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Thread: First build GPB-4

  1. #1

    First build GPB-4

    I meant to do this real-time while building but that didn't happen so playing a little catch up now.

    After quite a bit of research I chose PitBull because of this community. I figured any kit brand with this kind of community around it had to be decent quality and the product I received did not disappoint. The ash body particularly was absolutely beautiful and begged for a finish that would show off the grain. PB accidentally shipped me 2 kits and when the second one arrived a few days later that one was equally beautiful. We struck a deal for the second kit so at some point soon i'll be building another one.

    The fretboard was not the highest quality maple but completely acceptable and met my expectations for the price point. the hardware.....heck, i've never been that impressed by fender hardware to begin with. i can't say i see much difference between the kit hardware and that on my Fender Mexican Jazz Bass so very happy there too.

    starting with the neck, a jigsaw and sanding drum in a drill press made quick time of the headstock
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  2. #2
    for the neck finish i went with General Finishes water based poly in satin sheen which i sprayed through an HPLV gun. after a little level sanding and polishing the sheen ended up more of a semi-gloss. with the finish complete i gave it a proper fret job. the frets really needed a lot of work. i'm not sure if that would effect a bass as much as a guitar but i'm glad i did the work
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  3. #3
    the neck pocket was really sloppy. i had a roll of wood veneer so i glued a small piece into the side of the pocket and that snugged it up perfectly.

    measuring out the bridge alignment was probably one of the trickier parts of the build. you only get one chance to drill holes correctly. once i got everything where i thought it should be using rulers and straight edges i actually ran come string from the bridge to the pegs as simulated E and G strings to see how the strings would align over the neck and the pickups. i did make my first screw-up here with the hole for the bridge ground wire. i had that drill bit at such a steep angle i was positive i was overdoing it and was going to come out high in the control cavity. nope! some how i still managed to come out the back of the guitar. the hole in the back was small and not clean so i was able to push the remaining wood back in and use some wood filler to fill the hole. you'd have to know what you were looking for and look hard to find it so i got lucky with that. i've been telling other friends following my build that when they drill that hole, angle that bit as far as you possibly think it could go....and then angle it just a little more.

    wanting the final finish glassy smooth i used the same paste filler thinned with water as a grain filler.
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    Last edited by bgoulet; 22-09-2020 at 01:50 AM.

  4. #4
    moving on to the finishing things started to get interesting. i recently refinished a few pieces of furniture and was getting a bit cocky with my abilities. the guitar quickly humbled me.

    i originally wanted a dark gray stain. the stain i saw someone use on youtube ended up being for houses so it only came by the gallon. my next idea was to use black dye and just go lighter strength with it but that ends of looking more purple. finally i went all in black. i watched a tutorial where someone online used both black dye and ebony stain to ebonize some light would. the dye stains the wood well but doesn't have much effect on the pores where the stain gets the pores well and doesn't have much effect on the main wood. so that's what i did. unfortunately the water based stain reactivated and pulled out a lot of my grain filler. i was still pretty happy with the look though and hoped the clear coat would eventually fill and level the pores. these pictures are after two light washcoats of nitro lacquer.
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  5. #5
    what is hard to tell from the above body photos is that the lacquer caused some blue/purple to pop out in the grain, presumably from the dye. i hadn't planned on that but it was actually a cool effect. then after the next clear coat it went black again, then after another the color came back, and so on for a few coats. i joked with my wife that if i wanted the color accents i would have to do an odd number of coats and if i wanted pure black i would have to do even

    eventually that stopped happening and not only did it stay black but ended up looking like just black paint. the grain couldn't be seen anymore. all i can assume is that the dye/stain actually lifted into the lacquer and essentially made it black pigmented lacquer

    here it is level sanded and polished. i went 800 through 2000 with wet paper by hand using a rubber eraser as a sanding block and then polished using automotive products and a power buffer
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    Last edited by bgoulet; 22-09-2020 at 02:16 AM.

  6. #6
    It looks amazing so far, great job! I'm weighing options for black on one of my builds, would you mind sharing what black dye/ebony stain you used, or possibly share the tutorial video? The look on post #4 is exactly what I'm looking for in mine. TIA and again, very well done!

  7. #7
    thanks c0ffinspire89!

    for the black dye i used trans tint. it is soluble in water or alcohol but i read some experiences where it was blotchy in alcohol so i went with water. i don't remember the exact recipe but it was approximately 4-6ozs of water and .5-1 tsp of dye. it's pretty hard to mess this part up if you are going for black. just keep adding more dye and doing more coats until you get where you want. i think i did 3 coats allowing to properly dry in between. i mixed in a seal-able container so it would stay between coats.

    the stain was minwax ebony oil stain. on its own on a test piece it did what i read, mostly blackened the grain and added only a little to the main wood. with the black dye on already it added even more deep dark black to the main wood as well as blacken the grain.

    this post was the inspiration for my process.

    i really wanted it to stay like post #4 also but my theory is the black lifted into the lacquer and because every lacquer coat melts into the previous, continued to melt together into a muddy black mess that became solid black. i don't think this would happen with poly and with lacquer could probably be prevented using a sealer coat of a different material

    i look forward (jealousy) to you pulling off what i hoped to
    Last edited by bgoulet; 23-09-2020 at 03:02 PM.

  8. #8
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Reading, UK
    I think you'll find that it looks that way in post #4 because the surface along the grain lines is rough, so reflects light randomly and highlights the highlights the grain pattern. Once you applied the lacquer and levelled it off, you now have an evenly reflective surface and just about all of that highlighting disappears. The wood underneath it is all the same

    To keep the grain pattern, you'd probably have needed to have used a satin finish lacquer, and not levelled and polished it. Or maybe started with black stain, sanded it back so that only the grain pattern remained black, and then done a dark grey stain on the wood, so you got some differentiation in colour. Or any method that allowed you to get a different colour in the grain pattern to the main surface of the body.

    I'd probably have gone with a black grain filler, and then just sprayed a tinted black nitro lacquer over the body until it was dark enough, but you could still see the wood grain patterns. Then spray clear lacquer over that.

    But you've certainly done an excellent level and polish job on it. I like it.

  9. #9
    Overlord of Music Sonic Mountain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Toowoomba, Qld.
    Take it out in the sun. I had a build I stained red, then black and cleared over. It looked black inside but in the sunlight it was a deep purple cherry colour, looked awesome.

    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"

  10. #10
    that looks amazing Sonic Mountain. i tried that with mine and nope, still black.

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