Well, I going to start building the guitar I dream about but...

Vibroluxer

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I'm pretty anxious about putting it together. Of all of the guitars I've had or played, I want this one to rank up there with best. So here I am with 3 questions:

1) Should I give all of the parts to someone with the task of building the guitar of my dreams (TGOMD). If I knew someone that was responsible and talented at his craft I'd hire him/her in a flash. I'm not afraid to put pieces of wood together or painting any other guitar, but this one I am. I'm seeking perfection and luckily, I'm easy to please. I have no tools. It's amazing what happens when divorce hits a family. So there went my tools. I have some but lack most. Are there quality tools for little ? I'd love some suggestions.

2) Do it myself. There won't be a need for any painting or staining because that part is all done. There is a guitar book called Fix Your Guitar or something like it, it was $29.95 on Amazon. If I built this myself a book like that will really help. Also, lack of tools is an issue. What all will I need? Please give me a few suggestions on beginner guitar building.

3) Keep procrastinating.

Thanks in advance for any help or hints. As in, I've seen these blue things that rest on a table and support the neck. Stuff like that. Anything to make it easier.
 
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Freeman Keller

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I build guitars from scratch and I have assembled parts guitars for others. Both of your options are viable but reading between the lines I'm not comfortable with your ability to dress the frets, do the setup, do the wiring. Assuming you buy quality parts from a Fender licensed vendor (someone like Warmoth) and particularly if you buy the neck, body and p/g from the same place you stand a good chance of them screwing together without issues. The wonderful thing about F style guitars is that almost everything will fit and work.

I know that many people use aftermarket necks without doing any work, I usually find it necessary (and Ken Warmoth says they expect the end user to have to do a little fret work). There are almost always some holes that need drilling, electronics that need soldering, and while the final setup is not hard getting it perfect can be.

Obviously if you want something out of the ordinary the cost and difficulty goes up. I have a friend who has had me assemble three Jagstangs but he wants Kahler bridges - that just requires a bit more work. A local band was going to do some Pink Floyd covers and wanted a "David Gilmore strat" - again, a rather interesting project.

As far as resources, I would spend a lot of time at Warmoth's web site. I always recommend Melvyn Hiscock's book on building your own electric guitar - he does scratch build three guitars but he also talks about putting together a parts guitar. The great thing about Hiscock is he covers subjects like geometry and woods and tools and electronics and finish - good information all in one place.

Last but not least, most of the builders and assembly people hang out at the Home Depot subforum, you might want to check out what they are doing.
 

arlum

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Have you successfully completed guitar build projects, "that rank up there with the best", in the past? While there are many builders at TDPRI I'm sure their range of skill level is all over the map. You've set a high bar for your hoped for results. If you're not comfortably sure of your builder skill level and want the completed guitar to meet your high expectations I'd consider picking out and purchasing all the components and having another builder assemble them. Why beat yourself silly trying to accomplish this build level. We have a Luthier school in St. Louis that takes on projects like this. The students work as a team while the instructors oversee the build. Yes. They're still learning but, combined together with a pro directing the process, there's a decent chance they'll pull it off. I'm sure there are many schools of this type out there. I'd check a few out and see if they might want to take on your project. If you want to take another step up you might consider contacting one of the many guitar builders here at TDPRI to see if they'd be willing to build this guitar for you.
 

rze99

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You may find a builder near you who would do it for a reasonable rate. You could Also buy used parts to assemble it. This would take time to source the parts but it would be ready to play as soon as you assembled it.
 

Vibroluxer

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Vibro, may I ask what exactly your dream guitar is?

Absolutely!! And thanks for asking.

It's a Warmoth swamp ash body finished in transparent blue. It's routed to hold a Filtertron in the neck and bridge with the middle route holding a Tele neck pickup. So the configuration is HSH with the 2 Filtertrons being TV Jones Classics and the middle pickup being a 52 RI neck pickup. I might leave the middle pickup out for right now.

The white pick guard is from Warmoth and has been cut for 3 pickups and 5 mounting holes in it. I'll buy another if I use just the 2 Filtertrons.

All screws are slotted, no Phillips head used.

The neck is a new MIM Tele Deluxe. I don't know what Deluxe version of a Tele has this neck but it has thin 'Fender" and "Deluxe" in fairly heavy font.

Kluson tuning keys.

Control plate is from Callahan and will be used if I use 2 pickups. Eventually I will try 3 pickups and then the control panel will be set up with the S1 system.

The bridge is a Callahan hardtail strat bridge with 4 mounting holes.

