer but I wasn't about to toss this thing. I've gotten way too far. I actually noticed them a long time ago.
zfRU1.jpg


I emailed Emoney and asked for some advice (he's been helping me out a lot lately. Thanks again E!). One of his suggestions was to use CA glue to fill them. It took me forever to figure out what CA glue was. I found some at Home Depot online then right before I went to get it I looked at the super glue I got from StewMac and it was actually CA glue, lol. I had no idea. I filled all the cracks up and wiped it down. Hopefully it turns out ok.

Next I started applying the lacquer. I decided to put an eye hook in the strap button hole and hang my guitar from the ceiling. It seemed like the easiest and safest way. I hung it close to my garage door with a fan blowing out the door to try to keep the fumes from being overwhelming. Here's a few pics.
tspRZ.jpg


weh0p.jpg


After spraying the lacquer I was really happy that I didn't do anything with the green, it's really looking great!

Here's after coat number 3.
MBBlF.jpg


I was using another technique that Emoney turned me onto. The rule of 3s.

Here's a picture of my headstock. I decided to name my guitar the Tallen. I've used that for years on different email accounts because my first name is Tim and my middle name is Allen. I thought it fit because the guitar has some sharp edges and the talon thing kind of works. It didn't come out as good as I was hoping, I signed it with a paint pen but next time I'll get a silk screen printed up and do it the right way.

R041c.jpg


I was trying to get a better picture because it was dark tonight when I was taking these so I used the flash. It didn't really come out that great but it does really show off my carve. I did the 3 steps on purpose because I thought it was unique.

JDQeY.jpg


I'm off to work tomorrow so I will do day 2 of the rule of 3s in 2 days. I'm excited to be done but after the 3rd day waiting the 10-14 days is really gonna suck!
 

emoney

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I think you nailed the perfect amount of "black sand back". It will really start to pop
as you get your 2nd day's coats on and the lacquer starts to build. Great work and
I bet you're getting awfully excited!
 

BlemMusic

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I think you nailed the perfect amount of "black sand back". It will really start to pop
as you get your 2nd day's coats on and the lacquer starts to build. Great work and
I bet you're getting awfully excited!

It's starting to pop already. I just wish I wasn't working today so I could put some more lacquer on it.
 

JRo

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This is looking awesome. What are you planning for the finish? What were the tips from your PRS-working-guitar-playing friend?
 

BlemMusic

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This is looking awesome. What are you planning for the finish? What were the tips from your PRS-working-guitar-playing friend?

Thanks! I was thinking about doing a black burst on this but I'm liking how it's turning out so I'm not going to do that now. I have black knobs, pickups and pickup rings so I think that will be enough black.

My buddy basically gave me sanding tips and showed me a good way to buff out the fretboard and the inlays, which I'll do after I do the finish and level the frets. He also showed me how to buff out my inlay in the headstock and blend it in with the rest of it. I used a cloth wheel on my dremel tool and buffed the whole veneer and not just the inlay. It came out really good. Using the buffing wheel on the binding did not however and I screwed up a part of my binding yesterday right before I started to lacquer it. I now know not to do that for my next guitar, lol.
 

BlemMusic

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I've done 2 more days of lacquer and am debating on whether or not to do 1 more day. I've put it on pretty thick because of the cracks and some spaces between the binding and the body. I have a lot of runs but I did it on purpose, I figured I'll have some extra sanding to do but I'm hoping that the finish will be nice and smooth when I'm done. Here are some pictures of the progress.

Here's after day 2:
Obvo7.jpg


I was reading up on finishing and looked at a ton of different ways of doing it. The first 2 days I did it like the directions on ReRanch Guitar Refinishing said to do it. I did miss the part where it tells you to sand every morning before you spray again. So I sanded at the beginning of day 3.

Here's a shot after sanding.
1WlSV.jpg


I then decided to try another technique that I read about. It was just like the beginning of the reranch directions but then after you let the first coat dry for 30 minutes you then spray another coat every 10 minutes until you make it through 3 cans of lacquer.

This deft lacquer dries as smooth as glass! It almost wouldn't need sanding if I didn't spray it so thick in certain areas. I know, I know, was still going to sand it, I'm just saying...

Here's after the lacquer was dry to the touch on day 3.

HudcX.jpg


5Hssk.jpg


Like I said, I'm not sure if I'm going to do one more day or not. It looks really damn good right now and I'm really excited for it to dry so I can do the final sand and polish. I'm just not totally sure how long to let it dry. I've read to let it dry from anywhere from 4 to 14 before moving on.
 

BlemMusic

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So I decided to sand and do one more day of lacquer. I sanded out all of the runs and drips and then put 2 more cans of lacquer on and the guitar is looking amazing! I don't have any new pics right now and honestly on camera it looks the same as the last pics. Now I wait for the guitar to dry, I'm still not sure how long I should wait but I'm going to give it at least a week.

I also have a deal in the works that may having me build a new one soon! I don't want to say too much yet because if I do it'll probably never happen but I may have a pretty cool trade coming!
 

