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 Post subject: Precision Guitar Kits
PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:44 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:44 pm
Posts: 9
First name: Michael
Last Name: Garland
City: Raleigh
State: North Carolina
Zip/Postal Code: 27613
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I'm about an inch away from finally pulling the trigger on one of these. I specifically interested in a Les Paul Junior or Special kit. They appear to be of good quality and I've read many good things about these kits.

My reservation is this. I have never built a guitar and I have no special tools. One thing I have read consistently is that the quality of the end product depends on the skill of the builder. I don't want to over simplify this but what can I expect in addition to gluing the neck in place? I understand that the hardware has to be mounted and electronics soldered etc. I'm comfortable with all that. Is there more to fitting the neck to the body than I think.

There's a company on ebay that sells stripped gibsons and fenders. They're already assembled and painted they just need all the hardware and electronics. I'm wondering if this may be a better way to go.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:01 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:34 am
Posts: 2531
In a word...yes. Get the prefinished bolt together and put in the hardware. If you know nothing about woodworking, you are asking for trouble.

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http://www.brentrup.com


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 11:28 pm 
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Contributing Member
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Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 12:04 am
Posts: 3471
First name: Chris
Last Name: Pile
City: Wichita
State: Kansas
Country: Good old US of A
Or hire one of us to build it per spec for you.

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Stop saying "How stupid can you get?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge!


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:36 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:49 am
Posts: 9827
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
First name: Hesh
Last Name: Breakstone
Country: United States
Status: Professional
One of our friends and one of my clients from a previous business who is 84 years old purchased a LP kit from PGK and his kit was not right. The neck was in so very much forward or backbow, can't remember which exactly that the truss rod could not over come the built in bow and get the neck straight enough for the frets to be dressed or for the instrument to ever be set-up correctly. It was clearly a defective neck.

Our friend didn't know any better and you guessed it, glued the neck onto the body anyway... This is the one major assembly step that has to be right or all bets are off.

His efforts to return the kit, neck already glued onto the body, etc. were met with resistance from PGK. He was heartbroken and is retired, obviously at that age, and on a fixed income as well.

So Dave and I got involved with PGK... and some pictures later and a few exchanged emails and possibly a phone call, again can't remember all the details and PGK took the defective neck and attached body back and sent our friend a new one.

The big point here is that the company DID come through! It just took some doing.....

The quality of the kits sands this one, individual neck was excellent IMO and since the principal of the company did back up his stuff in the end and that was the goal it all worked out.

Finishing is one of the hardest things to do well and just when you think that you are out...... you get dragged back in and have to spend dozens of hours finishing. Consumer finishes never look up to snuff on guitars and traditional guitar finishes, except for french polished shellac often have toxicity levels or explosion risks or require special equipment making finishing difficult for the one-shot hobbyists.

There are pro finishers but it will cost you approximately $500+ depending on who you go with.

If your goal is to enjoy the journey of building a guitar and finishing it then explore finishing it yourself and Dan E. of Stew-Mac has an excellent book on finishing guitars.

If your goal is to have and enjoy the guitar getting the kit already finished as suggested above would be my route.

They are very nice kits though and I was impressed with both the quality and the assembly quality of the kit including binding, routing, fit and finish, etc.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 1:06 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 11:03 am
Posts: 1737
Location: Litchfield MI
Focus: Build
Status: Professional
Quote:
I don't want to over simplify this but what can I expect in addition to gluing the neck in place?


Plenty -- as mentioned a professional or factory finish is just that, requires acquired skills and specialized equipment. Not to mention that custom shops both repair and complete builds have -- again, skills and specialized equipment to get set up and fret work parameters to .000" tolerances.

An electric kit can provide hours of fun and a good deal of pride with the accomplishment of a finished project. However, I don't think first attempts often yield results that compare to some of the better import knock offs or even Epiphone. Especially since the parts for majority of these kits come from the very same factories in the first place.

I'd say that most often, kit builders both acoustic and electric are signing up for the joy and the challenge of the project not necessarily a way to save money.

http://afantimusic.en.made-in-china.com ... log-1.html
http://afantimusic.en.made-in-china.com/

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Ken Cierp

http://www.kennethmichaelguitars.com/



These users thanked the author kencierp for the post: Lonnie J Barber (Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:11 pm)
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:14 am 
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Koa
Koa
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:17 pm
Posts: 646
City: Escondido
State: CA
Zip/Postal Code: 92029
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Semi-pro
Not to beat a dead horse, but...

Want a DIY project, love to get your hands dirty, interested in learning a new craft? Then yes, buy a kit guitar and start on a journey that has become obsession for many of us on this forum.

Want a cheap way of getting the guitar of your dreams? Skip the kit and buy the best knockoff guitar you can afford. When you can afford it, have it professionally set up. When you can afford more, have the frets dressed. When you can afford more, replace the pickups and pots with decent pickups and pots. In the end, you will have a great axe for much less than a new Gibson, PRS, Fender, or whatever it is that you are dreaming of.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2015 5:26 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:44 pm
Posts: 9
First name: Michael
Last Name: Garland
City: Raleigh
State: North Carolina
Zip/Postal Code: 27613
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Thanks for the responses and advice. I decided to go ahead and get the kit which consists of the body and neck only. I plan to use high quality components e.g. Lollar p90's, Grover tuners, etc. as for finish, I'm not looking for a super shiny show finish. Also I plan to have a local luthier make the nut and do a pro set up. I expect to invest more than a new les paul jr. Would cost. I'm doing it for fun and hope to end up with a playable, nice sounding DIY custom


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