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Thread: ES4-B 1st Build

  1. #1
    Overlord of Music fender3x's Avatar
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    ES4-B 1st Build

    First time that I have had a Pitbull kit or actually tried to put a kit together. I've had my kit for over a month. I have ordered some pickups and some other stuff. Mapped out the basics of a wiring harness. Seems like a good time to start the build diary!

    I've worked on my own axes, but that has mostly been electronics. I am a bit more at sea with finishing and setups. Will be leaning on the forum heavily, I expect, as I get into it.

    In addition to home maintenance which keeps rearing it's ugly head, I also have a few other projects. Years ago i bought a neck and body from Warmoth. I used to live near their factory and got a great deal. Aside from putting a little satin finish on them though, I have not really done anything with it. So, I may be looking for advise on the "Non Pit Bull" part of the forum on whatever sort of frankenstrat emerges from that. I also have a frankenjazz bass, for which DB has sent me a new nut. Will be installing that, doing a bit of work on the frets and neck, and maybe changing out the blend pot it has in it now to one that specs a bit better. I am also working on a couple of Bill Fitzmaurice Jack 12 Lite bass cabs, to complement the DR250 and T39 make up my current rig.

    I am most excited about the ESB-4, though. And most intimidated by it. Now that I have a few parts on the way, I literally don't know where to start.

    So, here are a few questions:

    1st Question:
    Should I finish the bass first, or attach the neck first. My inclination is to try to put the neck on, since that is by far the scariest thing on this build for me. Also there are some places around it that may need a little filling, and that seems easier before putting the finish on. I plan to use the same color of stain on the body and neck, BTW.

    2nd Question:
    I have been reading about how to set the neck, and they generally involve installing (at least temporarily) the bridge in order to get the neck properly aligned. Not sure how to do that with a three-point bridge. Since they are, at best, prone to pull-out problems, I don't want to install the ferrules more than once. So should I do that before I finish the bass to do get the neck aligned and glued? Or is there some other way to temporarily mount the bridge without installing the ferrules just to get the neck aligned.

    3rd Question:
    How do you guys handle binding during the staining phase? I have heard using a small paintbrush to cover the binding with shellac before filling and staining, and then sanding the shellac off. Has anyone done that? I am not relishing either the idea of taping or scraping if I can avoid it.

    Thanks in advance!

    Rich

  2. #2
    GAStronomist wokkaboy's Avatar
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    Hi Rich, exciting times and good questions.
    1) if you don't have a problem working on and hanging the neck attached to the body then go for it glue it early in the build and you will get a more uniform neck join with the finish.
    2) I've not built this kit so not sure of the bridge/bush setup. Maybe you can put some screws or nuts in the bush holes with a smaller diameter than the bushes so you can align the bridge where it should roughly be. I'd have a read of other ESB-4 build diaries to see if there are any clues there how they did this process. Otherwise just push the bushes in about half way so they can easily be removed. Main thing you need to check is the string to fingerboard offsets are same for E and G strings and how the string action looks.
    3) never heard the shellac technique but I'd give it a test run on a small amount of binding to see if it works. I have generally taped it off or sanded/scraped off stain after each coat. Has this kit got double binding or just on the top edge ?
    Current Builds and status
    scratch end grain pine tele - first clear coat on !
    JBA-4 - assembled - final tweaks
    Telemonster double scale tele - finish tobacco burst on body and sand neck

    Completed builds
    scratch oak.rose gum Jazzmaster - assembled needs setup
    MK-2 Mosrite - assembled - play in
    Ash tele with Baritone neck - neck pup wiring tweaks and play in

  3. #3
    Overlord of Music fender3x's Avatar
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    All good advice. Thanks!

    I'll check out the other build diaries on this one. The bridge has me a bit stumped. It screws into three enormous ferrules that are held into the wood by pretty much nothing their splines. I have seen a number of reports of them pulling out on actual Gibsons, so I want to be as careful as possible about setting them...and then at the same time the thing I worry about next most is getting the neck mounted at the proper angle and alignment.

    The body is double bound. Fortunately none on the neck. OK more noodling and reading!

