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Thread: ATL-1SW Build (First Timer)

  1. #1
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    ATL-1SW Build (First Timer)

    Well here we go, first time building/assembling a guitar so I am looking forward to this.
    I am more of an acoustic man but have a couple of semi's (Hofner Thinline John Stowell
    and an Ibanez fretless bass).
    Have always fancied a Tele and this looked like an unusual way to go about getting one.
    I have checked the contents of the box which arrived in the UK only a week after
    it was ordered. Most impressed.
    I had looked at doing this with locally (UK) purchased parts but would be looking at 500 for this
    sort of build compared to 250 from Pitbull which included Grover tuners and 90 odd of VAT,
    taxes and delivery.
    I particularly liked the spalted maple veneer.

    Observations from the unpacking:
    1) General impressions are the body and neck are very well made.
    The fret ends are sharp so I guess they will need to be filed down.
    Can anyone suggest a suitable type of file that won't break the bank ?

    2) The nut is fitted poorly, and overhangs on the top E side.
    A bone nut was ordered and consequently the factory fitted one will get the elbow.

    3) Bridge - I am a bit confused with this, will I have to drill holes through the body
    for the strings and if so, can anyone suggest what ferrules to fit ?

    4) There is a gap between the bridge and pickup guard, I thought that they would
    fit joining each other but perhaps I am wrong (and ought to go into my local
    music store to have a look at Teles haha)

    5) The neck is quite a loose fit in the pocket, the photos might have captured this.
    I am hoping that once finish etc has gone on the wood things will tighten up a bit.

    6) No sign of string trees but I can get these quite cheaply via ebay if needed.

    As to finish I intend to use Crimson water based stains, amber, red and black in a sort
    of sunburst effect with their gold filler in the cracks (don't laugh).
    I may also stain the headstock black but who knows....

    Would want to pop the spalted maple if i can and the finish will be Crimson's hi-gloss
    finishing oil. Got to use smell friendly condiments as I shall be doing this inside during
    the winter.
    I have got some maple veneer to do some testing on so that will be my first task.

    Got a few more photos to post but it looks as if 5 at a time is the order of the day.
    Thanks for looking ! Cheers, FB.
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  2. #2
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    More pics from the inital check.
    The body is quite smooth and appears to have no defects as does the veneer.
    I guess the first task is to see if there is any glue lurking on the veneer (just to prove
    that I have been reading the forum haha).
    I believe wiping it with either turps or white spirit will reveal all but not to use water.
    Again thanks for looking, FB.
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  3. #3
    Overlord of Music Sonic Mountain's Avatar
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    Great looking kit!

    My replies **

    Observations from the unpacking:
    1) General impressions are the body and neck are very well made.
    The fret ends are sharp so I guess they will need to be filed down.
    Can anyone suggest a suitable type of file that won't break the bank ?

    **I normally give them a bit of a sand when sanding the neck and that usually sorts them out. Make sure you go over them and make sure they are all seated properly, sometimes they need to be tapped in a bit more, which will make the ends protrude a little. Pitbull have some decent looking fret files that are reasonably priced on the shop. I have a couple of small files of unknown origin that I use for any other tidy up, just take care not to damage the fret board.

    2) The nut is fitted poorly, and overhangs on the top E side.
    A bone nut was ordered and consequently the factory fitted one will get the elbow.

    **Not unusual, replacing the plastic one is a good idea anyway.

    3) Bridge - I am a bit confused with this, will I have to drill holes through the body
    for the strings and if so, can anyone suggest what ferrules to fit ?

    **You will need to locate the bridge after temporarily fitting the neck and at the very least drill mounting holes, not difficult with some patience. Some string through the high and low E nut/bridge and a tape measure will do the trick. I'll see if I can find some threads showing that process.

    You can load the strings through the rear of the bridge, you don't have to make it string through. That is doable as well, but is much easier if you have a drill press. It can be a challenge to get them nice and straight. Ferrules are available here: https://www.realparts.com.au/catalog...vance&dir=desc These guys are very quick and getting your order out in my experince.


    4) There is a gap between the bridge and pickup guard, I thought that they would
    fit joining each other but perhaps I am wrong (and ought to go into my local
    music store to have a look at Teles haha)

    **That is normal, there should be a 2-3mm gap all the way around. I've built a couple of TL-1s and on those the route is a little too far south to make the gape even all the way around. You can assemble as is and there is enough adjustment on the bridge to get correct intonation, but you can also ream out the cavity a bit and move it forward a couple of mm to make it look better visually without mucking anything up.

    5) The neck is quite a loose fit in the pocket, the photos might have captured this.
    I am hoping that once finish etc has gone on the wood things will tighten up a bit.

    **Not really a big issue, finish will take up some of the slack. Just to a dummy mount up of the neck with a clamp (And something to protect the wood/frets and work out a center line before you drill any holes. You need to do that first before doing the bridge location.

    6) No sign of string trees but I can get these quite cheaply via ebay if needed.

    **Normally they are hidden in the blister packing with other screws and bits and bobs, but as you say, not hard to source if they are missing.

    As to finish I intend to use Crimson water based stains, amber, red and black in a sort
    of sunburst effect with their gold filler in the cracks (don't laugh).
    I may also stain the headstock black but who knows....

    Would want to pop the spalted maple if i can and the finish will be Crimson's hi-gloss
    finishing oil. Got to use smell friendly condiments as I shall be doing this inside during
    the winter.
    I have got some maple veneer to do some testing on so that will be my first task.

