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Thread: An ES-1BT as a first build

  1. #1
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    An ES-1BT as a first build

    Hi there, kids!

    Yes, I probably am crazy, but I've been thinking about the guitar I want for a good while now.
    A Semi-Hollow like my much-missed '70s ES345, but this one in a deep transparent yellow stain with a trapeze tailpiece (that's the bit that's hard to find) and all black hardware (hence the B instead of G).

    The guys at Pit Bull were super helpful in getting that together and shipped - and it arrived much earlier than I expected. Now I gotta go to some fancy wood places to gather some bits of maple and some stain options so I can work out how to get the finish I want. (DingoTone isn't available in the states.)

    The wiring shouldn't be too much of a challenge - I've been in the electronics game for 30-something years, and have confidence.

    The neck gluing is the bit I'm nervous about. Think I'll save that until after the body is finished and wired.

    At the moment, thinking TruTint in a water base is where I'll start. Then some clear coats and a good polish. Should take three months or so

  2. #2
    Mentor robin's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome dmoose5835. Sounds like a great project. Start a build diary and post pictures and don't be afraid to ask for help if needed.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by robin View Post
    Hi and welcome dmoose5835. Sounds like a great project. Start a build diary and post pictures and don't be afraid to ask for help if needed.
    Thanks Robin!

    Photos to commence once I find the stupid camera and clean up my work area.

  4. #4
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    I'll warn you in advance that the neck angle on the ES-1 is probably going to be too shallow to get a decent action using the kit bridge and its mounting kit, so you may need to buy a few replacement pieces like rimless post inserts for the bridge so you can set it low enough to get a decent action. The alternative is to try and adjust the neck angle using a glued-in shim, but this could also introduce some larger gaps around the join areas.

    And black hardware looks good, but the finish on it is electrically insulating so you'll need to scratch away at it to allow metal to metal contact in order to ground the bridge and strings.

    I'd mask off the binding before staining, otherwise micro-cracks in the binding can take up the stain and ruin the looks.

    And always check for glue spots on the veneer, especially around the binding and centre join area. You'll find a lot about glue spots in people's build diaries.

    Definitely read a few ES-1 build diaries first (if you haven't already).

    If you aren't sure, always ask first before doing anything. Almost all errors or faults can be corrected, but sometimes it means revising your ideal finish to something that will cover up items you can't live with. By asking, you minimise the risks of that happening and we're here to help if we can.

    This may all sound like doom and gloom, but it's better to be forewarned, and in most instances, it doesn't take too much effort to get things right in advance; which makes the build far more enjoyable. There is a good guitar hiding within the kit, you just need to let it out.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    I'll warn you in advance that the neck angle on the ES-1 is probably going to be too shallow to get a decent action using the kit bridge and its mounting kit, so you may need to buy a few replacement pieces like rimless post inserts for the bridge so you can set it low enough to get a decent action. The alternative is to try and adjust the neck angle using a glued-in shim, but this could also introduce some larger gaps around the join areas.

    And black hardware looks good, but the finish on it is electrically insulating so you'll need to scratch away at it to allow metal to metal contact in order to ground the bridge and strings.

    I'd mask off the binding before staining, otherwise micro-cracks in the binding can take up the stain and ruin the looks.

    And always check for glue spots on the veneer, especially around the binding and centre join area. You'll find a lot about glue spots in people's build diaries.

    Definitely read a few ES-1 build diaries first (if you haven't already).

    If you aren't sure, always ask first before doing anything. Almost all errors or faults can be corrected, but sometimes it means revising your ideal finish to something that will cover up items you can't live with. By asking, you minimise the risks of that happening and we're here to help if we can.

    This may all sound like doom and gloom, but it's better to be forewarned, and in most instances, it doesn't take too much effort to get things right in advance; which makes the build far more enjoyable. There is a good guitar hiding within the kit, you just need to let it out.
    I second, and third Simon's advice - even when you think you have gotten rid of all the glue residue front and back, just check it again - although, if you don't have flame, or quilt veneer, (which are very thin), it may not be so much of an issue.

  6. #6
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    Thank you HamonIser -
    I do have flame veneer, but I do have a plan B if I make too big a mess - BRIGHT yellow opaque.

    And thank you Simon -
    The ES335 drawings I have say the neck should be at 4 degrees off whatever level means - I'm guessing the centerline of the side rims.
    Not positive how I'll approach this, so thanks for the heads up. Also for pointing out the insulating nature of the black plating - it hadn't occurred to me that might be the case. Buuuut, the top of the bridge saddles will also insulate the strings, won't they? At least until playing wear cuts through. Hmm.

    Still, getting the finish on is going to take weeks - not just drying time, but household realities. I can meditate while attending other duties.

  7. #7
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    Finally got around to a dry fit of the neck (looks good) and close inspection of the body.
    The binding around one of the F-holes is standing partly proud of the top of the body by 2-3mm.
    I really don't want to mung the veneer, so what's the least-bad tool to attack this, please?

  8. #8
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Id probably scrape it down using a single-sided razor blade. You can wrap a thin adhesive tape like Scotch Tape over the ends on the blade so only the central portion is sharp and exposed. So you can scrape down to almost flat with the veneer in comparative safety.

    To start with you can put two or three layers of tape on, then reduce to one as you have only a small amount left. Id probably sand the last bit using 240 grit paper stuck to a small wooden block with double-sided tape.

    Going back to the neck angle issue, you need to remember that this is not a mm accurate copy of a 335, so what may be the correct angle for a 335 may not be the ideal angle for the kit. As long as a long straight edge laid on the top of the neck (truss rod adjusted so its flat) will just clear the top of the bridge at its lowest position (remember that the post insert rims and the adjustment wheels raise it up by about 4-5mm from the body), you should be OK.

  9. Liked by: dmoose5835

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    Good - thank you as always Simon.
    Dumb (real dumb) question about the scraper action - I keep it perpendicular to the thing I'm scraping or more of a carrot-peeler action?

    I did a dry fit, and it looks about right. When I clear out a space to start playing with the finish, I'll post more.

  11. #10
    Mentor DarkMark's Avatar
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    The binding should scrape away easily enough at right angles. Id suggest thats safer than a carrot peeler technique.

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