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  • November 29, 2014 3 min read 5 Comments

    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


    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.   





    5 Responses

    Stephen Lyons
    Stephen Lyons

    November 13, 2018

    Looks really good.Took a lot of patience.!..Would love to see and hold it .Not in London are you ?
    Am doing an art project.What do you think about me repeating a similar process to you with Walnut
    Thanks Theresa.
    Best wishes

    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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