Guild S300-D finally done! Studer caps ordered!

This process took a while, partially because I’m lazy, but also because of other projects. Here’s a recap of what was done:

-The nut slot was cut too low. So I cut a piece of Mahogany with the grain oriented the same as the neck. Thickness-ed it and glued it to the nut slot with hot hide glue.

-Frets were removed, which was a little painful because I was getting a lot of chips. I glued the chips back in, and used some ebony dust where needed.

-Fretboad sanded and leveled. I could have really just waited to do that and then put superglue wherever the fingerboard was chipped.

-Frets installed, and I dripped superglue into all the slots to keep those little bastards in place. This was my first refret and not all the frets were seated wonderfully. The old frets’ crown was .106″, and I always felt like I my fingers couldn’t fit on the neck once I passed the 12th fret, so I went with smaller frets. I got StewMac’s Medium/Highest. The crown is 0.80″ and that makes a lot of a difference.

-Fret ends cut, filed, etc. Basically whatever is needed to be done so that they don’t poke you when you play.

-Leveled the frets. That came out really well. Maybe my best fret leveling job to date? Also dressed the corners of the frets, of course.

-New bone nut. I wrote all about it already.

-Pickups were potted by Fralin. Also talked about that already.

-Little bridge pickup mishap. These pickups are held in the rings with three screws – two on the bass side, one on the treble side. This way the angle of the pickup can also be adjusted. To do that, Guild (or Dimarzio) soldered a two-hole tab to the pickup’s single hole tab. Anyway, that two-hole tab broke and the pickup was jiggling around. Soldered the tab back on.

-Replaced the neck pickup with the a Guild S100 humbucker I bought for very little money from a friend.

Done. I’ll edit this later to add pictures.

I also ordered the caps I need to (partially) recap the B67. Going to do the suppression caps first, and see if it’s working alright. Then do all the electrolytics and tantalums in the PSU, Transport, and whatever else that has tantalum and isn’t in the audio path. Once the machine is working I’ll do the motor phase capacitors (big ones that are hanging from the chassis), and start working on the audio cards one by one. I’ll pose a list of the capacitors here for my own and others’ sake.

I have a few more things to post about the B67, but I’ll get to it later.

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Done spraying color, one clear coat done, and spraying at 10″ away is the best

On Thursday I finally finished spraying the last color coats and touch ups for a few spots that had pits. These weren’t gouges that went all the way to do the wood, just spots I bumped into with my fingers, or that I tried to smooth out a run (hey, it actually works sometimes!)

Yesterday I checked on the guitar and sprayed a pass or two in a few spots that seemed to need it. One was a tiny pit that under light seemed to be white-ish. I was worried that it’s actually the primer, so I sprayed it. Another was a little speck. It wasn’t dust or a run, just a needle-head spot that had more lacquer than the rest. I thought that spraying over it can smooth it out.

Today I checked the surface for any more of those specks. There were a few, so I decided to scuff them with wet 800# sandpaper. I actually scuffed sanded the whole body with 800# as was recommended by someone online. The scuffing leaves scratches, but I believe (and hope!) that they get settled with the clear. In retrospect, sanding down those specks is dumb. There’s always some orange peel when spraying lacquer, and the pits in the peel aren’t any deeper than those specks stick out. So if the orange peel gets leveled with the next coats of clear, the specks should too. Here’s what the guitar looked like before going down to spray the first clear coat:

IMAG0838

And the back:

IMAG0841

I also learned how to improve my spraying technique, and that changed my world. When I first started spraying, I’d be 15″ away from the guitar, and I would go sort of slow. The result was a lot more orange peel, and a lost of material lost in the process. Someone at OSG saw a picture of the orange peel and recommended spraying closer — at 10″ or 8″ away. I did that but I was also spraying slower, so I got a ton of runs. Now I settled on 9″ away, and my passes are fast. It’s hard to describe how fast, but I’d say fast but not so fast that your hand starts jittering. I think a good analog is wiping a wet counter. You don’t go too fast so it splatters water all over the place, but still fast enough to drag the water with you. Anyway, doing it this way saves a lot of lacquer, and the coats come out real smooth and thin. That brings me to my last point.

The road to completing the color coats was kind of rocky — I had to do a lot of touch ups and changed my spraying technique, but the last color coat went down smooth and gave me a chance to figure out how much lacquer is used for one coat and how much it costs. Here’s the breakdown:

A coat of black (= 3 passes) at 10″ away + a few touch ups require a little less than 6 oz. of black lacquer. The lacquer is thinned 50/50. The guitar has 3 color coats, so that’s about 18 oz. of lacquer if there are no touch ups required. The cost of a quart of black lacquer is ~$20, so three coats comes out to $11.25. Also, I drop 20ml of black tint into the quart. I might be able to get away with less if I pour the clear into the the little glass jar, and then add the tint. Lastly, today I sprayed two coats of clear with a little over 3oz of lacquer each. So things might actually look better, although $20 for a quart of lacquer isn’t so bad (and less if it’s clear).

Now to deal with not getting dust on the guitar while spraying clear. That’s proving to be really, really hard. More when I have a solution for that.

Summer Plans

I have two big projects and a few smaller ones that I want to finish this summer. Hopefully by the end of it every piece of gear I have will be fixed/built and utilized.

Big Projects

  • Building a parts Stratocaster. A friend is giving me an old SX body and I know which pickups I’ll get, but I still can’t decide on which neck to get. I’ll write about it more later.
  • Racking two Neotek SIII preamp/EQ modules. It seems that the hardest part is getting the chassis done; the rest should follow easily. It’ll be nice to have some real preamps again.

Small Projects

  • Fixing my old green Big Muff Pi and Vox Phaser. The Muff has this capacitor where one lead just broke off and can’t be repaired. I need to figure out its value and replace it. The pedal could also use a new DC receptacle. I don’t know what’s wrong with the Vox. Could be as simple as a cold solder joint somewhere.
  • Fixing my YBA-1A. It distorts early and it’s an ugly kind of distortion. My friend is working on it since I have no knowledge of tube amplification and don’t feel like poking around with my meter until I maybe find out what’s wrong with it.
  • Studying music theory. I know the very basics (what’s major and minor pretty much) and it’s time to know more.
  • Learning more about electronics. I always wanted to and it’ll be helpful with all the things I’m going to work on.