Electrosocket input jack.

Standard 3 position selector switch for the 2 pickups and a 5 position switch should I go to 3 pickups.

That should just about wrap it up. Any advice you're willing to share, please do.

Paul
 

LowCaster

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Looks like a nice partscaster build. There is no reason why you couldn’t do it Double check the tuner hole diameter and things like that. Once you have sorted out the pickguard/pickups you are good to go. The assembly of a pre finished kit should be as easy as screwing parts together. Tools you need:

- a good screwdriver
- a small adjustable wrench
- a small hand drill and a set of small drill bits mostly for tuners and pickguard.
- a soldering iron and solder.
- a towel to lay on the bench...

Then you need the usual tools for the guitar setup. Trusrod key for starters. Hopefully you won’t have to do fret leveling, or cut the nut or adjust the neck angle. Just try to do the best setup you can and let it settle a bit.

Once finished you can still go to a tech or luthier and ask for a full setup or help to solve problems.
 

ChicknPickn

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Along with the good bits of guidance already posted, I'd ask you to consider how quickly you want this guitar to go into service.

I'm struck by "I'm seeking perfection and luckily, I'm easy to please." That is counterintuitive to me. When I seek perfection on a build, I'm willing to spend weeks, even months to make sure everything is right. And even then, some little flaw - - typically of the cosmetic sort - - finds its way in. I've never achieved "perfection" in any guitar I've built. No matter what, I will not tolerate an end product that can't set up 99.9% perfect. Can't do that.

If you want that guitar NOW, any attempt to move more quickly than your skillset or tool kit supports could result in flaws in your dream guitar. On the other hand, if you have the patience, you'll get a lot out of putting it together and fine-tuning it yourself.
 

Blue Bill

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I agree with @drumtime: Try building a cheapy partscaster first, do your learning there, then TGOYD will come out way better. If there's a good guitar tech in your area, get to know them and plan on having them do the setup. If you involve them in the process, you may get some good advice along the way.
 

Freeman Keller

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Absolutely!! And thanks for asking.

It's a Warmoth swamp ash body finished in transparent blue. It's routed to hold a Filtertron in the neck and bridge with the middle route holding a Tele neck pickup. So the configuration is HSH with the 2 Filtertrons being TV Jones Classics and the middle pickup being a 52 RI neck pickup. I might leave the middle pickup out for right now.

The white pick guard is from Warmoth and has been cut for 3 pickups and 5 mounting holes in it. I'll buy another if I use just the 2 Filtertrons.

All screws are slotted, no Phillips head used.

The neck is a new MIM Tele Deluxe. I don't know what Deluxe version of a Tele has this neck but it has thin 'Fender" and "Deluxe" in fairly heavy font.

Kluson tuning keys.

Control plate is from Callahan and will be used if I use 2 pickups. Eventually I will try 3 pickups and then the control panel will be set up with the S1 system.

The bridge is a Callahan hardtail strat bridge with 4 mounting holes.

Electrosocket input jack.

Standard 3 position selector switch for the 2 pickups and a 5 position switch should I go to 3 pickups.

That should just about wrap it up. Any advice you're willing to share, please do.

Paul
That is a very reasonable parts build and should make a nice guitar for you. I have not worked with TV Jones pickups but my understanding is that there are two ways to mount them, just like P90's - either directly to wood or with a ring. Buying a pick guard from the same source as the body makes a lot of sense. Having it routed for TV Jones pups pretty much commits you to using them so be sure that is what you want.

If you are seriously thinking of the middle pup have the route done by the body manufacturer. You could hide it under a pick guard until it comes time. Same thing with your HSH switching - that complicates things a lot and should be considered from the get-go.

Make sure you do not have the holes drilled for string thru if you are going to use a hardtail bridge. I haven't worked with the Callahan bridge but I assume that the geometry will work on a tele. If not its pretty simple to shim and/or modify the pocket to make it work.

I always assume that a neck will need fret and nut work, most factory guitars need it, every aftermarket neck has benefitted from it. If you luck out and don't need to do anything so much the better. Here is the process I use every time I set up a guitar


One thing to be very aware of is that you might be very surprised at the cost of this - don't build a parts guitar to save money. You should have a good understanding with your assembly person on exactly what you expect. Rather than just buying a box of parts and taking it to them you might consider letting them source the parts - often they will get a discount and that means a little more money in their pocket. It also eliminates finger pointing if something doesn't work.

Good luck, have fun. It should be a very nice guitar.
 

radiocaster

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3) Keep procrastinating.