ThePinkEraser

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Personally I'd use the maple for the neck. Then again I'm fond of maple neck guitars, I would also start concerning myself with the weight of the guitar. That said that's because I used to gig my guitars and hope to eventually again some day if I can get my back squared away (3 bad disc). If its going to sit on your knee in your house then perhaps weight isn't an issue. Just brought it up in case your thinking of hanging it off your neck with a strap. Good start, wish you the very best with it! :D

Regards,

Don

Im with the rev on this one! I'm currently building a guitar using the exact same placement of woods are you. Maple top with a walnut stripe down the middle, with a walnut back and a walnut neck. The body alone, with no hardware, and only the electronics cavity routed out weighs close to the same as my gibson SG (yikes!) So I plan on doing a lot of fancy contours on the back to increase comfort and decrease weight. Google search "belly cut" and check out some of the guitar images to get an idea. Take a lot of rasping & filing but the end result will be great!
good luck to ya!
cheers! :cheers:
 

Jim

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Man that thing is begging for cream plastic and gold hardware... get on that xD
 

BlemMusic

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Im with the rev on this one! I'm currently building a guitar using the exact same placement of woods are you. Maple top with a walnut stripe down the middle, with a walnut back and a walnut neck. The body alone, with no hardware, and only the electronics cavity routed out weighs close to the same as my gibson SG (yikes!) So I plan on doing a lot of fancy contours on the back to increase comfort and decrease weight. Google search "belly cut" and check out some of the guitar images to get an idea. Take a lot of rasping & filing but the end result will be great!
good luck to ya!
cheers! :cheers:


I routed a lot out of the body. I may try some of that fancy stuff on one of my next builds because there will be more!
 

BlemMusic

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Man that thing is begging for cream plastic and gold hardware... get on that xD

lol, I'm not a fan of pickgaurds or gold hardware but that's just me :slash:

My 2 favorite colors are black and green so pickup rings, pickups, tone knobs and toggle switch are all going to be black and the hardware is chrome! I can't wait to get it all in there!
 

BlemMusic

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I couldn't resist, I had to take the tape off my fretboard. I really want to level the frets and polish the fretboard but I'm afraid I may hurt the finish. It's looking pretty awesome! It still smells really strong though so I'll keep waiting......THIS SUCKS!

Here are a few pics I just took.
PuPyL.jpg


In this one you can see the blue reflection of my NY Giants shirt. I just thought that was kinda cool.
53Dsw.jpg
 

BlemMusic

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I'm done!!!!!! And my guitar actually plays!!!!!!

I finished today but have been working a lot over the last week or so. I let my lacquer gas off and then went to work wet sanding and polishing, then not liking how it looked so I wet sanded, used rubbing compound and then polished. I'm still not totally happy with the finish but I think the only way to make it better is to buy a buffer.

I didn't take any pictures of the process and I didn't take any pictures of me wiring the guitar either. I put some Orange Drops in there to give it a little kick. I tried wiring it 2 different ways, mostly because after I wired it the first time the tone controls didi absolutely nothing.

After I wired the guitar I put all of the hardware. Except for the bridge because the damn thing didn't fit!!!! I drilled my holes to close together, I don't know how but I did and was pretty scared about it. Here's a pic of how my guitar sat for a few days.

cZSGr.jpg


I found out that Stewmac sold 2 different sizes and luckily I had bought the bigger of the 2 so I ordered the smaller one and got it 2 days later.

It also didn't fit!!!!! But I found a solution. I left the studs from the first bridge in the guitar (I don't know how I would have gotten them out) and used the posts from the new bridge witch were smaller than the holes in the studs so they floated enough to be able to get the new bridge on. I don't know what other people would have done but it's on and that's all that really matters to me at this point. I did however learn another valuable lesson! Don't just go by what the templates says measure yourself!!!! Which I thought I did. I put the bridge over the template and everything lined up on it. Oh well, it worked.

I also had to make a new new nut because the ones that I made weren't think enough. I actually had to make 2 because one of them cracked mid way through.

Stbcw.jpg


Here's a pick of me testing it out with the 2 E strings.
Y91aN.jpg


I worked all day at work yesterday filing down the slots in the nut for the strings. Here's where I left off.
vnVkR.jpg


I played it through a mini Marshall amp I have and it actually played really nice! I was shocked. I didn't have to do much to intonate it either. I couldn't wait to get home today to fix my wiring job and play through my real amp.

Today I rewired the pots which was only adding 2 small wires and moving where I originally had my capacitors. I also re-leveled my frets because a few were buzzing. I had adjusted the truss rod yesterday to straighten out the neck.

After I got the frets leveled and sanded I rebuffed the fretboard and then cleaned it up. I put my truss rod cover on and wiped it down and rocked out for a while!!!

I'm pleasantly surprised because it is really comfortable to play on your knee and to play low with a strap. It sounds pretty good too! I'm not sure if I'm sold on the pickups yet, I may throw some other ones in to see how it sounds. I'm actually going to start winding my own!

Here's my finished guitar next to my Epi.

glhAv.jpg


And here it is standing by itself!

W9oLk.jpg


I'll put a video up here soon.

I also need to find a case, it's way to big for my Les Paul case.

I also just got enough wood for 3 more builds for myself and have 1 build coming up that I'm going to trade for some tattoos, I'm psyched about that! And a guy at work wants me to build him an Ibanez RG-570. I figure what the hell, I'll give it a shot! I'm loving doing this and I think for my first guitar it came out pretty good!

Thanks for reading my thread!
 

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