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View Full Version : Chapter 1. Tools You'll Need For Building Your Guitar



adam
02-05-2017, 06:33 PM
From Gavin's "How to build your Pit Bull Electric Guitar"

We thought it might be helpful to list the tools you'll need for building a Pit Bull Guitar Kit (http://www.pitbullguitars.com/shop/). DB and I have divided the list into Three categories, which are What you can get away with, Nice to Have and Really Nice to Have.

:) What you can get away with tools

You can build one of these kits with a few basic tools

file or fine rasp
Pit Bull Sandpaper (180 grit to 240 grit)
Steel wool
Drill
Drill bits, from 2mm and 3mm
Clamps, G type or Irwin Quick Grip
Pit Bull Wood glue (for set neck kits)
Screw drivers, both phillips and flat head
Long straightedge (600mm rule) and tape measure
Soldering iron
Electronic solder
Clean rags
Pencil
Eye protection
Wire cutters
Small allen keys for bridge
Tuner

If it is your intention to only build one or two kits with the most basic of tools and without outlaying funds on specialist tools then skip forward to the next section on this thread.
However, if you want to get the absolute best out of your kit, and particularly if you want to turn this into a hobby you might want to acquire the following:

:) Nice to have:

Random orbital sander
Drill press
1" x 2" sanding drum
Helping hands alligator clamps
Portable clamping workbench
Clamp lamp
Digital callipers
Multi meter
StewMac string rule for nut building

;) Really nice to have

12" Radius sanding block
Fret crowning file
Set of nut files
4" x 36" bench top belt sander
Oscillating spindle sander
Dust extraction system
Buffing station
Large workbench with a vice for holding small parts


What would you like to see included/deleted? Keep in mind the audience is the first time builder, so the "Keep It Simple Stupid" rule applies.

My opinion is that we could delete the Nice to have and Really nice to have and edit (add/subtract) to/from the What you can get away with tools.

What do you think?

Dedman
02-05-2017, 06:40 PM
hmm, I don't know I think that is pretty straight forward maybe leave REALLy nice section out, I think if you reach that stage of addiction ....er I mean enthusiasm you would have picked that up from reading posts.

Andy40
02-05-2017, 06:45 PM
I remember this list when i first started.

I think we probably need to add a coping saw or something to shape the head stock with to things you can get away with
and as solder comes with the kit "more solder" to nice to have. Its probably a good idea to put at least a dust mask in at this stage too.

I'd put a notched straight edge, fret rocker(or Stanley knife blades), fret leveling beam (or a stright aluminium bar and 240 grit sandpaper) and a set of small files in nice to have rather than an orbital sander. I still sand the whole thing by hand and do my fret levels with those tools and they cost me less than $30.

Brendan
02-05-2017, 08:44 PM
Take out the small allen key for the bridge - they come as part of the kit.

Other than that - you could keep the extra tools bit on the forum and point to that.

WeirdBits
02-05-2017, 08:55 PM
I'm not sure if it would be better in Intro or at the start of Ch. 1 but emphasising that the kits are designed to be built rather than just assembled may help to better prepare new builders for what lies ahead.

wazkelly
02-05-2017, 10:22 PM
Good point Scott as I half expected something from Ikea with printed instructions only to discover more work and brain power was required.

Simon Barden
03-05-2017, 03:47 AM
How you plan to finish your guitar also depends on what equipment you'll need. 240 grit sandpaper may be fine if you plan to DingoWax it, but you'll need finer wet 'n' dry paper for most other finishes. You need to specify steel wool grades. And as said above, a dust mask is essential.

Scott's point about the guitars needing to be built, not just assembled, is very valid but really needs to be read by someone before they buy a kit, not once they've bought it (though it will bear repeating). So I'd say that a few paragraphs along those lines should be put on the PBG site - with a hot link from each kit page. The basic tool requirements and personal safety equipment should also be listed there.

I'd modify 'electronic solder' to 'multicore solder for electronics use (not plumbers solder)'.

I'd also add "(glued necks only)" after 'clamps', as you shouldn't need any for a bolt-on neck guitar.

A StewMac string rule I'd definitely place in the more esoteric section. You can easily get bone nuts for Fenders and Gibsons off eBay with the initial slot positions cut to replace the plastic kit nuts, and whilst you can make your own bone nuts from scratch if you want to, you can always measure and mark the distances with your digital calipers, so I see a string rule as less important (unless you are making bespoke instruments for a living).

'Wire cutters' can range in size from small to big ones for barbed-wire fences, so again, some further description required here , say ' 'A small pair of wire-cutters designed for electronics use'.

You'll certainly need some spanners for doing up nuts on machine heads, pots and jack sockets. You'll normally need 10mm, 12mm and 13mm, but occasionally you get some different sizes.

