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Thread: My first build: a 12-string SG

  1. #11
    Thanks for the feedback, dozy and Simon! I'll email PitBull and see what they say.

    I need to inspect the fretboard a bit more to see what the consequences would be of scraping the fretboard to level it, as in some places the height difference between the binding and the fretboard is up to a millimetre, so the frets at those places would sit a lot higher from the fingerboard if I level them to the binding.

    Thanks again for the support and I'll keep you posted on how this progresses.

    Thanks again and I'll keep you posted!

  2. #12
    Mentor Andyxlh's Avatar
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    It sounds like you have been very unlucky. We have built dozens of different guitars at school and had one return in the last 5 years, but that does not look right so you might be at 0-2! I think it needs replacing again

  3. #13
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    On a second look, the binding may have been set in too low on that side as there appears to be a larger than normal gap between the frets ends and the binding. Does such a gap exist in reality?

  4. #14
    Unlucky indeed, Andyxlh! Let's see what PBG says - asked them for third replacement or a refund. As a first build, I was expecting to have to do a lot of work and make mistakes, but what is going on in the fretboard seems like it either can't be totally fixed, or that the work involved in doing it is way beyond what PBG says I should expect from the kit.

    Simon, I measured both bindings on the top and bottom and they are both 5mm. It looks like the fretboard is the issue there. Some frets are raised from the fretboard at the binding, some aren't. From what I can see, it looks like it's the fretboard that for some reason is set higher than what it should, and they tried to "fix" the issue by carving the end, with the results you can see above.

    I've taken another shot to try to show the fret ends - you can see a couple of them lifted from the binding, I hope it helps:



    (apologies about the angle and the lack of precision with the ruler, I was holding everything with one hand and the phone with the other!)

    Cheers!

  5. #15
    Mentor Andyxlh's Avatar
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    Yep, I can see the lifted frets. If it was only that you could perhaps seat them, but the other issue seems the problem

  6. #16
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    I think the frets appeared to be seated on the board OK. It's the binding that's been set slightly lower than the height of the board that's causing the gap at the end. If so, you couldn't even tap the frets down a bit to seat them better as they won't go down further.

    If you really had to, you could mix up some binding material with acetone, fill in the gaps under the fret ends and scrape the board down on the edges, but it's a lot of work with no guarantee of how successful you'd be, especially if it was your first go at that sort of thing. And not the sort of thing you'd want to do on a first build.

    Alternatively you take the frets off, re-profile the board so that it meets the binding and then fit new frets, but that's even more advanced!

  7. #17
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    Wow, this is a real bummer of an introduction to a PBG kit.
    Based on my own experience and others', I'm sure PBG will do the right thing, but jeez...
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  8. #18
    Thanks for the sympathy, everyone!

    It is indeed too much for a humble first-time builder without experience and tools. I reached out to PBG and they are not happy with the kit, and checked the other 5 12-string kits they have, and they all have the same kind of issues. So unfortunately I'm returning the kits and getting a refund. They offered me to choose something else, but I'm not interested in having another 6-string or a bass at this moment.

    I looked online and found this kit that is cheaper and seem to have less chances of big issues (since the neck is simpler and frets are already levelled and and dressed)... It is basswood (as opposed to mahogany) and obviously doesn't have the humbuckers, which is a shame in both instances, but there's not much else out these.

    Do you guys have any experience with this brand, Haze? (they claim to be based in Sydney) Any comments on this kit?

    Either way, once again, really appreciate your support!

  9. #19
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Pit Bull have almost the same kit, but without the 'solderless' wiring.

    https://www.pitbullguitars.com/shop/...ic-guitar-kit/

    Personally I'd prefer a fully soldered wiring harness, but YMMV.

    Unless it's been remedied, the bridge is the weak point of these kits. It's copied the Gotoh 12-string bridge saddles, but the extra set of octave string saddle saddles should be able to be set forward for R/H guitar operation, and backwards for L/H guitar operation. But unlike the Gotoh, the kit bridge doesn't have the second set of holes tapped for the screw to do so, so is only fully adjustable for use on L/H guitars.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The best you can do on a R/H guitar is have the two saddles in line with each other (which TBH is all you could do on the SG-style 12-string), though if you have some taps, you may be able to tap out the saddle holes to accept the screws, they are bound to be a metric size, maybe M2, M2.5 or M3.

    Alternatively you could fit a different nut (or make your own), and string it like a Rickenbacker with the thicker string of the octave pairs on the bass side, rather the treble side. This would then allow for full intonation with the bridge as-is, but if you can tap out the extra holes, then that would be a cheaper and far easier option than investing in nut files and making your own reverse slot nut. Even if you got a L/H 12-string nut, you'd probably find the slots were angled incorrectly, so you'd still need access to nut files to correct that.

  10. #20
    Thanks for that, Simon!

    I'd looked at the whole PBG catalogue a couple of times over and managed to miss these other 12-string options! It's quite tempting, but I'd only get them if they can guarantee the kit sent won't have the issues I found on the previous ones.

    Also, the information on the page is contradictory, because the says it's basswood, and the product description says it's ash, and the photos don't really match the kit. There are also a couple of other options to consider (quilt or flame maple veneer)... so some food for thought there.

    About the bridge, I'd bother a couple of friends that might have a tap, otherwise I did a quick search and found the actual Gotohs go from around AUD50 from the UK, or a Chinese version is about 20 bucks.

    I won't rush into this decision as I'm still quite put down by my experience so far. I have to say though PGB has handled the situation extremely well throughout the ordeal.

    Cheers!

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