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Thread: Received my TL-1 today

  1. #1

    Received my TL-1 today

    Hi folks,

    I have finally received my TL-1 kit today.
    I was really excited to open it up and have a first feel of it. Reading your experiences was actually pumping my confidence up about the quality of the whole thing.

    At first glance and hand inspection the piece of wood for the body is really nice, and so is the neck. No scratches, dents or any major flaw.

    Then after having a closer look, I don't know what to think...
    First think I notice is that the maple fretboard thickness has major discrepancies. Closer to the nut it is just about 4mm and at the bottom of the neck it is about 2.5mm. That one is pretty obvious. I am not too sure whether this is expected.

    Then the frets... There are a couple of frets for which I could question how they were installed. There is a clear gap underneath those few frets and the maple fretboard, as if there is some missing material on the fret itself. And the gluing of the fretboard at the bottom of the neck looks suspicious.

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    The neck pocket is too narrow by a couple of mm, but as I understand it this happens quite often. And I guess sanding would solve this.
    Sanding the top side of the pocket seems to be the only way to proceed though on a TL-1 neck pocket?

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    The holes for the neck plate are quite misaligned. If you want to have the drilled holes match the wholes on the plate than you end up with a tilted plate.
    Can this be solved as aesthetically it is not really nice?

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    The bridge came dirty and scratched... And the pickguard, err... I don't know. It could turn out fine with a bit of wiggle even though not ideal.

    I can't find the screws for the control plate. Given the openings it seems like we're talking about the same screws as for the bridge, which I only have 5 pieces for the bridge itself. However I have 10 pickguard screws for 8 pilot holes.
    Could it be that the control plate uses the same screws as the pickguard?

    The neck pocket and those frets especially are my main concern now.
    What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    Overlord of Music Sonic Mountain's Avatar
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    Hey, control plate and pick guard should be the same screws.

    The misaligned holes for the neck plates is really common. What I do is drill out the holes in the body slightly larger. This will usually let you straighten it up, then drills some small pilot holes in the neck using the centres of the plate. The screws don't need to bite into the body wood, just the neck. It's the clamping force that is important, not binding the wood together with the screws. If you progressively tighten them down going from one corner to the next in a cross pattern (like putting on a car tyre) That will also help keep everything aligned.

    Alternative you can also drill them out, plug them with dowel and re drill. A few people on here do that (and also with the tuner holes which are sometimes a bit out of whack)

    The changing thickness of the fret board is not uncommon either, I've seen it on some commercial guitars as well. It shouldn't be a major issue, and won't be noticeable especially with the pick guard installed.

    The raised frets are also pretty normal. You should go over them with a mallet and tap them home before doing any other fret work. You may find that this makes the ends protrude slightly, but some careful filing and sanding will rectify that.

    If you are really not confident with the neck, shoot Adam an email and discuss it with him before you do any sanding or finishing. He is very accommodating and helpful and sometimes things slip through the Pitbull factory inspection of the kits.

    The kits are a good start point but almost always require a bit of tinkering to get just right, so don't be disheartened.
    Build 1 - Shoegazer MK1 JMA-1
    Build 2 - The Relliecaster TL-1
    Build 3 - The Black Cherry SG AG-1
    Build 4 - The Sonicaster TL-1ish
    Build 5 - The Steampunker Bass YB-4
    Build 6 - The Howling Gowing ST-1

    "What I lack in talent I make up for with enthusiasm"

  3. #3
    The kits are a good start point but almost always require a bit of tinkering to get just right, so don't be disheartened.
    Agreed. Guitar kits in general are not a "paint it; screw it together; play it" kind of item. If it were that easy, Fender & Gibson would shut down.

    And ditto on talking to Adam. I wish all customer service was as good as PBG.

    As for the varying fretboard, I've not encountered that (yet). It might be worth measuring the overall thickness of the heel at its four "corners" (top edge of FB to bottom edge of heel) and make sure the discrepancy of the fretboard isn't affecting the heel thickness.
    If that's wonky it will definitely be an issue.