Maybe also add in 'large pot of elbow grease'? ;)

Zandit75
03-05-2017, 07:19 AM
Clamps are still necessary for bolt on necks. Running the two strings through to ensure it's straight requires a clamp.

Simon Barden
03-05-2017, 07:29 AM
Not if you screw the neck on (have since seen Brendan's post about bridge positioning and clamps could apply in that instance) but if the neck holes are pre-drilled, you are better screwing the neck on.

But I don't know on what kits they are pre-drilled and what kits they aren't (and it may very well change with time). I'm sure I've seen people attaching the necks with screws for setting up their Strat and Tele kits - but that's not to say they haven't gone and drilled the holes themselves first.

stan
03-05-2017, 08:15 AM
A quick list of safety gear might be good
Gloves to keep finishes off skin
Safety specs - you are drilling and occasionally using toxic fluids
Dust masks of various quality - solvent gasses, sanding, spraying etc..

Zandit75
03-05-2017, 08:26 AM
Not if you screw the neck on (have since seen Brendan's post about bridge positioning and clamps could apply in that instance) but if the neck holes are pre-drilled, you are better screwing the neck on.

But I don't know on what kits they are pre-drilled and what kits they aren't (and it may very well change with time). I'm sure I've seen people attaching the necks with screws for setting up their Strat and Tele kits - but that's not to say they haven't gone and drilled the holes themselves first.

My LP had a bolt on neck, and the holes were pre-drilled in the body, but not in the neck itself.
Personally, if the neck was pre-drilled, I'd still want piece of mind to clamp the neck, run the strings through, and check the holes are aligned. We've already seen issues with holes drilled in the wrong place for bridge posts and cavities routed slightly out of whack.
To drill the point home(so to speak!), I'm sure someone had to recently fill and re-drill the neck holes in the body because the neck plate didn't line up with the holes already there.

stan
03-05-2017, 08:36 AM
Yep , never trust the holes - I got a left handed ES kit with the bridge drilled for a righty - fill and re drill....

Simon Barden
03-05-2017, 05:01 PM
All this stuff needs to go in the manual. If any pre-drilled holes don't line up with the neck plate, or the neck ends up skewed when screwed-on in comparison to an initial clamped arrangement, then what should the kit builder do? Contact PBG or fill the holes and re-drill (which is a mini-chapter in itself). Remember that this is for first (and maybe second time) builders, so they may not be confident in doing repairs.

adam
04-05-2017, 09:27 PM
Thanks everyone.. all good stuff. Will try and incorporate all these insights. Now... to find the time.

Dikkybee007
09-05-2017, 08:41 AM
Just found thread unfortunately and as you said apply the KISS rule so I would not get too informative as you will find if you specify a certain item / Brand and the person cant get it then they become confused and depending on what they want the guitar for depends on the level of equipment, so if they want it for a piece of furniture, display or reading light, then you want minimal but if you want it to be a musical instrument then there is mandatory items that makes the difference between the 2.

As copied and modified :

You can build one of these kits with a few basic tools

file - For the average person a file is easier and I like a half round as it will do internal and external profiling
Pit Bull Sandpaper (180 grit to 240 grit) - and block
Steel wool - the person should be able to make their own choice as to grade
Drill
Drill bits, from 2mm and 3mm
Clamp - I prefer an F clamp as they are quicker
Pit Bull Wood glue (for set neck kits)
Screw drivers, both phillips and flat head - and different sizes as a neck screw is way bigger than a tuner screw
Long straightedge (600mm rule) - I use a 300mm rule as well for laying out for ease of use
Soldering iron - I use an iron that produces 40w and 100w. Lower is for wires and higher for soldering to rear of pot
Solder - they should have a basic understanding and I use lead free as my choice of solder
Clean rags - I prefer paper towel as you don't cross contaminate yourself as it is a single use item and cheap
Pencil
Eye protection
Wire cutters - I use needle nose pliers as they can also be used to tighten your jack nut
Small allen keys for bridge - as stated you get it and the truss rod key in the kit
Tuner

I would also add:
Ear and dust protection. I use a replaceable cartridge type for both dust and paint fumes
Masking tape - for laying out and using as a clamp for gluing on nuts and trim
Disposable gloves - Just keep stains and other undesirables off.
Shifter / Adjustable Wrench - For doing up tuner nuts, one size fits all
Coping saw - for use on a head that needs shaping

To make it a musical instrument then you have to have a set of nut files as I have never found a kit that doesn't need adjusting.
You also need a way of levelling the frets, I have my own, as all the kits I have put together need to be levelled.

As for electrical items, it may make it easier but the person who is using them have to have the skills to use them safely.
I have other extras that I use but that is because I can.