Thanks in advance for any help or hints.
I think I've become a master in this.

I have a body for more than a decade that I never finished, probably like 14 or 15 years. Kept staining it and messing it up and stripping it again. Have all the parts and finishing supplies.

I've been considering building a guitar since the 90s or maybe late 80s. Drawn up a bunch of different designs. Have all the tools to build a body, except my bandsaw blade broke a couple of years ago and I never got another one. Don't have wood for a guitar body, do have a neck from a guitar..

I can give you precious advice on procrastination, should you require some.
 

Lonn

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I'd advise at least assembling it yourself and then taking it to someone for a good setup. If you can turn a screwdriver and plug in a soldering iron you can assemble a guitar.
 

Vibroluxer

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Thanks for the excellent advice! I think I'm going to give this a shot on my own since I already have most of the parts. I'm so so with a soldering gun and I make a mess but I've never had a cold join. I'm sorry but I forget who mentioned this earlier but maybe I should assemble it as best I can then take it to a Luther or someone more talented then me. Finding that person will not be easy.

I got a list of tools from above, can anybody recommend others that will make this a bit easier?

Thanks so much for all of the good advice and insights
 

Freeman Keller

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I've already suggested one book that I recommend to all new builders. And I've given you my thread on how I approach setups, including the tools I use. Tools that I would suggest

- Melvyn Hiscock, Make Your Own Electric Guitar
- my article on geometry and setup
- specifications for the action you want - relief, first and 12th fret clearance
- Philips and flat blade screw drivers from jewelers to No. 2 (neck screws)
- Drill bits for whatever holes aren't drilled, cordless drill. If the neck screws aren't drilled then some sort of support and a drill press. StewMac sells a set of small bits with depth stops, I find those really useful.
- Measuring instruments including 24 inch straight edge, mechanics rule, feeler gauges. I really like the StewMac action gauge, it doubles as a fret rocker
- nut files for your string gauges
- 25 watt soldering iron, solder, wire strippers,
- if the frets need any work something to level and crown them
- reamer for the tuner holes, particularly if you have a roasted neck
- digital tuner for setting intonation
- Imperial and/or metric wrenches. In particular the nuts on pots, switches, jack. Probably 1/2 inch
- masking tape to protect things as you work
 
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Vibroluxer

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I've already suggested one book that I recommend to all new builders. And I've given you my thread on how I approach setups, including the tools I use. Tools that I would suggest

- Melvyn Hiscock, Make Your Own Electric Guitar
- specifications for the action you want - relief, first and 12th fret clearance
- Philips and flat blade screw drivers from jewelers to No. 2 (neck screws)
- Drill bits for whatever holes aren't drilled, cordless drill. If the neck screws aren't drilled then some sort of support and a drill press. StewMac sells a set of small bits with depth stops, I find those really useful.
- Measuring instruments including 24 inch straight edge, mechanics rule, feeler gauges. I really like the StewMac action gauge, it doubles as a fret rocker
- nut files for your string gauges
- 25 watt soldering iron, solder, wire strippers,
- if the frets need any work something to level and crown them
- reamer for the tuner holes, particularly if you have a roasted neck
- digital tuner for setting intonation
- Imperial and/or metric wrenches. In particular the nuts on pots, switches, jack. Probably 1/2 inch
- masking tape to protect things as you work
Thanks!! Your input is much appreciated. I'm going to check out the book now. 🙂
 

Freeman Keller

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Just for inspiration, attached are some pictures of the Black Strat during its assembly
 

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Peegoo

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Warmoth makes good stuff.

Two very important things that really matter when assembling a production neck onto a production body, because some first-timers make a dog's breakfast of the build by goofing this up:

-Do not force the neck into the body. With the body laying flat and face up on the bench, the neck should drop straight down into the pocket with gravity. Even a little nudge to get it into place can crack the finish in the treble side of the pocket

-If the neck is wider than the neck pocket, do not sand the neck. Sand the sides of the neck pocket evenly to get the neck to fit

And ask a lot of questions here as you work through the build. The next best thing besides building a guitar myself is helping another player build their own. There are lots of very experienced builders here that probably feel the same way I do about this.
 

2HBStrat

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What I would say is this...hedge your expectations. My experience is that you can have a great neck, a body you love, all great parts, pickups, etc. and the end result guitar is a dog. You will never know how great a guitar is for YOU until it is put together. The good news is that if a guitar isn't great for you it might be perfect for someone else. That's why music stores take trade-ins.
 




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