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Thread: Also hi from NZ

  1. #1

    Also hi from NZ

    Hi Everybody. I am in NZ (Tauranga) and am thinking about building my first kit. I am interested in the mustang kit. If anybody has built one of these I would love to hear about their experience.

  2. #2
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Reading, UK
    Hi and welcome to the forum.

    I presume you are talking abut the DMS-1 kit:

    Here's OliSam's build diary for one.:

    Oli's had an 'engineered rosewood' fretboard, from the time when rosewood was on the CITES endangered list without a guitar application exemption, and the engineered rosewood fretboards really weren't that good, with wood fibres falling off very easily, so needing some stabilising action to keep them in one piece.

    But now they seem to be offering proper rosewood again, which is good (along with the maple board option).

    Another DMS-1 build :

    Note the words in the PBG kit description that the body is now mahogany, not the ash shown in the photos and the builds I've linked to above (they really should take new pictures as it's easy to overlook the words).

    So you won't be able to get some of the classic Fender sunburst finishes and you may be better off going for a solid colour, though mahogany gives you some classic Gibson finish options, such as a classic cherry finish or a TV yellow. But being a darker, redder wood, there are a lot of light stains that won't work that well on it.

    Did you have any finish ideas in your head for the guitar?

  3. #3
    GAStronomist FrankenWashie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Glebe, NSW
    Welcome to the forum Timuckun!
    Hand crafting guitars, because Death Rays are expensive.

  4. #4
    Welcome aboard!
    #001 (LP-1S) [finished - co-runner up Nov 2018 GOTM]
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  5. #5
    Hi. Thank you for such a detailed response.

    That is indeed the guitar I am interested in. The product says a maple fingerboard but they do offer a "blackwood" option. I don't know what that is.

    My intent is to leave the finish natural because I don't have painting facilities so mahogany would be OK. If it looks bad then I plan on painting it black. I would also like to use black hardware but they don't offer that option.

    Having said all that.....

    I read though that thread and a few others on the forum and it's giving me second thoughts about ordering a kit. It looks like the quality of the kits is very low and I may be better off buying a used guitar and modding it. Even a brand new bullet mustang is pretty cheap.

  6. #6
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Reading, UK
    Blackwood is a generic term the Chinese factories use for an 'engineered rosewood'; softwood fibres encased in a resin that looks a bit like rosewood from a distance. Some manufactured woods are quite good, but the boards on the kits are of vary variable quality. Some have been OK, some have been terrible and falling apart.

    But if you did think you might progress with a kit, I'd email Pit Bull first as I have a feeling they've changed the description text to (proper) rosewood when they changed the description of the body wood to mahogany, but failed to change the description in the options list (they are only human).

    Some of the kits do have issues, but the DMS-1 with its bolt-on neck and basic construction with no veneer or binding, is pretty straight-forward and should be free of major issues.

    Saying that, a kit is not a guitar in parts that just needs to be screwed together and it's finished. View it as components that have been taken from the assembly line but still need a lot of work before they'll be a finished guitar.

    Any guitar needs to have some sort of finish applied, you really don't want to leave it just bare wood. Wood responds to changes in temperature and (especially) humidity and it needs a finish that will help to protect it from moisture changes that can see it swell up or shrink. A lot of the kit guitar woods are pretty soft, and even mahogany and ash can mark fairly easily, and a finish gives a lot harder surface for the wood.

    You don't need to be able to paint the body and neck as you can get several finishes that you can just wipe-on, such as TruOil, Tung Oil, shellac and wipe-on poly(urethane). You can do these inside a house or apartment. The 'oil' finishes aren't like a standard oil for lubrication but are oil-based along with other additives, that 'polymerise' and harden to a varnish-like finish.

    Note that on the black hardware that comes with other PBG kits, the black is a paint finish which is non-conductive. The bridge (and by means of the bridge, the strings) needs a connection to ground to cut down on hum pickup. For chrome and gold hardware, there isn't an issue, but the black paint on the bridges needs scraping away in places so that electrical contact can be made. It's fiddly, but can be done. More upmarket hardware often has a black anodised finish which is conductive, so no scraping is necessary.

