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Thread: My first build: a 12-string SG

  1. #1

    My first build: a 12-string SG

    Hello, everyone!

    Firstly, it's awesome to see such a supportive community of people passionate about a noble activity such as building musical instruments! I've been reading and learning as much as possible here before embarking on this first build, and I hope I can also get some tips on this first build.

    I must admit I have negligible experience with carpentry and electrics, so this is already being a steep learning curve for me. And it's also quite exciting.

    I got my DGM-12 kit and let the wood aclimatise for a few days.

    I've inspected the parts and done a mock build, and here are my findings:

    1. There is a knot in the head that seemed to have been filled, I wonder if that would be an issue with the string tension over time? Otherwise I'm happy to put it down as "added character" to the guitar.

    2. There's a section of the fretboard that seems to have been sanded by accident, so whatever finish there was there was removed. I imagine that would be just a matter of applying it again and it would match the rest?

    3. There's a bit of glue in the joint at the top (would sand paper take it out?) and a couple of gaps at the bottom - which I intend to fill with Timbermate.

    4. My biggest concern though is how the bridge saddle holes don't seem to match the width of the saddle itself. To make the saddle fit the poles without them being pushed in all the way in for the dry build, you can see how the poles are off-centre. I've seen this in another build here (Simon's beautiful double SG-build) and I don't know if it's something I'll have to deal with myself or if it warrants a replacement from Pit Bull. What do you guys think? I'm afraid I don't have the tools needed to drill a new hole if this one needs to be filled - I'd have to get some help from a friend to do it.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Hi MarZed, and welcome.

    The glue spots and little gaps are the least worrying to me, but if it were my kit, I'd contact PBG about the other matters.
    Those are reasonable defects and it shouldn't have been sold as a first quality IMO.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  3. #3
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Reading, UK
    Hi and welcome.

    Basically what McCreed said.

    Also, the body join looks to be pretty much along the centreline. Assuming that and looking at the bridge picture, the bridge is sitting very much on the bass side of the line, and the treble side post looks nearer the middle than the bass-side post. So even if you did use a round needle file to enlarge the post holes in the bridge, you'd probably still end up with the strings not running straight down the neck, but at an angle. It's probably the treble post hole that's been miss-drilled (though they could both be slightly out).

    I'd also have a look at the stop-tail holes and see how well they've been drilled and how the stop tail lines up with the neck centreline. You don't want that off to one side so the strings come off that and hit the saddles at an angle.

    There isn't any finish on the fretboard, its just been sanded with a fine grit paper, but they've used a rough scraper to get the binding level with the board and not re-sanded the board before putting the frets on. If the kit stays, then I'd first scrape the board with the edge of a craft knife blade or a single-sided razor blade to remove most of the roughness, and then sand the board in that area with some P400-P1200 grit.

    The knot in the headstock is probably small enough to not weaken it significantly, but visually it's an issue and it could move a bit over time. Not something you should have in a neck.

  4. #4
    Thanks for the advice, guys!

    I'll get in touch with Pit Bull and see what they say.


  5. Liked by: DeanCraig

  6. #5
    Quick update: I've emailed PBG and they're sending a new body and neck to replace the current ones. Looking forward to receiving the new parts!

  7. Liked by: DeanCraig, ross.pearson

  8. #6
    Mentor Andyxlh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Good news!

  9. #7

  10. #8
    Thanks a lot for your wisdom and advice so far, guys! I've been really busy with things-other-than-guitars and only now got the chance to post this update.

    I received the replacement kit from PitBull and... well, there are good news and bad news.

    Starting with the good things:

    The new body looks great! The grain on the wood is beautiful and the two pieces are glued together very well, and match nicely.

    Most importantly - the bridge saddle and the stop-tail holes are correct and match their lengths.

    The body does have a crack on the hole for the pickup cabling, but I don't think that would be an issue as it's going to be hidden from view (I might try to glue it so it doesn't get bigger though).

    The bad/disappointing part is the neck. In a couple of aspects, it's in much worse shape than the first one.

    1. It seems to me like the top edge of the fretboard wood has been cut to form a bevel between the wood and the white (plastic?) edge. I would imagine that is not how it should be? I also don't know how/if it can be fixed or addressed, and I imagine that bevel should not be there in the first place, is that correct? (The bottom side of the fretboard doesn't have such a discrepancy between the height of the wood and the white edge)

    It's hard to get a notion of how steep the bevel is from the pictures, but you can get an idea:

    Trying to think of a solution, I imagine I could sand the bevel to make it smoother and more discreet, but I'm not sure how it's possible to do that properly without removing the frets. And even if I manage to do it, I'm weary of changing the depth of the fingerboard, especially on a 12-string where there high E at the top will sit so close to the edge. What do you guys think?

    2. Another issue: the higher frets are damaged. Is that something that can be fixed?

    3. And last but not least, I noticed the holes for the tuners are not symmetrical or aligned. I know this doesn't have a functional implication, but it still bothers me from an aesthetic perspective.

    I would really appreciate your wisdom and advice about the above. Does it warrant reaching out to PitBull again? Or are these issues expected from these kits and I should try to address them the best I can?

    Thanks again for you generosity and help!

  11. #9
    Mentor dozymuppet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Perth, WA
    The neck looks like it warrants a message to the PB team. The damaged frets I imagine will probably be sorted out when you level and crown them, but the raised fingerboard and misaligned peg holes are more problematic (IMO).

    The cabling cavity issue is not a disaster at all in isolation, but on top of the neck issues, the quality control is below average here.

  12. #10
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Reading, UK
    The fretboard can be levelled by scraping. I'd use a sharp craft knife/Stanley knife blade or a single-sided razorblade and just drag it between the frets on the edge. You shouldn't have to do that though.

    If you've been on the forum for a while, you'll know that the headstock tuner holes are rarely perfectly aligned. Sometimes you can live with them, and sometimes people plug them and redrill them. You'd probably only have to plug two holes to get the holes relatively level to one another e.g.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Top one down slightly, bottom one up a bit.

    The new holes shouldn't be too far off centre from the old ones, so that the tuner washers will cover the work on the headstock face. The tuner bodies themselves should cover the work on the rear. Easy to check. If not, then you can always stick a piece of veneer on the headstock to patch things up.

    But definitely let Pit Bull know about the issues. Posting faults here unfortunately rarely gets picked up by the PB team, so you need to let them know directly if they are to ever improve matters.

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