Going to work on a new project Albatross DIY Guitar it’s a Les Paul style that needs to be built from the kit. I will start out by selecting a finish for the guitar then working on that, once I have the finish I will work on the body. Then, I will decide what the headstock shape should look like. I will fashion the headstock to that shape then finish that too. Once I have completed all the preliminary finishing I will assemble the guitar and put all the pieces together.
So here’s my kit before we get started. There are pictures of everything in the box (note, no instructions whatsoever!)
This is the box with all the parts in it. I looked at the body and there are definitely some areas that need some filler. I am going to research the best way to fill it. Obviously if I use some filler I can’t use stain to color the body as the filled areas will show up like sore thumb.
This is the back of it, you can clearly see that we do not have a one piece solid body but, keep in mind you can’t expect a $2,000 guitar. This is a cheap kit and so far looks like a good kit as long as you keep your expectations in check.
This is a little closer on the body. I like the look of it even though it’s a very thin veneer. I tried a few of the pieces together and they seem to fit reasonably well. I like what they have done so far but on the right hand side where the neck meets the body the binding is sticking up above the body and interfering with the neck. I need to file that down to prevent it from interfering with the neck position.
A closer look at the neck, the inlay is fitted really well. I saw a review that said the inlays were sloppy but mine don’t appear to be. The headstock can be shaped and fashioned in any way that you like, I think I am going to put a traditional shape on the top there. The truss rod is easily accessible. I didn’t check to see if the neck was straight, I will adjust everything once I have it assembled. I did notice that the neck is just glued and screwed on. I will contemplate this, I might add screws to the back but I will research the pros and cons first.
The pickups are just low cost, I have no way of knowing how they sound until we get them fitted 🙂
All the bits and pieces, still in the bag. The knobs and everything look OK. The cover plates are all that yellow plastic color.
The machine heads look pretty good. I tried one of them and it’s not too sloppy. The back of them look pretty slick. I like that they are not very cheapest ones you can get.
The rest of the bits and pieces look good. They even included a guitar cable so once you have it together you are set. I will update this blog once I unpack everything but so far so good…. now let’s go find the assembly instructions!
I am all ready now, I just got these in the mail —- 🙂
I have masked off the frets so they won’t get damaged as I work on the neck. I have marked out the headstock with the shape that I want to create, I think it will look somewhat traditional but still my own custom work. I will cut the headstock using my band saw then hand sand it to the final shape.
So there’s still some work to do but here’s the roughed out shape. I will get my fine sand paper on Monday so I can finish off the shape. The stuff I have at the moment is just too coarse for this work. I like the shape I am going for and I don’t think it will take much to finish this part off.
I can see a little uneveness on the shape but nothing that can’t be fixed. That’s the first cut for me. I can’t wait to start sanding the body and getting it ready for the paint job. I have decided to paint it Pelham Blue it’s an old Gibson light blue color. I am going to paint the front of the body and leave the back raw wood. I will stain the raw wood lightly and finish the whole job with many layers of lacquer.
I have been working on the guitar, lots of sanding, I have sanded the neck and the first pass on the body. Having examined the body there are not too many dings. I was able to level the binding as they left it sticking way up. I can’t wait to get painting and staining. I have some ideas on how the finished guitar will look. I need to rig up a spray booth in the basement so I can paint and lacquer the parts.
The filler, paint and lacquer will be here on Tuesday so this weekend we are going to get all the sanding completed.
An update on the wood that is used in the guitar:
- Body is Paulowina. – It does need grain filler. – It is a common wood in China and makes an excellent instrument body.
- The neck is Mahogany. – It does need grain filler.
- The finger board is Rosewood.
- The veneer on the body is maple. – It does not require grain filler.
More pictures, coming soon.
Look what arrived today:
Looks like we might be spray painting at the weekend. I need to get on with the sanding on the body, it need one more pass. The grain filler will be applied to the neck and the body. Then the Pelham Blue will go on the body (just the face) and the rest will be lightly stained and then everything lacquered. I am a bit excited about the next steps.
I have sanded everything and stained the body and neck. I am going to buff them before masking and painting. Once the painting is done I will lacquer. More pictures coming soon.
This is a couple of coats in. I have painted and sanded and painted. I am about 5 coats in now. Maybe 2 more coats and I will be done with that. Final touch ups then lacquer the whole thing. Once all that is completed I will get on with the assembly.
I got a little time on this project, here’s the blue finish. I was trying to get a good blue finish but allow the wood grain to show through a bit. I think it’s pretty.
And here is the contrast between front and side.
Got the neck masked ready for clear coat. I will mask the parts on the body ready for clear coat too. Once the clear coat is done I will assemble the neck to the body.
Clear coated everything and glued the neck on the body.
Getting ready to add hardware.
Just a few touch ups to do and a final clear coat. You can see the bridge is assembled on the guitar, I have also put the machine heads on (not shown in this photo). I have researched the wiring and have the solder and soldering iron ready to go. – Remember this guitar came with no (ZERO) instructions. It’s all, look it up on the web stuff.
Here she is finished, wired, and assembled. This has been a fun project. I got to play it last night and without any setup at all, I was pleasantly surprised at how this plays. It looks cool in it’s Pelham Blue and the cheap accessories are not too shabby either. I am pleased with the outcome, for the fun and the experience and now having the final finished product I would honestly recommend this to anyone. – A few more pictures to show you the finished article.
I promise to take some less blurry pictures but these were taken last night at 12:15am when I finished playing it. I am going to play it some more tonight. I will adjust the action. The neck looks pretty straight. I will work on the intonation to make sure it’s all good.