  4. #4
    GAStronomist wokkaboy's Avatar
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    Hey Rich, I think about everyone that has built this kit has had trouble with the bridge pulling out. Some of them wrapped painters tape around the bush or filled the bush holes a bit with sawdust and glue.
    Have a read of the other build diaries should give you more information.
    If the neck is tight in the pocket then there won't be much lateral movement but worth checking what the string action may be
    Current Builds and status
    scratch end grain pine tele - first clear coat on !
    JBA-4 - assembled - final tweaks
    Telemonster double scale tele - finish tobacco burst on body and sand neck

    Completed builds
    scratch oak.rose gum Jazzmaster - assembled needs setup
    MK-2 Mosrite - assembled - play in
    Ash tele with Baritone neck - neck pup wiring tweaks and play in

  5. #5
    Overlord of Music fender3x's Avatar
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    I had thought about putting a bit of glue in..or even maybe a small screw in the bass of the ferrule. In any case, I do want to try to avoid putting the ferrules in twice ;-)
    Last edited by fender3x; 10-03-2016 at 12:10 PM.

  6. #6
    Hi Rich,
    Well done on your choice of axe to build. I love mine- sounds fantastic and the action is awesome.
    1st Question: - Totally up to you but be warned once the neck goes on it'll be quite heavy and long and difficult to manoeuvre when your trying to finish it. And if you plan on using a spray lacquer as your top coat then it'll be doubly hard to spray into the difficult to get to parts. Just my opinion. I joined my neck after all the finish was done and the neck join is fine by me.
    2nd Question: Neck pocket on my esb4 was so tight that there was no movement to be had in any direction. I was lucky I guess that the fit was perfect and everything lined up as it should. Setup and intonation is perfect. The 3 point bridge has been an absolute nightmare. Bad design! I've ended up glueing in some toothpicks in the holes and the bridge has now been holding for a few weeks but this is my third attempt at a fix. I hope yours fairs better mate! My last resort will be a Hipshot but that'll be a ways off because they are pricey!
    3rd Question: I taped the binding on the side profile and as Wokka said scrape or sand the stain off the top profile.

    Good luck and ask any questions you need answered as you go!
    It's an awesome guitar once all together. You'll love it!

  7. #7
    GAStronomist wokkaboy's Avatar
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    well done Damo good to have someone who has built the kit to answer the questions.
    I think the 3 point bridge for a bass is a bad design. The 3 bass kits I've built all have the bridge plate screwed into the body is the only way IMO
    Current Builds and status
    scratch end grain pine tele - first clear coat on !
    JBA-4 - assembled - final tweaks
    Telemonster double scale tele - finish tobacco burst on body and sand neck

    Completed builds
    scratch oak.rose gum Jazzmaster - assembled needs setup
    MK-2 Mosrite - assembled - play in
    Ash tele with Baritone neck - neck pup wiring tweaks and play in

  8. #8
    I agree woks. Way too much tension from those chunky strings for the 3point design. Should be bolted to the body.. Someone could get killed during an impromptu slapping solo!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    GAStronomist wokkaboy's Avatar
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    haha yeah Darth imagine that being hit in the scone with the bridge from a slap solo
    Current Builds and status
    scratch end grain pine tele - first clear coat on !
    JBA-4 - assembled - final tweaks
    Telemonster double scale tele - finish tobacco burst on body and sand neck

    Completed builds
    scratch oak.rose gum Jazzmaster - assembled needs setup
    MK-2 Mosrite - assembled - play in
    Ash tele with Baritone neck - neck pup wiring tweaks and play in

  10. #10
    Overlord of Music fender3x's Avatar
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    I am having my first serious "oh sh*t" moment with the build and I am not yet really even out of the box yet....

    I was doing one last measure before gluing the neck on. Whenever I have done measurements before I was standing on the "south side" of the bass. This time I was on the "north" just by coincidence...

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    ...from this side I noticed a problem in the south (lower) of the three mounting holes for the bridge. There was no wood on the south side! I was looking right into the body cavity.

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    At first I thought the factory had not put the center block in properly, but on closer examination, I realized that they put the holes for the bridge about 2.5 mm too far to the south. I put a pencil line on the center line so you can see clearly...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    That was enough off so that when they drilled the south bridge hole, it broke through the side. So, not only is the bridge about 2.5mm off center, the south ferrule doesn't have enough wood to bite into when I mount it.

    Never noticed this before. I suspect it came off the line late on a day when the guys at the factory began drinking a little early.

    So what do I do about this? The only thing I can think of is that I will need to put a 7/16 (~11mm) dowel into the holes, and re-drill with a drill press. I have a drill press. I think I have used it twice...so this will tax my ability to use tools and be precise.

    Assuming I do it right, most of the "scar" will be covered by the bridge--which is good since I don't think I am likely to find book matched maple flame top dowels. Before I do something this invasive, though, I thought I'd put it to you guys to see if there are any simpler alternatives I have not thought of?

    Any thoughts will be much appreciated...

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