An update on my guitar build

If you’ve been following my guitar build, you might be wondering what’s happened in the last couple of weeks since I returned from the course.  I had a few steps left to finish the guitar, and for some of them I needed to order components which took a week or so to arrive.  These included a Tusq nut, some small magnets, a fret polishing kit and a few other bits and pieces.  The nut was pre-slotted; I had a blank nut but no nut slotting saws, and it was considerably cheaper to buy a slotted nut than to get the saws.

In the meantime, I haven’t been inactive although progress has naturally been much slower since I’ve only been grabbing a bit of time in the evenings or at the weekend.  I decided that I preferred the natural wood to the stain, and so I spent a considerable time (several hours) sanding the top down again.  Unfortunately, the imperfections in the maple top have caused problems but I have decided on a solution that I will implement later.  Last weekend, I finished sanding and applied five coats of finishing oil, and now the guitar is waiting for the oil to cure for a few days before I can finish it off with a light sanding and perhaps another coat of oil.

Part of the body, now sanded and oiled, with the sponges that will go under the pickups.
Part of the body, now sanded and oiled, with the sponges that will go under the pickups.

I have done a few more things too.  I fitted little magnets inside the control cavity and on the cover so that it stays on without any screws, although I still need to do a bit more work to make sure that I can take the cover off.  At the moment, I have to push it off by inserting a pen through one of the holes on the top, but when the tone and volume pots are installed this will no longer be an option!  I have also been working on my truss rod cover which will be similarly held on with magnets, but that’s not finished yet.  I also managed to install the string ferrules and ground them, which was a rather fiddly job.

Lastly, I’ve also started working on the electronics.  This is completely new to me, so I spent some time researching and getting help in order to design the wiring, since I couldn’t find a schematic that fitted my pickup configuration exactly.  I’ve also never soldered anything before, so I watched some helpful videos on YouTube and got stuck in, doing everything that I could do outside the body.

The tone and volume pots soldered together, mounted on a sponge which worked surprisingly well!
The tone and volume pots soldered together, mounted on a sponge which worked surprisingly well!

I hope that the guitar will be finished in the next few days, at least to a level where I can play it although I will still have one or two final touches to do afterwards.

 

Spotlight on Luthiers: Jaydee Custom Guitars

The focus of my website has been rather single-minded in the last couple of weeks, centring on the guitar that I built (well, nearly!).  Today, though, it’s back to my regular(ish) feature about UK luthiers, and I’m looking at Jaydee Custom Guitars from Birmingham.

A Tony Iommi Old Boy Relic SG
A Tony Iommi Old Boy Relic SG

Jaydee is John Diggins, who started the firm in 1977 after working for another luthier, John Birch (the company still exists although Birch passed away in 2000).  His son also currently works with him, and they make lead guitars and bass guitars.  Jaydee has made guitars for some very big names, including Tony Iommi, Mark King and Roy Orbison, and toured with Black Sabbath as Iommi’s guitar tech in 1975.

A Supernatural GA24 bass
A Supernatural GA24 bass

Jaydee Custom Guitars tends to specialise in bass guitars, partly because of the association with Mark King.  They sell Tony Iommi SG models as well as other SG-type guitars and two main series of bass guitar models.

Mark King's first Jaydee bass guitar
Mark King’s first Jaydee bass guitar

Guitar build day five – and fame at last!

Today was the penultimate day of my six-day guitar course with Crimson Guitars.  Again, it was a very busy day, working on the body (mainly the control cavity) and the neck (installing the fretboard dots and side dots).

Marking out the locations for all of the dots
Marking out the locations for all of the dots

The full write-up for today is available here.

In addition, Ben Crowe, the owner of Crimson Guitars, did his weekly “What’s on the bench” video today, which features me and my guitar at around 11:20.  That’s also my guitar on the thumbnail of the video!

Guitar Build Day Three

Sorry for the repetitive nature of this week’s posts, but my guitar course is all-consuming!  I’m on the course from 9am to 7pm, and then spend all evening updating this website and editing the video footage that I shot during the day.  The videos will be uploaded to YouTube next week.

Today was a day of problem solving, but we made some material progress too.  I had to make a new neck, and we started to carve the body.

Cleaning up the overhanging top on the table router
Cleaning up the overhanging top on the table router

The full story of the day can be read here!

Guitar Build Day Two

Day two is over and I’m busy updating this website and editing the video footage of the day.  Today we made the final outline of the body, routed out the cavities and glued it to the top.  Then I worked on the neck, cutting it to size and finally carving the neck profile (although not yet the heel and nut area).

A quick mock-up of the guitar top with the hardware!
A quick mock-up of the guitar top with the hardware!

The full report of the day can be found here!