    If your facilities for woodworking (you'll need to cut a headstock shape) and finishing are limited, then you may be very well better off buying a used guitar and modding it. The cost of a kit guitar can quickly add up if you need to buy all the finishes and some extra tools. You will certainly need lots of sandpaper of different grits. You'll also really need to have some experience in setting up guitar to play well, as you'll certainly need to be able to adjust the truss rod, bridge saddle height and intonation positions and adjust the nut height to get a playable guitar. These are all achievable skills, and we can help guide you with them, but it can seem quite daunting to start with.

    I suggest you read through the PBG general instruction manual first before making any decisions, as it lists all the basic tools you'll need to hand as well as all the others that then help to turn a basic kit guitar into a guitar you can be really proud of.

    Getting a guitar kit is as much about the journey through its construction and making it your own as it is about the end product. It should not be looked upon as a low-cost way to get a guitar. If you really need a guitar to play, then I really suggest you buy one. If you can afford to invest time and money into making a kit guitar and risk it not being particularly good, then do it. People on the forum have made some great guitars that play well and sound superb, even for their first kit, but have had to spend a fair bit of time to make it so.

    The PBG kits are some of the lowest cost kits you can get, so they aren't perfect and will need a lot more preparation than more upmarket kits. But even those upmarket kits (or building from parts such as getting a neck and body from different suppliers) can have issues and occasionally need sending back. Recently someone on here in the UK bought a Strat-style neck costing around 300/$600, but had to send it back twice until he got one that was fault-free.

    As I've said, if you need a guitar to play now, then go and buy a used one. If you want an interesting and reasonably challenging project, and have the time and sufficient money to invest in doing it well, then you should end up with something you are proud to use. Cheap guitars are so good these days that it takes a lot of effort to even get up to the level of a basic Squier, but it can be done. You won't get to custom shop levels, even with the best of the kits, but you can get a very good quality guitar that you've made yourself. Which is often the step to another kit guitar (or two) and quite a few people then move on to scratch-building their own guitars.

    Only you can make your own mind up about which way to go. All the best!

  7. #7
    Hi Simon.

    Thanks again for the detailed response.

    I already have a guitar (a PRS SE) so my main purpose in buying a kit is to learn and experiment. I also want to work with a kid on the project so he can learn more too. At the end of the project I do want a playable guitar though. I don't want to just spend all this money on a kit and end up with a pile of wood for the fireplace.

    I have some limited tools (drill, jigsaw, files, etc) but I don't have a router, plane, band saw, table saw etc. I also don't have garage space so the work will have to be done either outdoors or in the living room.

    For the finish I was planning on using a basic mixture of linseed oil, beeswax, and turpentine which is commonly used for furniture to seal and protect the wood. I would prefer to see the wood and the grain but of course this depends on what the wood looks like. I think something like an Ibanez RG natural finish mahogany would be great. If that doesn't work I can always grab some black paint and give it a go.


    My main worry is that the kit will have flaws I can't fix with my limited space, tools and skills. I have never built a guitar before and don't have too much woodworking experience in general. The idea of a kit appeals to me because it seems like it would be in reach of somebody in my situation.

  8. #8
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Reading, UK
    Well there don't appear to be any fundamental issues with the kit, so if there was something wrong it would be specific to that kit.

    All I can suggest is that if you are interested, email and ask that given your overseas nature and the corresponding difficulties of returning it if faulty, could they fully check over a kit for you for faults, and and send you some photos so you can see for yourself if there are any cosmetic issues that would trouble you.

  9. #9
    That's a great idea.


  10. #10
    Overlord of Music dave.king1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Woonona by the sea
    Welcome to the madness.

    Simon's suggestion of having the kit checked over before sending is very sound, PBG have customer service that is second to none in this space.

    As for shaping the headstock, I've done a few now and just use and old school hand jigsaw/fret saw to get close and then hand sand up to the line.

    My wife and I walked up that little hill you have a couple of years back on an incredibly hot day, well worth it for the view though, nice part of the world

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