GuitarAttack: This is a great story. A good first-time build
with some common challenges. A great starter project!
Hello there, my name is Denis;
After finding the GuitarAttack website and looking at what people had
accomplished I decided I would like to give it a try. First of all I have
been playing guitar for about 5 years now and I really don't know a whole
lot on how a guitar is put together since I usually pay someone to do my
setup. There were some things maybe I should have left well enough alone but
the kit didn't cost a whole lot so I experimented with a lot of things
dealing with setup.
Early spring 2008 I ordered a Saga Telecaster kit. Since it was reasonably
priced I thought if I messed it up really bad it would not be much of a
loss. I won't mention where I ordered the kit from but living in Winnipeg,
Manitoba, Canada it took just a little over 3 weeks for the guitar to clear
customs and arrive at my doorstep. Overall this was not too bad.
The first thing I did when I received the kit was to take stock of what came
in the kit and make sure everything was accounted for. After this, I
proceeded to put it together (hoping that some of the parts would not fit
exactly as stated in the instructions). Well I got what I hoped for. The
pickguard was already attached to the body with two screws when I received
the kit. All the other screw holes did not line up. The control plate had
the same issue only one hole lined up, the other did not. The bridge had the
same issue with two out of the 3 holes lining up correctly. Everything else
went together as planned. I marked on the body where the new holes had to be
drilled and filled the other holes by gluing in dowels or pieces of
toothpicks and wood filler letting it set overnight then sanding it smooth
the next day. Drilling the new holes was easy. I just took my time to make
sure the drill was straight and drilled the new holes. Next step was to put
it all back together and make sure everything lined up properly.
Next thing was the head stock. I must say this was harder than it looked
just to even decide on a shape let alone cut the head stock. However once I
decided on a shape that appealed to me I traced the shape on a thin piece of
cardboard then traced this on the back of the headstock. Using a jig saw to
cut the shape and various sanding drums attached to a drill and again a lot
of patience I ended up with the shape you see in the pictures.
Finishing was really the easy part of this. I started with a rough sand with
coarse followed by medium then fine sandpaper. I masked the neck pocket,
where the pickups go and the control plate before applying the Polyshade and
Varathane as apparently this can cause issues with re-fitting the neck back
into the guitar body. I chose "Min-Wax Polyshade" since this could be
applied over wood that had been sealed. I applied 3 coats over the space of
three nights with a light sanding in between to come to the shade that
appealed to me. Next I applied 3 light coats of Varathane clear, again
spaced over three nights with a light sanding in between. The neck was
sanded lightly with 2 coats of Varathane. Polyshade was applied with a
sponge brush and Varathane was sprayed. (Note: You can find
these products at Lowe's and Home Depot...Ed.)
Putting it all together was easy enough and the only problem I had was with
the wiring. The neck pickup, according to the instructions, was to have a
black wire and a white wire but instead it had a yellow and a white wire. It
wasn't too hard to figure this out and it all worked out fine in the end.
I agree the tuners are not great but I was pleasantly surprised how nice the
guitar sounded played on all pickups (clean and with distortion).
Adjustments I made:
- Truss rod - I had no idea what it did but I do now and you have to be
really careful when adjusting this.
- Intonation - Usually I pay somebody to set up my guitar but after reading
up on it I decided to give it a try and managed to improve the sound of the
guitar and I am now very comfortable with doing this myself.
- Had to shim the neck on the low "E" side of the neck to get the action
where I liked it.
What's next - new tuners and installing ferrules so that I can string the
guitar through the body. Also I will be ordering another kit, maybe a Strat
from Saga for a winter project.
If you would like to know any more information please email me at:
Thanks to all those who posted articles as this really helped with my build.
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada