Fixed the gouges, shot more color, and found a way to hang the guitar to dry safely.

I don’t know if it were obvious from my last post, but I was freaking out about those gouges. I posted on both OSG and Reranch asking for help. The consensus was that the gouges that didn’t scrape off the paint are going all the way down to the wood, and some suggestions were to sand down the color and shoot sanding sealer to fill the gouges or to sand the color down and steam the gouges out. I have no idea how you steam gouges out.

What I ended up doing was to sand down the color and primer to the sanding sealer, and fill in the gouges with superglue and wait for it to dry. Once dry I sanded it down to get a smooth surface and sprayed sanding sealer over it. Then of course I sanded down the sanding sealer with #320 sandpaper.

Next was to figure out what to do with that area that doesn’t have sanding sealer underneath. The astute observer will see the difference in the last picture from the previous post. Again, the consensus (between the two people who answered) was to just keep spraying color until I get an even surface.

Today I went down to spray color over the gouges and more coats overall. I was told over at OSG that I spray too dry, so I moved in a little closer (1ft away from the body), and sprayed a little slower. The result? runs! So I moved back to 14″ away. I let it dry for a few hours and wet sanded the gouges down. I also (wet) sanded over where the gouges were — those spots weren’t very smooth. Finally (at 11:30pm), I finished touching up the gouges with color, and sprayed three passes on the sides, but only two on the front and back. I got runs again! This time at 14″ away and moving faster than before. I think the problem is that the Preval sprayer’s nozzle is very narrow, and it’s also hard to see where you already sprayed when you’re shooting black. Anyway, I consider this a positive progress — smoothing down the runs shouldn’t be a problem, and another coat (after spraying one more pass on the front and back to complete today’s coat) should make everything look golden (err, blacken?).

Finally, the solution for hanging the guitar to dry! I went to a hardware store and got a metal bracket like this one, but longer. I screwed it to one of the walls of my storage unit, and it’s sturdy as hell. My guitar is safe now. As for spraying the edges, I just went the Fender route and nailed four nails to the body in the area that will be under the pickguard. Seems to work well so far.

That’s it for now. I’ll upload some picture tomorrow.

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Up and then down — it really hurts when your freshly painted guitar falls down.

Things were going really well. Yesterday I sanded the primer with #320, wiped it with Naphtha and got ready to paint it. I did one coat and it looked great. I think it was a little too thick, since I can’t see the primer underneath, but whatever, it works.

Today I went down in the basement to check on it (and get these two wooden blocks I found there to make this sort of a “stand” to put the guitar on when painting the edges), and my heart sank when I saw the guitar on the ground. The boom arm came loose somehow, and fell along with the guitar. Now it has a bunch of nicks all over its edges.

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I’m not sure what my next step is. Maybe it’s possible to spray those spots and fix them, but I might need to strip it all down and redo? Man, that would be a HUGE bummer, but I’ll do it if I must, especially since the areas where I sanded through the sealer show:

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Now I’m waiting to see what the good folks over at Reranch say, and I’m also trying to figure out how to spray the edges. The blocks idea wouldn’t work since the Jazzmaster is too bottom heavy and can’t stay stable on them. Might do the nail thing Fender used to do.

More sanding, shooting primer, and thoughts about primer

I spent a few more hours yesterday sanding down the body. In the process I realized that removing all the primer until all I’m left with is the sanding sealer is kind of impossible and takes hours, not to mention that I sanded the bottom of the neck pocket a little to much, so now it’s radiused differently. Not a big deal, since it’s the bottom (i.e. back of the guitar). So I decided to get a uniform surface, and call it a day.

I didn’t reshoot sanding sealer in the spots I sanded through — I didn’t feel like mixing more of it, and it would have set me back a day. Most importantly, the primer is also a sealer, so as long as I get a uniform surface with the primer, who cares? Here’s what it looked like after sanding and without reshooting sanding sealer.

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Sorry about the lighting and quality. I do the work in a dimly lit basement.

Here’s what it looked like with the first coat of primer, sprayed from about 15″ away. Nice and thin.Image

Perhaps it’s not visible from the picture, but you can still see the grain through the primer, so another coat is in order. I also messed up a little bit when spraying the neck pocket edge (the horns). I did it a little too thick, and it started cracking, so I quickly sanded it down a little bit with #320 paper. Here’s a picture of it post sanding, and you can see the crack.

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As for using primer — I’m not really sure it’s that important if you spray sanding sealer. The sanding sealer gives a pretty hard, level surface to work with, and while the primer makes for an even more level surface, what’s achieved with the sealer is probably enough. No to mention that you probably need 2-2.5 cans of primer to do a whole body. I only used primer because it’s my first time spray painting and I’m doing a black finish, which supposedly show every little imperfection. I also wanted the finish to wear down to the primer over time (I’m not relicing it though), so I though “why the hell not?”. Next time I paint a body I’ll either just use sanding sealer, or make the primer myself with Mixol white colorant mixed with sanding sealer.

I’m off to see if the primer coat cracked over night!

Problems shooting primer

This is possibly the biggest pain in the ass so far. Shooting sanding sealer wasn’t fun and I went through two preval sprayers in the process, but I got it done with very few problems. The primer (Duralaq Nitrocellulose primer) proved more difficult.

I sprayed it at about 15″ away from the guitar and it came out too dry — wiping my hand on the body wood “dust off” some of the primer. It didn’t make sense and seemed like a waste of product, so I decided to spray it more wet. I got really close and got two a thick, level coating of primer. Here’s what it looked like.

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Looks pretty good, right? Like Olympic White! Well, after 20-60 minutes it shrunk and cracked. Literally, cracks all over the body! I asked around over at reranch.com/reranch, and it turns out that shooting primer too close to the body will make it crack. I got within 5″ from it. Also, the primer coat shouldn’t be so thick. It should be thin and the thickness of the finish should be built with the color and clear coats.

Between yesterday and today I spent 4 hours sanding down the primer and I’m still not done. I also sanded through the primer in some spots, so I’ll need to touch up those areas. I’m hoping to be done with the primer by Tuesday, so I’ll be done shooting the color and clear by next weekend.

Update

I kind of set the bar for this blog a little too high with the previous post. I thought I’ll update when a project is completed in full, but in reality, most of them take a while to complete. So here’s what I’ve done this summer (yes, I actually did work on some projects):

I fixed that Big Muff Pi, for the most part. I replaced the battery clip and the DC in connector. Also replaced the cap that sits along the battery’s, and replace the Tone pot — it was 10k where it should be 100k logarithmic. The thing sounds good, but the notes close to the 12th fret get muffled if I hit the strings hard enough. I think (that is, people I asked) that one of the transistors might be shot. I’ll get to it eventually, but moved on to other things. If you replace the DC inlet on that thing (because I hate the ones that are a 1/8″ plug) — remember that it’s switching and that it’s inverted with the plus on the ring (or outside if you change it with a “normal” plug). The inlet I put on it has 5.5mm on the outside and 2.1mm on the inside. It seems to be a standard.

I did study music theory at ACM in Chicago. It was only five lessons, but enough to get started. What I should do is keep working on it on my own now, but with school and finishing my guitar, I have no time.

The YBA-1A was fixed by my friend Bryan and worked for 10-15 hours, but then it cut out in the middle of a practice. It turns out one of the Tung Sol EL34B died. It was a new pair. I’m not sure why it happened and Bryan isn’t either. Potential offenders: Crappy tube, the fan isn’t powerful enough, Bryan biased it too hot. I think I’ll try to replace the fan with a modern one and see how that works. Meanwhile I keep using my friend’s Ampeg V4B, so I’m not in too much of a hurry to get it fixed.

I have no idea what’s going on with the Vox Phaser. I can’t really match the schematic I found online (which is blurry) with any of the connections on the PCB. I will need someone else’s help on this one.

I acquired all parts for the Neotek rack job, but didn’t pull the trigger on the enclosure. Front Panel Express might be a little too expensive for me, so I’m still trying to figure out how to do it. I might just cut the front panel myself, but I got bigger fish to fry!

Finally! The Strat build! Well, it turned into a Jazzmaster build. I was trying out different Fender necks to figure out what profile, width, and radius I really, and since 60s Strats are too expensive, enough so not anyone can play one at a store, I got to mostly play Jazzmasters. They all just felt perfect in my hands — just the perfect fit when sitting down, and the necks were amazing. I tried a few Strats (some new, a few 70s models, and one 69), but none felt as good as those Jazzmasters. So I ended up ordering a neck and body from USACG. The neck is their 63 — C shape back contour, 1.650 wide at the nut, compound radius starting at 7.25″ and fully transitioned to 9.5″ at the 7th fret. It seemed like all I’d have to do would be drill some holes and put it together, but it turned out to be a lot more work. I had to finish the neck myself (didn’t like how it came out the first time, so did it a third), and now I’m in the midst of finishing the body. It’ll be a black Jazz with a tortoise pickguard, and hopefully it’ll be done before December, but I’m letting it take as long as it should.

Once I’m done with the Jazzmaster, I’ll post a long article of everything I learned about finishing a neck and a body. I’d like to think it’ll be helpful, because I know I could have used something like that. For now though, I’ll stick with short updates of where I’m currently at.