    FWIW, most little oddities in the kits can be overcome, and every build (kit or otherwise) presents its own set of challenges. It's just part of the game.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  4. #4
    Overlord of Music FrankenWashie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WeTheNorth View Post
    Hi folks,

    First think I notice is that the maple fretboard thickness has major discrepancies. Closer to the nut it is just about 4mm and at the bottom of the neck it is about 2.5mm. That one is pretty obvious. I am not too sure whether this is expected.

    Then the frets... There are a couple of frets for which I could question how they were installed. There is a clear gap underneath those few frets and the maple fretboard, as if there is some missing material on the fret itself. And the gluing of the fretboard at the bottom of the neck looks suspicious.

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    What do you guys think?

    Don't stress too much about the varying edge thickness of the fretboard. along with being tapered in width, it is also subject to a standard radius down its entire length. if you imagine taking a rectangular piece of timber and putting a 12 or 14" radius across it, then you will have a even edge thickness all the way down the length.
    If you then put it across a band saw and make that rectangle taper in width to one end, the narrower end will of course now be thicker top to bottom than the wider end.
    I think you can counter this by using compound radii or by tapering the board thickness, but that may be beyond the capability of a factory that can't get 4 neck bolt holes in a regular square aligned to the edge of the neck pocket.

    For the rest of it, effectively, what Sonic said.
    Last edited by FrankenWashie; 16-08-2019 at 08:49 AM.
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  5. #5
    Overlord of Music Sonic Mountain's Avatar
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    That makes sense and would account for why I've seen it before on cheap commercial guitars.
    Build 1 - Shoegazer MK1 JMA-1
    Build 2 - The Relliecaster TL-1
    Build 3 - The Black Cherry SG AG-1
    Build 4 - The Sonicaster TL-1ish
    Build 5 - The Steampunker Bass YB-4
    Build 6 - The Howling Gowing ST-1

    "What I lack in talent I make up for with enthusiasm"

  6. #6
    Yes, A+ FrankenWashie!
    I hadn't thought about that.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  7. #7
    Overlord of Music FrankenWashie's Avatar
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    It was one of those things that drove me bananas with my first fretboards.
    I couldn’t figure out how I was getting it so wrong so I drew it out and realised I wasn’t “getting it wrong” I just wasn’t picking up the realities of the 3 dimensional shape.


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  8. #8
    It was one of those things that drove me bananas with my first fretboards.
    I couldn’t figure out how I was getting it so wrong so I drew it out and realised I wasn’t “getting it wrong” I just wasn’t picking up the realities of the 3 dimensional shape.
    I knew there was a story behind it!
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  9. #9
    Some updates as I wasn't as active on this project as i would have liked.

    I did a 'dry fit' assembly just to check everything was sound.

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    Then I had thoughts about what I wanted to do with the body, and settled on some kind of rustic look. Hope I'll be able to achieve this.
    So I had to prep the body by sanding it with 240 grit before grain filling (ebony tint).
    Once dried more rounds of sanding 240, 360 and 600 grits.
    And only then I started applying tru-oil. Below photos are after 3 coats, no (light) sanding yet.

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    I kind of thought light sanding every 3 coats of tru-oil... What would you suggest 1000+ grit or 0000 steel wool?

    As for the neck, I have removed the plastic bone. i was quite anxious about this to be honest but it went alright.
    Did some fret leveling and crowning. Still need to finish it with tru-oil.
    But I need to shape the head stock.
    And that's a bit of a scary dilemma to say the least.
    I was looking at a Tele head stock shape, but that means starting to cut the wood quite close to the neck where the head stock is actually shaped out of the neck. And I don't feel comfortable with it.
    I think I'll opt for a strat styled head stock which seems to be less risky.

    I already have Tonerider TRT2 Hot Classic set which I will use instead of the stock one, and I am waiting for a 4-way switch. See if it's going to fit the cavity.

    I'll update you a tad later.
    It will go slow as I initially announced it.

    Cheers.

  10. #10
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    Looking good

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