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Thread: First Timer in the UK - DMS-1

  1. #1
    Member AllTheseThings's Avatar
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    First Timer in the UK - DMS-1

    I've been looking for some time for a kit to be my first guitar build; I wanted a short-scale instrument and also something a bit different to the usual trio of ST-, TL- and LP-types. I'd have gone for a Jaguar-style if I'd been able to find one, but Mustang-like will be fine.

    Back-ordered in the depths of UK lockdown, it arrived a few days ago, (impressive time once it was at Pit Bull HQ to arrive here my house in the UK, by the way - 5 days end to end) and I've been trying to work out how to get photos into this Forum ever since! I found various different options mentioned in various different posts, and I'm sure I'll find a better way to do it, as I progress with this build.

    Anyway, to the guitar diary. DMS-1 unpacked, all the parts seem to be present and correct, including the upgrades to a bone nut and Grover tuners. Two-piece ash body, maple fingerboard

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    No major dents or damage to the body or neck as far as I can see, but there are a few niggles to overcome; I'd be interested to hear if these are common on Pit Bull kits.

    1. A couple of wiring niggles; the wire to the selector switch only just reaches from the volume pot to its location, pulling tight on the cavity corners, so I'll be re-wiring that to give a bit of slack, and there's a joint in both wires on one of the pick-ups for no apparent reason, other than possibly wanting to make use of every last scrap of wire on a roll! Again, I'll re-wire that to avoid all unnecessary joints.

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    2. The neck isn't exactly loose in the neck pocket, but it isn't what I'd call a snug fit either; the neck drops in with no pressure whatsoever. I think a couple of plane shavings off a scrap bit of maple might be called for.

    3. The pre-drilled holes for the bridge aren't all aligned - maybe the template was for a different bridge. The front two and the middle rear one look OK, so I'll think about plugging and re-drilling the other two - I hate screws that go in crooked!

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    4. It looks like the router took two passes at the nut slot, and didn't get them aligned. I wouldn't have worried if the extra gap was at the back, but at the front it may allow the nut to twist. Maybe another sliver of maple...

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    Next up, hunting for glue blobs, and trying to work out why I appear only to be able to have five pictures per post!

  2. #2
    Hi Allthesethings.

    Best to scrutinise builds that have gone before to witness possible stumbling blocks.

    I have done this one already along with OliSam so precedents have been set.

    Firstly I would definitely discard the screws that hold the bridge down.
    Probably slightly bigger ones would be handy.
    I found the bridge required moving backwards a few millimetres as the bass saddle is way back.

    Full disclosure is available from here:

    https://www.buildyourownguitar.com.a...ad.php?t=10609

    cheers, Mark.
    Last edited by king casey; 16-10-2020 at 04:55 AM.

  3. #3
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    Hello, and welcome.

    Unfortunately most (if not all) kits will have small defects that require overcoming. Fortunately, nothing in yours seems insurmountable from what I can see.
    Whilst those wiring bits aren't critical, the joined pickup leads is pretty ordinary IMO. That said, if you're an experienced player, you may not be satisfied with the kit pickups anyway and consider upgrading to something you know you like.

    ...the neck drops in with no pressure whatsoever.
    Sounds perfect to me! With screw-fixed necks that is exactly what I want. 1) it allows for finish build-up on the edge of the pocket. 2) allows for proper neck alignment without risk of damaging the finish on the edge of the pocket. 3) it allows for seasonal/environmental expansion/contraction of the timber. The fit of the sides of the heel and neck pocket are less important than the mating of the two bottoms IMO.

    The bridge mounting holes are definitely a little sloppy, but as Mark said, it may require relocating to achieve proper intonation anyway. This is a common occurrence with kits. Dowelling and re-drilling is the way to go and if you're planning on a string-through setup, you will need to drill those holes anyway.

    The nut slot issue is unfortunate but fixable. It looks like the nut is square with the fretboard so that's in your favour.
    Presuming that extra gap goes all the way to the bottom of the nut slot, I would use some maple veneer (or other similarly light coloured timber). I'd shape it and sand it to fit, then use CA to glue it into place.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  4. #4
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    I'm sure McCreed meant use CA to glue the veneer into place. But that's a very small gap to fill with veneer, which will need to be wafer thin. For the nut itself, PVA or Titebond to glue the whole length of the nut. If you use CA, then just a couple of small drops on the bottom of the nut. Too much, and you won't get it out if it needs replacing.

