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Thread: Simon B's Custom ES-1/ES330 style build

  1. #1
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Simon B's Custom ES-1/ES330 style build

    Well, this custom kit was ordered at the end of July and has finally arrived today. It's an ES-1 kit with a few simple modifications. I know that the ES-1 bodies are light, a lot lighter than the equivalent Gibson would be, so feels more like an ES-330 in weight. So it's routed for P-90s and only has bridge bushing holes drilled so I can fit a trapeze tailpiece in order to create a 330-alike. I did ask for a plain white binding on the top, which it didn't come with, but I can live with the standard striped binding.

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    A wipe down with white spirit showed no visible glue marks, though there's a small section of the join between the pickups that may have some glue in the gap so I'll try and remove that. The veneer join is right down the centreline, which is nice. There is some slight splintering of the veneer at the very bottom and up by the horns, so a small amount of grain filler will be required round the edges.

    The neck deosn't quite fit in the pocket at the moment, but from experience a few days for the wood to settle down should cure that. The fret ends are pretty sharp, but that's no problem to deal with.

    Apart from the headstock face (which will be painted black) it's going to be stained a vintage cherry (well I hope it comes out that way) and then Tru-Oil finished, so that I can work on it in the house. Dog-ear P-90s will be fitted (haven't decided which ones yet, so need to make up my mind pronto, thinking about Creamery ones).

  2. Liked by: dave.king1

  3. #2
    Mentor JohnH's Avatar
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    Nice looking kit Simon. Pity about the binding, but I guess at least itís a reasonably minor thing.

  4. #3
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Well, it's not going to have G****** on the headstock, so it's more of a general sound-alike than slavish copy.

  5. #4
    Mentor Sonic Mountain's Avatar
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    Looking forward to seeing how the cherry finish goes. I'd like to have a better go at that.

  6. #5
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    So am I! The basswood back and sides should be fine, as that was what was on the ES-3 when I stained that yellow to begin with. But I want to try and pop the veneer a bit, but I'm concerned about making it all too dark, so will test out on some loose veneer first. I'll probably try a dark brown rather than black stain. The maple's sort of yellow, so on it's own the stain might look a bit more orange.

    I'm waiting for a few things to arrive, so have time to do some sanding etc. and stain testing. I also need to check that the vintage cherry stain that I'm sure I've got in my collection of stains I've got in the garage is actually vintage cherry!

  7. #6
    Overlord of Music Dedman's Avatar
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    nice! I like the fretboard small dots over the squares that come on the gt version as a rule. Looking forward to this build
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  8. #7
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Well, when I have not been busy trying to sort out replacement bass pickups for the ESB-4 bass, I started working on this guitar (which from now on shall be referred to as 'the 330').

    My first quilt top to be worked on, it had a few small areas around the ends where the veneer grain had splintered slightly when cut (or when the binding was routed), so it needed a small amount of grain filling. No Timbermate over here, so I used what was recommended on a couple of UK luthier sites and is very easy to get over here, Rustins grain filler (natural). This is supposed to accept stain easily.

    Not water based stains it doesn't!

    I'd applied it in several areas around the edges and over the central veneer join line in the middle area between the two pickup routs where there looked to be a bit more of a line than there was on the rest of the body. Also on some rough areas around the neck pocket cavity.

    So after I applied it, and waited several days for it to harden and any solvent evaporate. Then on Thursday I bit the bullet and rubbed the grain filler back, ready for staining.

    I was in two minds whether to try and pop the grain or not. In the end I though I might as well as this was my guitar, so, I might as well experiment on it. The ESB-4 kit has less of an obvious flame on it, so that would be worth trying to pop to make the most of what there is, but I didn't want to experiment on that as my friend is spending a lot of money on the components, so didn't want to risk messing it up.

    So I made up a quite diluted black water dye/stain solution in a jam jar (so I had plenty in reserve as I didn't want to run out and mix up one of a different concentration to continue) and ran over the top with the stain on a rag.

    This is where I found out that a) I hadn't sanded back the grain filler fully in many areas and b) it only took up a minimal stain compared to the maple veneer, and so had several almost white patches that looked just like glue marks. Many words of four letters were uttered.

    Once recovered enough to continue, I also stained the sides, back and neck. Not because I particularly wanted to pop any of the basswood grain, but because I didn't want the top to end up a really different colour to the rest of the body.

    Friday saw my attempt to recover the situation with the top; with a lot of rubbing down in the grain filler area, and a brushing with a glue remover solution and an electric toothbrush.

    I also sanded the top and sides as best I could to remove a lot of the dark stain, so that the final red stain wouldn't end up too dark. This is when I found that the cheap sandpaper I bought some time ago and had never got round to using, was cheap for a reason and was near useless for the task. So I ordered a roll of 3M 180 grit paper from Amazon which arrived the next day. So Saturday saw more sanding, including the back, sides and neck, and more sanding of the grain filler areas and more glue removal scrubbing.

    I then tried re-staining the pale areas, and this time, the stain took.

    So I left it to dry and after an evening with friends, came back and sanded back the stained areas to match them up with the rest of the top.

    In my view it all worked, and this is how the body currently looks:

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    It's about as evenly dark-stained as it's going to get, with any variations down to the wood itself.

    There's still a whiff of the glue remover liquid on it, so I won't do anything more until that's gone.

    In the meantime I've found and ordered some water-based grain filler, along with a spirit based red dye. Then it will be time to experiment on some scrap wood as to whether I use the new dye or stick with the original.

    I'm still wondering about what to do with the bass, as that also has the same Rustins grain filler on it, and in this instance, is also filling a 3cm scratch in the body and a trio of small pockmark holes. I don't want those to stand out like a sore thumb, so if the spirit dye works on the grain filler, I might forego trying to pop the grain on the bass and just use the red dye.

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  10. #8
    Overlord of Music Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Oh, and I've also ordered a couple of Creamery Classic '57 dog ear P90s with Alnico 2 magnets. It will be a while before they are ready.

    https://www.creamery-pickups.co.uk/c...l#CLASSIC53P90

  11. #9
    Mentor JohnH's Avatar
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    That came out really nice Simon, even if it was a frustrating process. It really is a nice looking kit

  12. #10
    Member Dikkybee007's Avatar
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    Would be interested in hearing what you think of the pickups as I was looking at their Jaguar set for a future build.
    Builds :
    # 1 - Non PBG ES-335
    # 2 - Non PBG Tele Thinline
    # 3 - Non PBG LP
    # 4 - Non PBG SG
    # 5 - RC-1
    # 6 - TL-1
    # 7 - ST-1 Custom
    # 8 - SGB-30
    # 9 - Future - Custom 12 String LP Junior
    #10 - Future - Custom Stratuar

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