Comments: First guitar build. Took one month using a strict schedule. Started by checking the neck fit and glue runs. Very tight and clean specimen. Next was cutting the headstock shape using a jigsaw and then shaping with files and 200-320 grit sandpaper. The neck was joined to the body using Tightbond Original and large C-clamps.
Next, finishing. The mahogany was sanded with 150 and 220 grit, while being wiped down using a damp cloth to raise the grain in between sanding. 1 coat of grain filler was applied and followed by sanding the mahogany to 320 grit. At this point the fretboard was taped off and 4 coats of vinyl sealer was sprayed over the entire instrument. 320 grit was used to in between coats.
Next, color. The maple top was taped off. 4 coats of cherry red nitro was sprayed on the mahogany, waiting at least 2 hours between coats and only spraying 3 coats in a day. The masking on the maple top was removed and 3 coats of vintage amber nitro was sprayed. This was followed by 2 coats of vinyl sealer in anticipation of any problems spraying the burst. After this, 3 coats of varying thickness was sprayed along the edges of the maple top to create the burst. Before spraying clear, 2 coats of black were sprayed on the front of the peghead.
Finally, 10 coats of clear gloss nitro was sprayed, spraying only 3 coats per day. And then I let it cure for a little over 2 weeks, one week in a garage and the last week in a spare closet inside. All masking tape was removed from the fretboard. The instrument was wet sanded with 800, 1000, 1500, 2000, and 3000 grit sequentially. A final polish using a polishing compound and a microfiber cloth was used to bring it to its final finish. The pickup rings from the kit were used, but they didn't fit properly (too much flex). A piece of 220 grit was held between the pickup cavities and the pickup rings were sanded to a flush fit. The frets were leveled using a 12" radius block and crowned using files. 0000 steel wool was used to polish the frets. The fretboard was conditioned using mineral spirits.
The electronics were upgraded. CTS pots necessitated the boring of the pot holes using a 3/8" drill bit and a drill press. The drill press was also used to press the bridge and tailpiece bushings into the body.
Final assembly started with soldering the pots, the switch, and the jack according to 50s Gibson wiring. The pickups were soldered in next, the neck first and then the bridge. The bridge, tailpiece, and tuners were installed and then strings. Knobs and strap buttons were installed last and the guitar was finished.
Parts list (upgrades):
- Bridge pickup - Golden Age Parsons Street Overwound Alnico V humbucker
- Potentiometers - CTS 450S 500K
- Capacitors - Orange Drop 0.022uF
- Switch - Musiclily 3-way toggle switch (very solid switch)
- Jack - Switchcraft #11
Overall, very pleased with the way this kit came out. I imagine I'll do another one of these in the future. In the meantime, the tuners will be upgraded sometime in the near future; the ones that came with the kit are subpar, the tolerance between the gears inside is simply too loose. The ABR-style bridge is better than I thought it would be, so replacing it is not my first priority. The neck pickup will get replaced too, even though it sounds pretty good once the pole piece screws are adjusted to taste.