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flyingfrets

Building a Guitar I Want...

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After reading some of the less-than-positive review threads and experiencing a number of things I didn't care for myself in some of the newer models this year, I figured I'd take a crack at building what I want.

 

Not trying to reinvent the wheel, so last October, I purchased this kit online...

 

335%20Kitv2_zpsesuwnwqm.png

 

When it arrived, I was kind of surprised that the neck had what I'd call a 50's profile - pretty hefty, but comfortable, and oddly had a fingerboard that I would've expected on a Sherry (no inlays above the 15th fret), but oh well. Set & glued the neck and sprayed several coats of polyurethane clear coat (this is meant to be played, not hang on a wall where I can huff the nitro fumes and wait for the finish to check). Left everything to set/gas out the last 5 months (started other projects in the interim so I wasn't tempted to fool with it before the finish was ready to be handled).

 

Finally took some high-cut rubbing compound, followed by mid-grade polishing compound, scratch remover, swirl removing polish and finally, polishing wax over the last four nights and I had this...

 

EE-989%202_zpscai9b1vp.jpg

 

EE-989%203_zpsczkuiccp.jpg

 

The headstock features my logo (a stylized "H" - the first letter of my surname), and a white rose inlay in memory of my daughter Erin.

 

EE-989%20Headstock_zpsas331xtk.jpg

 

This afternoon, I installed the pickups (Seymour Duncan - S1N at the neck and SH1 at the bridge). Both are 4 conductor as I'm planning a pretty extensive switching system with push/pull pots.

 

EE-989%20Pickguard%202_zpsf9uqlwxj.jpg

 

Also wanted something other than the standard black plastic mounting rings & pickguard, so I went with Brazilian rosewood. I think it matches the fingerboard rather well, and it's an unexpected look, which I like.

 

Hoping to finish her up in the next week or so.

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Nice one man.. This way you get exactly what you want [thumbup] (personally I would have had to slap on some stain on that nice top, really brings out the grain)

 

How did you do the headstock?

 

I hope we get some sound clips when shes done :)

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Thank for looking in and the comments guys.

 

Rabs, yeah, it occurred to me that I should've done some kind of stain that would have accentuated the grain, but that was probably 2 months after the clear coats had been sprayed. Wasn't gonna try and knock all that back to bare wood & start over!

 

The headstock was pretty time consuming...sand the raw wood up to 2000 grit, spray with black, polish out to 8000 grit, 3 coats of clear allowed to set 1 week, then polished out to 120000 grit, apply logo decal (I get them custom made by TheMusicMosquito) then 4 more progressively heavier clear coats, and allowed to gas out with the rest of the guitar. Final polishing done at the same time as the rest of the guitar.

 

Thankfully, the inlay was one very thin piece and was fairly easy to channel and install. I'll admit, I wouldn't have had the patience to assemble hundreds of tiny individual pieces. Overall, I think the effect is attractive never-the-less. Very pleased given what it represents to me.

 

Yeah, once I get her all together and set up, I'll try and get some sound samples up. Actually can't wait to hear it myself.

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The headstock was pretty time consuming...sand the raw wood up to 2000 grit, spray with black, polish out to 8000 grit, 3 coats of clear allowed to set 1 week, then polished out to 120000 grit, apply logo decal then 4 more progressively heavier clear coats, and allowed to gas out with the rest of the guitar. Final polishing done at the same time as the rest of the guitar.

 

Thankfully, the inlay was one very thin piece and was fairly easy to channel and install. I'll admit, I wouldn't have had the patience to assemble hundreds of tiny individual pieces. Overall, I think the effect is attractive never-the-less. Very pleased given what it represents to me.

 

Sweet... that does look REALLY nice.. Good job [thumbup]

 

Better than my headstock work so far.. I need to get some nice inlays done somewhere.. not sure I could make it myself.

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That is a great looking guitar, I wanted to do the same and buy an ES-335 type kit but I opted to get an Epiphone and tweak it to my specs and that was the right choice for me.

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Hats off to you, Sir, you did her dearly nice! [wub] I think she will be even nicer when you finally pick tones out of her. [thumbup]

 

Good luck on your wiring work, and keep us posted. An audio link would be fine, too. :)

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Hats off to you, Sir, you did her dearly nice! [wub] I think she will be even nicer when you finally pick tones out of her. [thumbup]

 

Good luck on your wiring work, and keep us posted. An audio link would be fine, too. :)

yeah I agree hat's of mate!!!!!!! it's giving me ideas for guitar thought's for the two boy's we lost nothing can be more personnel than a one off guitar!!