    But you'll probably find that any nut you get will be too tall to start with. They really are designed to have the slots cut down to height with nut files and then the excess height above the slots filed off and sanded smooth. But good nut files are really expensive, so the normal kit method is to keep sanding away at the bottom of the nut until the slots are at the right height. So don't glue the nut in straight away otherwise you'll be right back where you were. String tension will keep the nut in place when setting up, so don't glue the nut in until you are happy with the neck relief, string action and string height at the first fret.

    There isn't a one-size fits all solution for nut slot height, as it all depends on how much neck relief you like and what action you like as to how high/low the slots will need to be above the fretboard to give sufficient clearance at the first fret. And if you set the guitar up for slide, you'll probably want a higher nut slot height to avoid the slide pressure fretting the stings over the first couple of frets.

    The pre-built forum software sets a maximum limit of five hosted pictures per post (and one embedded video link). If you want more, then you'll need to host elsewhere (say Flickr) and link to them. I use a mixture of site hosted and remote hosted pics. Note that if remote hosting, the link needs to be of the image itself (so the link should end with .jpg or .png), and not of the page the image is hosted on, which won't display anything.

    Otherwise, all as the two posts above.

  5. #5
    Member AllTheseThings's Avatar
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    Thank you every for your replies on the various topics I raised!

    My aim for this first build was to go with everything stock, but making it as good as possible first time round, then think about upgrading various components (or maybe do another build, having made many mistakes first time round!).

    I am blessed with a stack of solid maple ex-kitchen cupboard doors, donated by a friend who was having a kitchen replaced, so I was proposing taking a hand-plane to a scrap to make slivers for the nut slot and neck pocket, rather than proper veneer. Although after McReed's comments, maybe I'll leave the neck pocket alone!

    I did read somewhere about someone having some screws snap off in the body, so in common with most screws I get bundled with something (which are usually made of something resembling lead alloy), I tend to throw them in the bin and use quality brand screws of the same size and type. I'll be off to my favourite engineering fixings shop to replace all the screws in the kit!

    With regard to Simon's helpful comments about the nut, I must admit that set-up is my biggest worry - I can and have rewired guitars before, and I can cope with intonation, and even neck relief, but string height adjustment has always seemed like black magic.. we'll see how I cope with it later in the build.

    More posts when I get a bit more done.

  6. #6
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    If you are ever up Reading way, I'm always happy to do your nut/setup for you and show you how I do it.

  7. #7
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    I'm sure McCreed meant use CA to glue the veneer into place.
    YES!!! NOT for the nut! Thanks for pointing that out Simon.

    FWIW, the veneer I get is roughly .6-.7mm thick and I have sanded down to as thin as .4mm before with little effort. That gap in the nut slot looks about .4 to me, but a good plane shaving of maple will work well too.

    As for kit screws, yes, they're pretty rubbish. However, if someone is stuck having to use the kit ones, good practise (even with better quality screws) is: appropriately sized pilot holes and a bit of wax on the threads before turning the screws in. (I use bee's wax)
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  8. #8
    Member AllTheseThings's Avatar
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    Got the plane out to create some shavings. I decided to do the neck pocket after all as it gave me a manageable sized chunk of wood to practice with. CA glue, as advised by all you knowledgeable chaps!

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    I've got a bit of final sanding to do to get the tops of the shavings absolutely flush, but the neck is nicely snug now.

    Nut slot next; you can see in the first photo where the router slipped, then the fillet of shaving in place.

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    And now there's virtually no gap with the nut in place.

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    Again, a bit of final cleaning up to do.

    Next up is slightly enlarging the neck screw holes on the body so the screws seat properly, then screw the neck on to confirm my suspicions, from just clamping the neck, that the bridge holes are in the wrong place. The holes certainly aren't on the centre line, (about 1mm north of the join in the body) and it looks like about 2-3mm too far forward, as Mark forecast!

  9. #9
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Seeing those pics, I really think you'll need a new neck. That truss rod access hole is far from central. I don't know whether you've looked to see if the truss rod is offset inside (if it's been fitted centrally) or whether you can see the end of the truss rod centred in the hole. But apart from the visual aspect you'll ether not be able to adjust the truss rod or else the rod has been fitted at an angle and is likely to twist the neck when used.

    That neck shouldn't have left the factory at all. Email Pit Bull with the photos and you should have a new neck on its way to you ASAP.

  10. #10
    Member AllTheseThings's Avatar
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    Simon,

    Thank you indeed for drawing my newbie attention to this! I'll get onto Pit Bull now and see what they have to say.

    Thanks again.

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