Guitar kit build 2014 part 4

Assembly

Now for the final stage (maybe….), the assembly.  My younger son came over to help me with it and we laid everything out before gettting to work.

Can we make a functioning guitar out of this lot?
Can we make a functioning guitar out of this lot?

You might notice the two sets of control knobs.  Before assembling the guitar, we made a mock-up with each of the sets of knobs in order to decide which ones to use.  Because the top hadn’t turned out as I had envisaged, the chicken head knobs didn’t look right.

Ain't nobody here but us chicken heads!
Ain’t nobody here but us chicken heads!

So it was back to the original knobs.  We fitted the pots and related gubbins into the control cavity.

A blue burst control cavity - nice!
A blue burst control cavity – nice!

I didn’t bother with insulating tape or paint for this guitar – it’s not going to be an issue.  However, I realised that there was no hole for the ground wire to come from the pickups, so I very carefully drilled one.

One slip and you're screwed!  Or drilled.
One slip and you’re screwed! Or drilled.

I used my erstwhile colour tester, now useless block of coloured wood, to help hammer in the bridge posts.  Unorthodox, but it worked.

It's Hammer Time!
It’s Hammer Time!

Then we fitted the various other bits and pieces, and we were nearly there!  It was quite easy to install the pickups because they had little plugs on the wires, meaning that no soldering was required.  That was fortunate since I’ve never soldered anything and I don’t own a soldering iron.

HBKit33
I hadn’t realised that the tailpiece falls off if you have no strings!

And then we made it!  Here is the finished guitar!

Our doorstopping ape appoved!
Our doorstopping ape appoved!

And from behind…

HBKit36
Oops! Hope you don’t spot it….

Ah….small problem with the paint job; apparently I’d fixed the handle too far up the neck!

It's a design feature, honest!
It’s a design feature, honest!

So there we are, the guitar was sort of finished.  I say sort of because there were still a number of issues:

  • One of the pickguard screws was missing from the pack
  • The tone and volume pots were loose; not sure how to fix them better
  • Little bits of nitro flaked off when I screwed in some of the components (not visible, happily)
  • The instructions included with the kit were a bit vague in some places, but we sorted it out
  • The action was very high at first, but playing with the truss rod mostly solved that
  • The unpainted patch of wood at the base of the neck
  • I strung some of the strings on the wrong side of the tuners
  • The nut should be cut deeper
  • The neck is a bit wonky – it’s not completely straight out of the body, so the strings on one side of the fretboard are closer to the edge than on the other side.

Despite all of the above, the guitar does actually work, but I must confess that it’s not exactly my go-to guitar.  In fact, I’ve hardly ever played it, and since building it almost 2 years ago I haven’t got around to correcting all of these issues – it hangs on my wall looking pretty, but that’s about all.

I’m hoping that my future full guitar build in the autumn with Crimson Guitars will give me some more knowledge and experience to enable me to fix it up when I return.  It would be good to make this into a half-decent guitar.

Overall, I was happy with the process, and reasonably happy with the finished product.  I learnt a lot for a relatively small outlay, and I do like the finish that I ended up with, even though it wasn’t what I had intended.

I will make another update if I do get around to that!

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