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Yeah, I'm really enjoying this build (though I'd be lying if I told you it doesn't get frustrating at times). I've been setting up and modding guitars since the late '70s and I figured it was time for me to build the kind of guitars I've always wanted to see.

 

Tough part has been waiting all this time to really get into the "nut's & bolts" of the build. Bought 2 double cut Junior kits within a few weeks of the 335-styled kit too. They're still gassing out, but I've got plenty of ideas swimming around in my head. Finding time is tough sometimes of course - working 6 days a week right now and getting ready to start chemotherapy the end of the month (gotta finish the radiation first). The builds are a pleasant distraction from the realities of day-to-day life, and I think that's why I try so hard to impress myself with the builds...so far, so good. I like what I see, but it's really nice to hear all of your feedback (pardon the pun!).

 

As I said, hoping to finish up in the next week or so, so I'll post as I make progress.

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I think that's why I try so hard to impress myself with the builds

 

well I can't talk for everyone else but your impressing me mate [thumbup] good luck with the chemo mate

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Good luck with the chemo ,been there, done that.

Best advise any one can give is try and keep a positive attitude.

Your mental health goes a long way in your recovery.

As far as your build, it looks great so far.

I have looked at the same kit.

I have built so many Telecaster, Stratocasters, that I would like to try some thing else.

Even though I don't play any more, I still enjoy building, repairing, and refinishing different styles of guitars.

What is your overall thought about that kit.

Any issues with it, and would you recommend it to some one else.

Thanks, and good luck with your treatments.

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Yeah, I'm really enjoying this build (though I'd be lying if I told you it doesn't get frustrating at times). I've been setting up and modding guitars since the late '70s and I figured it was time for me to build the kind of guitars I've always wanted to see.

 

Tough part has been waiting all this time to really get into the "nut's & bolts" of the build. Bought 2 double cut Junior kits within a few weeks of the 335-styled kit too. They're still gassing out, but I've got plenty of ideas swimming around in my head. Finding time is tough sometimes of course - working 6 days a week right now and getting ready to start chemotherapy the end of the month (gotta finish the radiation first). The builds are a pleasant distraction from the realities of day-to-day life, and I think that's why I try so hard to impress myself with the builds...so far, so good. I like what I see, but it's really nice to hear all of your feedback (pardon the pun!).

 

As I said, hoping to finish up in the next week or so, so I'll post as I make progress.

All my best wishes for your radiation and chemo. I think finishing your guitar build and playing her are very nice perspectives to look forward to.

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Yeah, I'm really enjoying this build (though I'd be lying if I told you it doesn't get frustrating at times). I've been setting up and modding guitars since the late '70s and I figured it was time for me to build the kind of guitars I've always wanted to see.

 

Tough part has been waiting all this time to really get into the "nut's & bolts" of the build. Bought 2 double cut Junior kits within a few weeks of the 335-styled kit too. They're still gassing out, but I've got plenty of ideas swimming around in my head. Finding time is tough sometimes of course - working 6 days a week right now and getting ready to start chemotherapy the end of the month (gotta finish the radiation first). The builds are a pleasant distraction from the realities of day-to-day life, and I think that's why I try so hard to impress myself with the builds...so far, so good. I like what I see, but it's really nice to hear all of your feedback (pardon the pun!).

 

As I said, hoping to finish up in the next week or so, so I'll post as I make progress.

 

Hi flyingfrets, I wish you good health and happiness.

 

Kind regards, Emma

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Good luck with the chemo ,been there, done that.

 

Thank you. Can't say I'm not scared. Been dealing with it (hormone resistant metastatic prostate cancer) since December 2012. Been through 2 surgeries, 4 rounds of radiation and oral chemo drugs, but the disease started spreading during this latest round of radiation in January & February, so they tell me it's time to "nuke" it with chemo. Theoretically, it will kill the disease regardless of where it may be hiding. You don't know how I'm praying that they're right.

 

The well wishes mean a lot...

 

What is your overall thought about that kit.

Any issues with it, and would you recommend it to some one else.

 

It's kind of hard to give you a definitive answer. I think it really depends largely on your experience and patience. There are better kits available (top quality woods, CNC cut bodies, perfect neck/heel joints etc), but you're probably looking at $600 - $700 for those kits. At that point, I think a lot of guys would opt to buy an Epi or a used Gibson. IIRC, I paid roughly $200 for this one.