    **Sounds like a plan, haven't used those products so no advice other than patience is one of the most important ingredients in finishing.

    Got a few more photos to post but it looks as if 5 at a time is the order of the day.
    Thanks for looking ! Cheers, FB.[/QUOTE]
    Build 1 - Shoegazer MK1 JMA-1
    Build 2 - The Relliecaster TL-1
    Build 3 - The Black Cherry SG AG-1
    Build 4 - The Sonicaster TL-1ish
    Build 5 - The Steampunker Bass YB-4
    Build 6 - The Howling Gowing ST-1

    "What I lack in talent I make up for with enthusiasm"

  4. #4
    Overlord of Music Sonic Mountain's Avatar
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    Bottom of this first page and the next page explore closing up the gap between bridge and pickguard and aligning the bridge using strings on my first TL build (second ever PB kit)

    https://www.buildyourownguitar.com.a...ead.php?t=8005
    Build 1 - Shoegazer MK1 JMA-1
    Build 2 - The Relliecaster TL-1
    Build 3 - The Black Cherry SG AG-1
    Build 4 - The Sonicaster TL-1ish
    Build 5 - The Steampunker Bass YB-4
    Build 6 - The Howling Gowing ST-1

    "What I lack in talent I make up for with enthusiasm"

  5. #5
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    Sonic, thank you for your input, much appreciated - especially the link to bridge mounting etc.
    You have given me some confidence now.
    What I think I will do is a list (maybe even a spreadsheet....lovely ) of things to do
    and the order they need to be done in.
    Hopefully won't forget anything then (famous last words).
    Cheers

  6. #6
    Overlord of Music Andy40's Avatar
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    Hi Fat boy,

    I agree with everything that Sonic has stated.

    I think the focus on the bridge is important in tele's. You have to decide whether you want a string through or a top loaded bridge. Totally personal preference.

    When you have the neck pocket a bit loose you need to ensure that it will guide the strings over the pick up magnet/slugs properly. If the neck isn't drilled properly the strings wont go over the pick up magnet/slugs properly and will create a "thin" sounding tele.

    Before I decide on a bridge position and neck position, I like to sticky tape fishing line through the nut slots to the bridge to see how the strings will sit.

    good luck mate
    Build #1 - ST-1 - Completed
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  7. #7
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    For rough fret ends I use a standard flat needle file in conjunction with a fret protector. Pit Bull do fret protectors, but here in the UK you can get them more easily from eBay or Amazon UK, or from a luthier supplier.

    These are the UK suppliers I normally turn to for tools.

    https://www.northwestguitars.co.uk/
    https://tonetechluthiersupplies.co.uk/
    https://www.chrisalsopguitar.co.uk/shop/

    Use the fret protector to save the fingerboard from being marked, then two or three strokes at 45 on each side of the end of the fret, followed by a light buff with some 400 grit paper should sort any sharpness out. I'd do this before any fret polishing.

    Doing a good sunburst with stains isn't easy. It's very easy to get a hard stepped line between colours rather than a smooth transition. I'd suggest a lot of practice on scrap wood first.

    With maple veneer, I'm not sure that there will be any cracks for your gold filler. If it was ash or another open-pored wood like mahogany, then yes, but not with a smooth closed-pored wood like maple. It's likely to just smear over the top.

    Water-based stains will raise the grain a bit when applied, but the raised grain strands can be lightly sanded off when the stain is fully dried. Don't be tempted to sand between each stain colour application, as you want to use a minimum of sanding on the thin veneer top.

  8. #8
    Mentor McCreed's Avatar
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    re: sharp fret ends

    For rough fret ends I use a standard flat needle file in conjunction with a fret protector.
    Taking Simon's reply a step further, a budget alternative to purpose-made fret end files is get a decent set of jewellers files (10-15 bucks - aka: needle files) and "safe" the edges of the 3-sided (triangular) file.

    By "safe" I mean smooth the edge at each "point" of the triangle. This is done with a Carborundum stone (or fine flat diamond file).
    Go over the edge with the stone/diamond file, then follow with wet/dry sandpaper graduating progressively from 400 to 1200.

    Doing this allows you keep a smooth (safed???) edge of the file against the fret board without damaging it. There are number of "correct" ways to do fret ends and it generally comes down to personal preference, but it's worth watching some YT vids to get familiar with the technique and what your trying to achieve.

    I mostly use proper fret end files, but I also have a set of jewellers files and have safed both the 3-sided and flat files. I do use them from time to time and the flat one is handy for some fret work jobs as well.

    Most of the time I'm doing fret ends is whilst doing a level & crown, so the fretboard is taped up and no need for the metal fret protectors, but with a fret end file or safed jewellers file, touching up the odd fret end can be done without tape or shield.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  9. #9
    Overlord of Music dave.king1's Avatar
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    Sounds like this could become a GOTM contender.

    If you don't have any shielding tape yet head to your local hardware / gardening store and buy some slug & snail barrier tape it has the same electrical properties as the much more expensive stuff. Also use a layer or two either side of the neck pocket to make it a snug fit if it's loose

  10. #10
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    Chaps, thank you again for your valuable input and ideas.
    I am looking forward to doing this.
    I like the fishing line idea so will have a go at that just to see how it all lines up.
    As to the gold filler I was going to apply it to the ash body and leave the veneer just stained.
    I have an idea in my mind of what the finish will look like.
    As to what it finally comes out like only time will tell
    All the best and a happy new year.

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