Sunday, February 27, 2011

Destruction with Forester Bits

July 30, 2008

Current mood:working

So, little by little I've been working on this SG style guitar that I got from Vietnam.  (You can see pictures of it in the myphoto section.  It is named SG style guitar.)  Well, the first thing I did was yank out the frets.  I don't know what metal they were made of but they already seemed to be rusting.  (Note: that is not good by any means.)  The only thing I had to be careful of, was not to damage the inlay on the neck.  I did okay.  Hey, that's what glue is for.

The next thing I did was put 12 coats of polyurathane lacquer.  That took a while, but it came out nicely.  Thank you to the Minwax Corp. for making a nice Wipe-On Polyurathane Lacquer.  It works well for us small time woodworkers who don't have a spray booth with $1000 worth of spray equipment.  Just wipe on the lacquer nice and thin, and let it dry.

Next, I put in the new frets.  I had some of the very large fretwire from where I worked at Dean Guitars.  It also is an extremely hard fretwire with an 18% nickel/ silver content.  The slots were not cut nicely from the Vietnamese factory.  So that made this the toughest re-fret I have ever done on a guitar.  I was beating the hell out of the frets with my special Civil War era hammer.  (Note:  I wrote about my special little hammer in a previous post.)  Anyway, I got them all in there, and fret-dressed the frets, sanded, recrowned, and then sanded them again.  So after that, I had a moderately ok fret job.

I then started work on the pickups.  I absolutely love Schaller Golden 50 pickups.  They are a very bright sounding PAF type pickup.  They have a very wide open sound (compared with a very compressed sound that overwound pickups have.)  But I decided to change things up a bit.  I replaced the Alnico 5 magnet with a vintage style unsanded/ unpolished Alnico 2 magnet.  For those who don't know the magnet has a lot to do with the sound.  This type of Alnico 2 magnet will have more mids and softer lows.  I did this for the neck pickup.  I left the Alnico 5 magnet in the bridge pickup.

I got this really nice guitar strap.  It reminds me of my very first guitar strap that I bought oh so many years ago.  I had to adjust the strapholes so I could put Schaller strap locks on it.  For those who don't know, Schaller strap locks, lock into place on the guitar strap knobs.  Once they lock in, it is almost impossible for them to come off without manually releasing the locks.  They are a great invention.  I've seen too many guitar straps slip off a regular strap knob.

Then came my stupidity.  I tried to cut behind the hole for the 3 way switch to make it shallower.  What I did was put the forester bit right through the guitar body.  So for every screw-up there is some sort of fix.  (Via my Dad) I ended up having a matching piece of black walnut put on a turning lathe to match the 3/4 inch hole that was in my guitar.  Well, it ended up fitting, and with a whole lot of Titebond 2 glue, the hole was been filled.  Which in a way is kind of weird, because I now have to re-drill a hole.  Only this time I have to make the hole a 1/2 inch hole.  Of course I have to wait 48 hours.  You see, Titebond 2 is an absolutely great wood glue, but it takes two days to completely dry.  After it does dry up I can use a Rhythm/ Treble cover to cover up my mistake.  No one will ever know. 

I've put what hardware I could on.  I put the tuners, and truss rod cover on first.  Then I was smart, and drilled the hole for the ground wire.  Again, for those who don't know, all the electronics are grounded to the bridge.  That way, while playing when your hand is touching the bridge it quiets the 60 cycle hum. 
I then had to make a trip to Home Depot for a 7/16th (11.11 Metric) drill bit.  I used to drill out the holes for the bridge and tailpiece holes.  I carefully put the posts in the bridge while making certain the ground wire was in complete contact with the posts.  So the good news is that, I got the hardware put in perfect.

Once the glue drys, I will then get to put the electronics in.  Namely hooking up the pickups to the pots, 3 way switch, and output jack.  I will then string up the guitar, and do a final set-up.  Then comes the fun part, I get to see how the guitar sounds.  Next comes the part where I get to do my best Toni Iommi impression.  (Again for those who don't know, Toni Iommi of Black Sabbath/ Heaven and Hell has always used a left-handed Gibson SG guitar.  It's kind of his trademark.

So once my little guitar is in working condition.  I will update my blog again.

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