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Teresa’s guitarbuild


Teresa has kindly sent in a short story to demonstrate the building process of her latest project:


Tech specs:  This was my first guitar build project and I am sure my approach was far from that of a professional, but here's what I did to the body:  I made a couple of decisions at the outset of the project which affected the approach I took.  They were that I was going to use a modern 2 point tremolo, so in some way I had to fill the 6 pre-marked vintage style holes and secondly I decided that I wanted to preserve both the feel and visibility of the swamp ash grain texture so I decided I would not grain fill and that I would use a transparent colour.  That decided, anything I did to the 6 tremolo holes was going to show through the finish, so rather than try to disguise them, I decided to make a feature of them.  I inlayed abalone shell to the inner 4 holes and drilled out the outer holes for a 2 point tremolo.  I could then move straight to sanding.  I sanded by hand to 1200 grit using wet and dry paper (dry) and then stained the wood using a transparent solvent based light fast black stain which I applied using a rag.   Although this dried almost instantly I waited a few days for decent weather before applying a finish.  I didn't have access to a spray booth or spray equipment, so I decided to use rattle cans in the garage.  I set up a little workbench and I should mention a device I obtained from StewMac that they call a "freehand holder".  This allows you to attach a body or neck, suspended over your bench and on which you can rotate the piece while you spray.  It was invaluable.  I sprayed 3 coats (1 coat being 3 passes) of nitrocellulose sanding sealer, allowing an hour between coats.  I followed this with 9 coats of clear satin nitrocellulose.  I obtained the nitro from Manchester Guitar Tech.  The clear satin finish may seem an odd choice, but I wanted to emphasise the grain texture and felt that this would be best achieved by retaining a flat satin look in the lows, against which I hoped I could rub out the highs to a sufficient gloss as contrast.  After spraying I waited an agonising 4 weeks before rubbing out, which I did by hand using a 4000 grit Abralon pad lubricated with water and a tiny drop of detergent.  In order to take the satin clear coat to a glossy finish on the highs I polished by hand to 12000 grit using Micro-Mesh abrasive cloth, again lubricated with a very mild detergent solution.  The final process was to buff with a little carnauba wax and lambswool pad.


To decorate !!!  I used a Wilkinson Gotoh VS100 tremolo in satin chrome, matching this with Schaller staggered height satin chrome locking tuners at the other end of the string path.  I installed Suhr V60LP pickups and used two push push tone pots to enable series, parallel and phase switching control.  The beautiful pickguard and backplate were hand made for me by a metalwork artist Christianne Ertmer    https://www.facebook.com/ertmermusic


I hope that's the sort of information you were after.  I will soon make a start on the RG body you supplied at the same time as the Strat.  Very much looking forward to making this, I feel I learned an awful lot in making the strat.   





4 Responses

peter ciupa
peter ciupa

December 06, 2016

The pickguard is AMAZING, The grain showing through the finish is superb and is set off by the metalwork, Here I am not far off 70 and still excited by cool stuff !!!!

Gerry Hector
Gerry Hector

March 15, 2016

Nice work beautiful axe.

Eoin Jennings
Eoin Jennings

September 14, 2015

a very beautiful piece

the pickguard looks amazing


June 21, 2015

Great work – the guitar looks TERRIFIC!

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