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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:20 am 
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Mahogany
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First name: sean
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So my 13 year old nephew needed a new guitar due to complete failure of his old one while playing a show. I decided to try a cheap kit guitar so I could bust him out one quick. I got this Albatross kit off of ebay. When it showed, most of the hardware was crap, and the neck joint was sloppy. But it was mahogany. And as for a "close" to a guitar board it was about what I had expected. Just so you know right up front. The neck angle was wrong, the tenon and and neck overall length was about 1/4" too long, and the pocket was about 1/8" to wide. If you assemble this kit and try to play it it will be unplayable. There was 0 degrees of tilt at the neck joint and the body was already drilled (in the wrong place) for a tuneomatic. I suppose a floyd rose could have been a fix for it but I wanted to use a tunomatic bridge. I am almost certain that they copied an old Cort Explorer, I had one years ago and yes, it was unplayable, you could fly a plane under the strings with the action completely dropped.

The first thing I did was glue in maple slats to the body and re machine the neck pocket, and shortened the neck by 1/4 inch at the tenon and the top. I don't have any pics of that process, but be prepared if you are going to try this kit. I cut my own headstock design in and glued the body and neck joint. I also smoothed in the neck joint and carved about an 1/8" off the back of the neck.

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Whatever you do DON'T confuse me as an EXPERT, or MASTER, just a self learned trial and error guy. I had to build a dozen guitar before I found out what a "Luthier" even was (????)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:23 am 
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Mahogany
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First name: sean
State: nm
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Here is the electronic components that came with the kit on the right, and the real deal Gibson stuff I used on the left. The pickup is a 498T.
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Whatever you do DON'T confuse me as an EXPERT, or MASTER, just a self learned trial and error guy. I had to build a dozen guitar before I found out what a "Luthier" even was (????)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:31 am 
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Mahogany
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First name: sean
State: nm
Zip/Postal Code: 88349
Country: us
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Grain filler before sanding, I use black powder dye and drywall mud.
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Here is the paint and a first coat of urethane. My nephew went to the paint store and picked a Mazda metalic blue base.
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Whatever you do DON'T confuse me as an EXPERT, or MASTER, just a self learned trial and error guy. I had to build a dozen guitar before I found out what a "Luthier" even was (????)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:35 am 
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Mahogany
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First name: sean
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Zip/Postal Code: 88349
Country: us
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I took the headstock and sanded it back down, hit it with GM black, and stuck my logo on.
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Some clear, some wet sanding with 1000 grit, more clear, more sanding, more clear, no buffing.
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Whatever you do DON'T confuse me as an EXPERT, or MASTER, just a self learned trial and error guy. I had to build a dozen guitar before I found out what a "Luthier" even was (????)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:37 am 
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Mahogany
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assembly.
Image
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:39 am 
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Mahogany
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Completed, build time was 10 hours, it plays and sounds fantastic.
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Whatever you do DON'T confuse me as an EXPERT, or MASTER, just a self learned trial and error guy. I had to build a dozen guitar before I found out what a "Luthier" even was (????)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:07 am 
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It looks great, really!

But drywall mud?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:39 pm 
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Mahogany
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Chris Pile wrote:
It looks great, really!

But drywall mud?

Yup, an old Gibson trick, and much cheaper than water based grain filler. I would usually use more dye in it to make it stone black if I was going for a wood grain finish. I wish I had snapped a pic after sanding. Its only to fill the poors, mahogany will suck up all your finish if you don't. Once the drywall mud is sanded out, you cant tell it was ever there. I also like to go over it with a clear water base sealer before I throw primer, color, and urethane or lacquer over it. If I was staining or dying the wood I would do it under the sealer, then clear over the top.

I'm not a big fan of painted guitars, but my nephew is, I even offered him some block and inlay work and he declined. I guess it made the build easy for me though.

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Whatever you do DON'T confuse me as an EXPERT, or MASTER, just a self learned trial and error guy. I had to build a dozen guitar before I found out what a "Luthier" even was (????)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:14 pm 
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I have a little problem believing Gibson used drywall mud under lacquer.
Further to that, I have been doing finishing on mahogany guitars since the late 70's, and they don't suck up all my finish.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:57 pm 
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Mahogany
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What do you do to seal pores?

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Whatever you do DON'T confuse me as an EXPERT, or MASTER, just a self learned trial and error guy. I had to build a dozen guitar before I found out what a "Luthier" even was (????)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:07 pm 
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Dupont 1980-S sealer.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:29 am 
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Mahogany
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Country: us
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I wouldn't be against trying it, but I don't have a problem using the joint compound either. Its volcanic rock, it doesn't shrink or expand unless water is involved, and I haven't had any problem with finish not sticking. Is my finish stronger or weaker because of it, I don't know. The first time I used it was 1994, on a guitar that I still use heavily. Its still holding all its finish.

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Whatever you do DON'T confuse me as an EXPERT, or MASTER, just a self learned trial and error guy. I had to build a dozen guitar before I found out what a "Luthier" even was (????)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:39 pm 
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Looks nice. I like that blue
I heard about using drywall as pore filler from a Robbie O'Brian clip on youtube. It works pretty well and you can pick your colors.
But, like all the other pore filling methods....I hate pore filling!!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:47 pm 
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Nice job. I'd find the neck angle correction to be difficult. Looks like it turned out great.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:33 pm 
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Wow! It looks swell!
Is the nut in a slot? Did you have to level the frets?
I tried the mud on vinyl sealer but it did not stick to it.
You are an awesome uncle!

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:32 pm 
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Mahogany
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The nut is not in a slot, it was just glued into a shelf. I did have to break the nut off and drop it 1/16" or so to get the strings down where they needed to be and glue it back on. As for the neck, the frets were a little rough but it was straight and the frets were level. The truss rod needed a little tweaking but thats it. From what I hear on these cheapie kits, you have a good chance of getting a twisted or warped neck out of the box, I was just lucky I guess.

Quick conclusion: If you build this kit;
1. Don't just glue the tenon in, expect to cut and add wood. I re angled the neck on a mill from the body side. Allot of people don't have that kind of equipment and you could always add wood to the neck side to ramp it up a few degrees.

2. I also had to shorten the neck since the bridge was pre drilled. Mine was set up with too much overall length. As quick reference, http://www.stewmac.com/freeinfo.html , Stewmacs fret length calculator is awesome. You also have to take some meat off the fret board down to the tenon so the neck pickup will fit.

3. The hardware isn't the best, and the electronics were pretty cheesy looking. They might work but I didn't even bother. I think all I used in the electronics bag was solder wire it came with. Do yourself a favor and chunk in some good stuff, I was lucky and had some Gibson parts lying around. The fake tunomatic worked and the tuners work OK.

4. You have to trim the pick guard to fit between the pickups.

5. It is Mahogany, not the best quality though. Definitely a good candidate for paint rather than a translucent finish.

The funniest part is the definition of albatross (besides the bird), I guess they named it right.
al·ba·tross: a continuing problem that makes it difficult or impossible to do or achieve something.


I used this Guitar at band practice the other night (after letting my nephew break it in with his band of course), it actually turned out to be a smooth playing and screamin guitar with great tone and sustain. This kid practices like 4 hours a day, so I should know the durability soon enough.
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Whatever you do DON'T confuse me as an EXPERT, or MASTER, just a self learned trial and error guy. I had to build a dozen guitar before I found out what a "Luthier" even was (????)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:53 pm 
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It loks like you nephew has achieved the ultimate dream. To be a rock star!

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