 

I had no fitment issues with this example, though I have heard of poor neck angles, play in the neck pocket and so forth. The first time I dry-fit the neck and body, I felt it was a solid enough platform that I didn't mind putting in the time & effort to turn it into a pretty nice instrument. But again, I have 30+ years of modding and repair experience, so I felt I was up to the challenge.

 

Out of the box, the finer details were definitely on the rough side. The inside edges of the F-holes were unfinished and not very pretty. I sanded them as smooth as I could get them and then lined the inside edges with strip styrene. Leveled to the surface of the guitar and polished to a nice gloss. The frets were surprisingly even (only 2 were out of true), but the oxidation was pretty nasty. So I did a fret level & recrown, then polished up to 8000 grit. Finally hit them with 3M Scratch Out and they look brand new and are perfectly level. You DEFINITELY want to use fret protectors when you're doing this kind of work. When I was satisfied with my work, I oiled the fingerboard to nourish it and bring up a nice sheen.

 

The top and back woods (at this price, I have to assume they're flamed maple veneers) look pretty nice, but the walnut sides are several pieces (I believe I counted 5) and the headstock has a scarf joint. Doesn't bother me and I think they're actually stronger than one piece neck/headstocks, but I know a lot of guys feel this connotates "cheap." Well, yeah price-wise it was, but I already figured I'd be putting a substantial amount of work into this project to make it what I wanted it to be so none of that really bothered me. Might not be worth it to somebody else, but when someone asks what kind of guitar this is, I'll have the satisfaction of being able to say "I built that." There's a lot to be said for that...

 

So, would I recommend this kit? I guess my answer would have to be a qualified "yes." As long as you're aware of what you may be getting into and don't mind the work, it can be a lot of fun.

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All my best wishes for your radiation and chemo. I think finishing your guitar build and playing her are very nice perspectives to look forward to.

 

 

Hi flyingfrets, I wish you good health and happiness.

 

Kind regards, Emma

 

Again, thanks so much.

 

Even when I'm not actively working "hands-on" with the guitar, just thinking about/planning what I'm doing next takes me to my "happy place" when I start to feel overwhelmed.

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Awesome job.

Can't believe all the 000's in your sanding and polishing.

I think I'd start with 40 grit and finish with 100.

 

Sorry to hear of your cancer. Nasty stuff.

Have hope.

 

Take care,

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Awesome job.

Can't believe all the 000's in your sanding and polishing.

 

Thank you. All those "000's" come in a polishing kit that starts at 3200 grit and go up to 12000 (wet or dry). They're actually a cloth instead of paper so if you take care of them, they'll last a long time (and you want to be able to reuse them - the kits aren't cheap). Comes with a black foam rubber block that conforms pretty well to compound curves - handy when you're working on a guitar. I think the manufacturer is MicroMesh. The polishing kits are intended for hobbyists (model car kits, jewelry, etc.), but over the years, I've found them indispensable for guitar work and I think they've lent themselves to this application pretty well. For me, they're definitely a big part of being able to achieve a glass-smooth finish. I'd say the results speak for themselves. But it's all part of what I said earlier about patience and being willing to put the work in. You have to weigh whether the effort is worth it to you or not before you take on one of these guitar kits.

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Nice build! Something I've been considering doing.

 

Who did you get the kit from?

 

All different styles of guitar kits are plentiful on ebay (in the section for Guitar Builder/Luthiers), but I got this particular kit from a Canadian dealer online. Even with shipping, his pricing was about $140 less than the exact same kit on ebay (the ebay listing didn't offer free shipping, so in addition to the $229 they wanted for the kit, drop shipping from China or wherever it originated would've been another $100 or so).

 

The two double cutaway Junior kits I mentioned earlier are made by Faber and I got those online from someplace in Germany (I'd have to go dig out the invoice to remember exactly where), but I do remember since I was buying two, the seller gave me a 30% discount and ate the shipping. In the long run, I still made out quite a bit better cost-wise than buying from a North American seller. Out of the box, the Faber kits exhibit a much more refined level of detail & finish than the 335-style I'm currently working on. But I'm seriously enjoying the challenge of making this kit into (hopefully) a real "head-turner."

 

The trick is finding a selection of kits (ebay is a good start), find one that interests you and do a little research (was able to find that many of the Explorer-type kits feature undersized bodies, which isn't readily apparent in the listing photos). Once you find one that meets whatever you criteria you've decided it needs to meet, shop around for the best price you can find and you're on your way.

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