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Thread: 1st Guitar Build

  1. #1

    1st Guitar Build


    I recently started my 1st guitar build. This will be my 3rd overall build, but I am a bass player, and have therefore built only basses so far, so this will be my 1st guitar. I decided to go with a standard Telecaster style in a mahogany body and maple neck/fretboard. I also changed the hardware from chrome to gold, and changed the bridge to a Wilkinson Tele Bridge with compensated saddles. This bridge can be set up as thru-body stringing or strung through the bridge. I do not have the tools available for thru-body, so I will string through the bridge. Because of the limited space and tools I have available in my apartment, I have been using Wudtone's Hot Auburn stain for the body, and the Original Vintage Yellow for the neck.

    I did, unfortunately, forget to upload the original pictures to my build diary, but wanted to put them out as I've progressed a little through the build. I am open to ideas and constructive criticism to help improve this build. So far I've been extremely happy with the process, but would love to hear any suggestions if things appear incorrect.

    As you'll see in the images, I have attached a picture of the body and neck prior to staining, what they look like in the middle of the staining process (please forgive the multiple necks in the picture, I also have a couple bass projects right now), and what it all looks like put together in another mock build.

    Thanks everyone and happy building!
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  2. #2
    Mentor McCreed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Looking good, and welcome.
    The good thing about that Wilkinson bridge you got is you can change it to a string-through any time in the future.
    If you tool collection expands one day, you just need to drill the holes and add the string ferrules. No mucking around with re-fitting new bridge.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  3. #3
    Mentor jugglindan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    I think the stain on your tele looks great. I normally don't like gold hardware, but with the stain you have chosen and the black pickguard it works well.

    Also, I love how some build diaries have a near completed build on page 1. It takes me 7 pages of advice and questions to get anywhere! Maybe I over share ...
    Mantra: No more pedals, must finish BlueyCaster...
    Disclaimer: I haven't done woodwork since high school, and wasn't really paying attention at the time ...

  4. #4
    Member Adamc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    I love that colour combination . Going to be a sexy beast when you’re done

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    It's been awhile since I originally posted this, so quick update! The body has officially been completed, it has 6 layers of the Wudtone extra gloss top coat. I am re-doing the fretboard on the neck, the last layer of finish went on way too thick and had to be sanded off. Unfortunately with the Wudtone stain/finish (maybe all run-in stains are like this, I'm not sure), removing the finish coats took off some of the vintage yellow stain with it. I am re-applying those layers along with a couple of finishing coats to get the beautiful shimmer it had before. The nut is upgraded too, it was a white plastic nut, it is now a black Tusq XL nut.Click image for larger version. 

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    I am curious about one thing: I've read that some builders choose to wait up to a month after completing the top coats before proceeding with the build. From my understanding that is when I would do the final sanding and buffing. Does anybody happen to know if this is the same process for the Wudtone finishes? They are very thin layers and the instructions never specifically mention any kind of sanding whatsoever other than using fine grade steel wool between coats to remove dust/lint and get the wood ready to accept more stain. I am worried sand paper would cut right through the finish, even at higher grades. I'm also going banana sandwich with impatience to keep going on this build, so that might be why I don't want to wait another 3 weeks.

    Thanks to everyone in advance!

  6. #6
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Reading, UK
    Reading through, they say the finish is self-levelling, and don't talk about polishing. If you want more of a shine than you currently have, as it does look smooth already, then I wouldn't sand at all, just go straight to some fine polishing compound. But rub slowly and keep moving the area you are working on to stop heat build-up. They talk about burnishing the ageing finish with standard photocopy paper, rubbing it to build up heat, to take the edge off the shine. But to polish it further, the finish does need to be as hard as possible, and apart from UV cured finishes, almost all other finishes take at least 2 weeks to get hard enough to get and take a good polish.

    The finish must be based on a polymerising oil, like boiled linseed or tung, along with some other additives. So it should harden in a generally similar way to those oils do (also in related products like Tru Oil).

    But if you want to put it together to play, and really can't wait, then do so, and then take it apart again in a month or so. I'd start on a small bit of the rear, before dismantling, just in case there's something strange about the way the finish responds to a polishing compound, so that at least it happens to a bit you won't see much and you don't take it apart if you don't have to.

    You may always come to like the finish as it is in the meantime!

  7. #7
    Thank you for the helpful answer! You are correct, it is already very smooth, so using just the fine polishing compound makes sense. I'm very happy with the color so far, it's a little less of the auburn color I was hoping for, but it's still gorgeous, so I've been very nervous about accidentally screwing up the color/clear coats with the final sanding. This is week 2 since the top coat went on, so it should be ready for polishing soon, I'll update with more pictures as it moves forward!

  8. #8
    Well it's been nearly a month since the last time I posted in here. As impatient as I was to keep working, I gave the guitar another few weeks to sit before I waxed it, I didn't want to rush and ruin the color and top coat I ended up with. I used Renaissance Wax to polish it up. Based on info from the Wudtone website, I knew not to expect a mirror-like finish once I was done, however, the sheen is absolutely gorgeous, it practically glitters. When I take final pictures I'll use a better camera, as my phone's camera really doesn't do the finish justice. It certainly isn't perfect, but I learned a ton with this build, and have ideas on how to improve on the next build.

    The last step I think I have is to install the control plate. The kit came with a pre-wired control plate, but based on the schematic that was provided it looked wrong, and I'm guessing not great hardware. I recently learned about the 4 switch upgrade for Telecasters, and was immediately intrigued. The wiring is on the way and should be here Wednesday afternoon. I'm hoping to wire it up and have it up and running this weekend!

    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9
    Mentor jugglindan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Looking really really good!

    /me Googles telecaster 4-way switch. I guessed series/parallel switching for both pickups. Should be interesting to see how it sounds.

    Or hear how it sounds, or maybe even just read about how it sounds to other people...
    Mantra: No more pedals, must finish BlueyCaster...
    Disclaimer: I haven't done woodwork since high school, and wasn't really paying attention at the time ...

  10. #10

    When your 4 way switch arrives, dont be surprised if you need to extend the control plate slot a little on one or both sides to enable the switch to have it's full throw. On my TeleMaster build I was convinced my wiring was shot, however the problem was that the slot wasn't allowing the switch to reach full throw at either end. It was just enough to stop it short and not make proper connections with the outer most 2 settings.

    It's totally worth it though..the series and parallel options give you another tonal pallette to play with. I think the single coil bridge and P90 neck in series is my favourite setting on that guitar

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