Saturday, 19 January 2013

Guitar build update

So how is the guitar build going?  I know you've been constantly asking yourself that haven't you?   ... Oh well...

Right - I've been using the really good Wudtone Amber stain on the body.  I liked the look of the finish you get - very natural etc. and very easy for an amateur home builder like me to use as no spraying, no special equipment etc. just need some gloves and some old rags to apply it.  You don't even have to apply grain filler before you start to finish as it takes care of some of that too.  Neat product.  However it takes a while, you need to put on a few base coats, I did four and then some top coats, I did three.  Between each you need at least a day or two for it to cure.  I learnt two things.  As ever when it says ventilated area it means it, I got a couple of killer headaches when doing this in the shed with the door closed.  DOH!  Also don't use a t-shirt, I did on the first two coats and realised it soaked too much into the cloth.  So and old pair of cotton pj bottoms were cut up and I found that to be excellent for the job.

Anyhow - after 5 base coats and 3 top coats here she is.

Have to say I'm really happy - this is so close to what I'd hoped it would turn out like I'd have to give it a full 10/10!

Advice from Wudtone is to leave it a full week to fully cure before assembly.  Which I will now do but I couldn't resist a quick test assembly with the neck and scratchplate.  I bought a white three ply one last week from Vanson guitars on eBay, they supplied the Wilkson Pickups and strap locks I have now for it to.  Good fast service and reasonably priced products for someone like me at the lower end of custom building.  I think the white is definitely better on the Amber body than the black one that came with the kit.  I did go to and fro a bit but once I laid it out like this there is no contest, white it will be.

So next weekend I hope to be soldering up all the components and assembling it all.  Then just set up time.  In preparation for that I have polished up the frets with wire wool and then a polish drum on a little Dremel like rotary tool - a trick I got from Crimson Guitars, a really inspirational site following a real luthier in his workshop through his builds and repairs etc.  I also have it a good drink of lemon oil on the fretboard.  Measureing the radius showed it is very flat, flatter than I first thought, about 20" so nothing like a vintage 7.25" or more modern Fender 9.5".  However I don't mind flat boards, in some ways easier to set up.


  1. I am SUPER impressed...that is a thing of beauty!!!

    Congrats! I know that the music from that piece will be some of the sweetest you've ever played.

  2. that is beautiful! definitely like the white-on-amber look, too. i had to put several coats of varnish on the maple case for my murphy bed - and to say that i killed a few thousand brain cells in the process is an understatement! gotta wonder how a woodworker can survive doing this sort of work on a regular basis!

  3. Beautiful. If you think it looks great now, wait until you've played it for a year or two and it acquires some pick marks. Have you ever seen Willie Nelson's guitar? Now, that's an instrument with loads of CHARACTER.

  4. It's looking beautiful. I'm glad you're sharing your project so I can have vicarious enjoyment. I'd be a disaster trying to undertake that construction.

  5. Well done! Looking forward to hear your report on the final product.

  6. Soldering all that stuff is gonna be a pain in the ass, Dude !

  7. It looks great, G. Here's hoping it'll sound every bit as good.