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Thread: Pitbull ES-1S, Bega NSW

  1. #1

    Pitbull ES-1S, Bega NSW

    I'll post a sequence of build photos in this thread.
    The kit: Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Prior to purchasing the kit, I contacted Pitbull. I was interested in a factory-seconds kit, and expressed this concern:
    "My concern is that the grain on the back of the neck appears to be off-centre. In my experience this causes it to twist as the seasons change."
    They replied that the could not swap necks between kits, so I paid for the full price kit instead.
    This is the neck that came with it:
    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
    Mentor Andyxlh's Avatar
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    Nov 2016
    Do you think that might be a problem? or will sealing it with finish reduce the issue? I don't have any experience with this so I'm no help I'm afraid!

  4. #4
    Yes, I've experienced problems with offset neck grain in the past, in a Samick bass. In that case I had the neck replaced after it warped. In this case, the neck is now glued in so can only cross my fingers.
    Progress; Blue jeans blues finish:
    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
    Mentor Andyxlh's Avatar
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    Nov 2016
    looks nice!

  6. #6
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Oct 2016
    Reading, UK
    I've got necks with similar grain patterns to the one you have, and I haven't had any issues. Also remember that the lower part of the heel is an extra glued-on piece, so will have no effect on the overall neck behaviour.

    I don't know if you've read any ES-1 build diaries, but the kit is prone to coming with a too shallow neck angle, resulting in the lowest bridge height still being too high to get a good action. As you've already glued the neck on, it's rather too late to fix this at source, but there are some mitigating measures you can take if necessary.

    I'd first check out what the state of play is. Get a long straight edge (a 1m metal rule is good for this) and lay it along the neck. I'd firstget the neck as straight as possible using the truss rod and then see what height you have at the bridge position. You should be able to work out the minimum height of the bridge with the posts screwed right down into the inserts, including the height of the insert lips. You can now check the height of the body to ruler gap. Ideally you'd want the straight edge hitting between maybe 1mm below saddle slots, or up to 3mm above. From here, you'll need to raise the bridge to raise the strings off the neck, maybe more, so if the ruler is anywhere between those positions, you'll be able to raise the bridge up to get a good action without it sitting too high off the body.

    With the bridge at its minimum height, if the bottom of the ruler hits the bridge too far below the saddle slots, then the strings are likely to sit too far above the fretboard. This means you need to take those mitigating measures.

    The first is to get some post insert bushings without a lip that sits on top, but can sit flush. This gains you maybe 1.5mm. You can file down the underside of the bridge at the ends so that the bridge sits lower on the posts. Again, a useful few mm can be gained here.

    What I ended up doing on my ES-1 was getting a Göldo Lowrider bridge, which is significantly lower than the normal Nashville TOM style the kits come with.

    Göldo are the parts division of Dusenberg guitars, so they are good quality products.

    That bridge only comes with Gibson-style 4mm post holes, so you'll either need some appropriate 8mm to 4mm post adapters (Göldo do some though they can be obtained elsewhere), but I used some 8mm to 4mm thread adapters I already had, and used the stock Göldo posts.

    However you may have to import one from Germany. I had to in the UK, via an eBay seller.

  7. Liked by: tonyquoll

  8. #7
    The issue with the grain, is that the timber can have different density and strength at the center compared to the outer rings. When load is applied, one will deform more than the other, causing neck twist. When the neck expands or shrinks with temperature, it will twist. On this neck, the center of the grain is way off to the side, all the way to the headstock.
    Combined with your comments on neck angle, I fear I've bought something of very poor quality. If this is an ongoing issue with this model, why haven't they adjusted their jig and fixed the problem?
    You're right; the action is some 3mm too high. I did a test fit-together before gluing and failed to notice the issue.
    It seems the bridge has to sit all the way down on the deck, or possibly 0.5mm lower, to achieve an acceptable action. Taking some metal off the bridge looks like a quick-fix, especially as this is an easily removed piece. Filing down the saddles also looks like a way to gain a couple of mm.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #8
    Mentor Andyxlh's Avatar
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    Nov 2016
    taking a little off the bottom of the bridge does look like it might solve the issue, there looks like there is plenty of material that could be removed to give the action you want.

  10. #9
    Bit of delay due to work commitments.
    Downloaded and followed the wiring diagram from the Pitbull website. MISTAKE; they fail to draw on the solder required to earth the tab on the volume pots.
    I first set myself up to do the wiring on a cardboard jig, protecting the guitar from solder splash:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    After double-checking I had followed the diagram, I installed all the bits, assembled the remaining parts, strung it up and tested it. FAIL: the volume knobs didn't work and I had the switch installed backwards. I'd also cut the wires too short, which made getting the parts installed even more difficult.
    It's tricky as there's no rear cover; the pots, switch and jack and have to go through the f-hole. I used a length of wire to pull them into place. For the jack & tied a knot to pull it along, for the pots I tacked the wire on with superglue.

  11. #10
    It's now complete, fully working, with neck and intonation adjusted. Nice low action, plays well.
    Total build time, about 6 hours over 5 days. 4 hours sanding, painting & oiling, 2 hours wiring and assembly. The wiring would have been quicker if I didn't have to correct an error.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by tonyquoll; 17-10-2021 at 07:40 PM.

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